Edwards Church

Edwards Church was founded in 1833 after it split from First Church, the other UCC church in Northampton. Initially, it was called Edwards Society. It is named after the famous Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards.https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jonathan-EdwardsThe current building is the third building to house the congregation. The first building located further down main street and across from First Church was lost in a fire in 1870 after the building next to it caught fire. Edwards moved into a second church after this before the new church was built in 1958. The Church is decorated with stained glass windows with squares of pink and white glass decorated with crosses. It is a beautiful and eye-catching building located in downtown Northampton. http://www.firstchurches.org/welcome/history/

https://edwardschurchnorthampton.org/about-us/history-heritage/As a member church of the United Church of Christ Edwards offers affirming Protestant worship services. They follow the liturgical calendar and celebrate the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost, among other holidays. The current Senior Minister of Edwards Church is Minister Michael McSherry, the Minister of Faith Formation is Deb Moore, and David Kidwell is the Minister of Music. Edwards Church has worship services on Sunday mornings, and the first Sunday of each month they take communion. At this time members who wish to attend virtually can watch the Sunday service as they are digitally recorded and shared through Zoom. At services, those who attend can expect to read the week’s scripture portion, pray, sing, hear live music, either instrumental or the church’s choir. Pastor McSherry will give a sermon as well. Worship is followed by refreshments and a community gathering. https://edwardschurchnorthampton.org/worship/seasons-of-the-church-year/

Core to Edwards Churches’ mission is social justice and community projects. The first things that can be seen on Edwards website is that it is an “open and affirming congregation,” a message accompanied by a virtual pride flag that matches the actual flag that the church flies along its Main Street entrance. The programs for Sunday worship services acknowledge the indigenous land the church stands on and the members of the black and asian communities whose lives have been lost to violence in America. In partnership with St. John’s Episcopal Church, Edwards helps sponsor a soup kitchen called MANNA, founded in 1986. MANNA provides six meals a week, and it serves its Saturday meal out of Edwards Church’s kitchen. https://mannanorthampton.org/ MANNA provides three meals a week all year along with holiday meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. MANNA prepares 15,000 meals a year. Edwards website provides educational resources, along with book and media recommendations to learn about social justice. Additional support Edwards provides includes a parents center, weekly support groups, and provides operating space for a Sangha group in their building. For more information about Edwards Church, their worship practices and their outreach, please visit their website: https://edwardschurchnorthampton.org/