Lamp representing the light of God Newton Highlands Congregational Church
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NHCC Visitor Information

We at NHCC think of ourselves as friendly and welcoming towards visitors, but we realize that visiting any church can be strange or even intimidating.  We hope this page especially, and the rest of the web site generally, will answer some of your questions and make your first visit easier and more enjoyable.  If you might be considering a wedding or baptism, click here for more information on these special services.  For a note of welcome from our Senior Pastor, click here.

Everyone is welcome at NHCC.  We believe all people are God's children, fellow travelers in this journey of life and faith, and we want each other's company and help along the way.  We have a mix of members: some have joined as recently as the last few months, some within the last few years, and some are long-time members.  We are an Open and Affirming congregation.

  • Getting here is easy by car, by MBTA, or on foot or bicycle if you don't live too far away.  Check out the directions page, which has a link to a map.  There is plenty of parking.  

  • If Picture of old-fashioned doorknob you can climb a few steps, it is easiest to enter church entrance and steps via the front door, shown in the accompanying picture.  (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)  The door is a relic of the fortress-like architectural style of 1906.  In good weather it will be open.  In winter, turn the large ring and pull to open the door, or knock (hard!) and someone will open it from inside.

  • If you cannot easily climb steps, click here.  The building is accessible via a different entrance.

  • Time of Sunday worship is 10 AM most of the year, 9:30 AM from Top of page late June until Labor Day.  Check the Calendar page for exact dates of changeover.

  • deacons greeting worshippers at the doorWhen you enter the main door, you will be greeted by one or more of our deacons.  The deacons will be glad to answer any questions you have about NHCC, child care, worship, etc.  You will be invited to fill out a name tag, but feel free to decline if it makes you uncomfortable.  Most of the members wear name tags on most Sundays.  (Occasionally we forget or someone's name tag gets lost, but we are doing pretty well lately.)  A deacon will hand you a worship bulletin.  Most people seat themselves, but ask the deacons if you have questions or need assistance.

  • Crayons and colorable bulletins for children, large-print worship bulletins and hymnals, and hearing assistive devices are available.  Ask one of the deacons if you would like any of these and need help finding them.  Often they are out in plain sight; if so, feel free to help yourself.  (It will help us out if you return large-print hymnals and hearing devices to the entry area after the service.  You may leave bulletins in the pews or take them with you.)

  • Children are always welcome at NHCC.  Children can remain with you, or child care is available downstairs from before the beginning of worship until the end of Education Hour. (Ask a greeter for directions downstairs; the building can be confusing if you aren't used to it.)  bannerOn most Sundays, children in Kindergarten through 5th grade start off with us in worship, then go downstairs for church school. Middle and high school youth meet upstairs on most Sundays and remain in worship on others. See the Education page for more details, and greeters will know the plan for the day. Parents are welcome to accompany children or stay in the Sanctuary for the sermon and rest of the worship service.
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  • The Worship service will seem familiar if you have attended other Protestant churches.  If not, don't worry!  We have members from a variety of faith traditions, and our only memorized ritual is recitation of the Lord's Prayer.  (The words are usually printed in the bulletin and can also be found in the hymnal "front matter" page 16, except that we use "trespasses" rather than "debts."  If you don't know what this is about, just ignore it!)  See the Worship page for some details.  The service usually lasts just over one hour.

  • The worship bulletin lists the planned activities of the worship service.  An asterisk indicates portions of the service where the congregation is invited to stand.  If a responsive reading is planned, the congregation's words are indicated in bold.  If we are singing a hymn that is not in the hymnal, the words and music will be in the bulletin.  The bulletin also contains announcements of events and messages of concern to the congregation.

  • Sometime during worship, we usually spend a minute or so greeting our neighbors in the pews and extending the hand of Christian fellowship.  Be as anonymous or as outgoing as you like, but this is a good chance to let someone in the church know you are visiting if you wish.  We do not single out visitors or otherwise embarrass them.

  • Some people first come to our church because of difficult personal circumstances.  If you would like a call or visit from our pastor (whether because of difficulties or just to get to know us better), please fill out a visitor card available in the pews or at the door, or Top of pageask one of the deacons, or call the church office.

  • Like most churches, we take up a collection.  Offering plates are brought to each pew by the ushers, passed from the center aisle along each pew, then back to the usher in the center aisle.  Visitors are not obliged to contribute, and you will not feel conspicuous if you don't.  There will be quite a number of people who put nothing in the plate because many of our members mail their contributions or donate online.  Of course you are welcome to make a contribution if you would like to.  If you have filled out a visitor card, you can drop it in the plate.

  • We love our organ and organist, and therefore we remain seated to listen to the Postlude.  This may be an unusual custom, but we enjoy it.

  • After worship, we meet in the Parlor for coffee, juice, light snacks, conversation, and fellowship.  This is a great time to meet us and get to know us better.

  • Christian Education for adults is scheduled to begin at 11:30 and lasts until 12:15, but times may vary slightly depending on how long the worship service lasted.  Christian Education for children takes place during worship.  Classes are separated by age; see the Education page for details.  Each class meets in its own room; please ask for exact locations.

If you still have questions, please see our Contact page to find out how to reach us.

We are glad you are checking out our web pages (especially if you have read this far!), but God's church is people, not bits and bytes.  Behind everything you see here on the web site, there are real people who would love to have you visit us in the real world.  Come, be our guest, be as anonymous or as open as you feel comfortable with, but mainly please come.  You are always welcome.
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