first time here
about the church
Welcome to the website of First Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ congregation located just west of downtown in the small town of Charlotte, Michigan, the county seat of Eaton County.
The church is a mix of old and new. Our main church structure is an imposing, red brick building constructed in the 1880s. It houses our beautiful sanctuary, a chapel/lounge, a nursery and toddler room, several classrooms and a counseling room. Worship features our recently refurbished Meoller pipe organ.
Below the sanctuary, the congregation had the church’s rubble basement dug out in the 1950s to construct our primary fellowship gathering space, named after Bess Fulton, who spearheaded the idea for such a generous space and kitchen.
Our offices, as well as some more classrooms, meeting rooms and library, are housed in The Annex, a Bell Telephone building from the 1920s, recently completely remodeled, located on Bostwick St. just south of the main church building.
Parking for the church is available just west of the church main building in a small gravel lot, or across the street at the city parking lot. Both of our buildings are handicap accessible. The main building has a newly remodeled ramp on its northwest corner, and features an elevator inside the building.
Our newest gem is the Congregational Commons, a converted piece of property that was once a drive-through bank, but now hosts Church and community events alike. The centerpiece is a labyrinth constructed of a flexible rubber path that threads through low ground cover, and is accessible any time for prayer and meditation.
Join us outside during the summer, when we hold a less formal Sunday Worship service on the Commons, filled with music, laughter, and sun.
first time visitor questions
What should I wear to church?
We want you to feel comfortable when you visit First Congregational Church. You will find a mix of styles, from casual, to business casual, to suit and tie.
How is Communion celebrated? Should I take part in Communion if I am not a member?
At First Congregational Church, we alternate between two methods of receiving Communion: passing trays containing the bread and cup among the congregation while we all remain seated, and coming forward to receive by intinction, where we take a piece of bread (or rice cake) and dip in the cup (unfermented grape juice) and received both elements together.
We use unfermented grape juice in the cup, and rice cakes are available for those for whom wheat or gluten is a problem.
Communion at First Congregational Church is open to all who wish to follow Jesus, who desire to better know him as the Christ.
What is worship like at First Congregational Church?
Sunday morning worship begins at 10 am.
While we probably fit what some people call blended worship, we draw on the broad range of Christian worship traditions. We follow the Revised Common Lectionary for our scripture readings on Sunday morning, and the sermons are intentionally designed to draw our stories closer to the stories of our first witnesses in the Bible.
Our music also draws from many Christian sources, from familiar hymns and pipe organ arrangements, to Gospel and songs from the world church, as well as such intentional communities as Taize and Iona.
Visiting with Children?
We welcome children in worship! They make a joyful noise and remind us that “unless we turn and become like children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
Most Sundays there is a special time with children during worship, after which many of them go to a Sunday School program called “Godly Play.”
Some thoughts about children in worship (borrowed from First Congregational Church, UCC of Grand Ledge):
- Relax! God put the wiggle in children. Don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s House.
- Use gentle touch: an arm around your child’s shoulder, your hands in his/hers to give reassurance and appropriate attention.
- Explain quietly parts of the service.
- Help your child find the pages in the Bible and Hymnal. (Don’t be distressed if they don’t find the proper page!)
- Sing the hymns, pray, voice the responses. Children learn liturgical behavior by copying you.
Want to learn more? We’ve produced a short video highlighting church life, from what we stand for to the activities that define us.