“Welcome home to the First Congregational Church of Rockport, the Old Sloop”
This is how our Sunday morning worship starts.
We welcome everyone just as you are to experience and take part in our worship services regardless of age, ability, gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, nationality, ethnicity, and immigrant status. Sunday morning worship is the one time during the week that we gather together in community whether in person or via live streaming. We come to praise God, celebrate the gifts with which we have been blessed, and hear the word of God in scripture, music, and spoken word. We sing, laugh, and cry and, yes, get up and move around a bit.
As we recover from the pandemic, we distance from each other during worship services, and we wear masks. For those who can’t be physically with us or would still be more comfortable participating from home, our services are live streamed from our sanctuary via Facebook Live, and YouTube as well as broadcast on local cable access channel 67 at 4 p.m. each day.
The Old Sloop steeple sustained a major lightning strike June 30. There is no apparent damage to the building, but our electronic equipment didn’t fare so well. We are live streaming again, but we are using a simplified camera configuration while we repair or replace damaged gear. Please bear with us!
Our worship is a wonderful blend of music, scripture, inspired preaching, storytelling, contemplative prayers, and liturgy. We are blessed to have a chancel choir and youth choir as well as a variety of other music performed by music director, guest musicians, and parishioners. There are plenty of opportunities to join in singing contemporary and/or time-honored congregational hymns. We pray together and celebrate the joys in our lives. Sermons/storytelling by our pastor, or sometimes a member of the congregation, address how scripture speaks to us in our daily lives and empower us to seek peace, find hope, and spread joy and love.
Throughout the year we offer many special services, such as:
- Blue Christmas
- Two Christmas Eve candlelight services
- Ash Wednesday
- Maundy Thursday
- Good Friday
- Ecumenical Easter sunrise service
- Easter Sunday
- Confirmation Sunday
- Interfaith pride service
- Mission Sunday
- Healing services
- Blessing of the animals
- Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
We practice two sacraments–Communion at the Lord’s table and Baptism.
The banquet of communion is a reminder of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection by the sharing of his body and blood in symbolic ways. The breaking of bread reminds us of Christ’s body, broken and sacrificed for all of humanity. The cup of life is shared as a symbol of the new life we received through Christ’s resurrection. By sharing the meal of communion, we are joined with Christians throughout the world as members of the body of Christ.
At the Old Sloop we celebrate communion on the first Sunday of every month. Everyone is welcome at the communion table regardless of faith, membership, age, or any other distinction. One month everyone is invited to come forward to the table and receive a piece of bread (gluten free options are available) and a small cup of juice, fruit of the vine. For those with mobility issues, the bread and juice will be taken to them. This enables everyone to have a personal experience with communion. The next month the elements, bread and juice, are taken to everyone in the pews. We wait until everyone has the elements then partake of the bread and juice together in community.
Baptism is a public declaration of faith and the beginning of one’s life within the congregation and an inclusion as a member of the body of Christ. We baptize infants, youth, and adults. Infant baptism is a sign on the part of the parents that they want to expose their child to the love of God through the church. The sacrament of Baptism is as important to the congregation as it is to the one being baptized. The commitment to Christ is made before all those present who act as witnesses. The witnesses reaffirm their faith in Christ and make a declaration to help the newly baptized grow in a Christian environment. The use of water is a significant symbol of our Christian tradition, recalling our birth, the baptism of Jesus, and a new life as spoken of in scripture.
If you are interested in having your infant baptized or in being baptized yourself, please contact Rev. Derek via the church office 978-546-6638 to set up a visit.
Rites of the Church
The other rites of the church are equally important events and milestones in the lives of God’s family. Rites of passage such as weddings, funerals, confirmations, adoptions, joining the church, and moving away all play important parts in the life of a congregation. Each passage is witnessed and shared by the congregation. We believe that these rites offer opportunities for all members of the congregation to minister to each other and the wider community.
Click here for more information on weddings and funerals. For information on the other rites of the church, please contact Rev. Derek via the church office at 978-546-6638.