Frequently asked questions

What does West Parish believe in?

West Parish believes that God loves all people!   We believe that we are called to love one another as God loves us.  We welcome all people of faith, or in search of faith, without regard to age, marital status, race, national origin, gender, economic condition, physical or mental challenge or sexual orientation.  We invite all people to West Parish!

What time is the worship service?

Our worship services start at 10am and typically last one hour.

What are your services like?

Our worship services blend tradition with innovation!  Our hour long services vary, but typically include a scripture reading, reflective thoughts from Rev. Katrina and prayers of joys and concerns.  

What if I have never been to a UCC Church before? Can I attend?

Yes!  We welcome everyone – whether or not you have been to a UCC (United Church of Christ) Church before.  You are welcome if you haven’t been to church in a long time, if you used to attend a different type of church, or if you’ve never been to church at all! You are welcome if you’re not sure what you believe, or if you are seeking deeper connection.

What should I wear?

On a typical Sunday at West Parish, you’ll find folks in jeans and sneakers, along with those in sport coats, slacks and dresses.   On Sundays in the Fall, you’ll also find people proudly wearing their Red Sox, Patriots or other sport team jerseys! Please wear whatever you feel comfortable in!  

Where do I go?

We are located at the intersection of Route 133 and Reservation Road in Andover.    We recommend you park in the lot in front of the church at 129 Reservation Road, and then enter the church thru the front doors by the steeple.   Once inside, you’ll be greeted and given a bulletin that describes the service.  

What is in a church bulletin?

The bulletin details the order of the service.  For example, it will detail the songs we will sing, scripture and prayers we'll say together.   It varies by week, and also contains information on church events.

Where do I sit during the service?

Please sit anywhere in the sanctuary where you are comfortable.   Also, if you want to explore West Parish from a different perspective, you are welcome to climb the stairs at either side of the entrance way – and sit upstairs with the choir and organ!  It is a fantastic, unique way to experience the service.

Can I bring my infant/children to Church with me?

Yes!  Infants are toddlers are always welcomed in our worship services!  Also, if you would like, nursery care from birth up is available in a clean, colorful room!  The nursery is staffed by trained, caring, responsible teenagers and adults.   When parents would like to be with their children in the nursery room, audio can be piped in from the sanctuary.

Do you have Children Sunday School classes?

Yes!   Children attend worship services with their caregiver for the first 10 minutes until Sunday School teachers bring them to class.   There is a younger class for ages 4 years through second grade, and an older class for 3rd grade and up.   Children get to know and care for each other in Sunday School.  They hear sacred stories and then have time to respond to the stories with art, movement and play.  The first Sunday of every month is a more lively service for all ages, so instead of Sunday School, kids stay in church!

What do I do after the church service is complete?

We welcome everyone to join us in a casual coffee hour after church in Fellowship Hall.  We’ll have hot coffee, tea, water and small snacks available, and you can casually chat with folks or Rev. Katrina.  People typically stay for 15 to 30 minutes, and it is a lovely way to get to know members of the West Parish community.

What is Fellowship Hall?

Fellowship Hall is our gathering place!  It is located all the way down the hallway from the sanctuary, and home to our coffee hour, along with many of our outreach events including the Chocolate Fair, Church Dinners and Yard Sale.

Are you handicap accessible?

Yes.   There are ramps from the parking lot into the sanctuary for those in need, and also to the door near Fellowship Hall.   Also, an accessible restroom is available in the hallway between the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. Adult education, worship and coffee hour are all on this main level – Sunday School classes are downstairs, and there is a lift available.

What is the Intergenerational service held the first week of each month?

This unique, innovative service engages the attention and participation of all ages.  While the nursery is open, children stay with their care givers this service and often participate in scripture readings and music.   We also share communion during this service.

Is there a Youth Group?

Yes!  Middle school and High school youth (grades 6-12) meet on the first Sunday of every month from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.  Meetings are full of games, sharing, discussion and service.   Special actives are held throughout the year, such as mission trips and more!   All youth are welcome to attend – and to bring a friend!

When is Communion celebrated?

Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month, during our intergenerational service.    We believe God’s communion table is open to everyone!  You do not have to be a member of West Parish or be baptized to take communion – and no matter where you are on your faith journey – you are welcome to join us!  

How is Communion celebrated?

The communion elements (small pieces of bread or gluten free cracker, and then grape juice) is typically distributed to you by ushers while you stay seated.  During this time, beautiful reflective music is played.

Do you have a choir?

Yes!  Come and sing with the choir, and make a joyful noise to God!  Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM in the Choir Room. We sing lots of wonderful old and new anthems and every voice is appreciated and welcomed!  For more details on the choir, please contact our music director, Yoo-Kyung Kim.

Do you have Adult Education classes?

Yes!  Sunday school for adults meets in our cozy parlor at 9:00 am almost every Sunday from mid-September to June.   Often, we do a contemplative Bible Study most Sundays and also have special programs such as yoga, books groups and discussions of current events.   You are welcome to come once, once in a while or every Sunday!

What does the rainbow flag at West Parish mean?

The flag highlights West Parish’s commitment to welcoming all people.  Rev. Katrina recently noted “The flag signifies the welcoming stance the church supports. It's about welcoming all people – including LGBTQ folks - and its about love. It's just an expression of what we believe.

What outreach activities is West Parish involved in?

West Parish is committed to helping our local, national and global communities through a wide range of outreach activities.    These include College Scholarship Fundraisers for Lawrence Youth, a Permaculture Garden that donates all its produce, the Green Team, Prayer Shawls and much more!  You can find more details on these outreach activities here.

 

What types of ministry teams does West Parish have?

A ministry team is a group of individuals who work collectively in an area of the church.   These ministries include Christian Education, Worship, Stewardship, Green and many more.   In late Fall, new individuals are invited to join these teams via bulletin and newsletter announcements. 

 

How much time is required to join a ministry or outreach activity?

Whether you have an hour a month or an hour a day - all individuals are welcomed to join a ministry or outreach activity.   Talk to different folks at coffee hour in Fellowship Hall to help you find an activity that best fits your time availability and desire to help others.

 

Is West Parish green?

West Parish is committed to be stewards of the earth and pledge ourselves to help preserve God’s creation.   We strive to

 - Worship in ways that celebrate and foster care for Creation

 - Educate adults and children in ecological issues and sustainable practices

 - Green our buildings and grounds

 - Promote Earth-friendly lifestyles at home and at work

 - Advocate and support caring for the environment in our community and the world

How do I become a member of West Parish?

At periodic times throughout the year, the opportunity to join West Parish will be announced.  Rev. Katrina will then meet with the individuals interested in joining the church, and then a service will be held where the individuals

Do I have to become a member of West Parish to worship there regularly or to participate?

No!   Membership is optional and an individual choice!   Everyone is always welcome to be part of the West Parish community!

Can I have my child baptized at West Parish?

Children, youth and adults of all ages may be baptized at West Parish Church!  For more details on baptisms, please talk to Rev. Katrina or contact her at revkatrina@yahoo.com

Can I get married at West Parish Church or the Garden Chapel?

From the magnificent, traditional West Parish Church setting, to the historic intimacy of the West Parish Garden Chapel, both settings are available for weddings.    For details on getting married at West Parish Church, contact our office at 978-475-3528 or westparishchurch@verizon.net for more information.    For details on getting married at the West Parish Garden Chapel, please access this link

What is the West Parish Garden Chapel?

The incredibly beautiful and historic West Parish Garden Chapel is located in the West Parish cemetery next to West Parish church.   The Chapel was built in 1909 and contains breath-taking Tiffany stained glass windows.  You can experience the beauty of the chapel during the summer months of July and August, when we move our worship services there at 10am.

Do you offer Funeral Services?

During these difficult times, West Parish can work with loved one to arrange memorial services at either the West Parish Sanctuary or within the Garden Chapel.   Please contact our office at 978-475-3528 or westparishchurch@verizon.net for more information.

Can I rent your facility for an event?

West Parish has a number of individual meeting rooms, along with Fellowship Hall which can seat over 120 people.    Depending on availability, these areas are available for rental.  Renting may include the need of maintenance services for setup and/or cleanup.   Please contact our office at 978-475-3528 or westparishchurch@verizon.net for more information.