31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
Greetings and welcome! The First Congregational Church United Church of Christ is committed to a ministry of extravagant welcome and hospitality. We hope the following information helps you feel more comfortable as you anticipate attending worship or another church activity.
FCC 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. Many people in town think of us as the “pretty white church on the top on the hill, whose tower shines at night”.
There is plenty of parking in our parking lot, which can be accessed from either Maple Street or Prospect Place. Parking is also available around the Federal Hill green and on Prospect Place. Sidewalks will lead you to the three big blue front doors of the sanctuary where a greeter will be present to welcome you and give you a bulletin that contains the order of the service of worship and announcements. Large print bulletins are also available. If you’ve parked in the parking lot, you may prefer to enter through the red brick Parish House, via the blue door to the right of the playground. A greeter will be present to welcome you and help you find the Sanctuary.
For those who would like or need to avoid steps, the front of the sanctuary has a wheelchair ramp. Handicap parking is available in the parking lot, along the fence that surrounds the playground and an accessible entrance for the sanctuary is located through the yellow door to the left of the playground. Inside the yellow door is a handicap lift with access to the Sanctuary on the first floor and Chapel and Auditorium on the second floor. A greeter is present at this door to assist you with the lift and directions to the Sanctuary. During the service, there are moments when the congregation will be invited to stand if able. Please feel free to stand or remain seated. Hearing assist devices are also available for those who wish to use them.
Greeters and Ushers throughout the Parish House (classroom building) and Sanctuary (worship building) will be glad to assist you in finding bathrooms, the crib nursery, and other facilities you might need. Please feel free to ask them for help.
We are an open and affirming congregation. FCC is a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Click here for more information about the United Church of Christ.
God judges by our hearts, not our outward appearances. Traditionally, people dressed up for worship, but a more relaxed “business casual” style has become popular. Most choose to dress respectfully, yet comfortably.
We worship at 10am every Sunday. If the weather is inclement and you are unsure if worship will be canceled, please visit our website www.firstchurchbristolct.org, Facebook page, or watch WFSB or NBC 30.
Worship includes opportunities for everyone to sing and pray together. There are also readings from the Bible and a sermon that will encourage you to think about what you believe and how you will live out your Christian faith in the world. The Adult Choir sings weekly during worship. On special occasions, our Hand Bell choir and other instrumentalists share their talents during worship.
Children of all ages attend the beginning of the worship service and are invited to A Time for Children before going to Children’s Ministry. Infants and Toddlers are welcome to play in the Crib Nursery before and during worship.
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 received while seated in the pews. Deacons serve the bread first, and then the grape juice. The tray is passed half way down the pew, and then back to the aisle. Please hold the tray for your neighbor while they serve themselves. We eat the bread upon receiving it to acknowledge our individuality before God. As a sign of our unity in Christ, we wait until all have been served the cup of the new covenant and then we share in drinking the cup together.
Once a month, 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.).
During the service of worship, FCC offers Children’s Ministry for preschoolers (3 years old) through 8th grade as well as nursery care for infants and toddlers. Our staff Nursery Caregivers will notify you if your infant or toddler needs you by activating a silent vibrating device they will lend you when you drop off your child. Please let the Nursery Caregivers know if your child has any allergies and know that the Nursery Caregivers can only give a child back to the person with the pager.
Children’s Ministry is a fun time for children to learn about God and Jesus Christ through Bible stories and hands on activities.
Our Children’s Ministry program and Crib Nursery follow FCC’s Safe Church Policy and Guidelines.
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.”
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 in the life of our church. 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 2013, FCC began working with an architect to improve the handicap accessibility and user friendliness of FCC’s historic building.
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.
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.
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.
Century Nursery School was begun by the members of the First Congregational Church over sixty 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.
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.