About Amicable Congregational Church, UCC
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Gathered in 1746, Amicable Congregational Church (United Church of Christ), reflects the two faces of the Tiverton community in which it is situated. The congregation’s sense of tradition and good old-fashioned neighborliness seem fitting for a church surrounded by the history and quaintness of Tiverton Four Corners, in one of the few unspoiled farming and fishing villages left along the New England coast. On the other hand, Amicable Church’s openness and progressiveness is right at home among the array of nearby artisanal shops, yoga studios, meditation centers and galleries, which signal that Tiverton is keeping with modern trends as well as spiritually seeking in a variety of ways. A member of the United Church of Christ, Amicable Church espouses the denomination’s spiritual position that “God is still speaking.” This is reflected by beliefs that view the Bible and Christian traditions through the lenses of reason, science and in the context of the many cultures and belief systems of the world.
Amicable Church is a very active congregation with deep roots in the Tiverton community. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have taken seriously God's call to serve the least among us.
Foodin the past three years our Thanksgiving Basket Program has grown from offering "the fixings" for a full Thanksgiving dinner to about 35 families to over 110 families in the greater Tiverton community receiving these "baskets" last year.
For almost twenty years our youth have raised awareness of and money for the homeless in our state by finding sponsors for their annual Homeless Awareness Sleepout which is held on the first Saturday evening in February. During worship the following morning, the youth share their thoughts and experience with the congregation.
Amicable Church has been a strong supporter of the RI Conference's Haiti Mission, a mission that supports churches, schools, and a health clinic in Haiti. Several of our members have been on service trips to visit and support this mission.
Amicable's members and friends are also good at mixing work and fun. This happens most often in and through our special fundraising events. These events are a chance for us to work and laugh together, as we get to know one another better. The largest of these events, which occurs on the last Saturday, in June, is our Summer Festival where you will find a silent auction, yard sale items, books, children's games and toys, a quilt raffle, and delicious food. The event also includes a timed and measured 5K Race/Family Walk which takes place at Tiverton 4 Corners. On the first Saturday in December, we hold our Holiday Bazaar, with a large variety of Christmas cookies sold by the pound, a country kitchen, holiday wreaths and greens, and many new and good-as-new items for sale. New to our fundraising efforts is an ongoing Amicable Church Thrift Shop (A.C.T.S.). Open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. , we offer the community fine, gently used clothing and household items at very reasonable prices, with weekly sales.
(See the Events tab for more info.)
Services and Service/Discussion Series
In addition to our weekly 10:00 a.m. Sunday services, Christmas Eve services, and special Holy Week services, Amicable Church regularly holds special service/discussion series that explore a variety of topics. (See the Sermons tab for more info.) Childcare is available for all services, and all are invited to join us for Coffee Hour after Sunday services!
A Very Brief History
First they left England for Holland and then Holland for the New World where they settled in Plymouth hoping to found “a more Godly society.” We now call them the Pilgrims, but they saw themselves as Separatists who felt the Church of England had fallen away from Christ’s teachings. Descendants of these early colonists settled in nearby Little Compton and gathered a church there in 1704. Settlers in the southern part of Tiverton made the long trek to Little Compton each Sunday for a long day of worship, prayer, and fellowship.
By 1746 distance and growing numbers encouraged the gathering of a new congregation and thus Amicable Church came to be. The first meeting house was on Lake Road near our historic cemetery at the junction with East Road. In 1805 a new meeting house was erected just north of Tiverton Four Corners. This structure burned but was rebuilt in the shape of our present sanctuary in 1846.
Just what kind of church is this?
Amicable is a mainline Protestant church in the Congregational tradition. Congregational churches have no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose doctrine or form of worship. Christ alone is the head of the church. We celebrate two sacraments, baptism and communion (The Lords’ Supper). We are a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC) a union of four like-minded denominations who, since 1957, have joined in ministry and mission in this country and around the world. (ucc.org) We are completely self-supporting and govern our own affairs by vote of all the members.
Amicable Congregational Church Mission Statement
Amicable Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, led by God and the Holy Spirit, endeavors to follow Jesus Christ's example by serving as a beacon of light, bringing the world into relationship with God. We welcome all to join our faith journey as we worship, work, and learn together building community, nurturing hope, promoting wholeness, and seeking justice by sharing God's gifts of grace and love.
Minister of Music and Arts Outreach
Vaughn Bryner, M.M., CSVW, a church musician/conductor and a professional singer/voice teacher and keyboardist for 30 years, has performed many genres of music- from classical to jazz, pop, rock, musical theatre and sacred -at universities, concert halls, theatres, churches and other venues around the country. Vaughn brings his experience in a variety of musical styles to Amicable Church, where he complements the message of each weekly Sunday service with a combination of piano, vocal and organ music that takes the congregation on a journey designed to help each person connect emotionally and spiritually to one another and the Divine. Children, youth and adults alike are regularly featured in the music of Amicable Church’s services, whether in choirs, small groups or solos, affording participants the opportunity to receive expert musical and vocal coaching. Vaughn is also a university instructor and has taught voice and piano at a number of colleges and universities, including his current position at Roger Williams University.
In addition to his ministry in weekly Sunday services, Vaughn leads (and often creates or coordinates the creation of) special arts programs. These programs allow kids, youth and adults to express issues that are important to them and the church’s mission to the community through music, drama and visual arts. (For more information about these programs, see the Arts Programs tab on the homepage.) Participants in Amicable Church’s music and arts programs do not need to have prior experience to participate. Please come join us in using music and other arts to more fully discover and express the spiritual side of yourself!
Rev. William Sterrett
Bill Sterrett is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School (June 1983), receiving a Master of Divinity degree. After graduation he moved to Germany, where he married his partner, who was studying at the university near her family home. For three and a half years he served two churches in southwestern Germany. Returning to the United States, he began his pastorate here at Amicable Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, on March 1, 1988 and was ordained the same year at his home church, Zion United Church of Christ, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Bill is strongly tied to his denomination, the United Church of Christ, not just because it is the denomination he grew up in, but because of the church’s unparalleled leadership on social justice issues. In its history the denomination has a number of “firsts”: first Protestant denomination to ordain an African-American in our country (1785); first to ordain a woman in the modern era (1853); first to ordain an openly gay man (1972), one of the first to call for Marriage Equality. Bill is proud to have led Amicable Church to publicly state its welcome and affirmation of all people regardless of race, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or family make-up.
Aspects of Amicable Church’s ministries under Bill’s leadership that he considers most important are: focusing on youth with a desire to broaden their horizons by creating mission/service trips locally, regionally, and at the National Conference level; and strengthening Amicable Church’s ministry to the community through its building in a capital campaign in 1996 (as part of the church’s 250th anniversary celebration), which added a much needed parking lot and improvements to the church building.
Bill considers himself privileged to be able to serve a congregation that continues to grow in its faith, even as it helps him to grow in his.
Kathy comes to us from over the bridge in Portsmouth where she lives with
her husband and daughter. Kathy had a career in the financial services
industry and has more recently been involved in the Girl Scouts and PTO
organizations as a volunteer. She enjoys sailing, gardening in the spring and watching the sun rise over the Sakonnet.