WHAT WILL YOU EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU WALK IN THE FRONT DOOR?
When you walk in the front door, you enter a vestibule with stairs on both sides to the “sanctuary,” the place we worship; and doors into first floor area we call “Fellowship Hall.” The Church holds Sunday Worship Services at 10am, with special services at Christmas, Lent, and Easter. Communion is observed the first Sunday of the month. Children participate in worship and share in a “Children’s’ Time.”
For a small membership church, the Newfane Church has a remarkably vital music ministry under the direction of Mike Kelly, an experienced and talented musician and music director. Mike provides the organ and piano music which accompanies worship, and arranges for special music and musical events. Also under Mike’s direction the church sponsors the Newfane Community Bell Choir which supplements the music of the church and provides bell choir music for community events and in neighboring churches.
We believe that you will find Newfane Church to be an openly friendly and welcoming congregation. We are theologically liberal, and believe the Bible “though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition” (UCC statement: What We Believe). Our members come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wide variety of interests. We come from the surrounding communities in southern Vermont and New Hampshire. Whatever life journey you are on and wherever you come from, everyone is welcome at Newfane Church!
Our celebration of Holy Communion, held on the first Sunday of the month, is open to all. It is an “open Table”, with no conditions. All who are interested in exploring Christ’s teachings are welcome. Your religious affiliation doesn’t matter; your particular beliefs or nagging doubts do not matter; no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome to share in this meal.
As a congregation we generally embrace liberal views on social issues, such as civil rights, LGBT rights, and women’s rights. Please refer to our “Open and Affirming Statement,” as follows:
OPEN AND AFFIRMING COVENANT OF NEWFANE CHURCH
With joy and celebration, the Newfane Congregational Church, UCC, declares itself to be an open and affirming congregation. We welcome all who seek to follow Jesus to share in the full life and ministry of the church. We value each person as a beloved child of God, and celebrate the diversity God has created. Whatever your age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, physical, cognitive, or emotional ability, we invite you to grow with us in faith and love. Whoever you are and wherever you are in life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Although our beautiful building is approaching its 188th birthday, the sanctuary is warm and inviting without being overly imposing. A recent building campaign has resulted in the additional new offices and meeting spaces and made the church building fully wheelchair accessible. Our bathrooms are gender neutral.
Our Sunday worship services are casual, openly friendly and interactive. We start off with announcements about anything the congregation wishes to share, from special events in the community to specific activities occurring with the church body. We typically open and close the service with amazing solo performances by Mike Kelly on the piano or organ. After a hymn and a unison prayer we pause to walk around to “pass the Peace of God” with a handshake or an embrace as we welcome one another. Congregation members lead this part of the service, and then read the daily scripture.
Matthew’s sermons are grounded in up-to-date biblical scholarship and are always spiritually uplifting and timely. He provides a historical background to the scripture readings and launches into a topic timely and relative, often drawing from his personal experiences. Throughout the sermon Matthew weaves in Christ’s underlying themes of universal love for all, helping all those we come in contact with, and to be open to the Holy Spirit entering and allowing us to at least contemplate what we might not understand.
After another hymn Matthew walks amongst us to receive both celebrations and concerns that we would want to be offered up in prayer. . This leads to a prayer and the unison recital of the Lord’s prayer, immediately followed by our weekly collection and an anthem either sung by the choir or a solo artist.
After the service there is a coffee “hour” where we gather to enjoy light refreshment and to meet and share what has transpired in our lives, or simply be in fellowship.
We are in fellowship with the Vermont Conference of the United church of Christ, and the national denomination known as the “United Church of Christ .” Our history is rooted in the Congregational Church, which, for better or worse, traces its history back to the beginnings of European colonization of land where the people of the Abenaki nation lived