First Congregational Church of Rockport, MA

he Rev. William Sloane Coffin once said "Churches are in the love business - if we're out of love, we're out of business." That statement is, at once, so obvious and so profound! In the life of a church, love really is the measure of our wealth, and what we do with our love really is the measure of our success! This is a loving, lively congregation, and we welcome you to join us.

The ministry of the Church belongs to the whole congregation, and God has blessed every disciple with gifts for ministry. Here at the First Congregational Church, I am blessed to serve as the Pastor. My job is to encourage each member of the church to develop their sense of discipleship, and equipping the congregation for its ministry. Opportunities to pray, learn, sing, laugh, dream and act, dare to disagree and chance forgiveness equip and strengthen us for discipleship every day. While Sunday worship is the most obvious place that those things happen, every time that the church gathers (committee meetings, Bible study, fundraising, fellowship, outreach) is an opportunity to grow in faith. When we put God first, everything that we do becomes an act of prayer.

Sunday morning worship is the gathering time in the life of our church family, when we come together for prayer and reflection and companionship around Christ's table. The comfort of tradition; prayers that are written on our hearts, beloved hymns, a beautiful and familiar liturgy can enable us to fully relax into the rhythm of worshipping God, even as new ideas and unfamiliar worship experiences refresh our spiritual lives. Our monthly Taize service is beautiful and contemplative.

A strong religious education for children, youth and adults is an important ministry here at the First Congregational Church. Opportunities to learn and to share help people of all ages to identify more closely with the Gospel message. Faith is a journey, for which we all need nourishment and companionship. Understanding our faith story and finding within it a message for our own lives is a life-long adventure. Gathering a small group around shared interest, such as scripture, or hot topics, or lively books helps us to learn and to grow in faith and find belonging within the church family. There is always something interesting going on here! Adult education opportunities are offered by lay people as well as by me.

There is a well-known saying that 'the church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning'. How true that statement is! A sense of purpose is vital to our church life. Most people want to reach out and just need help figuring out how! With time, talent and treasure, our congregation reaches out generously to a wide range of local, homeland and global missions.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. summed up Jesus' call to every one of us who love him;

"Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermo-dynamics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
With hearts full of grace, and souls generated by love our possibilities for ministry in Christ's name are as endless as promising as his love for us. Thanks be to God.