Organ pipes in the Sanctuary of First Church in Cambridge. A wrought iron chandelier hangs in the foreground.

Latest News

A Pastoral Note: Pauline Fennel

September 14, 2022

A letter from Senior Minister Dan Smith, shared with the First Church community via email on Wednesday, September 14:

Dear Friends,

I write with very sad news. Longtime, and deeply beloved, First Church member Pauline Fennel died peacefully last night, surrounded by her family and all the comforts of home. Pauline was 90 years old and had been struggling with cancer for over a year. She had entered hospice care just last week.

For an astonishing number of our past and current members, Pauline was their first connection to First Church. She was the first person to notice them as a newcomer, to greet them, to take down their name and number in a small notebook, and to follow up with a call or an invitation. Throughout her three-plus decades of love for and leadership of First Church, she embodied a genuine calling of sharing her gifts of hospitality and communal encouragement.

Pauline was also a fierce advocate for justice. She rarely missed GBIO meetings in Roxbury, or chances to serve our Refugee Immigration Ministry, or the opportunity to attend our recent Road to Freedom Pilgrimage of civil rights sites in the South. In so many ways, First Church is what it is now because of Pauline Fennel, and First Church will never be the same without her.

Whether you knew Pauline or not, please take a moment to give thanks for this remarkable woman of faith and precious saint of God. Pray for her family and her many dear friends and loved ones, including our First Church community, who will grieve and miss her dearly. We will share a date for a memorial service at First Church in the coming weeks.

Yours in Faith,