CONNECT

More information about all the ways to get involved


Music

CHANCEL CHOIR 

The choir is a diverse group of folks who like to sing, provides music for Sunday services from September through mid-June. Rehearsal is Sunday mornings from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Contact Choir Director Debbie Brown for more information. Singers of all abilities are welcome; come join the fun!

HANDBELL CHOIR 

The Handbell Choir is a musical community that rings joyfully during worship services during the year. Rehearsals are held on Sundays after worship. Anyone is welcome to join, even if you don’t know how to read music. The bells carry the tune, so you don’t have to! For more information contact Handbell Choir Director Allison Thomas.

RHYTHM CIRCLE

Are you interested in experiencing the ancient ritual of drumming and rhythms? You don’t need to know how to play! You don’t even need an instrument! You just need the curiosity and the courage to try! Come join the circle for a time of experiencing the spontaneous creation of music. We meet the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. All are welcome.

ALL-AGE INSTRUMENTAL-ISTS

First Congregational Church's music ministry staff welcome the talents of members of all ages who play musical instruments of all kinds. We like to give our members the opportunity to share their gifts during worship. Whether you play a reed, brass, or percussion instrument, we want you to participate in worship!

ALL-AGE VOCALISTS

We also welcome vocalists of all ages to contribute to our worship. Whether you like to sing by yourself or with a group of friends, you are invited to bring your gifts to worship.


Families & Youth


Social & Creative

PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY

Knitters in our congregation make shawls, which are given to members and friends to aid in their healing and spiritual support. Call or email Sharry Nyberg for more information.

IN STITCHES QUILT MINISTRY

We are “In Stitches” every Friday morning in the Mt. Baker Room from 10:00-11:30 with our quilting, embroidery, knitting, mending, and other needle work. We go to quilt shows, have classes, and learn new techniques. We have a quilt ministry for church members who need a little extra comfort. We are busy with our handiwork and exchange creative ideas, but mainly you can find us enjoying each other in fellowship. We enjoy new members and love introducing them to quilting!

MORNING KNITTERS

The Morning Knitters meet on the second and fourth Friday mornings year round at 10:00 am in the Fireplace Room. One of us prepares coffee and tea -- there are generally goodies to be shared.  We knit - prayer shawls for family, friends, and church use, or warm items for people experiencing homelessness. Some of us work on personal projects and at least one person brings mending. Mostly though, as women have always done in such circles, we share our lives -- the joys and sorrows. In the process we explore our faith journeys in a gentle way and become friends. Anyone is welcome to join us -- we will be happy to welcome you.

CREATIVE CONNECTIONS

Creative Connections provides a time of nurturing your creative spirit. The group meets meets monthly craft fun, laughter, play, and connecting with others. You can bring your latest work in progress, or learn new crafts. There are also retreats from time to time, with lunch and more time for creativity and connections.

DISCOVERY CIRCLE

Discovery Circle participates in all women’s activities of the church, and shares a concern for our local and wider world communities. We desire to be a group in fellowship, supporting one another in life’s journeys. Dues are $25.00 a year. Join us in the Fireplace Room of the church on the second Tuesday of each month at 9:30 am We welcome new members at any time!

DOTTY DALE CIRCLE

The Dotty Dale Circle is a women’s group focusing on education, spiritual, and emotional support to empower us to be discerning advocates for love, justice and compassion. They meet monthly on the second Sunday of the month following the church service. Our meetings include prayer, fellowship time, time for members to share action items, and a program focusing on renewal, resistance, and learning. Our membership consists of women from First Congregational Church, but is open to other women seeking a space to support each other in a spiritual context. There are no dues and no elected officers.

PILGRIM CIRCLE

Pilgrim Circle's purpose is to assist the church and the wider community through serving and money raising projects while growing through study and participation in timely programs. The circle meets at 7:00 pm in the church Fireplace Room on the second Tuesday of each month, September through June. Meetings consist of business meeting, planned program, devotions, and supportive fellowship. Pilgrim Circle started and manages the Fresh Start ministry. Dues for the year are $10.

MEN'S BREAKFAST

The Men's Breakfast is a group that gets together once month to build connections with each other. They meet at Skylarks Hidden Cafe in Fairhaven at 8:30 am on the third Friday of the month in the upstair group area. Occasionally, they meet at the Barkley Village Bob's Burgers & Brews for lunch.

SLOW FLOW YOGA 

INTERPLAY

Join us Wednesdays in the Chapel at 10:00 am for a slow flow yoga class accessible to everyone, no experience necessary. We will have 60 minutes of quiet movement and mindfulness with a focus on intentional breath.

Interplay is a playful way to create more connection and ease in your life. InterPlay is something that any body can do—regardless of size, shape, ability, color, background, gender, orientation, belief, or nationality. InterPlay sessions are usually held on the first Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm


Serve The Community

THE GROUND FLOOR

At our June 2016 Congregational Meeting, we approved a proposal from our Mission & Justice Board to move forward to move forward with The Ground Floor (Love & Justice Project) in collaboration with Northwest Youth Services. We are planning to remodel a portion of our large lower level to provide services to the homeless youth of our community. For more information or updates on the project click below.

FAMILY PROMISE 

In conjunction with the Interfaith Coalition and the Family Promise Organization, First Congregational Church provides support to families experiencing homelessness. Family Promise helps religious congregations to use their buildings and resources to provide temporary shelter, meals and companionship to homeless families. During the day, families go to a day center and work with a case manager to access housing, jobs and community resources. We're excited about this new program and always welcome volunteers.

DIAPER MINISTRY 

First Congregational’s diaper bank was established to ensure that all children in Whatcom County have clean, dry diapers. For a family in crisis or transition, the cost of keeping a child in a clean, dry diaper is prohibitive. Without the means to purchase a healthy supply of diapers, families may be forced to leave their children in soiled diapers, which can lead to health problems, not to mention unhappy children —and, by extension, unhappy families. Donate diapers, money or time: if you’d like to volunteer to help set up diaper drives around the city, transport diapers to & from First Congregational, or help spread the word contact 

FOOD BANK

The first Sunday of each month is Food First Sunday.  We collect monetary donations for the Food Bank because monetary donations allow the Food Bank to purchase perishable items and other items at discounted rates. The Bellingham Food Bank distributes food Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 5 – 7 p.m.  For more information about the food bank check out their website http://www.bellinghamfoodbank.org/home.

FRESH START

The Fresh Start was started and is maintained by the Pilgrim Circle. This ministry assists the Interfaith Coalition by supplying household goods to Interfaith's temporary housing units. When residents of temporary housing move into their own homes, Fresh Start also provides household goods to help these families in their transition. Fresh Start always welcomes donations of new or gently used household goods, such as linens, dishes, and kitchen supplies.

COMMUNITY MEAL

The Community Meal is served one Saturday a month at Assumption Church. Five hundred meals are served each time. Each month 15-16 volunteers from FCCB volunteer to serve, set up or clean up for the Community Meal. Contact the church office for more information about the Community Meal.

JUSTICE EVENT HOSTS

These hosts help the Mission & Justice Board hold special events and meetings at First Congregational Church. Justice Event Hosts commit to being present and making sure groups holding justice-related meetings. If you're interested in hosting an event, contact us.


Forums & Studies

GROWING IN FAITH (ADULT ED.) 

Growing in Faith Adult Forums are held in a safe, small group exploring questions of faith and growing together. The fall series is ANIMATE: FAITH, a resource from the United Church of Christ. The Forums are held on Sunday mornings at 8:45 am in the Fireplace Room. There are also classes for children grades K-8, with content mirroring the adult classes. Nursery care is provided for younger children.

GRIEF & LOSS GROUP

This group meets on the second Thursday of each month at 1:00 pm to share where we each are on our grief and loss journey and be here to support one another. This is for anyone with a significant loss of a loved one through death, divorce or separation, or if you have experienced loss with a move, the loss of a former community, or a job, or dealing with a new health diagnosis. You may come once or twice or every month. 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GROUP

The Environmental Group will be meeting regularly to support one another and to work on an Environmental Justice project or two. 

SERMON TALK-BACK

This group meets Mondays at noon in the Youth Room. If you've ever wanted to talk back to a sermon or have a particular response to a Sunday service this is for you. The preacher will gather to hear your responses and reflections on the prior day's service. Bring a lunch and your thoughts! Contact Sharon Benton for information.

DAYTIME BIBLE STUDY

This adult study group explores a variety of topics with book-based studies. It meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, from 3:00 – 4:30 pm in the Fireplace Room. 

JESUS SEMINAR

The Jesus Seminar study group reads and discusses the written material of the Westar Institute, as well as watching DVDs of presentations at a Westar Institute national meetings. If you are committed to religious literacy, find growth in open discussion about our religious traditions, and enjoy sharing aspects of your faith journey in a safe place, then you are welcome here. The Jesus Seminar meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 1:15-3:15 pm in Rooms 12/14.

ALL CHURCH READ

Periodically, the congregation is given the opportunity to read a book and hold discussions about the book. The books often focus on a social justice concern, or an aspect of spirituality. Past All Church Reads are: Breakfast at Sally's: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey by Richard Le Mieux, The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan, and Spiritual Defiance by Robin Meyers.

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BOOK CLUB

Our Book Club meets monthly to discuss books on the reading list voted on by club members. Members take turns as presenter, who provides background on the book or author and leads discussion, and host, who provides a snack and prepares coffee. Books are usually available at Village Books, or from the Book Club lending library. This group meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 9:30 am in the Fireplace Room. All are welcome to come to all or some!


Caring For One Another

STEPHEN MINISTERS

Stephen Ministers offer the presence of a caring, nonjudgmental friend and the ongoing emotional and spiritual support that helps people who are facing difficult times. They receive fifty hours of training before they are commissioned and paired with a person in need. They also meet as a group twice a month during their active ministry to discuss challenges they may face and to explore issues through continuing education. 

PARISH VISITORS 

These visitors are compassionate volunteers from our church community, each of whom is paired with one to four church members who are relatively isolated. Volunteers receive training before an assignment is made and they meet and/or talk by phone regularly with the people with whom they are matched. The intention is to provide meaningful social connections to the church community. Visitors meet as a group every two months to discuss visits, general health issues and comfort level of those visited.

FAITH COMMUNITY NURSES

Our Faith Community Nurses Brenda Nicholson, RN and Maridel Johnson, RN are pastorally called, spiritually mature, licensed registered nurses commissioned to serve the congregation. Focusing on the intentional care of body, mind and spirit, these nurses seek to enhance the quality of life for First Congregational Church members and friends. FCNs are recognized by the American Nurses Association as nursing care specialists, and their work is governed by the Nurse Practice Act.

HEALTH MINISTER 

Carol Nicolay (retired RN), is our Health Minister, commissioned by the congregation after completion of the Faith Community Nurse/Health Minister curriculum. Health Ministers are spiritually mature and work in collaboration with the Faith Community Nurses to enhance the quality of life for First Congregational Church members and friends.

MEAL MINISTRY

Our Meal Ministry provides hot meals, delivered to members of our church family who are experiencing difficult times. Anyone is welcome to sign up to help coordinate this ministry, or be available to make a meal.


Boards

ADULT MINISTRIES

The role of this board is to develop, monitor & evaluate adult education programs including classes, forums, and special workshops; maintain & develop church library; create & support fellowship & social opportunities for adults & families.

ARTS IN WORSHIP 

The Arts in Worship board promotes & oversees the use of music, drama, visual arts, dance in worship; aids in choir recruitment; promotes youth involvement in choirs; maintains instruments in good condition; supports instrumental & vocal concerts.

CHRISTIAN

EDUCATION

The Christian Education Board is charged with securing teachers, supervising staff & overseeing programs for the church school; securing leaders & overseeing programs for youth groups; creating & supporting other opportunities such as confirmation, mission trips, vacation church school, etc.

COMMUNICATION

This board's tasks are to oversee communications about First Congregational Church activities, both internally and externally, including through the Full Circle, First Congregational Church website, social media, traditional media, and display and print communications (e.g.: bulletin boards or brochures).

DIACONATE

This board cooperates with the pastor(s) in ministering to the spiritual interests of the church & community.  They assist in preparing & administering the sacraments; develop & supervise a group of church members skilled in ministering to the needs of the congregation in times of bereavement, physical, emotional & family crises (Called to Care); inviting Ushers and Greeters for worship services.

MEMBERSHIP

The Membership Board helps the pastors plan & conduct classes for prospective members; introduce new members into the life of the church & encourage their participation in worship & the educational, social & action groups of the church; recruit, train & schedule welcomers; identify & reach out to less-active members. te something here.

MINISTRY RESOURCES​​​​​​​

This board conducts a continuing program of ministry resource and funding education & annual funding campaign; seek donations of time & talent from congregation.

MISSION & JUSTICE

This board is tasked to address social justice issues, plan & coordinate programs to educate, inform & involve the congregation; promote within the church “Our Church’s Wider Mission”; plan special all-church offerings to promote the church’s mission.

TRUSTEES

The Trustees supervise the finances of the church; responsible for the care & custody of the property & funds of the church; report the church’s current financial condition to the congregation; oversee Audit, Fiscal, Investment and Gifts & Endowments committees.