Why are we a part of WCUC? Just Ask Us!
Jessica and Josh
Jessica and Josh say WCUC is a place where their whole family feels welcome and loved. “We noticed right away that the church embraced our children 100 percent, and there’s nothing more satisfying than that,” says Jessica.
The couple cherishes the worship hour. “I love love the way Hannah preaches,” says Jessica. “During worship, Josh and I feel fulfilled, and we know that our children’s spiritual journeys are being nurtured in Sunday School.” For this family, “church is about building your relationship with God and building your relationships with other people.” In fact, they are making so many friends at church that Luke, age 4, has announced his desire to spend some vacation time at the home of a longtime church member who has done some babysitting for the family. His older brother Jacob enthusiastically agrees!
“Because of West Concord Union Church, when clients come in, I look at them – whatever their past – as children of God. I view them in a way that’s colored by WCUC and what God is calling me to do. The idea that people deserve good things in their life… that’s what we learn from our relationships with each other at church as well as the specifics of the Bible.”
Susan comes to WCUC with her adult daughter, Meghan, who is part of our Sunday Fellowship group. “I was looking for a community to share my spirituality with, and after going to service with Meg once I felt I wanted to learn more about WCUC,” says the longtime Concord resident. “I felt welcomed from the beginning by the congregation. The sermons were meaningful and the music was mesmerizing– it was a sure win/win for me.”
Last year, they attended a Christmas Eve service at WCUC and were so pleased that Meghan seemed to feel right at home--so much so that she hummed the Christmas carols afterwards!
Susan, an interior decorator and color consultant, also appreciates that Hannah brings the environment into the service, handing out bulbs for planting during Lent and focusing on "God's Green Earth" in Vacation Bible School. "Nature is part of who we are," she says.
Sharon, Ellen and Mark
Mark, who is in high school, treasures the church because of "its culture of openness and tolerance and because my family can be accepted." Mark's two mothers were married two years ago by the Rev. Hannah Brown, and his mother Sharon has served as a deacon.
Sharon values WCUC for its small size and concern for social justice. She traveled with other members to New Orleans in 2007 to do hurricane relief and recalls, "There was one moment of sheer joy when we were working on a rooftop and we burst out singing. It could have been so discouraging to look out at a sea of blue tarps and damaged homes. But instead, to be part of a group of people doing something to make it better, there was so much hope. It was one time when I felt this is absolutely where I was meant to be."
Sharon also finds WCUC to be a place where "we can share the raw and messy edges of life. That's what life is, and you can share that and not be judged." She finds the time in worship when people offer up their own personal joys and concerns to be deeply moving.
Sharon's wife, Ellen, had a difficult time with church when she was growing up, so she says she is always surprised by the warm welcome she receives when she comes to church with Mark and Sharon. "This church is wonderful. I'm glad Mark is having a completely different experience than I had growing up in the church."
"Open hearts and open minds," is how Andrew describes West Concord Union Church. "Now that my two sons are in college and my parental responsibilities move away from the day-to-day concerns," says the Ayer resident, "I have a strong need to express, explore and deepen my spirituality in a community of open-minded and good-hearted persons. I have found that community here."
Andrew says he values "how we are encouraged to question and explore personally difficult scriptural passages through open, honest and compassionate dialogue, both during Bible study and even in the main Sunday services themselves." He calls his recent baptism "a weighty leap of faith, but one made with the assurance and comfort of abundant support from Rev. Hannah Brown, the Deacons, my sponsor, and the whole of the congregation. I am very grateful!"
Betsy and Larry
Betsy and Larry, with their three children, Ethan 9, Sara 7, and Toby 4, came to West Concord Union Church in December 2012. And they stayed; because, in their words, this is a community where all can “come as they are.” There is spontaneity in worship, they don’t need to be perfect, and their children are accepted as full members of the church family who can offer their own prayers in worship.
They remember last season’s Maundy Thursday service as a perfect example of the way we “do church.” What started out one way evolved and changed as more children did their own thing and adults chimed in until the evening became one big, noisy, joyous celebration of God’s surprising good news!
They live in Concord, where Betsy, a speech and language pathologist, is at home now with their children and Larry works at State Street Bank in Boston. Both grew up in the Greater Boston Area and were raised in the Roman Catholic Church. They are grateful for the warm welcome that they received right away from Rev. Hannah and from all the members.
Susan, a retired French teacher, found WCUC in 2010 after many discouraging months of looking for a church home. "By the time I came to West Concord I had almost given up," she remembers. "But the first Sunday I was there, I thought, 'This really feels like home.' It just did. I felt very welcomed right from the beginning."
Susan also likes the music, the beautiful sanctuary, the inclusion of people with disabilities, and having a young woman as the minister. “I get a message from Hannah’s sermon that I can carry around for the week and think about. I find that very nurturing,” she says.
In 2011, Susan joined the church and became a trustee. She quickly initiated and oversaw the renovation of North Hall. “What was thrilling to me was there was never an attitude of ‘Who does she think she is? She just got here!'”
“People arrive as they are and they’re accepted for who they are,” Susan says. “I’ve never felt I had to change anything or really verbalize a set of beliefs that I’m not comfortable with.”
A physician, mother and new member, Amy attended church as a child but as an adult did not often have a church home. "I felt disconnected and daunted," she says. "But since the first time I came to WCUC, I really felt welcomed. I knew after only a few weeks I had found a new church home." Amy's daughter quickly grew to love her Sunday School teachers, says Amy, noting, "I have been so happy to watch her faith in God grow."
Amy finds that the challenge to self-reflect and to hear God speaking are some of her favorite aspects of Pastor Hannah's messages. "I really like the emphasis on a true Biblical message," she says. Finding her mission through volunteering in Vacation Bible School and helping those in need through Congregational Care, Amy feels connected and involved in a deeply meaningful way. "Connecting with people and feeling useful is easy here," says Amy. "This really is a community of mutual support."