What’s Happening This Month at Bedford Churches

September 7, 2023

When does a new year roll around? When the calendar turns on Jan. 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 for September.

All Bedford houses of worship are invited to share their notices with The Bedford Citizen

First Church of Christ, Congregational at 25 The Great Rd. Courtesy Image.

First Church of Christ, Congregational
Rev. John Castricum, Pastor

25 The Great Road, Bedford MA ~ the building is fully accessible
Contact: web, www/firstchurchbedford.wordpress.com/, by email, [email protected] , by phone, 781-275-7970

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The church has a very active month.

To start things out, the worship on Sunday, Sept. 17 will be a “Brunch Church.” This combines two things this church loves to do – worship and eat! This service will try to recover the tradition of the early church, remembering that they worshipped during a meal around a common table. For the people in the early church, Holy Communion was not eating a tiny bit of bread and a small taste of grape juice in a pristine sanctuary. It was taking a big loaf of bread brought to the meal, tearing it apart, and enjoying it. Same thing with the wine. 

This service will be part of a month-long “Seasons of Creation” lectionary series that has been done for the past few years. Brunch church will be more informal and multigenerational. The order of worship will be simpler with the sermon being more like discussion with friends over a meal and a larger talk-back time afterwards. The big difference is that there will be delicious food! 

Anyone so moved is encouraged to bring either a breakfast or a lunch offering to the meal to share with everyone. Muffins, fruit, egg casserole, lunch salads, or sandwiches are all fine – whatever you like to bring to brunch. The church will provide a big, delicious loaf of bread and pitchers of grape juice for the Communion portion of the service.

A week later, joining at the celebration of the church’s 10th anniversary with Pastor John. People are invited to a special coffee hour after worship on Sunday, Sept. 24 to celebrate the decade since he was called to be the church’s pastor and the work that has been done together under his leadership. 

The following Sunday, Sept. 24 will be a more traditional Homecoming Sunday worship in the Sanctuary at 10 a.m.

First Parish on Bedford Common, at 75 The Great Road. Courtesy image.

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, 
www.uubedford.org, by email,  [email protected], or by phone, 781-275-7994

First Parish celebrates the beginning of its church year on Sunday, Sept. 10 with its annual Ingathering on the Common. The entire Bedford community is invited to enjoy Bedford Farms ice cream, popcorn, folk dancing, face painting, and a variety of other activities. 

Ingathering is a bit more special for First Parish this year because the church also welcomes its new senior minister, Rev. Jamie Hinson-Rieger. Hinson-Rieger replaces Rev. John Gibbons, who was First Parish’s senior minister for 31 years until his retirement in 2021.

The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with an outdoor worship service led by Rev. Hinson-Rieger. Food, games, and other activities will take place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. 

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.

Rich and Nancy Appreciation Party’  

Rich and Nancy Daugherty are moving to Indiana sometime around the end of September. Lots of people will want to see them before they leave, so to facilitate at least one such opportunity, the church is declaring the First Friday potluck on Friday, Sept. 8 as a way to give them a great send-off.

The Daughertys have been a major part of everything at First Parish since the 1960s for Nancy and the 1970s for Rich. They have helped with the Plant Fair, Parish Board, Physical Plant Committee, Search Committee, Lay Pastoral Committee, Partner Church Committee, Wayside Pulpit – you name it, they have done it.  

Because there be many more attendees than usual, the potluck format will change – just for this potluck. Some people may just want to drop by for a few minutes, others will stay for the evening. Feel free to come and go as you please. Young and old are welcome and encouraged to attend.

The night will start as usual at 6 p.m. with wine and non-alcoholic beverages. People are asked to bring “heavy” appetizers – cheese and crackers, but also chicken wings, Swedish meatballs, shrimp, deviled eggs, or “your-favorite-party-food” to share.  

There will be speeches and surprise attendees. Ron Cordes will be MC for the tributes section. Let him know if you have something special to say. [email protected]

There will be cake for dessert. People can add cookies or other dessert food.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 100 Pine Road. Photo Robert Dorer

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

100 Pine Hill Rd., Bedford, the entire building is accessible through the main entrance
Contact: web – 
www.stpaulsbedford.org, email – [email protected], phone – 781-275-8262

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church kicks off the fall program year at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10. 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 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 Christian formation for all ages, outreach and service opportunities, observing the Season of Creation with our Green Team, fellowship gatherings, musical opportunities, and, of course, sharing in the sacramental life of baptism and communion.  

For more information about our fall activities, visit online at www.stpaulsbedford.org or email the church office at [email protected]. You can also reach out to the church’s lay leaders, Candy Walker and Heath Luedde, and the rector, The Rev. Chris Wendell. Or stop by our Bedford Day Booth on Saturday, Sept. 23…we’ll see you there!

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