A twenty-something woman talks with an older gentleman who is eating cake.
A father sits in the pews and talks with his two teenage daughters.
Two women drink coffee and talk at the entrance to the Stockbridge Congregational Church

Your First Visit

Expect to be welcomed warmly.

Expect to be moved, challenged, uplifted, and inspired.

Expect to encounter God.

Maybe you grew up going to Sunday School every week. Maybe you haven’t been to church in 20 years. Maybe your faith is solid as a rock. Maybe you’re not sure what you believe. Maybe you’re looking for a safe place for your children to grow in faith. Maybe you decided you’d visit a church this Sunday because your mom guilt-tripped you into it. Maybe you woke up with the strangest urge to sing, and you didn’t want to sing alone.

People find their way through our doors in countless ways. Whatever the path that you’ve been on, what matters to us most on your first visit is that you feel welcomed and valued no matter where you find yourself on the journey of life or faith. Some might say that we fling our doors and our arms open wide merely because we want to be nice. Maybe, but there’s a more important reason: Jesus told us to.

So welcome, friend. We can’t wait to meet you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time is church?

Worship starts at 10AM each Sunday. There is usually a short musical prelude and the service lasts for about 60-75 minutes. We also have a weekly prayer service that meets from 8AM to 8:25AM on Wednesdays. At certain times of the year (e.g., Lent or Advent), we have other special services—these will be posted on the church calendar.

How do I get there? Where do I park?

We are located at 4 Main Street in Stockbridge (adjacent to the Stockbridge Golf Club and Procter Hall). We are within easy walking distance from the Red Lion Inn and downtown Stockbridge. We have ample parking at the church, including many accessible spots. When you arrive, enter through the main doors at the front of the church, where a greeter will welcome you and answer any questions you have.

What should I wear?

Whatever you feel comfortable in! Folks at our church dress in varying levels of formality. We encourage you to come in the kind of attire that will help you feel relaxed and worship most fully.

Is the church accessible?

Yes, the church is accessible. The ramp for wheelchair access is located at the rear of the building and once inside, the entire building (with the exception of the sanctuary balcony) is accessible. We also offer hearing assistive devices and large print bulletins.

What happens during church?

Worship is the heart of our life as a Christian community, a time when we gather to be nourished, fed, challenged, and changed. We pray together, sing together, share Christ’s peace, read the Bible and contemplate how ancient truths intersect with our world and our times. We believe that God is still speaking new words of light and truth, and that we have more to learn. We bring our whole lives into the church (our joys and burdens, our gifts and shortcomings) and we share them with one another and the God we serve.

On the first Sunday of every month we celebrate communion, the meal that Jesus shared with his followers. We practice an open communion table and welcome all to gather around the table and be fed from a simple meal of gluten-free bread and grape juice. In grateful response to the abundance that Jesus offers, we have a long tradition of bringing a food item or small donation for The People’s Pantry, our local food pantry. Participation is completely optional.

At each worship service we receive an offering to support the ministries of this church and the many organizations with whom we partner. We welcome all gifts and encourage those who worship with us to give joyfully and to cultivate a life marked by generosity. If you are unable to contribute financially, we ask you to consider sharing your time or talent with the church, another organization, a family member or someone else in need.

What style of church is this? What kind of music will I hear?

The best description of our style of worship is “structured but not stuffy.” By this we mean that there is a predefined order and flow to the service (you’ll receive a worship bulletin to help guide you), but we do our best to avoid being overly regimented and we leave room to respond to the issues of the day or the Spirit in the room. We make time for an open sharing of the joys and challenges of life. Laughter and tears are encouraged in equal measure.

Music is a central part of our life together –something that brings us joy, that draws us together, that we take seriously (and do well), and through which we catch a glimpse of God. We draw largely from the traditional repertoire of Christian hymns and sacred classical works. Congregational singing and choral anthems are accompanied by organ and piano, with strings, brass, percussion, and other instruments (ukulele anyone?) making occasional appearances. Our talented choir of 15-20 generally sings two or more pieces during worship and supports our singing of hymns and other songs.

What do you folks believe?

In our tradition, belief is best understood as “that which we give our whole selves over to.” So when we say we “believe in God,” it’s less about reciting a long list of credal statements, and more about saying we dedicate all that we are, and all we might yet be, to God.

In our process of believing, we look to the beliefs of our forebears, as expressed in the ancient creeds of the church, as testimonies of their faith (not tests of ours), recognizing that we are each likewise called to discern and proclaim our own faith in this place and time, that we might become Christ’s church anew. Our denomination’s Statement of Faith beautifully captures this testimonial quality:

We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:

You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image,and set before each one the ways of life and death.

You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.

You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, 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.

You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.

Amen.

What do I do with my kids?

Bring them, please! We’re happy to report that one of our biggest areas of growth in the past few years has been our offerings for children. Childcare for wee ones is available every Sunday from 30 minutes before worship to 15 minutes past the end of our final event of the day. Sunday School for 4 years and up meets during the regular school year. We also try to offer childcare for major church functions and events on other days. For more details consult the Families With Children page and for specific questions, please contact the church office.

What else happens on Sundays?

The choir rehearses before worship from 8:45AM to 9:45AM. After worship, we host a not-to-be-missed coffee hour and hope you’ll stick around. At various points during the year, there will be classes, meetings, social events, and more. Check out the calendar for the current slate of events.

How can I get more information?

Please feel free to chat with anyone after church (see coffee hour, above) or if you would like to meet with Brent, our Pastor, catch him after worship or call the church to set up a time. You can also call or email our administrator (email hidden; JavaScript is required) and we’ll make sure your question gets to the right place.