Many questions get asked by visitors, newcomers to town and friends and neighbors of our members. Here’s a list of questions that may help you get to know the United Congregational Church of Holyoke.
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.
What doctrines do you enforce?
We are more interested in relationships that doctrines; we are not enforcers.
We believe that we are called to love our neighbors, our children, and creation; we believe that God is good, and that life is a gift. We believe that we can know God through the teachings, example, and life of Jesus.
What do you say about God?
The God up in the sky? The judgmental God? The God who makes everything happen for a reason? The God who loves or hates all the same people that I love or hate?
The mystery of Being that vibrates presence throughout every part of the universe?
The God who appears in many religious traditions — and in every act of love and justice?
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.
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?
We have two worship services:
a. Saturdays at 4pm, our Faithwaze service built around “community driven Christianity”. Soup and bread to follow.
b. Sundays at 10 am is our traditional worship with hymns, prayers, choir and organ, scripture and sermon.
Do you welcome divorced people? LBGTQ people? People with disabilities?
Of course. We welcome everyone, regardless of your place on life’s journey.
Could I come for a walk-through and a visit before deciding whether to attend a service?
Do I have to be a member to participate in sacraments?
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 Inter-generational choir after worship during the school year.