Our beloved pastor of more than 25 years, Reverend Norman A. Koop, was suddenly called home to be with our Lord on October 7, 2015. The First Congregational Church of Woodstock (FCCW) is seeking to fill the position of Senior Pastor with a man of God who will lead us into the next chapter for which God has been preparing us.
FCCW is a vibrant, independent church consisting of 160 active members and “friends” attending from a wide “local” community, some driving as much as an hour to attend Sunday services. We are a warm-hearted, spiritually and biblically mature congregation whose traditional worship services have been notable for solid biblical teaching and heart-felt singing by those who seek to know God’s grace and trust His sovereignty.
The church is situated in historic and beautiful Woodstock, Vermont, a destination and resort community approximately 2.5 hours north of Boston and part of the Upper Valley Vermont/New Hampshire micropolitan area that includes Dartmouth College.
FCCW was organized as a Presbyterian church in 1781 but switched to Congregational in 1800. It became independent in 1977 when the church voted to withdraw from the United Church of Christ. At its bicentennial in 1981 the church adopted the motto: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In 1988, the church re-adopted its original statement of faith from the church’s organizational meeting of 1781, which remains our statement of faith, with some minor modifications, today.
The building we use has enjoyed a long history. Our original meeting house was constructed in 1807 and extensively rebuilt in 1890. In 1955, an addition was added to the rear of the building which now houses the church nursery and Bible-based Woodstock Christian Child Care (WCCC), which is licensed to care for children aged six weeks to twelve years and currently has an enrollment of 34 children with 8 part-time staff. The present 3 manual, 36 rank Austin pipe organ was installed in 1968 and provides wonderful accompaniment to congregational singing. In 1974 a crack was discovered in the Revere Bell that was used to call the community to worship (now displayed on the south porch), which was replaced by another bell that is still rung on Sunday mornings. The interior of the sanctuary was restored in 1993, incorporating elements of the 1890 construction, along with the interior of the Billings Room, where classes and fellowship events are held. In 2014, all Sunday School classrooms were renovated and are actively used.
We are a missions-oriented church where 40% of the budget maintains a major focus on the Great Commission. Worship services are currently held on Sunday morning and evening and on special occasions. During the school year, prior to the morning service, we hold Sunday School classes for all children (preschool through high school) as well as for adults. We have an active weekly prayer meeting, a ministry to the youth in our church, a number of weekday Bible studies and we hold all-church retreats and activities for men, women and co-ed fellowships. There are a small number of adult fellowship groups and we hope to see this area grow and flourish.
The church has a mixed form of government with power granted to both the body (membership of the church) and to the elders. The congregation votes on elders, deacons and members of other boards and committees, as well as the annual budget. The elders feed and govern the church, admit new members, and call the church body together upon any weighty occasion. The current Board of Elders has five members which will also include the Pastor. A six member Board of Deacons serves the physical needs of the church so that the elders may be devoted to the Word of God and spiritual needs of the church. We have been blessed that our three most recent pastors served the church for 24, 6 and 25 years, respectively. In addition to the staff of WCCC, part-time positions in the church include a Music Director/Organist, an Administrative Assistant, a Custodian, a Property Manager and a Bookkeeper.