Where is the First Congregational Church?
FCC’s church building is located on Federal Hill at 31 Maple Street, across from the Federal Hill Green, just a few blocks from Route 6 or Main Street. The Sanctuary (worship space) is a “pretty white church on the top on the hill, whose tower shines at night”. The First Congregational Church community is world-wide, gathering on Facebook, Youtube, and Zoom.
How do I get into the building for worship, and where do I go from there?
There is plenty of parking in FCC’s parking lot, which can be entered from Maple Street or Prospect Place. You may enter the church building through the covered porch with white columns off the parking lot, which also has an ADA compliant ramp or through the large blue front doors on the front of the sanctuary. Those using the back entrance will pass ADA compliant restrooms on the Sanctuary. While building code requires the restrooms to be binary, FCC invites you to use the restroom of your choice. Just beyond the double doors there is elevator with service to all levels in the church building with a staircase beside it. Whether you use the elevator or stairs to get to the sanctuary, a greeter will welcome you. Large print worship bulletins and hearing assist devices are available on the sanctuary level.
Greeters will be happy to answers any questions you may have regarding any facilities you may need. Please feel free to ask them for help.
What kind of church is the First Congregational Church?
Does FCC have a dress code?
God judges by our hearts, not our outward appearances. Traditionally, people dressed up for worship, but a more relaxed style is more common now. Most choose to dress respectfully, yet comfortably.
What time is the church worship service?
We worship live at 10am every Sunday, in person and online. Worship is also on demand on FCC’s Facebook page and Youtube channel. If the weather is inclement and you are unsure if in person worship will be canceled, please visit our website www.firstchurchbristol.org, Facebook page, or watch WFSB or NBC 30.
What is a church worship service like?
Worship includes opportunities for everyone to sing and pray together. There are also readings from the Bible and a message that will encourage you to think about what you believe and how you live out your Christian faith in the world. Often members of FCC's choirs and instrumentalists share their musical talents in worship.
Children of all ages are invited to be present in worship. At this time, there are coloring pages, books, and toys for them to engage with as they also praise God with their adults.
FCC celebrates two sacraments: Holy Communion and Baptism.
On the 1st Sunday of every month, Christmas Eve, & Maundy Thursday, the sacrament of Communion is shared. Everyone is welcome to participate in Communion, no matter their age or member status. Communion is shared while seated in the pews.
Throughout the year, FCC celebrates the sacrament of baptism. Baptisms happen on Sunday morning during worship where the entire church community pledges to help nurture the baptized person in the Christian faith. We usually baptize small children, but anyone can be baptized. You do not need to be a member of FCC to be baptized. (More information about Baptism, click here.)
What does the First Congregational Church believe?
As a part of the United Church of Christ, FCC believes we are called to be united in Christ’s love.
“We affirm the dignity and worth of every person by declaring ourselves Open and Affirming. With God’s grace, we strive to include all persons without regard to race, ethnic or socio-economic background, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, physical or mental challenges, or age. We cherish the richness that this diversity brings to us, individually and as a congregation. Our acceptance of each other embodies our commitment to unity with God and each other in Christ. We welcome all to share in the life, leadership, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of full participation in our congregation.”
“We covenant with one another to seek and respond to the Word and the Will of God. We purpose to walk together in the ways of the Lord, made known and to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the Church to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, while worshipping God, and striving for truth, justice, and peace. As did those before us, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the realm of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life.”
Will I be comfortable in your church if I am not much of a church goer? Will I understand what is happening in worship if I have never attended a Christian worship service before?
FCC is filled with friendly people eager to help you in any way. They will happily help you find your way around the church building or help you get involved community activities or outreach ministries. FCC members come from a wide variety of faith backgrounds and religious experiences. They understand what it is like to be new and exploring our Christian faith. FCC’s worship bulletin is very easy to understand and follow. Everything is printed there for you (the words of the Lord’s Prayer, when to stand, the words to musical responses, etc.) After the worship service, there is a time of Fellowship, which is an opportunity to have a cup of coffee or tea and get to know others at the First Congregational Church.
The people of FCC hope you will be both physically, emotionally, and spiritually comfortable in worship and at all FCC activities. The FCC sanctuary was refurbished in 1997 for the 250th anniversary with nice soft cushions on the 180+ year old pews and with air conditioning. In 2017, FCC completed a safety and accessibility renovation that improved the handicap accessibility and user friendliness of FCC’s historic building.
Do you teach the Bible?
Yes! We take the Bible very seriously, but we do not take it literally. Scripture is the foundation of all our preaching, teaching and learning.
What other activities might I get involved with at FCC?
The First Congregational Church has learning and fellowship opportunities for children, youth, and adults. Please visit the Community, Outreach, and Connect drop downs above for information about our Children’s, Youth, Adult, and Music ministries.
Do I have to audition to join the choir?
No, if you love to sing, we’d love to have you join us! If you have questions, please speak to any member of the choir or to our Director of Music.
How is the Century Nursery School connected to the First Congregational Church?
Century Nursery School was begun by the members of the First Congregational Church almost 70 years ago. Still, a ministry of the church, CNS is a separately incorporated non-profit, State of Connecticut licensed nursery school for 3 and 4 year old children. It is both non-denominational and non-profit - keeping our focus on care and education rather than differences and revenue. Since 1953, Century Nursery School has provided high quality preschool education for children in Bristol and surrounding towns. Please see their website www.centurynurseryschool.org
for more information.
Who do I contact if I still have questions?
You can contact the Church Office by email.
You will also find information about our staff and a link to email them on our Leadership & Staff pages.