FIRST VISIT - WHAT TO EXPECT
Parking and Getting Situated
Our doors welcome you from the cross section of Routes 140 and 12. The Sanctuary is in the front of the Church. Handicap parking is located in back of the church where you will find a door that opens to the entry way leading to a handicap accessible elevator that will bring you to the second floor and gives you access to the sanctuary.
Everyone begins Sunday morning together in our Sanctuary at 10:00am.
Parking is around the church as well as Central Street when the lot is full.
Worship in our Church Sanctuary
Once inside, you will be warmly greeted and handed a bulletin outlining the service of worship. Our worship is traditional and upbeat. We sing hymns out of hymnals and are accompanied by a very talented Organist and led by a cantor. Our service begins with an organ prelude played by our Minister of Music. During this time, please feel free to read through our bulletin, introduce yourself to a neighbor, or just soak in the sounds and sights of our sanctuary, while making room for the Holy Spirit in your heart. Worship lasts approximately one hour. Find out about nursery school and child care HERE.
As far as what to wear, some people come dressed in their Sunday best. Others dress more casually. Either way, we believe that God cares more about the state of our hearts than the state of our attire. We encourage you to dress the way that feels most appropriate to you.
Fellowship Hour Following Worship
At the conclusion of worship and Church School, everyone is invited to gather together in our Parish Hall, downstairs, under our sanctuary, for refreshments and fellowship. We invite you to stay for a snack or beverage, strike up a conversation, and make some new friends!
With a faith background rooted in Italian-Catholicism, Julie was pulled to the United Church of Christ in high school and deepened her Christian faith through engagement with scripture, mission, and community. She has explored a diversity of faith traditions through her studies and hospice ministry, and always returns to a foundation rooted in the biblical text and an expansive, loving God. She grew up nearby in Southborough and graduated from Algonquin Regional High School. and after a few moves back and forth between San Francisco and Boston (and many road trips, train treks, and too many flights to count) she found herself back in her hometown territory when she returned to Southborough to serve as associate pastor at Pilgrim Church. In that position, Julie was director of pastoral care, led mission trips to Haiti, officiated retreats and family programs, and managed a thriving Sunday School program. Prior to this church position, Julie was a hospice chaplain, visiting dying patients and their loves ones in their homes all over the San Francisco Bay Area where she was ordained in 2003 at First Congregational Church of Berkeley. Most recently, Julie served as a chaplain at VNA Hospice and Rose Monahan Hospice House in Worcester, until the pandemic hit, her children were home from school, and her home health care changed dramatically….and Julie was led to pursue a strong nudge from the holy to inquire about a bubbling call to pursue the senior pastor position at First Congregational, West Boylston.
Julie served at United Congregational in downtown Worcester as their bridge pastor and learning how to creatively weave that community together through worship, outside gathering during the pandemic.
Julie is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Harvard Divinity School and completed her chaplain training at the University of California, San Francisco. She is currently a Doctor of Ministry candidate at the Boston University School of Theology, focusing on the spirituality of death and dying.
Julie and her family live in an antique colonial in downtown Northborough, slowly restoring it and appreciating its quirky character. Julie is a certified yoga teacher, long-distance runner and cyclist, and lover of books, nature, witty jokes, quality coffee, and anything chocolate. Julie and her family travel all over, often camping in tents and distracted by tacky roadside attractions. Their three cats are very busy cuddling...or catching mice!
KEN H. RICHARDS
SPC, Minister of Music
Ken Richards is an accomplished pianist, organist, vocalist, and music producer. Ken became a church organist at age 11, having begun piano study at age six and organ at age 9. While in high school, he was awarded a voice scholarship to Capital University and studied organ and choral conducting with William P. Crosbie, Organist, and Choirmaster at St. James Cathedral in Chicago, IL. He also studied with Juanita Cooley at Bethany College. Ken studied voice with Oren Brown at The Juilliard School, with Marjorie Rivingston, a nationally recognized vocal coach on Broadway and in Hollywood (author of Do You Hear What I Hear?) and David Friedman, a principal conductor for Disney Productions. He also studied vocal performance with Skip Kennon.
While a student at Ohio University, where he graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in English Language and Literature (A.B., M.A.), he won the Klippenger Award for Vocal and Piano Performance. In New York, working in advertising and studying at The Juilliard School, Ken performed in his one-person show on Off-Broadway to very positive reviews. He played piano and sang in renowned jazz and Broadway clubs in Manhattan on weekends. Additionally, he studied acting (Meisner Method) at Maggie Flannigan Studios.
In Florence, Italy, Ken studied art and Italian Renaissance history at Sapienza – Università di Roma at the graduate level, and Spanish language and Mexican literature at La Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, México as an undergrad. While in Italy, Ken was featured in an organ concert tour of several of that country’s great churches.
Ken served as Dean of Performing Arts for ten years at The Ross School, a private, K-12 school that focuses on international citizen leadership. He built the Performing Arts and Technology departments. Yes, he’s a technology geek! As Dean, Ken managed the school’s Vocal Arts, Orchestra, Theater, and Dance Departments and taught piano and voice. He developed specialized programs where students from various countries worldwide worked together using the internet and electronic/digital instrumentation to write music, including riffs, songs emanating from individual cultures, and even a symphony. Quincy Jones, renowned American record and film producer, and winner of 27 Grammys, conducted the symphony, Sonic Convergence, composed by students at the Ross School, the Shanghai Conservatory, and the Rhytmus School in Stockholm, Sweden, one of Ken’s significant projects.
Ken has served as President/CEO of seven corporations, including two advertising agencies in New York City and four colleges. Currently, he advises CEOs on management and leadership issues, HR, sales and marketing, metric analysis, and legal.
Ken has served as Director of Music at numerous churches throughout the United States. Today, he is the Director of Music at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester. He studies classical organ repertoire with Dr. Jonathan Bezdegian, lecturer in music at Assumption University. Ken is a member of the faculty at Worcester Music Academy, where he teaches voice, piano, and organ.
Community Nursery School Director
Corinne has been teaching toddlers-preschool age students since 1999. She started working as a teaching Director in 2011, then became a full time Director in 2015. She loves creating a safe, nurturing learning environment for children to begin their educational foundation. These first school years of preschool are important to develop a love for learning and a positive self-concept among all children. Corinne will be helping out in classrooms and eager to get to know all the children and their families. Her office is always open!
Corinne and her husband have 3 girls ages 8, 9 and 11. Watching them grow and become individuals is such a joy. Their family Goldendoodle "Sagan" is like a 4th child and a true part of the family everyone adores. Corinne also enjoys coaching youth soccer and plays as well in a Women's league.
Corinne will be starting on August 9th, 2022. We are so excited to welcome her!
Our Mission Statement
God is Love: The result of our 2015 Long Range Visioning Process, which involved the entire congregation, is the following mission statement:
WORSHIP GOD, FOLLOW JESUS, SERVE OTHERS, LOVE ALL.
Our congregation is strongly committed to service and love in the name of Christ. We take as our inspiration Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
Because of this Gospel call, we participate in programs and projects that explicitly address hunger, homelessness, material scarcity, medical care, and rehabilitation, both locally and globally. Our congregation is committed to creating a world in which all God’s children can share in the abundance of creation, and live in justice and peace. Our service is to the Glory of God, that those whom we serve would come to know that the Good News of Christ is Good News to All.
An Inclusive Welcome
Children and Young People's Trust: Whoever you are, wherever you come from, you are welcome into the full life of First Church! Our worship, our church family, was not complete until you arrived!
We invite and welcome into the full life and ministry of this church all people of every race, age, background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, economic class, and physical or mental ability.
To all who come through our doors, we offer the Sacraments and Rites of the Church, and extend all responsibilities and privileges.
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
United Church of Christ Statement of Faith—original version
We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father, and to his deeds we testify:
He calls the worlds into being, creates man in his own image and sets before him the ways of life and death.
He seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
He judges men and nations by his righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord,he has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to himself.
He bestows upon us his Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
He calls us into his church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be his servants in the service of men, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.
He promises to all who trust him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, his presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in his kingdom which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto him.