our Ministry

our ministry

UCC Firsts!

Our ministry has historically celebrated a number of firsts in the community and we enjoy our historical roots.

1620 – Pilgrims seek spiritual freedom, forbearers of the New England Puritans.

1700 – Early stand against slavery.

Rev. Sewall writes the first anti-slavery pamphlet in American, “The Selling of Joseph”. Laying the foundation for the abolitionist movement a century later.

1785 – First ordained African American Rev. Lemuel Haynes, became a renowned preacher and writer.

1812 – First foreign missionaries (to India).

1817 – First School for the Deaf.

1839 – Defining moment for the Abolitionist movement.

Chained Africans seize control of the slave ship Amistad. They are recaptured and jailed in New Haven, CT. Congregationalists and other Christians organize a campaign to free the captives. The Supreme Court rules the captives are not property, and the Africans regain their freedom. The jailed African’s lawyer was John Quincy Adams.

1853 – First ordained woman, Pastor Antoinette Brown, serves a congregation

1957 – The United Church of Christ is formed when the Evangelical and Reformed Church unites with the Congregational Christian Churches, embracing believers of African, Asian, Pacific, Latin American, Native American and European descent.

1972 – First ordained openly gay Pastor – Rev. William R. Johnson.

2005 – Marriage Equality confirmed when the governing body of the UCC (General Synod) affirms the civil rights of same gender couples.

For the children

Christian Education

We support the Christian Education of all children in our church. Come in and join us with your little ones!

Christian Education
Welcome to Sunday School
at the Stratham Community Church

Our Sunday School program fulfills the greatest commandment: to love God and our neighbor.
The Sunday School program reflects our mission statement:
Christian Education is:
• The development of a basic knowledge of the Bible.
• A deeper faith through stimulating, thought-provoking and engaging discussions and projects.
• Opportunities to be disciples of Christ.

Using fellowship, mentors, mission and outreach, we will transform our deeper faith into actions that we take with us into the week and the world. We explore the essential stories from the Bible. Strengthening our faith, thus maturing our youth into responsible disciples of Christ.

Schedule of a Typical Sunday School Morning:
Sunday School takes place mid-September through mid-June. We also offer summer sessions, which are group classes/child care.
10:00 am – Worship service begins and children and adults are together in the sanctuary at 10:15 am the children gather in sanctuary for children’s message.– Children leave the sanctuary for Sunday school at 10:25. Sunday school is dismissed at 11:00 am. Parents should pick their children up at worship. We ask parents to respect the volunteer teacher’s lesson plan and not to interrupt class for early release unless absolutely necessary.

Sunday School Communication:
Our church sends out a daily email called the “Thought for the Day” which contains up to date communication of what is going on at our church. The Christian Education director communicates to families through group email, announcements in church and personal interaction. If you would like your family added to the group email list please contact the church office.

Sunday School Teachers:
In the congregational tradition, we ask the whole church – parents, high school youth, empty nesters and adult friends to participate in the educational ministry of the Stratham Community Church. A brief orientation will be given to anyone interested in teaching.

Curriculum:
We use both a Spark House curriculum and Whole People of God. These are Sunday School faith formation programs designed to activate faith in children from preschool through eighth grade. Both of these curriculums follow the lectionary. Scripture that is shared in the sanctuary is the same scripture children are reading, acting out in skits, coloring and crafting. Learning the bible can be FUN!

Special Offerings during the year:

The Children will all have the opportunity to learn and or revisit the following:
• The Lord’s Prayer
• The Beatitudes
• The 10 Commandments
• Psalm 100
• Psalm 23
• Bible Vocabulary
All third graders receive their own bible to keep. All forth graders will learn about Communion through special classes offered in the spring. All youth
6th – 12th grade are invited to join in the youth activities that are offered throughout the year. All 9th and 10th graders are encouraged to join the confirmation class. Confirmation classes begin in September and confirmation service is in June.

Christmas Pageant:
All children are invited to participate in this retelling of the Nativity Story. The pageant is during regular worship time. The children will be provided with costumes and music. Rehearsals are during regular Sunday School time. Depending on their role, some children will need to meet outside of Sunday school hours. Please check the Thought for the Day email for information on the pageant.

Acolytes:
All fourth grade students are invited to become acolytes. They are responsible for bringing God’s light into the sanctuary by lighting the candles at the beginning of the service. By extinguishing the candles at the end of the service, they are taking God’s light out into the world. Deacons will provide Acolyte training in the fall. If further training is needed, the Deacons will schedule this on an individual basis.

Music:
Sharing music is an important part of our Sunday School program. Our Minister of Music will periodically work with the youth throughout the year. Children will have the opportunity to sing, play an instrument and perform music for the congregation during worship.

Mission Projects:
Our church has a strong mission outreach program. We provide many mission opportunities for our Sunday School youth. Some organizations that we currently support are: Seacoast Family Promise, Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, 30 Hour Famine, 68 Hours of Famine, the Clothes Attic.

Nursery:
Our nursery is for infants through 2 years of age. It is staffed by church members who have had criminal background checks and are CPR and first aid certified. Nursery hours are from 9:50 until the end of worship. Nursery care is offered throughout the year.

Music Ministry

Come and hear our music ministry

The Stratham Community Church, UCC Music Ministry is an integral part of each worship service.  The Gathering Music, Prelude, Hymns, Offertory, Anthem, and Postlude are selected weekly by the music director in collaboration with the pastor.  Additionally, special music is often featured such as small brass ensembles, instrumental and vocal soloists, the adult and youth bell choir, the voices of the Sunday School children, and even talented dancers.

SCC has excellent music facilities.  An Allen Digital Organ and a “G5” Yamaha grand piano are featured in the Sanctuary.  In our spacious music room, there is a Yamaha electric keyboard, a Yamaha upright piano, a set of drums, Schulmerich chimes and bells, as well as a vast collection of choral anthems.

The Pilgrim Hymnal, The New Century Hymnal and other sources of hymns are included in Sunday worship.

The adult choir consists of approximately 20 members accompanied and directed by our multi-talented music minister Cheryl Stromski.  New choir members are welcome to join us!  Choir rehearsal is on Thursday evenings at 7:00 – 9:00 as well as Sunday mornings at 9:00 – 9:45 during mid-September through mid-June.

Volunteers are welcome to assist or manage special groups such as a Youth Music Ministry or a children’s choir.  We are blessed to have many talented and enthusiastic musicians within the church membership who enjoy sharing their talents!