Welcome

Interim Minister's Message

Welcome!  I am delighted you are looking thru our church website.  We are  a church community who welcomes all to join us on the fascinating journey of life.  There are many activities and programs listed here that keep us very busy.  You are welcome to be part of any of it.  But most of all I want you to know that we try very hard to follow the teachings of Jesus and share the love of God in all of this busyness but are never too busy to stop and offer a kind word and prayer.

Please let me know if there is any way I can assist you - either navigating this website or in a matter of faith.  Blessings to you.

I pray God's blessings and peace be yours,

Jeff Larsen
Interim Minister

United Church of Christ

We hope you will visit this UCC church. We are not a perfect church, but we do try to be faithful.  We are part of the UCC becasue we are known for arriving early on issues of inclusivity and justice.  We were the first to ordain an African-American pastor (1785), a woman (1853), an openly gay person (1972), and the first to affirm same-gender marriage equality (2005).

UCC churches believe faith requires tenderness and courage, a kind of big love that is committed to changing the life of any person - in our churches, but also in the world around us.  We call it religion with relevance.  Why not give us a try?  We extend an extravagant welcome to you and yours!

Learn More

Christian Education

We believe Christian Education is a life-long process. We offer the following programs:

  • Nursery Care for Infants
  • Church School Classes
  • Confirmation Class
  • Junior and Senior Youth Fellowships
  • Adult Education Classes


Nursery Care (infants through age 2) is staffed by a paid person and volunteers. The care your child receives while you are worshipping is very important.  We are committed to providing loving and responsible child care.  

Church School (Kindergarten through High School). Children attend the first part of the worship service with their families, leaving for Church School midway through the service.

Confirmation Class (9th grade) is the responsibility of the Senior Minister, with assistance from the Director of Christian Education and the teacher of the high school class.

Junior (6th - 8th grades) and Senior  (9th -12th grades) Youth Fellowships.  These groups offer the opportunity to participate in community service through local and state-wide projects. They also explore common interests and enjoy recreational group activities.

Adult Education Classes are frequently offered through study groups to enrich faith and spirituality.

Learn More

Purpose

The avowed purpose of this Church shall be to worship God, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate the Sacraments; to realize Christian Fellowship and unity within this Church and the Church Universal; to welcome and render loving service toward all persons; and to strive for righteousness, justice and peace in faith and mission. - From First Parish Bylaws

Worship

You are invited to join us in worship at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM each Sunday. Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month. Special services are held throughout the year.  There are speakers in the Quiet Room at the rear of the Sanctuary so those using that room are able to hear the service.

Fellowship

In addition to the fellowship enjoyed by parishioners at worship and in committee work, other opportunities are offered through:

  • Women's Fellowship
  • Top of the Hill Gang
  • Meals Ministry and Pot Luck Suppers
  • Prayer Shawl Group
  • Bible Study
  • Small Group Book Discussions

Music Ministry

Anyone who enjoys music as a way to worship God is encouraged to participate in the following choirs. Call the Church Office to verify practice times and locations:

  • Adult Choir
  • Handbell Choir
  • Youth Choir

Learn More

Statement of Inclusion

The First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, sits at a crossroad at the center of Saco, Maine. Our doors on that crossroad symbolize our welcome to those who come in search of God's presence in their lives. 

We are a faith community of diverse people whose common ministry is to rejoice in God's love, as well as to heal the brokenness with each other and with God. Responding to that call, we welcome all persons of every age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital standing, physical and mental ability, economic status and family structure into the life, membership, leadership and ministry of this church.

We affirm each person as a child of God, worthy of God's love and our love, and covenant to support one another in our celebrations, sorrows and spiritual growth. At this crossroad, we invite all over the threshold of Christ's open door to engage with us in the work of this church in the world.  - "Statement of Inclusion” Adopted January 28, 2000

Missions

We believe all church members are ambassadors of God's caring presence and we look for opportunities to become involved both locally and globally. We have participated in:

  • Saco Food Pantry
  • Bon Appetit
  • ReadMore Saco
  • Show Ministry
  • Paul Hazelton House Breakfast
  • Huot House Meal
  • Welcome Immigrants Our New Neighbors
  • Feeding Forward
  • UCC and Church World Projects

Learn More

I'm New and...

I want to join First Parish Congregational Church, UCC!
New membership classes are held seasonally by the Senior Minister, after which parishioners join the membership of the church.  Every member holds one vote at the annual affirmation meeting where the church makes decisions on its worship, ministries, and leaders for the coming year.  Email our Senior Minister for more information.

Can anyone attend your worship service?
Yes, we are an open and affirming congregation.  Please visit the 'Welcome Table' as you come into our church.  Anyone who believes in Christ may participate in our communion, which takes place on the first Sunday of every month.

I would like to know what outreach programs First Parish offers?
Visit our Christian Education page, our Ministries Page, and our Missions page for specifics on who we are as a faith community in church and beyond.

Christian EducationMission Team

What is the difference between your 8:00 a.m. service and your 10:00 a.m. service?
The 8:00 a.m. service is compact, paperless, and interactive while our 10:00 a.m. service is traditional. The bulletin for the 10:00 a.m. service can be found online.

For other questions or assistance, please email our First Parish Church Moderator

I Have a Question...


What is the United Church of Christ (UCC)?
A short course in the history of the United Church of Christ tells our story beginning with our origins in the small community which followed Jesus 20 centuries ago and continuing to the present.  Our story is rooted in the Reformation a protest movement against the abuse of authority by church leaders; the rediscovery by Luther and Calvin of the Bible's teaching that salvation is not earned, but is a gift.  Our story is about the epic journey of the Pilgrims from England to the shores of North America; the waves of emigration by German and Hungarian Protestants seeking spiritual and political freedom; and the beginning of the first Christian anti-slavery movement in history.  Our story is found in the 20th-century movement to reunite the divided branches of Christ's church, and, as a result of that movement, the union of several traditions of Protestant Christianity into the United Church of Christ in 1957.  Visit the UCC site, click here.  To visit the Maine UCC Conference, click here.

How many parishioners are members of First Parish Church?
Over 450 parishioners are congregationalist members of First Parish Church.

How are you governed?
The avowed purpose of this Church shall be to worship God, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate the Sacraments; to realize Christian Fellowship and unity within this Church and the Church Universal; to welcome and render loving service toward all persons; and to strive for righteousness, justice and peace in faith and mission. All parishioners who join First Parish Congregational Church, UCC, receive 1 vote for the Annual Affirmation meeting to deal with all matters of this church. This is all very democratic in nature.

Do you offer Christian Education classes?
Visit our Christian Education page to read all about our Christian Education for children, youth and adults.

For other questions or assistance, please email our First Parish Church Moderator

.

United Church of Christ,Maine Conference, UCC


UCC - National Level
The United Church of Christ is a protestant denomination that was formed in 1957 when Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches merged. The basic unit of the UCC is the local church (often called the congregation). Lay members actively participate in church organization and governance. There are about 5,287 congregations with over 1 million members. The average local congregation is 210 members. The UCC is associated with the Churches Uniting in Christ, National Council of Churches, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and World Council of Churches. The roots of the merged churches show earlier unions and a historical connection to the reformed tradition influenced by Lutheranism.

At the national level the UCC has favored liberal views in regard to such social issues as civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, and abortion rights. As there is no UCC hierarchy or body to dictate direction, each congregation is independent in matters of doctrine and ministry and may not support the national's perspective on social issues. The UCC prides itself as "an extremely pluralistic and diverse denomination".

Statement of Faith
We believe in God, the eternal spirit, Who is made known to us in Jesus, our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:

God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.

God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. God judges all nations and all humanity by that will of righteousness... .declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the Man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to himself. 

God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races.

God calls us into the Church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God.
Amen.

What we believe:
We can tell you more about the United Church of Christ with the help of seven phrases from Scripture and Tradition which express our commitments.

That they may all be one. [John 17:21] This motto of the United Church of Christ reflects the spirit of unity on which it is based and points toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the body of Christ. We are a uniting church as well as a united church.

In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity. The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any point of view, nor rigid formulation of doctrine. It does require mutual understanding and agreement as to which aspects of the Christian faith and life are essential.

The unity of the church is not of its own making. It is a gift of God. But expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are individuals. The common thread that runs through all is love.

Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed in many different ways, the United Church of Christ has no formula that is a test of faith. Down through the centuries, however, Christians have shared their faith with one another through creeds, confessions, catechisms and other statements of faith. Historic statements such as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Evangelical Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, the Cambridge Platform and the Kansas City Statement of Faith are valued in our church as authentic testimonies of faith. [See Beliefs for the complete texts of some of these testimonies.] In 1959, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted a Statement of Faith prepared especially for congregations of the United Church. Many of us use this statement as a common affirmation of faith in worship and as a basis for study.

There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God's holy word. This affirmation by one of the founders of the Congregational tradition assumes the primacy of the Bible as a source for understanding the Good News and as a foundation for all statements of faith. It recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition. It declares that the study of the scriptures is not limited by past interpretations, but it is pursued with the expectation of new insights and God's help for living today.

The Priesthood of All Believers. All members of the United Church of Christ are called to minister to others and to participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion.

Recognition is given to those among us who have received special training in pastoral, priestly, educational and administrative functions, but these persons are regarded as servants—rather than as persons in authority. Their task is to guide, to instruct, to enable the ministry of all Christians rather than to do the work of ministry for us.
Responsible Freedom. As individual members of the Body of Christ, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God's will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship with one another—gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, local churches.

Each congregation or local church is free to act in accordance with the collective decision of its members, guided by the working of the Spirit in the light of the scriptures. But it also is called to live in a covenantal relationship with other congregations for the sharing of insights and for cooperative action under the authority of Christ.

Likewise, associations of churches, conferences, the General Synod and the churchwide "covenanted ministries" of the United Church of Christ are free to act in their particular spheres of responsibility. Yet all are constrained by love to live in a covenantal relationship with one another and with the local churches in order to make manifest the unity of the body of Christ and thus to carry out God's mission in the world more effectively.

The members, congregations, associations, conferences, General Synod, and covenanted ministries are free in relation to the world. We affirm that the authority of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and interpreted with the aid of the Holy Spirit stands above and judges all human culture, institutions and laws. But we recognize our calling both as individuals and as the church to live in the world:

To proclaim in word and action the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To work for reconciliation and the unity of the broken Body of Christ.  To seek justice and liberation for all. This is the challenge of the United Church of Christ.

United Church of Christ's Evolution

The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648.
The Reformed Church in the United States traced its beginnings to congregations of German settlers in Pennsylvania founded from 1725 on. Later, its ranks were swelled by Reformed immigrants from Switzerland, Hungary and other countries.

The Christian Churches sprang up in the late 1700s and early 1800s in reaction to the theological and organizational rigidity of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches of the time.

The Evangelical Synod of North America traced its beginnings to an association of German Evangelical pastors in Missouri. This association, founded in 1841, reflected the 1817 union of Lutheran and Reformed churches in Germany. Through the years, other groups such as American Indians, Afro-Christians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Volga Germans, Armenians, and Hispanic Americans have joined with the four earlier groups. In recent years, Christians from other traditions, including the Roman Catholic Church, have found a home in the UCC, and so have gay and lesbian Christians who have not been welcome in other churches. Thus the United Church of Christ celebrates and continues a broad variety of traditions in its common life.


Characteristics of the United Church of Christ
The characteristics of the United Church of Christ can be summarized in part by the key words in the names that formed our union: Christian, Reformed, Congregational, Evangelical.

Christian. By our very name, the United Church of Christ, we declare ourselves to be part of the Body of Christ—the Christian church. We continue the witness of the early disciples to the reality and power of the crucified and risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
Reformed. All four denominations arose from the tradition of the Protestant Reformers: We confess the authority of one God. We affirm the primacy of the Scriptures, the doctrine of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom. We celebrate two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper (also called Holy Communion or the Eucharist).
Congregational. The basic unit of the United Church of Christ is the congregation. Members of each congregation covenant with one another and with God as revealed in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. These congregations, in turn, exist in covenantal relationships with one another to form larger structures for more effective work. Our covenanting emphasizes trustful relationships rather than legal agreements.

Evangelical. The primary task of the church is the proclamation of the Gospel or (in Greek) evangel. The Gospel literally means the "Good News" of God's love revealed with power in Jesus Christ. We proclaim this Gospel by word and deed to individual persons and to society. This proclamation is the heart of the leiturgia—in Greek, the "work of the people" in daily and Sunday worship. We gather for the worship of God, and through each week, we engage in the service of humankind.

Congregational Church
UCC, SACO MAINE


12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072


FACEBOOKCONTACT USFIND US

Top