NICE TO MEET YOU!


WHO WE ARE

We are seekers, believers, skeptics and singers —  citizens of the secular world drawn to how church links us to the past, even as we seek to reshape it for a better future.



We are people interested in both the intellectual questions of faith and the transcendent power of the sacred, experienced and explored in community. We appreciate the extraordinary gift of an ordinary Sunday service, the opportunity to serve and be served, and the unique role church plays in our individual and public lives; above all, we are humans wrestling with both the theoretical understanding and daily practice of a theology of love. 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Worship, Community, Justice, Spirituality 



TIMELESS WORSHIP, MODERN FAITH

Worship is a mix of traditional style and progressive theology. Many Sundays you will hear an organ and choir, on others there will be guitar or drums. We always strive for songs and prayers that reflect the God who calls us to justice, peace, and compassion.


A COME-AS-YOU-ARE WELCOME

We hope to welcome you warmly. Stop by the Welcome Desk if you’d like to say hello, find information, or get a nametag. Then enter the sanctuary at your own pace. Come as you are — some of us wear t-shirts and flip-flops, others dress up. Stay for coffee and snacks after worship, or slip away to the chapel to contemplate your experience. We’d love to connect with you, so don’t hesitate to return to the Welcome Desk or greet the pastors. Welcome!



KIDS

Children an active part of our congregation. Pillows, crayons, and coloring pages are in the front row where kids can see more easily and be in the action; rocking chairs and quiet toys are in an area near the back. The sound system carries into the narthex, too, if families want to stand or walk while worshiping. Care for infants and preschoolers is always available; K-5 church school often begins after a time with children. Teens tend to sit together in the balcony or with family.

EASY ACCESS


Visiting a new place can be intimidating or exciting, so please engage as much or as little as feels comfortable. An accessible parking lot (north) leads to one entrance, and the large parking lot (south) leads to another. The church office is located just inside the door located nearest the Cornwall Tot Lot.


Welcoming All, Growing in Faith,

Living God’s Love, Justice, Compassion… 

First Congregational Church Purpose Statement


MEET OUR STAFF

Get to know the First Congregational Church staff


REV. SHARON A. BENTON

LEAD PASTOR

Sharon grew up in rural New Jersey and has served as a healthcare chaplain or pastor in California, Connecticut, and Colorado. Now she gets to live and play in the most beautiful place she could ever dream of surrounded by waves and mountains and fuzzy-mossed giant trees. At Claremont School of Theology she met her spouse, Jamie Kepros, who serves as Pastor at the Lummi Island Congregational Church, UCC.

REV. DAVID WEASLEY

PASTOR FOR YOUTH, YOUNG ADULTS, & MISSION

David grew up in a small western New York town, went to school at Oberlin College (where he met his partner Rachael) and Chicago Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 2007 and pastored in Chicago before moving to Bellingham in 2017. He is “a huge nerd,” passionate about role-playing games, Magic: The Gathering, church polity, comic books, storytelling, Hanuman, contact improv, and whatever the young people in the church youth group are into these days.

REV. DEANNA KAY MURRAY

PASTORAL CARE ASSOCIATE

Deanna works with the Called to Care Team and pastoral staff to provide pastoral care and support to our church, including home and hospital visitations. Deanna has worked, played, and prayed as a church pastor, a chaplain, and a spiritual director for more than thirty years. She moved to Ferndale to live near her youngest grandchildren. Besides playing with her “grands,” Deanna engages in many spiritual practices including journaling, meditation, silence, walking, observing nature, InterPlay.

SHARRY NYBERG

MINISTER OF CHRISTIAN FORMATION

Sharry was a 15-year member of FCCB who managed a local clothing store when she was hired as Christian Educator in 1999. To Sharry, the most important part of her job is helping young people feel seen, safe, loved, and at home while they grow and explore questions of faith. She loves planning retreats, labyrinth walks, mission trips, and other ways to experience the Holy Spirit. Sharry grew up in Bellingham and, with husband Joe, has a grown son and daughter, and granddaughter. Her home life includes walking with golden retriever Maggie, reading, traveling, knitting, and learning new crafts.

DEBORAH BROWN

MINISTER OF MUSIC

Debbie grew up in a UCC church in southern California and loved going to camp at Pilgrim Pines, sister to Pilgrim Firs in Seattle. She received her degree in voice and lifetime teaching credential in music from the University of California at Irvine. Debbie is also the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Whatcom Chorale and Sinfonia, and has been the director of school choirs in California and Washington. Many singers have been surprised to meet Debbie on the courts in her work as tennis pro at the Bellingham Tennis Club!

JUDITH WIDRIG

ORGANIST

Judith is originally from Syracuse, NY and is currently on the piano faculty at Western Washington University. She received a Doctorate in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado, and Piano Performance degrees from The Hartt School of Music and The University of Minnesota. Judith has an impressive performance and teaching resume and maintains a private piano studio. She has performed with orchestras on both coasts, including local appearances as concerto soloist with the Whatcom and Skagit Symphonies.

CYDNE CHOCHRAN

OFFICE MANAGER

First Congregational Church is Cydne’s third church as an office manager or administrator. In addition to her church work, she has more than twenty years of experience in administrative and clerical support in a variety of fields. She also has a BS in Criminal Justice Administration and a MS in Psychology of Culture. Cydne has two children, an EMT son in Arizona, a daughter who lives in Georgia with Cydne's three grandchildren, and a stepson in Olympia.

KURT AAGARD

CUSTODIAN/MAINTENANCE

Kurt grew up in Seattle and moved to Bellingham in 2006 to attend Western Washington University. He graduated in 2012 with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and met his future wife. They worked together at a summer camp outside Birch Bay where Kurt did maintenance work and Emily was camp director. Now they live in Bellingham with their golden retriever Cooper. Kurt loves learning about the world around him. 

DENISE HOFFMAN

CHURCH ACCOUNTANT

Denise has been with First Congregational Church since 2007. She grew up in New England and moved to the Northwest after marrying her husband Roy, who works for US Customs. They have two adult sons Michael and Brian. They’ve lived in the Northwest for many years, but also spent several years in Guam and Hawaii. Denise is an accomplished quilter.