With almost four centuries worth of history, First Church in Cambridge is a vibrant and welcoming congregation located in the heart of Harvard Square. It’s served its community members for 388 years and holds regular service, weddings and other religious events for the residents of Cambridge. The church’s spacious and beautiful sanctuary has been sought after by many for a range of events, including the popular Candlelight concert series.
Situated at the corner of Garden and Mason streets, just across Mason Street from the old Radcliffe campus, the church is reachable by train with the nearest stop being Harvard Square. From there, it’s only an eight-minute walk to the church. If you get there by car, there’s parking along the residential streets near the church. What’s more, the sanctuary and Lindsay Chapel are wheelchair accessible and on Sunday mornings, large print service bulletins and assistive listening devices are available for those who need them.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about First Church in Cambridge
1. The church’s history starts with the arrival of minister Thomas Shepard from England in 1635.
In 1635, the English minister Thomas Shepard left England following the death of his oldest son with his wife and son to become minister of one of the leading churches in the colonies, the First Church in Cambridge and of Harvard University, which was then a new school that trained men for the Christian ministry in the Puritan colonies of New England. They came aboard the “Defense” in October of the same year, joined by about sixty friends, to embark on a new adventure.
2. First Church was meant to be Puritan in its form, but with greater liberty than was allowed in England.
The main objective was to form a church that was separate from the State and purer than the one which they had left in England. Considered as a reformation of the church, they would still hold true to an entirely Puritan way of thinking.
3. A year later the First Church in Cambridge is formed.
On February 1, 1636, the First Church in Cambridge was finally established. This was the actual first church in Cambridge, hence the name, and the eleventh church in Massachusetts overall.
The Candlelight series continues to enchant audiences at First Church in Cambridge. From pop stars Taylor Swift and Adele to holiday specials and anime scores, these performances cover a wide range of genres and music artists. The combination of candles and the divine setting at First Church in Cambridge make for a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t forget any time soon.
What else can you do at First Church in Cambridge?
Besides Sunday service, weddings and baptisms, First Church in Cambridge is well-known in the community for its range of programs, where people from all walks of life can get together, share experiences and learn more about worship, music and social justice. Some of its most popular programs include the Family Choir, First Church Choir, Friday Café and the Youth Group. The church is open almost every day from 7 am to 10 pm, so you can pop by any day to take a look for yourself.
The oldest church in the city has hosted hundreds of sermons, community gatherings, weddings and special events. It’s now welcomed the captivating live music concerts by candlelight to its sanctuary to mesmerize Bostonians and Cambridge residents alike. If you’re looking to enliven your dinner plans, there are several other venues across Boston, where you can enjoy these unforgettable performances, surrounded by breathless architecture and a sea of flickering candles.