This page shows approximately one year of newsletters. For older editions, downloadable pdf versions are available below the divider on this page.

&&— May Edition —&&

Dear Church, We approach that transition point in our small but bustling town: that point at which the college and church calendar speeds towards the finish line and we gear up for the summer arts and tourism season. It’s an exciting moment in Williamstown’s life, I’ve found: like you, I’ve been checking to see what … read on


The focus for this month for this co-moderator has been patience (true confession: patience is something I need to work on pretty much every month — its not one of my strong suits, that’s why I am paired with Jody as co-moderator.) This point in our kitchen renovation feels like one of those films of … read on


We hope you were able to join us on Sunday, April 23rd, at 7pm, in the sanctuary to hear six finalists compete for this year’s William Sloane Coffin Prize for Passionate Public Speaking. The 2017 finalists are Megan Maher ’17, Zoe Dutton ’19, Jeffrey Rubel ’17, Mariama Ndiaye ’17, Ben Williams ‘17.5, and Valeria Sosa … read on


Bible Study on Sundays – Looking Ahead Why should a Progressive congregation do Bible Study? Rev. Mark Sandlin has something to say about that: “Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – humbly riding into town, bouncing around on the back of a previously unridden ass as people gathered to greet him singing and shouting, “Blessed is the … read on


Our Shawl Ministry was started in May 2004. Our guide is the book Knitting Into The Mystery, by Susan Izard and Susan Jorgenson. Much of our knitting is done in private, but we meet periodically to knit and pray corporately. Meetings open with prayer as we gather to knit. We review names of persons who … read on


Doors in Sanctuary Area Another reminder: We have had, by legal requirement, fire safety door closure devices put on all the doors in the Sanctuary foyer area. Although it is new for us to experience all of these doors being closed, it is a safety precaution in the event of a fire. The doors can … read on


We all need to be reminded from time to time to be welcoming to strangers. One way to do that is to wear name tags, so that new comers can find out who we are without asking. Our name tag kiosk gets a lot of use. If you come in on a Sunday and do … read on


The time for our biggest Church fund raiser is fast approaching. May is when we collect donations from Williams’ students to recycle and reuse/resell in the fall. Since it is our biggest fund raiser (last year we earned about $21,000+ put toward our budget) and we need everyone’s help with the collection of student donations. … read on


On May 7th at 11:15 am, First Church will offer a screening of “An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story“, a new PBS documentary by Martin Doblmeier. This 2nd Hour features a special screening event of a new PBS documentary and film by Martin Doblmeier, An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story. Niebuhr was a … read on


&&— April Edition —&&

Dear Church, Easter approaches, along with our church’s spiritual pilgrimage into the heart of the Christian mystery. We will mark this pilgrimage, as we always do, through worship, song, preaching, prayer, fellowship, and celebrating youth. Here are a snapshot of upcoming weeks, an invitation to allow the familiar story take you to unfamiliar places, and … read on


One of the advantages and joys of being co-moderator is that by spending more time at the church I learn about how special the members of this church are. The church members who give their time and talents to Koinonia feel particularly like unsung heroes this month. They go about their work quietly but effectively … read on


April is another busy month for the First Congregational Church! Rev. Mark is running a series of new member classes, with 10 people considering joining the Church. They will bring us new members of the Sunday School as well. The class covers the basics of congregational polity, is reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar … read on


Today, immigrants and refugees worried about deportation are increasingly turning to their faith for refuge. You’ve heard the term sanctuary city, but now, 450 Churches across the country are offering sanctuary to immigrants. Sanctuary is when faith communities offer safe havens — and they’ve been doing that from the beginning of the Old Testament, to … read on


Call for Cookies! Our church annually hosts a reception following the William Sloane Coffin Speaking Competition. This year’s competition will take place on Sunday, April 23rd. If you can bake cookies, bars or fruit breads for this event, contact Carolyn Behr at 413-458-5557 or e-mail carolynbehr@gmail.com


Exciting news! The kitchen project that we planned more than a year ago is finally about to start. We are looking forward to a modern, efficient space that will make work easier for our volunteers and attract additional community groups. The official first day of renovation will be April 4, 2017 and before then our … read on


Super Saturday On March 18th five of us from First Church Williamstown (Jina Ford, Jody Green, Sam & Elizabeth Smith, and Lynn Chick) attended Super Saturday, an all-day workshop and gathering sponsored jointly by the Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island Conferences of the UCC. There were over 600 attendees and more than 50 workshops to … read on


We all remember Curt Tong’s smiling face in our sanctuary. These stories will remind us what a wonderful man he was in his prime as a basketball coach at Williams college. Media Tributes to Our Beloved Friend Curt Tong From WBUR‘s “Only A Game: Remembering Curt Tong: The Coach Who Cut -and taught– Tim Layden” … read on


Record of Pledge Contributions 2016 2017 Needed monthly $15,868.00 $16,990.00 Needed (January 1st – March 31st)* $47,604.00 $50,970.00 Received (from January 1st – March 31st) $42,432.75 $44,455.00 *Including prepaid amounts: $18,702.18 & $20,684.87 respectively 2016 Pledge shortfall: $3,519 (Received toward shortfall as of March 31st, 2017) $2,358 We have received pledge contributions through the first … read on


&&— March Edition —&&

Dear Church, The following are remarks I made at last month’s “Reviving Our Hearts for Justice” event. On short notice, just around 100 people filled Community Hall to hear speakers, poetry, and music, all with the express purpose of drawing soulful sustenance for the work of justice and peace needed in our time. We sense … read on


As I write this co-moderator’s letter, the sun is shining and the temperature is warm, almost feels like Spring. These harbingers of Spring brings with them feelings of joy and anticipation.  The happenings at church lately  bring about that same joyous feelings of excitement. There is continuous energy at church  within the teams, with the … read on


Handel did not write the Messiah as a piece of Christmas music. We know this for a couple of reasons. First, if you pay close attention to the words of the Messiah in the libretto (the text of the music) written by Charles Jennens, you’ll discover that only the first part of the composition has … read on


We are so grateful for the wonderful leadership of Lynn Chick the last two years. Her constant support and enthusiasm has made the work of our team a pleasure. We  welcome Carrie Waara as the new member. After three years of amazing service to our congregation by providing hospitality and refreshments at Coffee Hour, Carrie … read on


The Making of A Racist. In this powerful memoir, Charles Dew, the Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College, and one of America’s most respected historians of the South — particularly its history of slavery — turns the focus on his own life, which began not in the halls of enlightenment but in … read on


Community Hall was decked out in purple and green for the 2017 Mardi Gras Pancake Brunch on February 26. Volunteers set tables, flipped pancakes, served sausages, cleared tables, and helped clean up – a big effort that paid off for the Williamstown Food Pantry. Approximately one hundred diners, sporting colorful Mardi Gras beads, enthusiastically filled … read on


Our Shawl Ministry was started in May 2004. Our guide is the book Knitting Into The Mystery, by Susan Izard and Susan Jorgenson. Much of our knitting is done in private, but we meet periodically to knit and pray corporately. Meetings open with prayer as we gather to knit. We review names of persons who … read on


New Members Classes Coming Up! Are you interested in taking a deeper dive into your experience of church? Consider joining Rev. Mark for three classes to become a “new member.” Membership technically grants votes at annual meeting, but even more, is a symbolic way of committing to journeying in one’s spiritual life with First Congregational … read on


Habitat for Humanity is presenting an I Love Lucy spoof, on Friday, March 10th, 2017 at 6:00 pm, as a fundraising event. Take a walk down memory lane with Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel when the Drury Stage Comedy Troupe presents Trouble at the Tropicabana, an audience participation murder mystery by Tony Schwartz and Marylou … read on


First Church retains our strong Covenant with Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity. There is a lot going on this month at our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Kelly Bourdeau will be moving in with her two children this month in the newly renovated house at 813 West Shaft Road. Kitchen and bathroom fixtures are now … read on


Small Groups are an opportunity in our church to dive deeper into relationship and study than is possible on a Sunday morning. We meet in the intimacy of each other’s homes, over beverages, dessert, or dinner. This Lent we will have multiple small group options. Here are two, with one or two more to be … read on


Record of Pledge Contributions 2016 2017 Needed monthly $15,868.00 $16,990.00 Received (as of January 31st)* $42,432.75 $44,455.00 *Including prepaid amounts: $18,702.18 & $20,684.87 respectively 2016 Pledge shortfall: $3,519 (Received toward shortfall as of February 19th, 2017) $2,238 Thank you for your generous contributions!  The church greatly depends on your continuous financial support. Convenient Giving – … read on


&&— January/February Edition —&&

Our time is a time of epochal change, in which everything is in motion. Some of it is horrifying and heartbreaking. The ugliness of our country’s long-existing shadow side of racism and xenophobia is erupting for the whole world to see. Institutions are eroding, along with people’s trust in them. Capitalism’s excesses and inequalities are … read on


In this unsettled time, First Congregational’s holiday traditions brought comfort and continuity. From the Christmas pageant’s wonderful balance between young and old and inspiration and humor to our beautiful Christmas eve service with Pastor Mark’s terrific meditation, the holidays were a time of reflection and renewal. Gratitude goes to the Currie family for the lovely … read on


Singing “Messiah” for Lent on March 12th If you were around Williamstown a year ago December, you may recall the “sing along” Messiah we presented as an Advent worship service. You might also have been aware of, or participated in another Messiah at St. John’s church a few weeks earlier. If you’ve been around a … read on


On Sunday, February 26 members of the community are invited to a pancake brunch in Community Hall after worship service to celebrate Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. The meal will celebrate the season before Lent begins. Pancakes with delicious toppings and sausage will be served from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. A donation of $5 … read on


Upcoming After the Worship Service Dates: Sunday, January 31st: Annual Meeting following worship, with Sunday school extended till the end of the meeting.  During the annual meeting students will meet in the youth chapel to share dramatic stories developed in class.  Please stay for the all church pot luck lunch following the meeting and Sunday … read on


Part of the Minister of Music’s Annual Report contribution were dropped from the final version of the Annual Report that you all read.  This was an error.  Here is the full and complete music report, along with the corrected names for the 2016 Senior and Junior Choir members: A wonderfully active year in the musical … read on


Our church covenant with Habitat for Humanity in part states: to render loving service toward all people; and to strive for righteousness, justice and peace. On the other hand Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity States: Our mission is to build safe and decent housing for families. So children can have healthy, safe homes where they … read on


This article is in three parts, the first from Gail M. Burns, our former Office Administrator, the second from Rev. Carrie Bail, our former pastor, and the third from Susan Puddester, current President of the the Board of Higher Ground. From Gail M. Burns, former Office Administrator and Assistant to the Pastor at First Church, … read on


My friends have all been asking, “What was it like?” The Women’s March was amazing. On a global level, we saw the world join us, marching in cities around the world, as far as Antarctica. But as we drove down to Washington on the Friday before the march, we did not know about this. We … read on





The first Angel Tree was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Virginia shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmastime.  They placed the cards on a Christmas tree at the mall to allow shoppers to select children to help. … read on


Record of Pledge Contributions 2015 2016 Needed monthly $18,746 $15,868 Needed (January 1st – December 31st) $224,952 $190,420 Received (January 1st – December 31st) $222,312* $186,901* *Including prepaid amounts: $21,089.59 & $18,702.19 respectively 2016 Pledge shortfall: (Received toward shortfall as of December 31st, 2016) $3,519 After all contributions were received for 2016, we tied with … read on


&&— December Edition —&&

Dear Church, Blessed Advent to you. The Latin meaning of Advent is “coming.” As I have mentioned in sermons, it’s not so much a cute baby that we’re waiting for, but God’s realm of peace, justice, and wholeness. As Richard Rohr says, we need an adult Christ at Christmas, rather than simply a baby Jesus. … read on


Rev. Mark’s sermon has been on my mind since Sunday morning, November 27th. He referenced the Book of Isaiah 2 where it was said “and he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up … read on


Outreach desperately needs your help in this year’s stewardship drive. For recently arrived immigrants, the homeless, those without jobs, and those needing food for their families, life was difficult before November 8, 2016. So, your Board of Outreach, consistent with Christ’s teachings and the mission of this Church, has spent many, many hours seeking ways … read on


Advent and Christmas at First Congregational Church of Williamstown November 27th, 10am Worship: First Sunday of Advent, followed by Tree-decorating for Habitat for Humanity Tree showcase. December 3rd, 2-6pm: Habitat for Humanity Tree Showcase and Holiday Walk – All Ages Welcome. December 4th, 10am Worship: Second Sunday of Advent. December 7th, 6pm: Taizé Song and … read on


Pledge season has come again, a time for reflection on priorities both in our personal lives and in the church.  I am here representing the Stewardship Ministry Team. The Stewardship Ministry Team’s focus is on financial support and administrative operations to preserve and enhance the assets of the Church. In doing so we facilitate the … read on


Despite the first heavy snowfall of the season, nearly a hundred people braved the weather and gathered after the worship service on November 20th for the sixth annual Great Pie Palooza. This year’s event included a celebration of the completion of our beautiful new Community Hall. During a short presentation to begin the festivities, Rev. … read on


Reading aloud to children from birth to kindergarten has many benefits, for it stimulates early brain development and elevates IQ. A smarter child means academic success and a way out of poverty.  If parents read to their children daily, from birth until kindergarten, the children will greatly increase their literacy.  Books which are heavy on … read on


Hi, I’m Leon Aalberts I’m kind of a newbie around here. I joined the choir after I moved here a couple of years ago and sat next to Phil Smith.  In his gracious way Phil welcomed me and asked about my life and interests. Answer #1 – I like kids and at that point I … read on


Once again the Outreach Ministry Team is sponsoring the Angel Tree for Christmas. Both the Salvation Army and Louison House family shelter have submitted holiday gift requests, and are represented on the tree. Please take a gift request from the tree in the west entrance lobby and be sure to sign it out on the … read on


Record of Pledge Contributions 2015 2016 Needed monthly $18,746 $15,868 Needed (January 1st – October 31st) $187,460 $158,680 Received (January 1st – October 31st) $198,260* $164,091* *Including prepaid amounts: $21,089.59 & $18,702.19 respectively 2015 Pledge shortfall: (Received toward shortfall as of November 20, 2016) $2,598.22 We have received pledge contributions through the month of October … read on


&&— November Edition —&&

Dear Church, We’re so busy! Being busy becomes, in our culture, a badge of importance. “How are you doing?”, we ask, followed by the inevitable: “I’m so busy!”. To which we, the other busy people, nod in understanding. And it’s true: we are busy, and we’re about ready to head into a busy season as … read on


As we move through our first year as co-moderators, Jody and I are learning how cyclical the Church year is not just spiritually but also administratively. November means its time to evaluate the past and consider the future and we deeply hope you will be a part of that self-reflection. At the risk of being … read on


The Stewardship Ministry Team learned that Community Hall is almost done!  We are still having trouble with some of the lights, which don’t fit our decor, and there are alarm wires that need to be put right.   Also this month Patrick’s Quality Painting and Roofing sealed the top of the steeple so that we should … read on


Each year the Church, as an employer, is responsible for giving all staff direction on how to best accomplish their jobs. Part of this process lies with the Committee on Pastoral Ministries (COPM). The COPM is still interested in hearing your opinion on the work of our Church and our pastor.  Please send your comments … read on


2016 ABC Clothing Sale Distributes $16,000 in Grants The Steering Committee of the ABC Clothing Sale is pleased to announce unrestricted cash donations of $4,000 each to the following: The Elizabeth Freeman Center – provides life-saving, life renewing help to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and to their families. Louison House – Family Life Support Center … read on


Sally Sussman asks everyone to remember our church food pantry basket located in the main foyer.  As winter approaches, we are especially mindful of the nutritional needs of others. See below for more information about what to give. How to give is easy! Just bring your non-perishable donations to the Food Pantry Basket in the … read on


Shawl Ministry has become a tradition at First Church. Our guide is the book Knitting Into The Mystery, by Susan Izard and Susan Jorgenson. Much of our knitting is done in private, but we meet periodically to knit and pray corporately. The goal of the ministry is to knit shawls in a contemplative way and … read on


Coffee fellowship hour just got more fun! On Sunday, November 13, 2016, outreach will sponsor “coffee hour at Images”, followed by a film about the plight of Syrian refugees, entitled Salam Neighbor. Here’s the plan: Right after the Sunday service, everyone is invited to coffee hour at images Cinema. We will walk down the street … read on


Nicolas C. Howe of the Williams College Environmental Studies Program will address the issue of Sacred Space in a Secular World at First Church’s Second Hour, November 6th, 11:20 am.  He will discuss how American environmentalists have navigated the religious/secular divide in battles over wilderness preservation. His book Landscape of the Secular: Law, Religion and … read on


Don’t miss an exceptional and unforgettable afternoon of songs, stories, jokes, and musical craftsmanship in a cozy, intimate setting at Caretaker Farm. Cindy Mangsen and Steve Gillette exemplify the best in contemporary and traditional folk music, with a diverse repertoire that includes Cindy’s haunting renditions of Child ballads, Steve’s classic originals, an array of hilarious … read on


– Mark November 20, 2016 on your calendar – the day we donate pies for the Berkshire Food Project’s Thanksgiving feast… and at the same time enjoy tasting a variety of home-made specialties during Second Hour. This year it will be a bigger party than usual – to celebrate the church’s recent renovation of Community … read on


A new church directory is in the works. In order for this volunteer organization to work properly, we want everyone’s most current information for the directory, so please complete the information form available to you in the church office, or via e-mail request (just e-mail office@firstchurchwilliamstown.org, and a copy will be e-mailed to you to … read on


&&— October Edition —&&

Dear Church, This October marks the beginning of another round of small groups. Small groups are opportunities to go deeper: in relationship with one another, in engagement around a specific theme or text. I view small groups as part of the church’s heart, because it’s in people’s living rooms — over potlucks or desserts — … read on


This is the time of year when I love to go walking in the woods, shuffling my feet in the leaves and allow my senses to enjoy Fall’s palate of sights, smells and sounds. Yesterday my husband and I went to Hopkins Forest and after a long walk, settled at the bottom under the grape … read on


Our church building is a hive of activity.  Between large special events, two yoga classes, Music Together class, Anonymous Group meetings, Church Team meetings, Second Hours, seasonal celebrations like Pie Palooza, Rainbow Seniors meetings and all the other requests that come up monthly, we have a very busy building! This year we are will also … read on


Over the past twenty plus years the ABC Clothing Sale has grown to be an eagerly anticipated annual event. Normally held on the last Saturday of September, the sale fills the whole First Congregational Church and has something for everyone: gently-used name brand clothing, boots and shoes in all sizes, jewelry, purses and backpacks, and … read on


We are pleased to announce the inaugural program of the Markgraf Memorial Organ Series.   The series is designed to feature the church’s fine pipe organ and to honor the memory of Hodge and Nancy Markgraf, long-time dedicated members of the congregation and supporters of music at the church.   This year’s recital will be held on … read on


The month of October will bring us several small group opportunities. Small groups are an important ministry of our church. They allow us to connect with each other in the intimate setting of each other’s homes. They also allow an opportunity to explore themes of spirituality and justice together. This October’s group offerings take on … read on


With the loss of the parking spaces along the now-closed part of Chapin Hall Drive, we are seeing more cars in the church parking lot. Please remember that if you park in the church lot you need a church sticker on your car. Stickers are obtainable (for free) in the church office. If you have … read on


The annual tag sale is coming to a close although Annie, Cynthia and Jody continue to offer for sale through Craigslist and E-Bay a few remaining items. Our mission has been to add to the church’s budget and try to recycle the donations. We believe in our church’s mission to recycle and reuse to reduce … read on


Record of Pledge Contributions 2015 2016 Needed monthly $18,746 $15,868 Needed (January – September 30, 2016) $168,714 $142,812 Received (January – September 30, 2016) $188,919* $117,624* *Including prepaid amounts: $21,089.59 & $18,702.19 respectively 2015 Pledge shortfall: $2,643.50 Received toward shortfall as of September 30, 2016: $2,598.22 We have received pledge contributions through the month of … read on


&&— September Edition —&&

An Invitation to Journey with John’s Gospel Blessed fall, church! Together, we are about to embark on a year reading, studying, praying, and hearing, John’s gospel. Yup, that’s right, an entire academic year. We’ll take time off for Advent and Lent and a few other Sundays, but for most of the year we’ll dive, deep, … read on


Our focus session at the June Church Council meeting was something we termed “Church without Guilt.”  Jody and I are very sensitive to the potential for volunteer burnout among the incredible members of this church.  One of the most important messages we (along with Pastor Mark) hope to convey is that its perfectly acceptable for … read on


Rev. Mark and local artist/musician Karl Mullen are planning a special community gathering on September 25th: A concert to end gun violence. It will be held in Community Hall at 4pm on that day. In 2007, Congress designated 9/25 as the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. We live in a time of tragic … read on


Sunday School Notes: Upcoming family & youth events: Sunday, September 4th, 10:00 am Worship Service and last day of Summer Sunday school followed by family walk to Lickety Split. Wednesday, September 7th, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Education and Fellowship Team meeting, parlor.* Thursday, September 8th, 3:15 – 4:30 pm, Jr Choir begins Sunday, September 11th, 10:00 … read on


Beginning … again Our church “program year” begins after Labor Day.  After a summer hiatus for the choir, filled admirably with (very!) special music by our own vocal soloists, instrumentalists, and “instant” men’s and women’s choirs, the round of regular rehearsals resumes. This is an excellent time to JOIN a choir.  Maybe you have always … read on


Get Your Fritatta On! Our annual Frittata breakfast comes up on Sunday, September 11th – and we need bakers to bake those frittatas, or brings fruit bowls bread or rolls, as we welcome back students to the new school year. If you would like to help with this fun and tasty event, please contact Jina Ford … read on


September 10th is our annual Tag Sale date this year! Community Hall has been filling with items since Monday, August 22nd. As always, the Tag Sale effort relies on your volunteer time and assistance. There are many jobs that can be done, many of which do not involve heavy lifting. If you have some free … read on


Fall will soon be upon us followed by thoughts of knitting warm, loving prayer shawls during the church year. This is an invitation to new knitters to join the Shawl Ministry knitters Sunday, September 18th, at 9 am in the church parlor.  The program consists of a Gathering Prayer, time for knitting, discussion and a … read on


&&— August Edition —&&

Dear church, What is the responsibility of the church in what is so clearly a disturbing and dangerous election cycle? The Bible is clear about God’s persistent embrace of the outsider: from foreigners in ancient Israel, to eunuchs, which were the sexual minorities of the day, to compassionate concern for the poor, widows, and orphans, … read on


Summertime is usually a slower pace for everyone, vacationing and relaxing while enjoying the warm weather, beautiful gardens and fruits of our vegetable gardens. But if you haven’t been to church lately, you are missing some exciting Sunday worship services. Rev. Mark and Ed Lawrence have created worship services around themes drawn from local artistic … read on


Outreach Ministry Team report for July: The Outreach Ministry Team has been very active.  We have listened to and agreed to support the Berkshire Immigrant center in their incredibly important work with  immigrants in Berkshire county.  We have made a grant to them in the amount of $5500 to assist in the various aspects of … read on


The annual church fundraiser, the ‘Famous Tag Sale’ is fast approaching on September 10th. We will start bringing things into Community Hall on weekend of August 20th and begin the work of cleaning and organizing August 22nd. As always we need lots of help with these tasks and truly appreciate all of the help which … read on


The Outreach Ministry Team sponsors a book distribution program called “Head Smarts.” This book distribution program is predicated on a quote from a National Geographic article of January 2015: “The baby brain is an incredible learning machine.”  Recent research has proven that brain size doubles during the first year, and by age three a child’s … read on


Wondrous News! The “Renewing the Meetinghouse” Community Hall project is nearly complete! The coffered ceiling is finished, our 1964 miraculously floating ceiling is safely reinforced, the hall’s walls, ceiling, and trim have been cleaned of lead, everything has been carefully repainted, and we have a professionally designed lighting system. We await the final dimmer installation … read on


I would like to talk with you! Or, more specifically, I would like to listen to you. How are you? How are your kids enjoying our Education programs? How would you like to see our Education programs for youth evolve in the future? Beth and I certainly both have ideas, but I would like to … read on


&&— June/July Edition —&&

Dear Church, Vital ministry is, like life, inherently creative. I also believe that a vital church, especially in an age of shuttering mainline churches, must cross-fertilize, build public organizational partnerships, and celebrate the beauty and unique identity of the place in which it finds itself. This means that churches must not spend Sunday huddling and … read on


I have been busy with the tag sale collecting this past few weeks but continue to be refreshed by those people who stop by with offer to help or those who have promised to help. I am warmed by their cheerful smiles and words. I am connected more intimately with each of you and feel … read on


Dear Friends at First Congregational Church, Wow, so much has happened between now and when we last saw each other! People have graduated, summer’s starting to feel like it’s just about here, and time’s doing what it does – passing quickly! Life has quieted down for me since April, with all the exams and papers and … read on


In 1867 Williams College gave our Church a wonderful gift to rebuild a new auditorium in the middle of their campus. Part of the agreement of that gift is that we not have worship at the time of their commencement on the first Sunday in June. Williams’ commencement and baccalaureate services were held in our … read on


Rev. Mark likes to offer us themes on a regular basis, and summer is the time he offers themes on the arts. Here is the schedule for worship in June, and the beginning of July this summer: June 5th, 8 am Outdoor Worship Service at the Clark Art Institute, near the reflecting pool. June 12th, … read on


At First Church, we are proud of our own. It is our custom to honor those who have been working hard to achieve a degree at this time of year. We are pleased to congratulate the following graduates from all levels of their education: Lauren Lartin Christiansen Daughter of Karen Lartin BA, English major, concentration … read on


Your Board of Outreach continues its work to develop significant support for Immigration and international assistance issues, and both direct and indirect support for food security and housing.  We are in the process of investigating the best ways to use our resources, engage church-wide involvement and publicize Church outreach to the wider community. One critical … read on


I ’ve made a recent decision to significantly increase my personal social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is fun for me to connect with many friends online, but I hope it is also beneficial in connecting people to the vibrant ministry of First Congregational Church Williamstown. If you’d like to know more … read on


Every spring, First Congregational Church Williamstown participates in a campaign to help save our earth: REDUCE . . . REUSE . . . RECYCLE! When Williams College students are departing for the summer, we work in conjunction with the college’s Center for Learning in Action and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives to encourage students … read on


&&— May Edition —&&

Dear Church, I see May as a “last hoorah” in our program year while we wait for the joy of summer in Williamstown to begin. It’s no surprise, but like usual, there are fabulous happenings happening. Here are several May upcoming items: May 1st I will touch down in the recurring mysticism series to think … read on


The joy of Easter renewal was amplified by the joy of the renewal of our meetinghouse in April. After patiently waiting for our building permit, we were thrilled to receive it at the beginning of the month and to see work proceed at rapid pace throughout April. We anticipate work on Community Hall, including the … read on


Your Outreach Ministry Team continues to expand its support of important community initiatives. The refugee sub-committee visited the refugee resettlement center in Springfield to collect information, understand how the center works and how we can assist and participate.  As their work progresses, our goal is to have a plan to assist with refugee resettlement in … read on


Vitality Team Accomplishments: December 2013 to April 2016 How the Vitality Team was Started: December 2013:  the Vitality Team was funded by the Outreach Ministry Team to take a training with Paul Nickerson on “How to Reach New People.” Goals: 1) to develop plans for events in the community that we can invite people to … read on


The time for our biggest Church fund raiser is fast approaching. May is when we collect donations from Williams’ students to recycle and reuse/resell in the fall. Since it is our biggest fund raiser (last year we earned about $21,000+ put toward our budget) and we need everyone’s help with the collection of student donations. … read on


On Saturday April 9th, 2016 the Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity (NBHfH) began the next housing project build. The project is located off West Shaft Road in North Adams and already much has been accomplished over the past two weeks. The demolition permit was secured and with the help of many volunteers, Williams and MCLA … read on


First Church & Williamstown: 250 years Together Exhibit The exhibit to help us celebrate our 250th anniversary, First Church & Williamstown: 250 Years Together, is now installed at the Williamstown Historical Museum. Please do try to see this exhibit during the next few months. This exhibit is likely to be the final temporary exhibit before … read on


Berkshire Interfaith Organizing (BIO) has been busy working on a solution for the folks in North Adams who were left stranded with no reasonable way to get their food after the closing of the Route 2 Price Chopper. The North Adams Price Chopper location had a very high percentage of SNAP benefit use. These SNAP … read on


Record of Pledge Contributions 2015 2016 Needed monthly $18,746.00 $15,868.00 Needed (January – April 30, 2016) $74,984.00 $63,472.00 Received (January – April 30, 2016) $84,626.00* $68,426.00* *Including prepaid amounts: $21,089.59 & $18,702.19 respectively 2015 Pledge shortfall: $2,643.50 Received toward shortfall as of April 24, 2016: $1,628.00 We have received pledge contributions through the first four … read on


April 2016

16.4Newsletter

March 2016

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February 2015

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January 2016

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December 2015

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