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Holidays & Special Services

Homecoming Sunday is held annually on the Sunday following Labor Day as a celebration and kick-off to each new program year. We welcome our entire church family and visitors to enjoy a festive Worship Service featuring the music of Ross Tucker and The Hot Cat Jazz Band, followed by a picnic on the church grounds. Hot dogs and hamburgers are provided and church members bring side dishes and desserts. This is wonderful opportunity to get friends and families together, welcome visitors, and hear about new programs and initiatives.

Quiet Christmas is a service held a week or two before Christmas each year. This service is a quiet and holy oasis in the midst of the Christmas rush. It is designed for those for whom the holiday season has perhaps taken on a more poignant mood, due to a loved one’s death, poor health, job insecurity, or any difficult life change. All are welcome no matter where you are on life’s journey.  

Christmas Eve Services are held in our Meetinghouse, which is adorned for the holiday with candlelight and beautiful red poinsettias. The 4:30 p.m. service is designed for children and families who participate in the story of Christ’s birth through music and pageantry. Children are able to take on a headdress of a shepherd, angel, or king before the service begins and join the procession to the manger for the offertory. A beautiful candlelight service takes place at both 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. as we celebrate the joy of the coming of Christ.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the solemn season of Lent, when we offer two services, one at noon and one at 7:00 p.m. The imposition of ashes is an ancient ritual of repentance, which symbolizes our dependence on God’s steadfast love and mercy. 

Palm and Passion Sunday services are held at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on the Sunday before Easter. We celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem with a processional into the Meetinghouse. We then relive the events of His suffering and death as the pastors read the Passion story. The congregation leaves the service in silence.

Maundy Thursday - Meal of the Upper Room is a solemn and spiritual observance of the last supper that Jesus shared with his disciples in the Upper Room, on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. We gather in the Meetinghouse at 12:15 p.m. for words of preparation, then proceed in silence to Schultz Hall for readings, the meal, and the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Participants eat in silence so that they may prayerfully taste the foods and listen to the readings of Holy Scripture. 

Maundy Thursday - Service of Tenebrae and Holy Communion is a solemn service of lessons and hymns, which are sung softly by the Chancel Choir. The Communion table is arranged in the form of a cross in the chancel and the Sanctuary is dimly lit. Throughout the service, the candles and lights are gradually extinguished, ending in total darkness, symbolizing the flight of the disciples and the Passion of our Lord.

Easter at First Church is celebrated with three services. We begin Easter Sunday with a Sunrise Service at 6:30 a.m. on the Hale House lawn. During the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services, it is our tradition to welcome the Constitution Brass to celebrate the miracle of the Risen Christ with hymns, and organ and brass selections. These two services include festive anthems by our Jubilate Ringers, Chancel, and Cherub Choirs at the 9:00 a.m. service, and our Chancel, Cantate, Cantabile Choirs, and Mallets at the 11:00 a.m. service. 

Salmon Brook Sunday Services are offered by First Church on a rotating basis with other Glastonbury churches. Representatives from our Board of Deacons lead a Worship Service for the residents of the Salmon Brook nursing facility on the second Sunday of each month at 10:30 a.m. in their communal room.