First Church in Cambridge, Congregational

11 Garden St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617/547-2724
Fax: 617/876-5829
Web address:

Contact Person:

Rev. Daniel Albert Smith

Organization Description:

First Church is a vibrant, progressive, multigenerational, increasingly multicultural urban church just outside of Harvard Square. We are a Christian community strongly rooted in the Congregational tradition of the United Church of Christ. Gathered worship is the heart of our life together; it nourishes our spiritual formation and civic engagement with the wisdom and witness of our Christian tradition. We are serious about relating faith to daily life though often struggle to balance competing demands. We care for each other, laugh a lot, and have a deep sense of Christ’s mercy which helps us uphold our covenantal commitment to one another through tension and transition. We are also a generative community, forming many candidates for ministry over the years. Twelve of our members are clergy working in secular settings. Our ministries include an on-site homeless shelter for men; our weekly Friday Café which is a drop-in midday gathering for homeless and income-insecure adults in our parish hall; an offsite meals program in collaboration with other churches; a weekly street Eucharist (the Outdoor Church of Cambridge); the Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition; the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization; adult Christian formation every week; a thriving church school and creative arts program; spiritual growth and faith-sharing groups; and a large building housing a preschool and non-profits with compatible missions. Pastors Dan Smith and Karin Case lead a highly collaborative and amazingly talented team of staff and lay leaders. In terms of demographics, we are predominantly white (90%) and tend to be well-educated despite a fair amount of socio-economic diversity. We have a relatively even distribution of children and youth, young adults, young families, middle-aged persons, retired persons and elders. LGBTQ persons (especially lesbians and to a lesser extent gay men) are well-represented in our membership, leadership and on our staff. Several individuals and families of color, African American, Haitian American and Asian American are active in our leadership. We are working to increase our racial diversity and are currently engaged in several ministries and partnerships that are addressing racial justice, inclusion and healing, including a Public Remembrance Project related to First Church’s history of slaveholding. Please visit our website to learn more ( ).

Opportunities for Student Involvement:

First Church will welcome any seminarian eager for a challenging placement, and who is creative, flexible and mature. This placement is an opportunity for students to explore many facets of leadership in the local church. It is especially suited to a person with interest or experience in worship, adult faith formation, intergenerational ministry, the connection between worship and the arts, and social action ministries, such as the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, our weekly Friday Cafe and the First Church Shelter. Depending on the student's interests and abilities, he or she may wish to devise with us a learning plan that includes participation in a particular area of focus, as well as the more typical explorations of traditional dimensions of local church ministry -- visitation, worship design, planning and leadership, preaching, administration, Christian formation and the like. A student with the right combination of gifts might also want to explore working with the leadership team on an alternative service, deepening our interfaith connections, or offering a weekly prayer and meditation group. We value clear guidelines, supportive structures and regular, mutually-accountable supervision.

Commute/Transportation Information:

We are located within walking distance of HDS and the Harvard Square T Station.

Arts of Ministry Competencies Offered:

  • Administration and Program Development
  • Denominational Polity
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Preaching and Worship
  • Public Leadership, Community Organizing, and Planning
  • Racial Justice and Healing
  • Religious Education and Spiritual Development


Student and supervisor will meet weekly to assess how the experience is moving toward the agreed upon goals, to reflect theologically upon ministry, and to clarify aspects of church life.

Additional Information:

  • Number of Students: 1
  • Total Compensation: $6000.00
  • Type of Compensation: Direct Pay from Site
  • Additional Notes: This site is not available for 2019-20.

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