FCC Bristol is an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or other situation in life, is welcome and invited to participate fully in the membership, leadership and employment of the church.
The UCC is a distinct and diverse community of four mainstream Protestant denominations that now includes nearly one million members in 5,000 churches across the U.S. The UCC’s mission is to serve God in the creation of a just and sustainable world. It challenged churches to become Open and Affirming of all individuals, regardless of race, sexual and gender identity. We are a part of the Southern New England UCC conference (SNEUCC) made up of churches from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Our Open and Affirming Statement:
The First Congregational Church in Bristol sits as a historic witness in our community. That witness embodies our welcome to those who come in search of God’s presence in their lives.
We are a faith community of diverse people whose common ministry is to rejoice in God’s love, as well as to heal the brokenness with each other and with God. Responding to that call, we welcome all people, including but not limited to persons of every age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital standing, physical and mental ability, economic status and family structure into the life, membership, leadership and ministry of this church.
We affirm each person as a child of God, worthy of God’s love and our love, and covenant to support one another in our joys, sorrows and spiritual growth. With this historic witness, we invite all people over the threshold of Christ’s open door to engage with us in the work of this church in the world.
The Meaning of Church Membership
Church membership creates a covenant between the church member and God and between that person and other members of the church. People who enter this covenant relationship promise loyalty and trust in one another. Commitment to this covenant empowers people to infuse life in the church with a quality not typically found in human organizations: appreciation and honoring of differences and diversity. Most organizations survive and prosper because they bring together people who are alike. But the Church, through its sense of covenant, preserves congregational life. It holds members together even when severe struggles over diversity of actions and beliefs occur. The Church makes no distinctions of race, sex, age, tongue, nationality or economic status. It seeks to anticipate, and to be the first sign of, how all people will dwell together in unity in the coming reign of God.
How to Become a Member
People become members of the First Congregational Church in Bristol in one of four ways: by baptism and confirmation, by baptism and profession of faith, by baptism and re-affirmation of faith or by letter of transfer from another church, UCC-affiliated or other recognized denomination.
Members make a commitment to support the church with their:
- Time: worshiping together and serving together.
- Talent: using the skills, passions, and gifts God has given you.
- Treasure: supporting the mission and ministry of the church financially.
Members have the right to vote at congregation meetings, to represent the congregation at Association or Conference meetings, and it also means you can serve on the Church Council and as a Deacon. If you wish to join the church, please contact the church office to inquire about membership: (401) 253-7288, Email the FCC Office HERE. New member classes are held periodically. These classes are informal and aimed at providing participants with an understanding of how the church functions and how you, as a member, can become involved in our ministries of love, justice and service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you located?
The Church – Sanctuary, DeWolf Chapel, and Sunday School – is located at 300 High Street, Bristol, RI. The Office is located in the Guiteras House, across the street at 281 High Street.
What time is worship?
Sunday morning worship begins at 10:00am and usually ends at 11:00am with a Fellowship Hour following service.
Our goal is to keep everyone safe and provide options. At this time, worship is being conducted both in person — with masks and social distancing — and via live stream on the Internet so that anyone can access the worship service from home. Access to the live streamed service is via the button at the top of the HOME web page.
Where do I park?
Most of our parking in on the streets around the church – High Street, Bradford, Congregation. Several spaces in front of the church are reserved for handicap parking.
Are you handicap accessible?
Yes. Several spaces in front of the church are reserved for handicap parking. A ramp for entering the building via wheelchair is located to the right side of the Sanctuary, at the door into the DeWolf Chapel area. Restrooms are handicap-friendly with grab bars. There are hearing devices installed for worship near the rear of the Sanctuary. All pews have seat cushions. Ushers are always ready to help.
Are children welcome at service and is there Sunday School?
We love to hear children in our church. The First Congregational Church Sunday School program offers something for newborns through High School graduation. If you have children accompanying you, they are welcome to stay with you during the worship service. There is a nursery with trained attendants for the care of infants and toddlers, newborn to age 2 years. Every Sunday, the children are invited to the chancel steps for a time of conversation with the worship leader. At the end of Children’s Message, those who would like to attend Sunday School are invited to go to their classroom with their teachers. Sunday School ends at 11:15am. Children 5th grade and younger can only be released to an adult.
Is there a nursery?
Yes. There is a nursery with trained, background-checked attendants for the care of infants and toddlers, newborn to age 2 years.
What are the ages for Sunday School?
For students aged 3-5, we have Pre-K & K classes.
Our Sunday School classes for first through eighth graders provide a strong foundation for the future.
Our Senior Youth generally serve as Teaching Assistants in classes for younger children, building skills and strengthening their understanding of spiritual foundations.
Who can receive Communion?
Our Church practices an open table. Whether you are a baptized Christian, practice a different faith tradition or practice no tradition, you are welcome to join us at the Lord’s Table.
How can I be confirmed?
For students and adults aged 9th grade and up, we offer a unique Confirmation Program which combines lay leadership as well as Pastoral classes with requirements including overnight retreats and service to our community.
Do you perform weddings for non-members?
Do you perform weddings for couples, regardless of sexual orientation?
Yes. FCC Bristol is an Open and Affirming congregation.