We know it’s not always easy to visit a new church. That’s why we want to make you feel as welcome as each of us felt the first time we came to worship here. In order to make your experience as comfortable as possible, we are providing answers to the questions most often asked by first time visitors. We hope this information will make it easier for you to join us for Sunday services at The First Congregational Church of Darien, UCC.
What kind of church are we?
We are a traditional Congregational Church, with roots dating back to the early 1700’s (before the American Revolution). We are part of the United Church of Christ and members of the Connecticut Conference of the UCC (for more information see www.ctconfucc.org). Our Church has a strong commitment to our local and global communities and we welcome all who desire to worship, regardless of previous faith traditions.
Where are we located?
We are located at 14 Brookside Road in Darien, CT, at the corner of Brookside Road and Post Road , near the Goodwives Shopping Center . There is plenty of parking next to the Meetinghouse and in a lower lot in front of the Church. Click here for directions.
What happens when we arrive?
You should plan on arriving 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the service. When you come in the front door, you will be met by a greeter, who will welcome you to the service. We will also have ushers who will give you a program and help you find a seat.
What should we wear?
There is no dress code, and people attend worship in a variety of attire. Our youth are casual and comfortable. The dress for our adults ranges from suits and ties to business casual.
When are the services, and how do they differ?
From September through June, we have Sunday services at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. During the summer we have a combined service at 9:00 a.m. This year our summer services will begin on June 26th, through Sept 4th. Our 8:30 service is a more intimate and informal gathering lasting about 45 minutes. Our 10:00 a.m. service, which lasts about an hour, has more music led by our choir and is more family oriented.
We normally open the 10:00 a.m. service with a call to worship, announcements, a hymn, and a scripture reading. Those elements are followed by a children’s message at the front of the Church by one of the clergy, after which children proceed to Church School . Your children can join the age-appropriate Church School class or stay with you. After children go to their classrooms, we have a period where we share our joys and concerns (no one is required to speak), another scripture reading, a minister’s message relating this reading to our daily lives, an offering, and closing music. As a visitor, you are not expected to participate in our offering, unless you desire to do so. This order of service is typical, but may be altered on any given Sunday if required by special occasions.
What do children do?
Our tradition is to have all children participate in the 10:00 a.m. service during the first 15 minutes, which includes the children’s message. Once the children’s message is complete, most children from pre-schoolers to seventh graders attend Church School classes, while some stay with their parents. If your children wish to attend Church School , we suggest that on your first visit you accompany them to their classroom. (The staff can direct you to the right location according to their grade.) When the service is over, you can pick up your child in the classroom and head to Parish Hall for coffee/juice and snacks.
Youth (grades 8–12) usually stay in the service. Eighth graders are in our confirmation class, which meets at various times, often after the 10 a.m. service. We have a vibrant, busy Youth Group.
What about infants and toddlers?
With a congregation that includes so many young families, we are especially prepared to help you manage your infant and/or toddler and enjoy your worship experience. There is a nursery specially staffed to handle infants and toddlers while you are in the service. The initial greeter can assist you in finding the location. If you prefer to keep your infant or toddler with you, we ask that you excuse yourself from the service if your child becomes restless. We have a special place in the library, adjacent to the Meetinghouse, where you can be comfortable with child while hearing the service in its entirety through our audio system.
Do we need to be members to participate in Communion?
Everyone is welcome to participate in this tradition regardless of religious affiliation or Church membership. Communion is served the first Sunday of every month.
What happens after the service?
Each Sunday after the service there is a time for coffee/juice and conversation, either in our Parish Hall or outside on the front lawn. This is a great time to meet people and get to know more about our Church family.
What about people with special needs?
If you have questions about special needs for a family member or handicapped access please don’t hesitate to call the Church office (203-655-0491) for assistance. We will be delighted to assist you in any way that we can.
We look forward to having you join us for worship on Sunday!