“What we like most about First Church is that the church is very active and gives you a chance to meet new people. Most people are very friendly and make you feel welcome. The music is wonderful, and the sermons give you something to think about.”
~ Bruce & Donna Willey
“First Church has been a welcome home for our growing family. Through life’s craziness, we know we can lean on the support of the church community, and we especially love the children’s programming for our little ones. We feel truly blessed to be members at First Church.”
~ Lauren & Adam Peithmann
“I have been a member of First Congregational Church for over 20 years, and I have seen some changes in leadership and membership, but through all these changes and despite the changes, the congregation has remained strong and spirit filled.
When a member grieves, the congregation grieves with them, when a member is filled with joy, the congregation is filled with joy with them.
There are a large variety of activities offered at the church, so whether you love to sing, or read, or exercise, or learn about the Bible, there is something for everyone.
We are a big compassionate family and welcome everyone to become part of our family.”
~ Barbara Papagian
“I was first introduced to First Church in 1984 by a friend when I was looking for a church home. She thought that I would enjoy the service and particularly the music. Over the years the Sunday service, the sermon and the beautiful music not only connected me with my roots, but gave me great comfort during those times when life seemed it’s hardest.
Once I took that first step to become active within the church, which seemed so lively and the people so supportive of each other, the opportunities seemed to open up. I was invited to serve on the Outreach Committee, which led to becoming involved in Interfaith and Mission experiences, Bible Study, Plays, and Scripture reading, all of which have challenged me and helped me to grow in my personal faith, and my commitment to give back to others.
First Church is my church home through which I hope that I can help to make our community a valuable part of someone else’s life.”
~ Liz Verity
“We visited several churches after moving to Manchester. In our worship at First Church we were overwhelmed by the great preaching, the magnificent music and the very welcoming congregation. We feel truly blessed to have been led to membership at First Church.”
~ Ross and Marion Palmes
“I am honored to say, “This is my Church”, with a congregation that has cared for me in so many ways. I consider myself blessed each Sunday morning when I am here in the Lord’s house on the Lord’s Day.”
~ Lucia Carlisle
“Not having family nearby, I was at a point in my life where I needed and wanted a church family. I found what I was searching for when I attended First Church. The variety and number of opportunities offered here was a definite draw, but the deciding factor was the friendliness and openness of the parishioners and staff who welcomed me with open arms. Now I consider them to be my second family. How blessed I am to have found them. My faith in the Lord has been strengthened since coming to First Church.”
~ Marsha Neubert
“I love First Church for all the wonderful, kind and caring people, the fabulous music and meaningful sermons. I grew up in this church and it never ceases to amaze me how uplifting it is to spend time with my church family. In these challenging times, surrounded by all the negative aspects of the world, it is my time at First Church that helps me “recharge” my spirit with faith and hope for the coming week!”
~ Sue Hannigen
“I love First Church because…as time passes First Church has given me many memories which will stay with me always. Unlike many things in our life that have restrictions of age and milestones of completion belonging and being part of First Church is open to us at all ages. There is no point where you have graduated. You are always appreciated and asked to take part in whatever way you feel comfortable and able. The community welcomes and provides me with spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. Walking through the doors is a path which leads me forward in a journey of grace and love with my family, friends, and community.”
~ Bruce Attridge
“I was seeking a new church home in 2005 that melded with my prior experiences in UCC/Presbyterian traditions. First Church fit this expectation immediately, where the church motto at the time was: “Where Tradition is Alive.” Cherished elements of core traditions live on at First Church twelve years later. The United Church of Christ is as free of most church dogma, guilt, and pressure as any Christian denomination (this appeals to me), and acceptance is an overarching feeling in this church.
On my first visit I was immediately impressed with the beauty of the sanctuary and church grounds, and by the congregants who took time to speak to me during early visits. The pulpit presence of the pastor in 2005 was tremendous—sermons were captivating—and that continues today with the current engaging pastor. The beautiful organ and continuously professional music program add to the experience of First Church as an inspiring place to worship.
I became a member in 2008, and have since been honored to hold positions on several boards and committees, providing a growing personal sense of belonging, accomplishment, service and camaraderie.”
~ Grant Dugan
“Following our marriage, we sought a church that would meet our spiritual needs, keep us active both in Christian Ministry and community service and a church where our children could be baptized and confirmed. This historical church built in the center of a diversified ethnic city was welcoming; the sermons inspirational, the music uplifting and the members friendly, dedicated and supportive of each other through times of difficulty and times of joy. We have served on many committees throughout the years and have seen firsthand the positive work of First Church. We are very proud to be long time members and affectionately call First Church our Church Family.”
~ Steve and Kathy Payne
“Some of the reasons I enjoy coming to First Church, a sacred place of reflection and contemplation, are the caring and wonderful friendships, a feeling of acceptance, the many opportunities to serve or be of service and the music is fantastic. I get an overall feeling of being uplifted.”
~ Joan Currier
“I love First Church because I am renewed and inspired by the sermons and the beautiful music of all the choirs. I love the dedication of the people who share their God given talents and encourage others to get involved in service to the church and the wider community. Always I’ll cherish the special friendships and memories made within this church. I hope others will find such joy when they come here.”
~ Eleanor Flint Campbell
“We began worshiping at First Church in the early 1970’s, after moving to Manchester from law school in Ithaca, New York. We started attending when our family began to come along, and in a few years became members of the First Church. We have enjoyed being members and attending the First Church ever since. We raised our three children (Jennifer , Peter, and Karin) in the Sunday School and youth programs and have especially appreciated the youth choirs and youth ministry that has always been such a strong component of the Church’s mission.
We have found First Church to be a friendly, supportive, and enriching community of believers and treasure our many friends and colleagues in this wonderful congregation. While professional activities, out of state family, and travels often take us away, we continue to appreciate our home Church and enjoy our continuing fellowship.”
~ Susan and Bruce Felmly
“I love First Church because of our association with Habitat for Humanity. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have gotten involved with Habitat for the past six years. I also enjoy playing the drums with Adam Peithmann and the choir on special occasions such as Gospel Sunday.”
~ Leo LeBlanc
“I love First Church because of my involvement with Women’s Connection, the children and youth with Vacation Bible School, serving the church by ushering and being a part of the Altar Design Team.”
~ Pamela LeBlanc
“Music is what 1st brought me to First Church 38 years ago and the church has been blessed to have had two superb musicians in charge of the music ministry in that time. I am proud to tell people that I am a member of the First Church Choir. But it’s more than that. It’s the people. It truly is a “church family”. The friendliness, the caring and the good deeds First Church does in greater Manchester. It’s great to be just a small part of that. Lastly, this all starts at the top. The Church staff is outstanding and it shows throughout the congregation.”
~ David MacGregor
“First Church is family. It allows me to be comfortable with what I believe but allows me to grow in my faith. I love that I am able to raise my daughter in a place that I call home.”
~ Krystina Harwood
“I first visited First Church soon after I moved to Manchester and the birth of my first child. I was seeking a church home for me and especially for my children. What I loved then and love to this day is that First Church is a FAMILY. I know my children are surrounded by people who love them and care for them, not only when we are at church on Sunday mornings. They have many opportunities to participate and always have fun. We get to experience God’s love and acceptance each week surrounded by our caring church family.”
~ Kelda York
“What we love most about First Church is the Children’s ministry. I love being able to send my kids to Sunday school knowing that they are safe, learning and having fun! Listening to the children sing in church is always something my family looks forward to.”
~ Melissa Poisson
First Church is our church home because it has always been an inviting and welcoming place for me and my family. We have made great faith-based relationships and connections with all ages throughout the church through our involvement with different committees, events and programs such as Sunday School, Choir, Vacation Bible School, and the Women’s’ Connection group. First Church is where we found our extended family!
~ Jennifer Longval
We love the First Church because the staff is so open and friendly to us. The congregation has been very helpful and accommodating our disabilities, and we have become great friends with many of the members and staff of the church. It was a lot more challenging at other churches to get to the levels of friendship that we have so easily and quickly made at First Church of Manchester.
~ David & Maggie Jespersen
First Church has nurtured my family, both spiritually and physically, for four generations. My family’s weddings, baptisms and, yes, even deaths have occurred in its inspirational sanctuary for well over a century. The dove of the Church Window lifts all of us, and First Church continues to be the “wind beneath my wings.”
~ Selma Naccach Hoff
“It is my time at First Church that helps me "recharge" my spirit with faith and hope for the coming week!”
“A path which leads me forward in a journey of grace and love with my family, friends, and community."
“Cherished elements of core traditions live on at First Church…”
“I hope others will find such joy when they come here.”
Eleanor Flint Campbell
“We treasure our many friends and colleagues in this wonderful congregation.”
Susan and Bruce Felmly
“I love First Church because of my involvement with Women's Connection.”
“I get an overall feeling of being uplifted.”
From the Pastor's Desk
One of the best parts of my work is being able to teach and write about our faith and Church life. I’m pleased to offer my reflections... Learn more...
In 1839 the eager entrepreneurs of the Amoskeag Mills coaxed a small, struggling English Congregational Church to link arms with a small, struggling... Learn more...
First Church has a dynamic and inclusive music ministry for all ages. Our adult ensembles and children ensembles enrich our worship service... Learn more...
Lenten Sacred Space...A time for silence, prayer and meditation
The mission of the Board of Deacons for Lent is to offer a refuge and a respite from the hectic pace of daily life.
During the 5 Fridays of Lent the chapel will be opened on March 2nd, 9th,16th,23rd and 30th, from 12:00 - 1:00. All are welcomed to experience an oasis to reflect, to pray, to mediate or just to enjoy a few moment of peaceful silence in the intimate surroundings of the First Congregational Church Chapel. The chapel doors on Union Street will be open so anyone who wants to come in can spend as long as they want in solitude. A Deacon will be present to offer a smile of welcome.
This is the Second Sunday in Lent. Barbara Papagian will lead traditional worship at 10am in the Sanctuary.
Prior to the 10am service, please enjoy the new Time of Greeting ... meet new friends and share fond memories before worship begins.
Bible Study Class is a weekly gathering led by Reverend Kevin. This week’s session, Tuesday 3/6 & Wednesday 3/7, include the
Sodom and Gomorral
Read: Genesis 18:16 - 19:38 & Kenneth Davis: “Don’t Know Much About the Bible” "Why did Lot's Wife turn into a pillar of salt?"
Service of Prayer and Healing
Inspired by the Celtic Tradition, the roughly half-hour service will include music, readings, prayers and an opportunity to receive a “Laying on of Hands” blessing. Service will be held in the Chapel following the 10:00 am worship service and fellowship, on the 2nd Sunday each month.
From the Pastor's Desk
Get connected to Rev. Kevin's insights! Learn more...
See the order of worship at First Church for the Sunday Service, including the Scripture Reading. Learn more...
The Sunday News
What’s happening this week in the life of First Church? Learn more...
What’s happening this month at First Church? Learn more...
ONA Covenant approved on Sunday, November 19th
The faith community of First Congregational Church, Manchester NH reaffirms our shared covenant and beliefs that the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to love one another and to extend welcome to all people. We affirm that each individual is a child of God and that all are worthy of God’s love and grace.
As witness to these beliefs and as covenant members of Christ’s church, we proclaim and celebrate God’s love for people of all ages, all races and ethnic backgrounds, all mental and physical abilities, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all sexual orientations, all gender identities and gender expressions, and all other diverse attributes that are woven into the fabric of humankind.
We are called to be as one body, seeking to walk together in the complete life and ministry of our church. With God’s grace, we resolve to be an open, inclusive, affirming, and accessible community of faith. We invite all to participate and share in the life and leadership, ministry and fellowship, worship and sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of our Christian community.
Approved by the Congregation on Sunday, November 19, 2017
First Congregational Church
508 Union Street, Manchester, NH 03104