Natick's Front Porch
Porches are great! You can sit and watch the world go by. If you get lucky, someone might just decide to join you and sit a spell!
We have a great Front Porch right at the crossroads of MetroWest. Though our roots date back to 1651, since 1799 First Congregational Church has stood where it stands today. The buildings have changed but our witness remains. We want to be a part of the community, and we want to be a part of Natick’s continuing vitality.
We open our building whenever possible to community initiatives and whenever there is a party downtown, we get in on the action.
Below are some of our “Front Porch” traditons!
The Boston Marathon route runs right by our church. Most years, members of a church program will staff a table selling hot dogs, snacks and drinks for marathon watchers
On Earth Day each spring the Common comes to life with a variety of activities and organizations celebrating Planet Earth. The celebration includes kids’ stuff, live music, vendors of all sorts, community representatives, good food and wildlife demonstrations. First Church hosts a climate change event speaker or workshop indoors to raise awareness about climate change and actions that we can take to make a difference.
Art Walk welcomes more than 50 artists in July. The artists are stationed outside local businesses and studios in Natick Center to share their work with the public during ArtWalk. ArtWalk is Natick's largest summer arts festival featuring painters, photographers, potters, jewelry-makers, quilters, glass artists and mixed media artists who show and sell their work. Local bands, musicians, and dancers also perform around Natick Center. Our Front Porch offers the ideal position to relax, take in the fun and engage in some excellent sidewalk chalk art.
For several weeks in August, we turn over our front lawn to SOAR Natick (Supporting Outreach and Addiction Recovery) for their Opioid Overdose Memorial display. Each purple flag they plant in the lawn represents one opioid overdose death in Massachusetts in the past year. For many years, over two thousand flags have been planted. In recent years, there have also been red flags, planted by those who have lost a loved one to overdose, with personal messages of remembrance.
Natick Day in early September is a great opportunity to experience the vitality of the Natick community in action as organizations from around town gather on the common and share information and opportunities that make this a dynamic town.
On Natick Day, First Church is a hopping place! Play the ball toss game on the Common and win a chance to ring our huge steeple bell. Or go to the dogs…and bunnies and chicks and ducks and goats, piglets and kittens and other assorted barnyard creatures at our annual petting zoo. On our Front Porch are interactive resources to introduce Godly Play, our faith formation for children. All kids will receive a coupon for a special gift that will be presented during worship the next day at the Blessing of the Backpacks.
The Blessing of the Animals celebrates the feast of St. Francis of Assisi in October. We PAWS on the front steps of the church to em-BARK on this celebration. Bring your beloved pet, stuffed animal, or even a picture of a beloved animal for this PURR-fect opportunity to give thanks to God for the comfort and joy they give us each day. The brief blessing service will be followed by pet treats and cider and donuts, depending on your preference. Bring your friends!
Natick Artists Open Studios in October is comprised of over 80 artists who live, work or show in Natick, as well as guest artists. Open Studios is committed to bringing art to the local community by opening up studios and welcoming conversations about the experience of creating art. Open Studios offers the opportunity to see art, learn about how it is made, and buy local art directly from the artists. Participants include painters, photographers, creators of jewelry, ceramicists, sculptors and woodworkers, as well as paper, fabric, glass and garden artists. First Church is both a sponsor and a host of Natick Open Studios exhibits.
Living Creche, Brass Ensemble and Caroling has become a town event! Families in the area come back year after year and say that their kids couldn’t wait! Look for the Living Crèche on our Front Porch during the Town Treelighting on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Or better yet sign up to join the cast. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it is the reason for the season. In thirty minutes and a costume change, you can be the Word made flesh! We have everything you need to transform yourself into a shepherd or wise guy or even an angel. Thirty minutes goes by quickly with all the hustle and bustle out on the Common and with Strike Up the Band’s brass ensemble serenading you with carols. In a half hour, everybody is in the Christmas spirit!
Victorian Christmas gives everyone a chance to experience the beauty, joy and warmth of the holiday season the way it used to be. Step out of the hustle and bustle and step back to a time when the First Congregational Church was brand new in 1875, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Sit side by side with those in period costumes and enjoy 45 minutes of favorite music and Christmas readings and stories from that time. Join us the first two Sundays in December at 4.
Outdoor Advent Wreath Lighting
We fill the darkness with light! Join us on the Front Porch for a short service to light the Advent Candles and sing
Christmas Carols in preparation for the birth of the Christ child.
Gather for the Community Opiate Vigil in December. Masssachusetts has seen a dramatic and often fatal increase in opiate overdoses. It has happened in Natick and it will keep happening unless we raise awareness and find effective
ways to intervene. We gather in the sanctuary on the Sunday evening before Christmas and share prayer and stories. We look for ways that we as a community can turn this tragedy around.