Mission & Beliefs
Adopted at Annual Meeting 2006
The mission of Second Church is to grow as a community of faith and to be a vibrant witness to God’s love in our community, and in the world. Our way is “the transformation of the self for the transformation of the world.” By opening ourselves to the transforming power of God’s love as embodied in the life and teachings of Jesus, we work toward the transformation of our community, and the world.
This way of transformation is reflected in our church covenant and in the three basic areas of our church life - Worship, Word, and Work. At the heart of our covenant is the call to listen. Through our creative involvement in the “Three W’s,” we strive to listen with our whole being. In Worship and prayer, we listen with our hearts so that we may experience God as a living reality. In our discernment of God’s Word, we listen with our minds so that we may understand what God is asking of us individually and as a community in this time and place. In our Work, we listen with our hands and feet as we help build up God’s kingdom in our community, and in the world.
We seek to listen for the voice of God speaking through other church members, including our children and our elders, as well as those who challenge us or with whom we disagree. And we listen for the voice of God as it comes to us with particular urgency through the poor and through our struggling earth.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and
our God, and to your deeds we testify:
You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image
and set before each one the ways of life and death.
You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior,
you have come to us and shared our common lot,
conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.
You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ,
binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races.
You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship,
to be your servants in the service of others,
to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil,
to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table,
to join him in his passion and victory.
You promise to all who trust you,
forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace,
courage in the struggle for justice and peace,
your presence in trial and rejoicing,
and eternal life in your realm which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.
We covenant one with another to seek and respond to the word and the will of God. We purpose to walk together in the ways of the Lord, made known and to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the church to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, while worshiping God and striving for truth, justice, and peace. As did our fathers and mothers, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the kingdom of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life.
(The uncommon church on The Common)
We will trust the presence of God, the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Being conscious of our own body language, we will listen carefully and respectfully to truly hear what another person is saying.
We will speak in the first person and from factual information, reflecting back what we have heard in order to confirm our understanding.
We will speak respectfully to each other and listen to understand; though we might not agree.
We will affirm the merits of ideas different from our own, while at the same time being lovingly honest with one another.
We will each utilize our own gifts for ministry. We will be mutually supportive to one another in our role as pastors, staff, leaders or congregation members.
We will honor the covenant by being accountable to one another.
ONA (OPEN AND AFFIRMING) STATEMENT
As the gathered community of Second Congregational Church, UCC in Greenfield, MA, we seek to celebrate the radically inclusive ministry of Jesus Christ. As disciples of Jesus, we strive to restore justice wherever God's creation is broken or divided.
We acknowledge that many persons have long been excluded and dishonored by the church based on their sexual orientation. We stand against that exclusion, boldly declaring that we are an Open and Affirming Congregation. In so doing, we welcome into full community, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers.
We recognize that many people have been excluded as well. We acknowledge our diversities and our welcome is to all people without regard to their race, nationality, age, marital status, gender, mental, emotional or physical challenges, economic status, or sexual orientation. When any person's opportunity for spiritual growth and worship is limited by injustice, our own growth is restricted and our worship diminished. We therefore invite all people of diverse backgrounds and life choices into the full life mission and ministry of this congregation.
Corey Sanderson - Pastor
Corey grew up in the UCC and has strong roots in New England. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of MA, a Masters of Divinity in General Theological Training from BU and a second Masters from BU in Philosophy, Ethics and Theology. He also has an Associates Degree in Automotive Engineering from the New England Institute of Technology and is restoring a 1969 Pontiac Firebird convertible with the help of his 8 year-old son.
Corey sees his greatest gifts and strengths as leading worship, practicing spiritual formation, and fostering community.
Madeline LaPlante - Administrative Assistant
Madeline LaPlante is the Administrative Assistant. She assists the Pastor, keeps the financial books and other records, does the Sunday Bulletin, edits the newsletter, The Visitor, manages the building use, and welcomes everyone who calls or stops by.
Leea Snape - Director of Music
Leea Snape has been the Organist and Choir Director for Second Congregational Church since 2004. She has played the piano since age four, studying under Chonghyo Shin, and organ under Hedley Yost. She is a member of the American Guild of Organists, Springfield Chapter, and has received the AGO service playing certificate.
On a typical Sunday she will play the organ, direct the choir, and play the piano, in both the traditional and contemporary mode.
Dennis Fisk - Church Sexton
I’ve been Sexton at Second Church for almost 20 years. I’m still humbled and proud to be part of the Community Meals program and to be working for the Second Church family. I also bring to my work my deep love and commitment to my family and friends. I enjoy traveling to far off places, our second home in Florida, gardening, my dog Sasha and sports.
Opportunities to serve abound. Within our mission-driven, flexible structure, if at least two persons feel a call to meet a specific need within the church community or within the wider community, communication with the Church Council can quickly set the project in motion. The Bread for Life program is an example of the how immediate our response to need can be. Where two persons meet around an idea, there may be a Task Force in the making!
It’s amazing what this group of women accomplish for the church and the wider community: receptions at funerals, cards sent out for all occasions, monthly pancake breakfasts, the yearly Cider Day breakfast, and countless gifts to the church from the proceeds: new microphones, new chairs for the choir, new appliances for the kitchen, etc., and the initiation of projects, like painting the downstairs community room.
Knit One, Pray, Too
Every Wednesday at one o’clock a group of women from Robbins Church and Second Church meet to pray and knit – hats, mittens and scarves for the town’s Warm the Children Christmas event, indoor slippers and afghans for The Family Inn, and pink scarves for the Rays of Hope project. Woven into the work are prayers for the suffering and the needy.
Every Sunday at worship deacons serve as greeters and ushers, and on Communion Sunday, offer the Bread and the Cup. On special days, like Maundy Thursday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter, they will help prepare the event and participate in its unfolding. The deacons are also responsible for staying in touch, either by phone or visitation, with church members who are confined to their homes.
Every Sunday at worship there are flowers in the sanctuary. After the service they are delivered to members who are not able to come to church. We cannot overestimate how important and appreciated this ministry is for those who spend so much time alone.
Prayer Ministry – The Prayer Tree
One of the ways we support each other as a faith community is to offer a quick response prayer chain for those times when you or a loved one is experiencing special challenges.
Notify the church office (413-774-4355) of your need and the request for prayer will be relayed quickly to participating church members. It is our goal to respect confidentiality as we spend time every day praying for God’s love and light on the specific situation or need that has been brought to our attention. This is a prayer service for members or attendees of Second Congregational Church and is not intended to address general or world issues.
Worship and Liturgy
Imagine if, together, as a lively community of disciples on the common, at the heart of Greenfield, we made our way each week to the summit of Sunday Worship in order to be filled with the Spirit, to dedicate ourselves anew, to receive together God’s call to mission – and then to go down from the summit, together, to do the faith within our circles of involvement – home, workplace, wherever it is we live our everyday lives or make a living…imagine, imagine!
It’s the essential rhythm Jesus played out at the Transfiguration (Transformation): deep prayer at the summit in the company of Moses and Elijah, and Peter, James and John (very few people at the service on the summit that day!) and then, overriding Peter’s reluctance, down into the valley went Jesus and the three disciples to do mission. From the Pastor’s Annual Report, 2011
Our Sunday summit meeting with God unfolds as follows: Processional Hymn, the Call to Worship, Opening Prayer, Confession and the Assurance of Pardon, the Passing of the Peace, Story Time for the Children, Scripture, Choir Response, Sermon, Prayers, Sharing of Joys and Concerns, Offertory and Dedication, Parting Hymn and a Sending-forth Blessing.
Come Sing with Us!
Second Church has a rich history in music and is open to all styles of worship singing. While many of our members have practiced classical worship music, we are a diverse group of “amateurs.” Singers range from “I’m just learning to sing” to soloists and instrumentalists. We invite all ages to come and join the fun in worshipful singing!
Organist & Choir Director
Leea Snape has been the Organist and Choir Director for Second Congregational Church for nearly three years. She has played the piano since age four, studying under Chonghyo Shin, and organ under Hedley Yost. She is a member of the American Guild of Organist, Springfield Chapter and has received the AGO service playing certificate.
The adult Chancel Choir participates in worship from the beginning of September to mid-June (summer break after Pentecost). Rehearsals are Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. prior to worship. If time doesn’t allow attending the traditional Thursday night rehearsal, singers may come to the 9:00 a.m. Sunday “warm-up.” The four-part choral group varies in number from a consistent 8 to between 25 and 40 during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost when the “expanded choir” participates in those holiday worship services.
Leea would like to start a youth choir. If you have a child who is 5 years or older who would like to sing in a young people’s choir, just contact the church office. Leea will be happy to speak to parents about getting their children involved in singing.
Are you a bell ringer? Would you like to start a Bell Choir with Second Church? We have a four-octave set of handbells that need to be rung. Contact our church office if you are interested in becoming a “ringer.”
Through the sacrament of Christian baptism, our young ones are affirmed as children of God and welcomed into the family of Christ’s church. Baptism is offered throughout the year. To discuss baptism with the pastor, please call the church at (413) 774-4355
Second Church features two sacred spaces for weddings: its large and imposing sanctuary and, for smaller weddings, the recently renovated Russell Chapel. To plan a wedding at Second Church, please call the Pastor at (413) 774-4355
Second Church will respond to your moment of grief and sorrow by offering you several options: a graveside service, a service at the funeral home, a funeral or memorial service in the sanctuary. We can never take too much time to arrive at the best possible way to honor those who have passed on. The conversation begins with a call to the Pastor at (413) 774-4355.
Second Congregational Church offers a special Healing Service Liturgy every second Tuesday of the month at 7 PM. Monthly healing services at the Second Congregational Church on the Common in Greenfield are a special gathering for worship, healing ministry and prayer. A small group has been meeting at 7 pm on the second Tuesday of the month for the past 4 years to share the ancient gifts of anointing with oil and laying on of hands. This hour of quiet music, reflection on God's word, and "soaking" prayer is designed for those times when you just need a little bit more spirit care in your life.
Based on the model of the early Christians who fully expected to be able to offer the same healing power they saw in Jesus' life, and invoking promises from the book of Corinthians that "one and the same spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person he gives the power to heal" lay church members are bringing gifts of word, touch and prayer to support each other in times of need. People are invited to bring requests for healing from spiritual, emotional or physical illness. Following a short liturgy of confession, scripture, and reflections on healing, there is a call to sit or kneel at the altar while a small prayer team gathers around to focus compassionate healing energy and spirit.
Some attend seeking healing for themselves while others choose to offer themselves as a channel for sending light and love to another person in need. Examples of the requests for healing prayer include impending cancer surgery, relief from persistent depression, concerns for a sick relative or a friend’s broken heart. All are welcome!
The Visitor is published monthly and can be found here.
July - Aug. 2012
Sermons are published weekly on our website.
August 5, 2012 - The First Supper
July 29, 2012 - Abundance
July 15, 2012 - God's Webpage
July 8, 2012 - He Sends Us
July 1, 2012 - The Healing Light
June 17, 2012 - Seed Power
June 10, 2012 - The Fear Factor
May 27, 2012 - Gathering Spirit
May 12, 2012 - Big Little Child
May 6, 2012 - So Well Connected
Feb 26, 2012 - Rainbow Connection
Feb 19, 2012 - Places
Feb 13, 2012 - Heal Me
Jan 29, 2012 - With Authority
Jan 21, 2012 - On the Move
Jan 15, 2012 - You Called Me
Jan 1, 2012 - New Beginnings