Christ Church United is 307 Years Old
Jan 10, 2018 06:46AM
● By Marlene G-C
If you are trying to find out a little history about the town of Dracut, you should probably start with Christ Church United in the town center. One of the earliest votes on record in Dracut is that of March 6, 1711: “At a general town meeting unanimously agreed by a general vote for building of a meeting house.” In those days, churches served as meeting houses (and vice versa). In 1719, Thomas Parker at age nineteen was called to be the first settled pastor of the parish.
If you are looking for more historical roots, the church is part of the United Church of Christ, a denomination born out of a merger between the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1957. Their roots reach back to the arrival of the pilgrims on the Mayflower and the arrival of the first German immigrants in the 1840s.
The church, which is celebrating 307 years of ministry this year, may have a long history, but the congregation seeks to know and serve the current residents and friends of the Town of Dracut, and be a vital, worshiping Christian faith community and caring resource to the area.
“Our church has such great history, and the stories share the struggles and success of this area, and have in common, the life of the people in the church,” said member Roy Anderson. “The people, who have their own struggles and success, and want to learn from each other, share with each other, and rejoice with each other.”
The members participate in local activities, such as Old Home Day, they support veterans services, and they host a monthly luncheon for senior citizens. Town residents look forward to the church’s twice-yearly community yard sale, as well as a festive Christmas Fair in late November. The church has also been working with the town officials and grant writers for the funds to fulfill the vision of a community center for Dracut.
Community work is only part of what they offer. The church’s main purpose is to lift up an important message of God’s peace and love and hope for all people.
“This church intends to be a place of growing faith
and trust in God, where we follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ,
and invite others to join us in learning how to love God and our neighbor as
ourselves,” explained Pastor Carra
McFadden. “We share our faith journeys and pray for our
world, and we are focused on being a place of spiritual insight, enlightenment,
and education for the families of Dracut and the surrounding towns.”
The church welcomes all who search for God, and opens wide its doors in the name of Jesus Christ. They proclaim that “whoever you are, whoever you love, and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” (You can view Pastor Carra’s welcoming video here.)
If you were to step through those open doors on a Sunday morning, you would receive a warm welcome. An usher will offer you a worship guide and you may choose where you would like to sit among the 70-110 people who normally attend the 75-minute service. All manner of dress would be found, from ladies in high heels and gentlemen in suit coat and tie, to those more casually and comfortably dressed, to the young person or teenager in their sports uniform who is headed directly for the soccer field following the service.
Hymns and songs are sung each Sunday, accompanied
by piano, organ, or some additional instruments. Worship includes Prayers for the People as they
share joys and concerns for church members, friends, and world. A scripture is read, and the Pastor offers a
reflection on the passage for about 15 minutes. There is an offering in thanks
to God for being with us always and a blessing for the coming week. The sacrament of Holy Communion -- consisting
of bread, grape juice, and gluten-free crackers -- is open to all and celebrated
on the first and third Sundays. Coffee
hour for fellowship and conversation follows the worship service.
Families are encouraged to bring their children to worship at 10:00 AM, and sit together as a family for the first 15 minutes. There is then a ‘children’s message’ with the pastor, followed by Junior Church on the 1st floor, for an activity and snack before Sunday School begins at 11:00 AM. Sunday School runs from 11:00-12:00 Noon, and classes are divided according to developmental ages for Kindergarten-First Grade, 2nd-3rd Grade, 4th-6th Grade.
Middle school and high school teenagers are invited to help in Sunday morning classrooms with younger children, as well as attend Youth Group on Sunday evenings from 5:00-6:30 PM. Two adults lead this group weekly in activities and discussions about theology, school, and world events. Once a month they participate in a local service project, such as stocking the shelves with food items at the Dracut Food Pantry and visiting the MSPCA in Methuen, and once a month they do something that is pure fun, such as visiting a favorite trampoline park.
“This church is my family,” explained Anderson. “I appreciate what each brings, to create this church, and I depend on them to build my walk with God.
Anderson continued: “I really like to start my week, in
prayer and celebration and add to the history, at this church.”