Sunday Mornings at 10 am
• Coffee hour after each worship.
• Communion the first Sunday of the month ~ the first Sunday is also FAMILY Sunday.
* During the cold months, worship is in the Chapel,
By God's Grace, West Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, is committed to nurturing and celebrating God's love in our lives, in the Church family, the community and in the world.
Pastor Tim's first Sunday with us!
Rev. Dr. Tim LeConey, the youngest of five children, grew up in southern New Jersey in an American Baptist church and went to Drew University in Madison, NJ. While working at Camp Oceanwood in Ocean Park, Maine, during his college years, he met his future wife, Mary, and discovered a call to ministry. Tim attended Andover Newton Theological School and received a Master of Divinity in 2000, the same year that he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. Tim served as Associate Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Essex Junction, Vermont, for five years and then Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Fryeburg, Maine, for ten years. In 2013, Tim graduated from Bangor Seminary with a doctorate in ministry. Mary is an Occupational Therapist with Androscoggin Home Health plus being with NH's Visiting Nurse program. Tim and Mary have three children: Liam, 20, will attend the University of Maine at Farmington; Ben, 17, is a senior at Fryeburg Academy. Evan, 13, is an 8th grader at Molly Ockett Middle School. Tim enjoys hiking, nordic skiing, running, reading, listening to music, and singing.
*Check out Jane's incredible photos of WPCC LIFE: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=103492811860763079395&target=ALBUM&id=6057576616211211617&authkey=Gv1sRgCKGx4J3TpqrLeg&feat=email
*Also West Parish Congregational Church, UCC is on facebook ~ we're easy to reach!
Hello and Happy Summer! I hope that the season is off to a good start for you and your family. Recently, I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about church membership and what it means to people these days. This church will be welcoming new members in the not-too-distant future and the By-Laws committee has also been talking about what it means to be a member of the church. There was an article in the 5/22 Maine Sunday Telegram about the rise of non-denominational churches in Maine and how they appeal to people who don't want to become members of traditional churches.
The whole issue of church membership has changed a lot over the years. Paul Nixon and Beth Ann Estock, in their book Weird Church: Welcome to the 21st Century, write this about it: "Of course, now it is a new day. The Spirit has really messed things up for the Western organized religion industry. The scales have come off our children's eyes in an unprecedented way. We have even devout young Christians asking why exactly they should join a particular church as a member. And among those who are choosing to formally affiliate with a church, they hardly ever feel obligated to accept all of the church's doctrines literally. Church membership means almost nothing anymore--or it means only what each of us wishes for it to mean....All of us have multiple options! At any point in time, any of us can create our own church or create for ourselves a meaningful life without any church! Most people are done wasting time and energy in petty fights over church policies. Of course, in an era of such rapid change and disorientation, there will remain a sizable minority of people who are ready to hand over a lot of trust to voices and institutions that help them find a sense of comfort and security. But across the board, we are about to witness a more precipitous drop in church membership for all groups in the Western world than anything we saw in the twentieth century. Welcome to the world of the spiritual free agent! The drop in church participation is coming faster among the Anglo population to start. But all groups should see it between now and midcentury. I may be a person of deep faith in God. But if I am under the age of thirty, I cannot figure out what church membership has to do with my faith in God. And for many, the disconnect extends even to attending church functions and worship services. As one young friend....said to us, based upon her experience, "I see lots of churches, but I honestly cannot imagine why I would want to go to one."
Ouch. True words in some ways and Nixon and Estock get to the challenges that churches face these days. And yet....we have a vibrant and committed church with people who aren't obligated but choose to come for the richness of community and spiritual vitality present here. And as we prepare to celebrate Children and Youth Sunday on Sunday, June 5th, I see youth who are heavily involved with the church in so many ways, contributing much to our services and outreach, and whose faith has been shaped and helped to shape our communal life together. So, what do you think it means to be a member of the church in this day and age? I hope that we can continue the conversation.
Also, just a reminder that I have office hours at the church on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 to 12:30 and on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30-4:30. Also, you can find me outside of the office at the Crossroads Diner most Wednesdays from 9-10 AM. And please let me know if you or a family member will be going to the hospital (or having a day procedure) and if you would like a visit from me. Enjoy the summer and see you in church! Tim
Church Office Hours:
Thurs. & Fri., 9:30 - 4:30
Summer Hours: Thurs. 9:30 - 3:30
We are a church dedicated to extending Jesus' welcome to every person. Our mood is hopeful, our spirit is uplifting. As we gather to sing hymns from our rich heritage, to pray for healing of people and the earth, and to hear an inspiring message from our pastor, we are thankful for our legacy and for Christ's call to lovingly serve God and neighbor. In response to that call, we cheerfully support both global and local outreach to people in need.
West Parish Congregational Church was organized in 1796, and is the oldest continuing institution in the Town of Bethel, after the town itself. The current historic meetinghouse building on Church Street was originally built in 1847.
Reverend Dr. Tim LeConey, Minister
207-824-2688 Pastor's Office
Associate Pastor of Outreach ~ Rev. Robert Ross Ph.D., M.Div.
Grace-Street Ministry, Portland, Maine
207-824-2689 Church Office