Holiday and Special Services

First Church offers many opportunities to worship in special ways.

 

All Saints’ Chant and Labyrinth Walk 

The word “Halloween” comes from All Hallow’s Eve, the name of the night before the Feast of All the Saints on November 1st.  Over time, the word condensed into Halloween and the tradition became something for children involving costumes and goodies.  We plan to reclaim again the power of All Hallow’s Eve with an opportunity to walk the labyrinth on the All Saint’s Evening.   The labyrinth is like the circle of God’s loves which holds us together even across the boundary between life and death. You may want to bring some symbol to carry with you as you walk whose love for you continues even though his or her life has ended. 

 

Annual Community Vigil for those whose lives have been touched by addiction, Sunday, December 20, 2015 from 7 - 8 pm

The prescription pain killer and heroin crisis is upon us and having a devastating effect on young Natick residents and their families. On the Sunday before Christmas the Natick community will gather again to remember those we have lost and raise awareness about addiction in MetroWest  The evening will include testimony, inspirational speaking, and prayer, as well as an invitation to future action.

 

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Thursday, December 24  at 7:00 PM

Gathered by memories,  surrounded by evergreen, illumined by candlight, caressed by the sounds of the old carols and the joy of the new,  we gather to retell the story of the night when the stars sang.  Lots of music, laughter and stories fill this hour-long service and lead to the moment when the circle of light that we create together once more "prepares Him room."  Worship is designed for all ages.

 

New Year's Brunch Sunday, January 3, 2016 at 10:30am

At First Church, we ring in the New Year by turning back the clock to the way that the first followers of Jesus gathered to celebrate communion.  We gather for worship around tables instead of in pews and share a common meal. The first Christians called it an “agape” meal.  Agape is the word in Greek for self-giving love. 

 

At our New Year’s Brunch, there is something for all ages and stages!  We fill the vestry with songs and stories and lots of food and laughter.  We listen for God’s great good news for a new year.  We share the story of bread blessed and broken that still has the power all these centuries later to make us one.  We have the chance to make new friends and catch up with old friends. 

 

The menu is usually an egg and cheesy dish or a special baked French toast with juice and coffee/tea/milk, bagels and coffee cake and fruit.  With a little notice, we do our best to accommodate special dietary needs.  Reservations are greatly appreciated, but somehow it turns out that there is always enough for everyone!

 

MLK Community Celebration ~ Wilson Middle School Auditorium, Monday, January 18, at 11am

Celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and discover how his legacy continues to shape our community and empower our young people to practice justice and compassion for all people. Guest speakers and youth winners of the MLK Essay competition will present.  All are welcome to participate in a brief service project following the celebration!

 

Mardi Gras Pancake Celebration

Lent is the season that helps us prepare for the great feast of Easter.  Traditionally it is a serious time of reflection and sacrifice. So for generations before the serious stuff begins, people of faith have planned one last big party called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. We don’t wait for Tuesday.  We start the party three days ahead with a Pancake Celebration following worship.   We’ll have music and activities for the kids.  Everyone is invited to dress up in bright colors to challenge the winter blahs.  If you have beads or feathers or sequins, this Sunday is the day to add them to your wardrobe.

 

Lent and Easter

During the season of Lent, we celebrate special services on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We also host an overnight vigil on the Saturday evening before Easter morning.  During Lent, we celebrate the sacrament of communion during worship each Sunday.

 

Maundy Thursday Potluck Supper and Worship

A family-friendly intergenerational potluck dinner and worship service marks Maundy Thursday beginning at 6:30 PM..  We gather around table for fellowship and a creative worship experience.  The service focuses on the last Passover that Jesus celebrated with his friends on the night before he dies and features leadership from members of our youth groups.  It is designed to be accessible to all ages.

 

Good Friday Contemplation and Chant

Chant is an ancient religious practice used in many traditions to link spirit and body together.  Chant integrates our shadow side with conscious reflection, awakening our intuition and imagination.  Through the doorway of chant, improvisation and silence, we will approach the mystery of the cross, and peel back the edge of time and reveal a glimpse of God’s eternity.

 

Easter Vigil

On the Saturday night before Easter, we make our sanctuary available for prayer and reflection.  Some participants describe a sense of peace and holiness in this time of waiting in the presence of God in the candlelit sanctuary.  Or they describe an experience of deep gratitude and connection.  Others value this chance for silence to step out of the busyness and allow the Spirit to break through everything that has been on their minds and hearts. You are invited to sign up for 30-minute segments throughout the night in the sanctuary.  Normally, two people are at prayer in the sanctuary at a time.  Prayer lists and reflection resources are available to help guide your prayer time.