Three Bedford Churches Welcome Members and Visitors after Summer Vacation

September 8, 2022

When does a new year roll around? When the calendar turns on January 1, and again in early September when schools, organizations, and churches reboot after a long summer recess.

Three Bedford churches—First Parish Unitarian Universalist, First Church of Christ Congregational, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church—shared their plans as they return to regular services.

First Parish, Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Annie Gonzales, Minister of Faith Development

75 The Great Road, Bedford ~ An elevator at the Elm Street entrance makes the building fully accessible
Contacts: web,, by email,  [email protected], or by phone, 781-275-7994

Promising “fun, games, food, meditation, and faith in all its forms”, First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church is inviting the entire Bedford community to join in celebrating its annual Ingathering on Sunday, September 11.

The festivities open at 10 a.m. on the Common (weather permitting) with the Ingathering worship service led by Rev. Annie Gonzalez. Activities for people of all ages and a variety of interests will follow the service, from 11 am until 1:30 in the afternoon.

For food, the church will be serving bagels, coffee, popcorn, and Bedford Farms ice cream. Fun activities include face painting, crafts, lawn games, a scavenger hunt, and a murder mystery game.

The Gallery@First Parish will mark the tenth anniversary of its art ministry by opening an exhibit of works by First Parish artists who have contributed during the Gallery’s first decade. The exhibit will be on display until December 3.

Bedford town historian Sharon McDonald will be asking and answering true/false questions about the history of First Parish, which traces back to the original Bedford town church of the colonial era. Other parishioners will give tours of the historic church building, which replaced the first Bedford meeting house in 1817.

Three members of the congregation will present short “big-idea” talks. Abby Hafer will speak on “Reframing COVID-19: What do Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and First Parish Have in Common?”, Alma Hart on “Why September 11 is the National Day of Service”, and Doug Muder on “Why Be a Church At All?”

Several meditative practices will be demonstrated, including rock balancing, labyrinth building, and movement meditation.

A take-a-poem/leave-poem table will offer print-outs of inspirational poetry, and invite participants to contribute poems that they find meaningful. A free book exchange will occupy another table.

Ingathering is a tradition that goes back at least as far as the early 1800s when many Unitarian churches closed for the summer and re-gathered their congregations in the fall. In recent decades, First Parish has echoed that tradition by offering smaller, informal services through the summer months and restarting its regular services the Sunday after Labor Day. Ingathering has special significance for the church this year, after two years during which many in-person events have been limited or canceled due to the pandemic.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Christopher J. Wendell, Rector

100 Pine Hill Road, Bedford, the entire building is accessible through the main entrance
Contact: web,, email, [email protected], phone, 781-275-8262

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church kicks off the fall program year on Sunday, September 11th at 10:00 a.m.!  St. Paul’s is a spiritually and socially active Christian community that celebrates our faith and joyfully welcomes newcomers from all backgrounds with enthusiasm and friendship.  Our church members come from Bedford, along with Billerica, Carlyle, Lexington, Concord and other nearby towns!  Sunday services take place at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary (and are also live-streamed to the St. Paul’s YouTube Channel).  Our community is committed to living Jesus’ Way of Love, in which all people experience the dignity and abundant life that God intends for everyone to have.  We like to bless things, make music and merriment, pray together, garden, advocate, learn, celebrate, partner with neighbors near and far, solve problems, visit our elders, serve the community, and occasionally dance!  We warmly welcome all to visit for a service sometime.

Our “Welcome Back” Sunday worship service that day will feature joyful congregational singing led by the Choir, a sermon from our rector The Rev. Chris Wendell, the sharing of Holy Communion — and our annual “Blessing of the Backpacks” for all who are beginning a new school year.  Please bring your backpack for a special group blessing as the service ends!  Children’s Ministries for kids from pre-school through middle school will be offered beginning at 9:50 a.m. in the Parish Hall.  Newcomers are welcome to attend these programs and register their children that morning.  Our High School Youth Group kicks off their program year the same day at 5:30 p.m. at the church and again, all are welcome!  An informal Coffee Hour follows the service, to which everyone is invited.

St. Paul’s has a full schedule of fall programs, ministries, and activities planned — including Christain formation for all ages, outreach and service opportunities, observing the Season of Creation with our Green Team, fellowship gatherings, musical opportunities, spiritual yoga, and, of course, sharing in the sacramental life of baptism and communion.  While our sanctuary and building are fully open, we ask that everyone please wear a mask while in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings before and during church.  In smaller groups or at Coffee Hour following the service, masking is optional and all personal decisions are respected.

For more information about our fall activities, we encourage everyone to visit our website at or to email the church office at [email protected].  You can also reach out to our church’s lay leaders, Candy Walker and Heath Luedde, and our rector, The Rev. Chris Wendell.  Or stop by our Bedford Day Booth on September 17th…we’ll see you there!

First Church of Christ Congregational
Rev. John Castricum, Pastor

25 The Great Road, Bedford MA ~ the building is fully accessible

Contact: web, www/, by email, [email protected]t , by phone, 781-275-7970

First Church welcomes everyone to join us on September 18 at 10 am, for Homecoming Sunday. We also invite folks to join us in the many activities that will be starting up for our church year. Please visit our website for more details.

Our Mission at First Church is to “Welcome All, Grow in Faith, Joyfully Serve” and we fulfill this Mission in many ways.

Beyond worship, we offer Sunday School and Youth Groups for children and youth as well as Bible Study, Book Groups, and other Adult Education programs for folks at all stages of their spiritual journey.

Our music program takes advantage of the many musical gifts of our community, including a vocal choir, a bell choir, and instrumentalists.

We are committed to showing God’s love – and our love – to all, especially the poor and marginalized, through many local and regional hands-on mission projects.

Perhaps we are best known in the community for our fellowship and food.

Watch for our traditional Turkey Dinner to be held in early November, and look out for many other great events throughout the year.

Editor’s Note: Other Bedford congregations continued their regular services during the summer.

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