The United Congregational Church of Holyoke

If you are coming to worship here for the first time, be prepared to let go of some preconceptions. We aren’t exactly the church you may remember from childhood. For instance, if you have experienced more liturgical worship, you will find that we still have some of the elements.

The United Congregational Church of Holyoke

Skinner Chapel Entrance

We usually sing a contemporary version of the Gloria and the Doxology, but not always. We almost always say the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father, who art in heaven… etc.). The Traditional hymns from the past centuries are still sung, but most weeks they are joined by one or two more contemporary tunes played on the piano. We enjoy the sounds of the two pipe organs – each one better than the other. We usually read two selections from the Bible, but sometimes we substitute other readings from poets or contemporary spiritual teachers. Words matter, so we are hesitant to use language that portrays a God who is high and removed, who is shaming or punishing, who overrides natural forces to arrange human outcomes. At the same time, we know that healing is real, that people do find forgiveness or transformation, and that God is revealed in love and justice. We are not progressive fundamentalists, but we often try to find language for god that is gender neutral – less theistic (up there in heaven) and more pantheistic (in and through the whole universe and more.

If you’ve experienced Evangelical “free church” worship, with big crowds, high-energy praise bands and polished oratory with constant visuals, you may not find those here. Still, our worship flows through praise and prayer, music and sermon and invites your encounter with the holy. And we do make use of a projection screen on most Sundays.

Our church building may remind you of “Hogwarts,” with its foreboding stone towers and wrap of green vines. But rest assured, we are a lively and progressive community of activists, thinkers, seekers and traditional disciples.

Charles (Chuck) Morkin

Photo Gallery

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