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United Congregational Church of Holyoke
300 Appleton Street
(413) 532-1483

Site Description

The United Congregational Church of Holyoke (UCC-ONA) is a merger (1994) of two former UCC congregations, Grace United and Second Congregational. Both had lived within a narrative of decline since the mid-20th Century. Among the multiple causes for that decline are an abusive (and charismatic) pastorate in the mid-70’s – and poor stewardship of promises made in the 1994 merger negotiations. Some hurt and denial remains – continuing in the background in some patterns of communication. Today’s small congregation occupies its massive, city-center gothic revival structure, complete with two worship spaces with their exceptional pipe organs, kitchens, parlors, classrooms, offices, and an assembly hall. Ample endowments provide funding.We (Bobbie and Chuck Morkin) were called as a pastoral team in 2007 with a vision of extending a radical welcome to the wider community. New since 2007: outdoor electronic signboard and colorful banners, a new website, more partnerships with local citizen groups, concerts, and hosting of Interfaith and Ecumenical civic events. Our greatest challenge came when a former moderator proposed “one man and one woman” language to our church constitution. In the wake, we voted overwhelmingly to become Open and Affirming.UCCH is a renewing congregation – over half of the attendees at worship are new to the church since 2007 – a more diverse group – including 5 retired clergy, a seminary graduate, several persons requiring public assistance, some who drive from other towns – all of whom are making a huge contribution to the life of the church.Our AWAKENINGS study conferences bring leading-edge thinkers, musicians, poets, church leaders – and guests (now from a dozen states and two Canadian provinces) to the church for a biennial 3½ day “feast for the head, heart, and spirit.”Our challenges include equipping leadership, hosting new ways of being the church, reaching out to the diverse people around us.

Stipend Expectation

This site meets the stipend expectation

Student Involvement

Field Work students associated with the United Congregational Church of Holyoke will be offered ample opportunity to participate in the life and collaborative leadership of the congregation. They will be invited to attend at least one meeting each of selected committees – and then, in conversation with their supervisor and Teaching Parish/Site Committee, select one with which to engage a ministry project. Projects reflect both the skills and passions of the students, the needs of the congregation, and foster increased competency for ministry.Working with the supervisor and with the pastoral team, the students will be invited to: • Participate in worship at least twice each month and preach at least once per semester • participate in one or more adult study groups• become familiar with the outreach programs of the church and help to strengthen one • challenge us to expand our horizons, to stretch boundaries • enjoy the time and love the people

Commitment to Educating Ministers

The United Congregational Church of Holyoke has demonstrated a growing interest by increased participation in association and conference events, often bringing 10-12 people to "Super Saturday" events. We have welcomed well-known scholars to our AWAKENINGS study conferences and other events. Two weekly study groups engage Bible and book studies, and have the benefit of lively participation by thoughtful voices, including several ordained (mostly retired) clergy from Presbyterian, Methodist, UCC, and African Methodist Episcopal Zion traditions. Pastoral team members (Bobbie and Chuck) are allotted 2 weeks annually for continuing education.

Special Considerations

Supervision will be handled by the Rev. Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Morkin, member of the Pastoral Team. Roberta (Bobbie) Morkin, is the other member of the Pastoral Team, also the organist and choir director. We work in a side-by-side capacity, and share our passion for the church extending an extravagant welcome to all the people who enter. We see ourselves as visionaries, catalysts, and encouragers and have seen much transformation in the nearly 7 years since we have arrived.


The Church Leadership Council voted unanimously to fund the 2014-2015 program to the amount of $3000.

Contact Information

Charles (Chuck)
Rev. Dr.
7 Eagle Drive
South Hadley
(413) 313-6864 (cell)

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