Rochester church's new service will add 'something different'

By Georgia Sparling | Feb 22, 2017
Photo by: Georgia Sparling Rochester Congregational Church will begin a new service on March 5.

Rochester — The First Congregational Church of Rochester is adding a new Sunday evening service beginning March 5 in an effort to meet the needs of its membership and the community.

“We’re targeting those who either have commitments on Sunday morning due to family or work and younger families who are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere,” said Rev. Bob Ripley.

He said some parents won’t come because they worry their kids will disrupt services, though Ripley said the congregation always reassures self-conscious moms and dads that they’re welcome. Plus, it can also be difficult to get up and out on Sunday mornings for families with small children.

With this in mind, the church leadership began working on the new service more than a year ago. Ripley said it will be a combination of the more traditional morning service with contemporary elements.

“We don’t have a rock band style praise team,” he said, though there will be more music than in the first service, and the lyrics will be projected on a screen instead of read from a hymn book. Ripley will preach the same sermon he does Sunday mornings, but being in the fellowship hall, the gathering will have more of a café atmosphere with coffee and tea served.

The first service will be March 5 at 5:30 p.m., and Ripley hopes it will draw in not only existing members but also those in the community looking for a place to worship.

“So many folks are looking for something different but are not always sure what that something different is,” said Ripley. “We’re trying to meet a need where there might be some gaps.”

For more information, call 508-763-4314 or visit

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