Our Vision & Calling

First Church’s current vision -- The Way of Hospitality, God’s Vision for Us – continues to inspire, enrich, stretch and challenge us as a community. For the last several years, this vision of “the four opens” – Open Door, Open Spirit, Open Road and Open Table – has welcomed and created new life and leadership at First Church. Our current ministry balances a deep commitment to the spiritual formation of people of every age with a call to put our faith into action working toward a more peaceful and just social transformation of the world around us. While God’s Vision For Us continues to guide our congregational life, we have begun to feel the stirrings of what may be yet another bold and transformative vision for First Church.

2011 was our 375th Anniversary Year. Our theme was “375 Years – On the Way,” a reference to our current vision and also to the fact that the first Christians were often referred to as “the people of the Way” – the Way of Jesus. Throughout this threshold year of looking at our past, present and future, we learned about some living ideas that have been central to our life as a community for all these years. First Church is constantly transforming itself, sustaining its relevance to our rapidly changing world. And yet there are hallmarks of our tradition that anchor our faith and ground our spirits in relationship with the divine that is within and all around us.

We have recently been exploring themes of Covenant, Calling and the Common Good, all of which have a special resonance within the history and present at First Church. Perhaps these are the seeds of a new vision. We will be testing them in community-wide conversation and in an effort to discern whether there is a new vision growing in our community already, drawing us to closer and more covenantal commitment to our brothers and sisters within First church, calling us to explore more deeply our particular gifts and purpose as individuals and as a community, compelling us to continue to reach out in love and service for the common good.

God’s Vision for Us – The Way of Hospitality (2003)

In 2002, the community of First Church in Cambridge embarked on a prayerful process of self-study and spiritual discernment. In a variety of settings and in many different ways we asked: Who are we? What do we believe? What are our strengths, our gifts and our liabilities? This process of discernment yielded a number of insights, some positive, some challenging. It reaffirmed many of the strengths of FCC, the things that kept many of us coming back week after week. But it also helped us to recognize traits, habits and attitudes that sometimes got in our way, that seemed to contradict our best intentions. As we learned more about ourselves, we began to ask, “How is God calling us to grow in love and faithfulness? Where is the Spirit leading our three-and-a-half-centuries-old congregation today? From all this learning, a vision emerged, God’s vision for us, ancient and fresh.

In May 2003, we imagined and committed ourselves to a journey of transformation called “A Way of Hospitality,” a fourfold path encompassing our whole common life.

Open Door: Welcome
Imagine a church that is glad you're here no matter where you come from, what you look like, how old or young you are, how much money you have, where you are on the journey of life, or where you are on the journey of faith. Imagine a church that loves its heritage, yet flexibly entertains new people, new ideas and new ways too. Imagine a church that is amazed by the wonderful gifts God gave you for service, wants to receive them and is eager to help you use them for the good of the world. Imagine a church that helps all who enter its life take one more step, or many more, on the Way of Life. Imagine a church with a wide open door, imagine a church of life-changing welcome, a church of unity in our differences, a church shaped in the pattern of God's boundless embrace: Imagine First Church in Cambridge!

Open Spirits: Spiritual Growth
Imagine a church that is as welcoming of God as God is of us, a church discontented with the status quo in its Christian life, a church that studies, prays, practices and praises with receptive hunger, deeper every day. Imagine a church that wants to know about God and to experience God, a church unafraid of diving deep and finding joy. Imagine a church that creatively accompanies and supports its children, youth and adults on the Way of Christ. Imagine a church that respectfully invites others to share its joy, know its Source and enter the circle of love. Imagine a church of open spirits, a church that is friends with God, a church of praise, practice, self-gift and proclamation: Imagine First Church in Cambridge!

Open Road: Mission
Imagine a church that cannot stay put, but takes God's welcome into the world. Imagine a church in conversation with other lives, other cultures, able to invite and be invited, to sit at other people's tables, to learn and share the inestimable riches of God, to build relationships outside its walls. Imagine a church where the hands, hearts and feet of every member, young and old, are shaped for service, and a church that does not lack imagination about ways to use them. Imagine a church compelled by the Spirit to travel with Jesus, healing, reconciling and doing justice, a church filled with the daring and delight of the children of God. Imagine a church on the open road, agile and able, willing to follow Jesus into life's margins, a church that gives itself away and asks nothing in return, a church mobilized for mission: Imagine First Church in Cambridge!

Open Table: Covenant and Communion
Imagine a church that really knows how to be together: a church where strangers are guests, guests are friends, friends are family. Imagine a church where you don't have to struggle for a place at the table because there are no barriers to belonging. Imagine a church where people want to know each other, feed each other, journey together, know and share each other's pain and joy, give each other the best they have. Imagine a church with no turf, no territory, no mine and yours, where people are partners in mission, committed collaborators in the one ministry of Christ, all rowing the same boat of hope. Imagine a church with an open table, a place of meeting and feasting, a church of generosity, mutual care and commitment, a church structured for companionship and cooperation: Imagine First Church in Cambridge!

Walk with Us

If you are excited by the vision of a Way of Hospitality and/or if you have ideas for a new vision of where God may be leading us next, we invite you to explore them with us. Join us as we learn together what it means to walk together on the Way. We welcome your ideas, your insights, your participation and your presence.

Share sandwiches and fruit drinks with persons experiencing homelessness on the first Saturday of each month. Gather at First Church at 4 PM and join a group heading out to Harvard and Central Squares. To join, please contact David Kidder at...

Please consider signing the Jobs Not Jails perition found here.   Our Commonwealth should make funding jobs, not $2 billion more for jails. First Church joins Old South Church, the 10 Point Coalition, and Roxbury Presbyterian in collecting...

An Act Providing Housing and Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. The Mass Conference of the UCC supports the bill. Call Alice Kidder at (617) 276-6227 for information.