What to Expect

Visiting a new church can be intimidating:  
What should I wear? Where do I park? Where do my kids go?

Here are some answers to some of those questions. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Will I fit in here?

We are an “open and affirming church,” which means we are committed to welcoming people of every race, language, age, gender and gender identity, ethnicity, economic status, mental or physical ability, and sexual orientation into the full life and ministry of the church. At Old First you’ll worship with single people and married couples; families with two moms and those with a mom & a dad; seniors and twenty-somethings; recent immigrants and those whose heritage in N. America goes back generations.

We recognize, celebrate, and give thanks for the many diverse gifts of God among us. We hold that discrimination is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves to honor all people and to work diligently to end all oppression and discrimination that afflict God’s people in our society. We affirm all relationships founded on the principles of God’s love and justice.

We’re an interfaith family. Is that okay?
Yes. We embrace interfaith families.  Our denomination, the United Church of Christ, has a deep committment to religious freedom.  Our congregation includes interfaith families and visitors tell us that they feel welcome at our services.  When mom is Protestant and dad is Catholic, or one partner is Christian and one is Jewish, it can be hard to feel “at home” in any worship space.  We hope you will feel at home in ours. And everyone is invited to participate how and as much as feels “personally right.”

What if I’m not sure what I believe?
No problem.  Everyone’s faith journey is different.  Some members of our congregation are lifelong Christians for whom the United Church of Christ has always been a home.  Others grew up in another denomination (a wide variety of denominations!), but felt pulled toward Old First as adults.  And others have come to us from secular backgrounds. It’s not unusual to hear someone at Old First share that she or he is just now exploring emerging, spiritual feelings.  Most likely, you’ll find someone at our church who can identify with your journey or finds him or herself in “a place” like you.

Read the Faith Stories of some of the people in our pews.

When are services?

Our worship service is held on Sunday morning at 11 am, except during the summer, when we gather at 10 am. Worship lasts, on average, about an hour and a quarter. Fellowship happens during coffee hour immediately after worship.

What should I wear?

God doesn’t care what you wear to church, and neither do we! Dress as casually or formally as you feel comfortable. Most folks are somewhere in the middle. Listen to a radio ad from the United Church of Christ (our denomination) that uses humor to make this point.

How do I get there?

Old First is at the corner of 4th & Race Streets in Philadelphia. Directions (via Google Maps).

We’re also easily accessible by public transportation. Several Septa bus routes go near our location, and we’re just a few blocks from stops for the Market-Frankford line, the Septa Regional Rail and the Patco High Speed Line.

Where should I park?

On Sunday mornings, we have street parking available on the East side of 4th Street between Vine and Arch Sts., and on the SOUTH side of Race Street between 3rd & 4th Streets. Please display the Old First parking placard, which you can print out and bring with you, or pick one up from a greeter when you arrive.

Where do my children go?

Children of all ages are welcome in the sanctuary during our worship services. An usher will be happy to give your young child a “Just for Me” packet with activities and crayons. We also provide child care during the service. Megan, Lauren and Amy would be delighted to care for your young children so you can more easily participate in worship. The choice is entirely up to you.

Is there Sunday School?

We offer Sunday School for all ages at 10 am during the school year. And children may begin Sunday School at any time. Please ask a greeter for help finding the right classroom for your child. Adults are invited to join our Adult Forum in the Social Hall during the same time slot.

I have a physical disability and/or hearing problem. Is there any special assistance?

Please ask the greeter to show you the elevator which will take you to the second floor for our worship service. And an usher can set you up a device for hearing assistance.

What sort of music will I hear?

Old First prides itself in offering high quality music from a wide range of genres and styles. We are proud of our organ and enjoy the traditional sacred music written for it. But on a typical Sunday morning you also might hear a gospel anthem, a jazz combo or a bluesy solo accompanied on the piano.

What about after the service?

We invite you to stay for our coffee hour immediately following the service. A greeter will be happy to show you to our Social Hall, where you can meet some of our members and our pastor, Michael Caine. We understand that you might not be able to stay or feel comfortable staying at first, so don’t feel bad if you need to rush off!