A woman helps lead worship while a man sits close by
A wide angle view showing the congregation in worship in the First Church sanctuary
Sunday services at First Church in Cambridge
two people greeting each other in worship
A wide angle view showing the congregation in worship in the First Church sanctuary

Worship

Service times

11 a.m. ET — September to June
10 a.m. ET — July and August

7:30 p.m. ET – Night Song


LIVESTREAM Morning WORSHIP                   SUNDAY BULLETIN

LIVESTREAM NIGHT SONG

As of September 12, 2021, we are offering our morning worship and Night Song in a hybrid format, which means you are welcome to join us in-person in our sanctuary or via Livestream by clicking on the button above. We affirm that nothing can separate from God’s love and our love for each other!

If you are interested in leading a portion of Sunday morning worship please fill out this form. To learn more about the worship-from-home experience, click Your First Visit.

Worship is the center of our church life—we were made for the praise of God’s glory! In worship, we give thanks for God’s beauty and goodness, receive God’s gift of mercy and experience God’s power to bring life from death. Worship also steeps us in practices such as hospitality, prayer, gratitude, generosity, reconciliation, healing, and silence—disciplines that help us grow as followers of Jesus.

Morning services typically follow a pattern, or “order of worship,” that is welcoming, thoughtful, and grounding:

  • inspiring choral and organ music
  • congregational singing of hymns, old and new
  • a time of confession and assurance of God’s forgiveness;
  • a time to greet each other and share Christ’s peace;
  • Bible readings that ground us in the story of God’s love;
  • a sermon that connects the readings to our lives;
  • prayers for the world, the church, and ourselves;
  • an invitation to give of ourselves and our resources
  • a closing blessing
  • holy communion (first Sunday of each month and other special Sundays during the year)

Services may also include other practices and rituals—for example, reception of new members, healing prayers, baptisms, and blessings for people leaving the community. Families and children are active participants in our Sunday morning worship life. Worship anytime with our archive of sermons and services.

Permission to reprint, podcast, and/or stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #A-724672. All rights reserved.


Sunday Evening Night Song

7:30 p.m. ET — September through May
7:30 p.m. ET — First Sunday of the month June through August

Night Song is a regular Sunday evening musical event that fosters meditation and contemplation through the stillness of the night, burning candles and incense in the comfort of darkness, bells, sacred art, and especially music.  It can be viewed via live stream or attended in person.  Night Song brings serene beauty and quiet peace into human lives and offers a unique Divine time out.  The music is typically an interesting fusion that can include ancient and modern chant, contemplative modal instrumental and vocal improvisation, organ music based on chant themes and psalms, choral psalm settings, and Renaissance polyphonic choral music.  Periods of silence add to the tranquility and stillness.  While Christian in content, Night Song is open to all and seems to speak spiritually in some way to a diverse population. It does not include creeds, sermons or participatory elements.  

The general themes of compline, which we call Night Song, are spiritual peace, deep silence, reflection over the day. rest, sleep, the comfort of darkness, trust, and protection.  In monastic life, compline is the liturgy held immediately before retiring for the night.  We ask that you come prepared to enter with reverence and to maintain complete silence while in the church.  For those in religious orders, it is customary to begin the “Great Silence” after this office, which we encourage following your attendance at Night Song.  

As you enter there will be tapers that can be lit for special intentions at the rear of the church and placed upright in a stand.  You may have special concerns in mind for specific individuals, those who have contracted the COVID virus and those caring for them, the environment, climate change and the victims of its dangerous effects, social justice issues, and more.  

Visit the Night Song website for further information and the music schedule.  To enroll to receive a weekly e-mail reminder about Night Song and the music to be performed or to inquire about joining one of the Night Song vocal ensembles, send a request to darylbichel@aol.com.


Days & Seasons of the Church Year

At First Church, we live by two calendars—the calendar of secular seasons, and a “liturgical” calendar, or the calendar of the “Church Year”, which is based on the life of Jesus. By marking time according to his story year after year, the colors, rituals, and stories of the Christian seasons take hold in our hearts helping us to become more like Jesus.

Advent

Advent is the “January” of the Church Year. It comprises the four weeks before Christmas, a time of quiet, patient preparation for the birth of Jesus. Advent’s watchword is hope. In song, prayer, and ritual (for example, Advent wreaths and candle-lighting), we echo the deep longing for peace and justice of God’s people in every age. We call on God to send the Promised One to usher in a new world of reconciliation and joy. The color purple, or blue, expresses Advent’s spirit of contemplation, penitence, and desire.

Christmas

Christmas celebrates anew the birth of Jesus. Its cast of characters is familiar—Mary, Joseph, the baby in the manger, trumpeting angels and adoring shepherds. Christmas also includes events immediately following Jesus’ birth, such as the escape of the Holy Family into Egypt, told in the gospel of Matthew. It is a short, tender season marked by goodwill and peace. But Christmas is also a sober season as we honor a savior born into hunger and poverty. The challenge of Christmas is never far from its delight. Its color is white, meaning fulfillment, joy, and majesty.

Epiphany

This season focuses our attention on “revelation.” Our worship brings us many gospel stories, such as the visit of the wise men, or Magi, and Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, in which God’s Spirit unveils to the whole world who Jesus is, and who he can become “for us and for our salvation.” Light in the darkness is the theme of this season. Like Christmas, whose joy it extends, Epiphany comes dressed in white.

Lent

The 40 days of Lent prepare us to live into the events at the end of Jesus’ life—his cross and rising. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, Lenten worship faces us with our sins. We are called to let God’s mercy change our hearts. The season is filled with images of wilderness, thirst, and conflict. In the ancient Church during Lent, neophytes prepared for baptism with study, prayer, and fasting. Purple is Lent’s color, signifying repentance and conversion.

Easter

The most joyful season of all, Easter begins with the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. The season’s worship is punctuated by the surprising, comforting, and challenging presence of the risen Lord. Songs and stories remind us that God brings new life from certain death, and that with Christ, we too will be made new. Our mission, through words of hope and deeds of justice, is to announce and share God’s indestructible life with all creation. Easter colors are white or gold, symbolic of triumph and fulfillment.

Pentecost

Pentecost Sunday commemorates the day when the gift of God’s Spirit fell on the early followers of Jesus, and everyone experienced the universal reach and reconciling power of God’s mercy. In the weeks that follow, we meditate on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, a member of the Church, and a witness in the world. This season is also called “Ordinary Time. “ It teaches us the sacred character of our ordinary lives and duties. The color red stands for the Spirit’s power. It is used on Pentecost Sunday and on all Sundays that celebrate the Church – dedications, anniversaries, ordinations, installations. Green, for life and growth, is used the rest of this season.

Explore our holidays and special services at First Church!