Worship

Interested in visiting our congregation? Join us for worship!
We realize that it can be a bit daunting to walk through the doors of a church for the first time.
Our congregation is home to a diverse crew of believers, questioners, and questioning believers. We come from all kinds of faith backgrounds (and none at all) and bring all sorts of life experiences with us. We don’t check our minds or our hearts at the door. Whether you believe a little or a lot, whether you are deeply rooted in our faith or are searching, come—everyone is welcome in worship!

Worship is central to the life of the congregation. We come together to be more than we can apart. We lift our voices in praise and song, listen for nudging of God, and are nurtured by the Spirit so that we are strengthened for the journey that ushers love and justice into the world.

Here you’ll find some answers to questions that folks frequently ask (FAQs) before they visit. Click on one of our two services below to learn more about what to expect.
We hope to meet you soon!

Sunday Worship (10 AM)

Vibrant and full of praise.
Held year-round.

Midweek Evening Worship (Wednesdays @ 7 PM)

Varied—from contemplative to contemporary, with communion. Held from September through June.

——  What to Expect (FAQs)

Sunday Worship (10 AM)

On Sunday mornings we worship at 10 AM. Our building is the white steepled church located at 18 Andover Rd, Billerica, MA 01821.

While many of our regulars arrive close to the hour, we encourage you to come a bit before 10 AM (at least 10 or 15 minutes early) on your first visit so we can help you get oriented. If you come a little late, that’s okay! We’ll still be there to greet you.

You’re welcome to park in the parking lot right behind our building. You can pull into the entrance driveway, which (if you’re facing the front) runs along the righthand side of the building. That driveway will take you to the lot, where you’ll find ample spots, including accessible ones closest to the back door. The back entrance has three steps leading to a hallway. At the end of that hallway you’ll find stair and elevator access to the sanctuary, which is where we worship.

Alternatively, you can park in the Korean War Memorial Park, which is kitty-corner to us across the street on Andover Road, and enter using the front door. The front entrance has three steps leading to an entryway just outside the sanctuary, which is then one flight up.

Yes. We have an elevator from the lower level to the sanctuary that can accommodate wheelchairs up to 29 inches wide. (We’re working toward greater accessibility with plans for a full-size commercial elevator.)

If you need a no-stair route to the sanctuary, you can enter via the side door along the entrance driveway and turn left for the elevator. If you’d like us to park your car for you valet style, we’d be glad to. Please call the church office at 978.663.8433 by noon on the Friday before Sunday worship so we’ll be sure to expect you.

There is no dress code. You will find folks wearing everything from shorts and jeans to suits. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and dress as you. It really doesn’t matter what you wear—just that you’re here!

If entering from the back: Off the back hallway you’ll find a parlor where we serve a light breakfast from 9:15–9:45 AM, the smell of cinnamon rolls wafting to meet you as you enter. Along the hallway you’ll find plenty of friendly faces to greet and help orient you. On the second floor landing (up the stairs or the elevator), there will be a Greeter who’ll say hi and hand you a printed bulletin, which outlines the flow of the worship service. You can then enter the front of the Sanctuary straight ahead, where an Usher can help you to find an open seat that works for you.

If entering from the front: Right inside the front doors you’ll find a Greeter who’ll say hi and hand you a bulletin, which outlines the flow of the worship service. You can then take either set of stairs to the right or the left to the back of the Sanctuary. Once there, an Usher can help you find an open seat that works for you.

You’ll find designated spaces for wheelchairs in cutout sections of the pews (benches) and in the back row (on the right hand side as you’re facing the front of the Sanctuary).

Yes! We delight in the presence of kiddos in church.

Off the back hallway you’ll find our classrooms and our nursery. If you’d like to check in with our Director of Christian Education or our Nursery Care Coordinator, you’ll find them there until about 9:55 AM. They’d be delighted to orient you and your children before worship begins.

If your child is in preschool or younger, you can drop them off in the nursery (starting at 9:30 AM) or they can stay with you for the start of worship. Children in kindergarten and up, as well as middle– and high school–age youth, typically stay with their families for at least the first part of worship. About 15 minutes or so into the service, there’ll be a Children’s Time or (depending on the Sunday) communion or a baptism. After these parts of the service, one of the pastors will invite children and youth to head downstairs to the chapel for Sunday School. Your child (K-8) can then go downstairs with their teachers, or they can remain with you for the duration of the service—it’s up to you! The nursery is available at any time during the service if you’d like to check your little one in later on.

We have large-print bulletins to help with following along as well as hearing-assist devices available for your use. If these would be helpful, let an Usher know when you arrive and they’ll get you what you need.

There are accessible, single-user, all-gender bathrooms on both the first floor (near the nursery and classrooms) and the second floor (near the sanctuary and the fellowship hall). All are equipped with infant-changing stations.

Good gracious, no. You can expect a warm greeting from members of the congregation, but don’t worry! We will not ask you to stand up or raise a hand to introduce yourself, and we won’t single you out as someone here for the first time.

The printed bulletin you receive from an Usher will have the plan for that Sunday’s worship. Worship begins with our Welcome Statement and includes a mixture of prayers, songs, scripture readings, a reflection, and a time when folks can share joys and concerns with the congregation. We use expansive language for God, refusing to box God into the confines of any one gender, any one expression of the Holy. Our worship refreshes us spiritually and nurtures our understanding of how the Christian faith and the wisdom of scripture speak to our lives—here, now, today.

Once a month, on the first Sunday of the month, we receive the sacrament of communion. (More on that below.)

Typically about an hour and fifteen minutes—sometimes a bit shorter, occasionally a bit longer.

After the pastor gives the final blessing, you’re welcome to join us for casual conversation over coffee/tea and snacks. It’s one way to get to know folks better and for us to get to know you a little bit. Coffee Hour is held in Dale Hall upstairs (September–June) or in the Parlor downstairs (in the summer). Follow the stream of folks headed that way or ask anyone in the pews—they’d be glad to guide you!

In worship, unlike on an episode of The Voice, we don’t get graded on our singing ability. We invite all who are present to “make a joyful noise” (Psalm 98), however off-key, and when we do our voices blend in an act of praise. Hymns (congregational songs) are printed in the blue hymnal located underneath the pew in front of you. Some folks prefer to read along quietly with the hymn, and that’s okay, too!

We ask visitors to fill out a Connect Card, which you can find in the stack of printed welcome material in the pew-back rack. Filling out this card allows us to send you an email or a card later in the week to thank you for joining us. If you would like to receive our newsletter, or info about specific programs, you can let us know that on the Connect Card, too. The Connect Card is entirely optional, and you can include as much or as little info as you’d like. The reverse side of the card has space for writing prayer requests. The cards are collected during the offering, which usually happens toward the end of the service.

If you’re joining us for worship for the first time, your presence itself is a gift to our congregation, and it is enough. You don’t have to give anything further.

And, if you’d like, you’re welcome to give financially. Gifts support our ministries of gathering, growing, and serving—both within our congregation and outside it through our outreach into the community.

Yes! We joyfully welcome each and every person to receive communion.

Once a month (typically on the first Sunday) we enact an ancient ritual of sharing a simple meal of bread and grape juice—symbols of the living presence of God in us and among us, made known to us in the person of Jesus. Communion represents Jesus’ radical, extravagant love, which embraces each of us just the way we are and promises to transform us into more faithful, hopeful, and loving people.

If you have a desire to know or experience this love, you are welcome to receive the bread and the cup. You don’t have to be a member of First Congregational Church in Billerica or the United Church of Christ to partake. Gluten-free bread is available; you need only ask. Everyone is welcome!

We respect each individual’s spiritual journey and honor the integrity of that journey. And so we welcome “believers, questioners, and questioning believers” to join us. You don’t need to proclaim a particular set of beliefs to worship with us. The statements of belief we use sometimes in worship are testimonies of faith, not tests of faith. We welcome you to gather, grow, and serve with us—and along the way, through these habits of the heart, you’ll find the opportunity to explore your beliefs more deeply.

Feel free to drop one of our pastors a line at pastor@fccbillerica.org.

Midweek Evening Worship (Wednesdays @ 7 PM)

Check out of the FAQs for Sunday-morning worship, above—many apply to our Wednesday-evening service, too.

On Wednesday evenings we gather for a more intimate worship service in a range of styles. Sometimes our worship will be more contemporary, with drums and upbeat praise music; sometimes it will be more contemplative, with simple chants and silence for prayer, meditation, and candle lighting. Each service will include communion, which (see above) all are invited to receive.

About an hour, sometimes a little shorter.