First Congregational Church was founded in 1736 when the citizens of Saugus (then a part of the City of Lynn)
found that traveling all the way to the church in Lynn was too hard, especially in winter. So people here petitioned the General Council of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to establish their own church. Back then, the Church was
the State and under its jurisdiction. We petitioned three times, were rejected twice, and finally granted authority to establish our present church in 1750. So it is with our church today – once we set our minds to do something, we never give up!
Rev. John Roby was our first pastor, called here in 1750 and staying until 1803. He was a veteran of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and even encouraged his parishioners to bring their guns to church for protection during
the Revolutionary War. His image can be seen on a bronze plaque in the Saugus post office.
Native American history is an important part of our story. Native Americans named this territory “Saugus,” meaning, “great or extended place,” in reference to the great marsh surrounding the town. The image of the Great Sachem, Montowampete, can be found on the Saugus Town Seal. Round Hill, right behind the church, is a sacred place to Native Americans. There is a small memorial park there and the town has plans to eventually carve a walking trail
up to the top, from which the Boston skyline can be seen. A large mural of European settlers and Native Americans working together can be seen in Town Hall, created as part of the public works art project during the Great Depression. Every fall our church celebrates Native American Sunday on the first Sunday after our annual Pumpkin Patch begins in late September. These pumpkins are shipped to us by the Navajo Nation of New Mexico through the Pumpkins USA partnership. So, partnerships that began with Native Americans and the first settlers continue today.
Pastor Katie Omberg is currently serving as our Bridge Pastor. Pastor Katie leads worship every week from our sanctuary on Facebook live, as well as offering weekly opportunities for connection, such as Bible Study and prayer calls over Zoom. Katie is passionate about the call of Jesus Christ to proclaim good news to the poor, free the prisoners, recover sight for those who cannot see Gods’ love, set the oppressed free, and proclaim the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19).
Pastor Katie has previously served as an Assistant Support Pastor at First Church Somerville, UCC, and as a Ministerial Intern at First Church in Cambridge, UCC. In addition to her call at First Church Saugus, Katie works part-time at Harvard doing administrative support, and works with the Mission Institute, an Episcopal organization that trains anti-racism facilitators to lead transformative conversations in communities of faith. She also volunteers with Black and Pink, a prison abolition organization and open family of LGBTQ/HIV+ prisoners and free world members. When not working, Pastor Katie enjoys hiking in the White Mountains, baking, spending time with friends in socially-distant ways, and reading comics.
“Bridge Pastor” means that the church is currently in the formal search process for a new pastor, and Katie is with the church until this time.
An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ
“First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Saugus, Massachusetts, following the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth who said, ‘The greatest commandment is to love God and love one another,’ welcomes all people to join us in seeking God’s special purpose for our lives. We declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming into the full life and ministry of the church, persons of every race, culture, faith background, economic status, gender expression and identity, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability. We commit to model a community of faith and spirit that works toward openness and understanding, offering justice, healing and wholeness of life for all people. Our church welcomes all who wish to join us in creating God’s peaceful world, as Jesus said, ‘on Earth, as it heaven.’”
First Congregational Church UCC of Saugus grounds our ministries in these words of Jesus, as we try to keep God front and center in all we do here. And to do that, we try to live the way Jesus asked us to - through acts of generosity and compassion. Not only do we feel closer to God when we live this way, we receive so much more than we give. Join us in one of our many community outreach endeavors, or study the Bible in the company of progressive seekers, or simply sit in silent prayer at one of our healing services. It has been said, “That which you are seeking is causing you to seek.” If God were not seeking you out, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.