Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of church is this?
We are Christian: we follow the way of Jesus, the Christ.
We are Protestant, in that our history and character has been shaped by the protestant reformation that swept Europe some five centuries ago. Many also trace our tradition back to the early Pilgrims and Puritans who settled in Massachusetts and New England beginning in the 17th century.
We are Congregational, in that our local congregation governs itself. We are free to think and act for ourselves. We take the Bible seriously, if not literally. In a range of Christian churches, we are more inclusive and progressive. We are intensely ecumenical in spirit and value our interfaith ties.
We are a congregation of the United Church of Christ denomination and share its strong emphasis promoting justice and peace. See our open and affirming page.
Does your church dismiss scientific inquiry?
No. We love science. Nor do we dismiss the poetic attempts to describe the mysteries of life in this grand universe.
Looks like a really big church.
Big hearted, big thinking, big welcome to all, huge building – but small in numbers. It’s a great place to find community. We see this grand church building as an asset to Holyoke and beyond. We enjoy the music of two world-class pipe organs. We host community groups, concerts, dinners, silent films, study conferences, school groups, AA, dances, discussion groups, community meals and family films and our “Rebekah’s Closet” that helps families with infants and toddlers with occasional diapers, wipes, clothing, books, toys and furniture.
What doctrines do you enforce?
We are more interested in relationships that doctrines; we are not enforcers.
Does it cost a lot to become a member?
Everything – and nothing. Whether someone is a member or not, they are free to bring their passion and energy into the life of the church. Members get to vote and hold office (Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, etc.). People are asked to support the church with time, talents, and treasures. But financial giving is a private matter. The congregation is very fortunate in its choice of ancestors – their generosity over preceding generations still provides help – while new generations emerge.
When and where are worship services?
10 am Sundays – usually in beautiful Skinner Memorial Chapel, because it’s easier to heat and cool, but sometimes in the much larger Main Sanctuary for special events and services. Both have entrances on Maple Street, and both are fully accessible.
Where do I park?
Weekday parking is free on Maple Street and in the church parking lot directly behind the War Memorial building which is across the Maple Street from the church. After 5pm and on Weekends, all parking in city center Holyoke is free – including the lot directly across Appleton Street from the church.
What about children and youth?
Few in numbers, children and youth are considered part of the congregation and mix easily with adults. Some attend worship with adults for the first part of the Sunday worship and then go with their teachers for a lesson and activities. They are invited to rehearse with our Intergenerational choir after worship during the school year.