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rituals, prayers and pastoral care

Worship at FCC takes place each Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (in person or online through YouTube), and is at the heart of our congregational life. We also offer mid-week seasonal services during Lent and Advent, as well as Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Please consult our church calendar for specifics about these additional worship opportunities.

The flowers on our altar may be given each week by various members and/or friends who want to celebrate a special occasion, honor someone or some event in their life, or remember a life anniversary (wedding, death of a loved one, etc.). Please call the office to reserve a specific date.


reverend martha with couple baptizing their baby
reverend martha performing baptism on young adult woman
baptism in sanctuary
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Baptisms are performed within the context of our Sunday worship service since baptism represents initiation into the community of faith. The presence of the community is an important part of the rite itself so we do not normally do private baptisms, except in rare extenuating circumstances.

While we are a welcoming church, baptisms are normally done for members or those who are friends of FCC and have demonstrated their intention to become part of our church family through their participation. Again, rare exceptions are considered. Those wishing baptism for themselves or their children and would like to schedule a meeting with our Minister, please contact the Office.


Communion at FCC is celebrated during worship on the first Sunday of each month, during appropriate seasonal services and on Easter.

This church has a free and open communion. The invitation is extended to everyone who is at the service. Access to God’s table will not be denied anyone who wishes to partake of the sacrament. Children are also included in the invitation. However, the decision whether children take communion shall be left to the children’s parents.

Communion is served two ways. We alternate between intinction (where congregants come forward to receive communion) and passing the elements (where congregants serve each other). Should you not be able to come forward to receive communion, please let an usher know and communion will be brought to you.  We use grape juice and gluten free bread.

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bride and groom in sanctuary with reverend martha
wedding ceremony with reverend martha in sanctuary
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Ministers affiliated with First Congregational Church may perform weddings in our Sanctuary for any couple. Marriage ceremonies performed in our Sanctuary must be legal in the State of New York. However, should a couple wish to have a commitment ceremony that is not legally binding, our clergy may also officiate. Our Sanctuary is only available for services performed by an FCC clergyperson. Those not affiliated with the Church may request another clergy to preside at their ceremony, which must be co-officiated by an FCC minister.

Our main Sanctuary seats approximately 400 and is furnished with a pipe organ. The use of the organ for a wedding is at the sole discretion of the Church organist, who must approve of anyone who is to play the instrument. If the Church organist’s services are requested, a separate fee will be required. Couples may arrange for any other musical accompaniment that is acceptable to the presiding minister. We also have a small Chapel that seats approximately 35 persons if a more intimate setting is preferred.

Fees for professional services are set by the Church, and are payable to the clergy and staff involved. There is also a fee for the use of the Sanctuary or Chapel. All fees are due prior to the ceremony. Please contact the Church Office for current pricing.

Couples may also separately arrange to have their reception in Centennial Hall. We do not provide catering services, but we have a large institutional kitchen for caterers to use for preparing and serving meals. Please contact the Church Office for current pricing.

Couples who are considering having their wedding ceremony at First Congregational Church should be aware of the following Church policies:

  • Photographers are not permitted to intrude on the service. (Restaging of the ceremony after the service, for purposes of taking photos or video, is perfectly acceptable). The Church has the capability of live-streaming a service should the couple request it. There is a small fee for this service.
  • A floral arrangement for the altar table is recommended. Additional floral arrangements should not interfere with the movement of the wedding party.
  • Ribbons or other decorations may not be affixed to the pews, or any other part of the building, with any kind of tape, tacks, or other defacing materials. Rubber bands, ribbons, or string may be used.
  • Showering the bride and groom with birdseed is permitted, but it may not be tossed within the Church building. The release of balloons is prohibited for environmental reasons.
  • The marriage license should be brought to the rehearsal (or left with the minister at the Church Office the day prior to the wedding).
  • If the service starts more than twenty minutes late due to the tardiness of the wedding party, there will be an additional charge of 30% payable to the officiating clergy and organist.

If you are interested in having a marriage ceremony or other commitment ceremony at First Congregational Church, please contact our Church Office to arrange a meeting with our clergy.


Ministers affiliated with the First Congregational Church may perform funeral services in our Sanctuary for anyone. It is not necessary to be a member or financial supporter of the Church in order for a funeral or memorial service to be held in our Sanctuary.

Services must be performed by clergy affiliated with our Church, except by permission and participation by our Senior Minister.

Our Sanctuary seats approximately 400 and is furnished with a pipe organ. The use of the organ for a funeral service is at the sole discretion of the Minister of Music, who must approve of anyone that is to play the instrument. If the Minister of Music’s services are requested, a separate fee is required. Other musical accompaniment that is acceptable to the presiding minister may also be arranged. We also have a small Chapel that seats approximately 35 persons if a more intimate setting is preferred.

Fees for professional services are set by the Church, and are payable to the clergy and staff involved. There is also a modest fee to cover the cost of the Sexton’s services during the service.

If desired, arrangements may be made to hold an after-service reception in our Centennial Hall. We do not provide catering services, but we have a large institutional kitchen for caterers to use for preparing and serving meals.

If you are in need of our facilities to hold a funeral or memorial service, please call our main office (914) 238-4411 or email the Church office to arrange a meeting with our clergy and to inquire about pricing.

Our Columbarium
fcc columbarium

FCC’s Columbarium grounds lie in a beautifully wooded area next to the Sanctuary. A walkway and steps lead to a path surrounding an oval area. The members of the Church created this space in 199_, for the members and future generations of Church members, their immediate families and special friends of our Church. This space will remain a natural woodland forever, always available for visits or meditation.

In 2021, David Boyajian, a prominent sculptor, known for creating pieces that are inspired by nature, was commissioned by a family to create a sculpture for our Columbarium. This beautiful piece reminds all who enter not only of the holiness of this place, but that God is at the center and watches over our loved ones.


After the sermon, our minister leads us in prayer. Prayer is very important to us as it connects us to God and to each other at a very deep level. There is an opportunity for people to pray either aloud or silently for someone else in the midst of the Prayers of Our People. We ask that you let our Senior Minister know if you would like someone’s name included. We do not include last names since our service is broadcast. We respect the privacy of members, friends and strangers, as we offer prayers of thanksgiving and prayers of concern. One of the best resources for praying and pastoral care we have here at FCC is each other. 

Should you prefer a private prayer, you can complete a prayer card which is in the pew or you can call or email our Senior Minister. Be sure to specify if you would like the prayer kept private. 

Pastoral Care

In addition to our Senior Minister, our Church has a Compassionate Ministry Team available to assist members and friends of FCC. These individuals have been trained and are available to visit and provide comfort, prayer, scripture reading and other needs that arise for our congregants who are unable to attend church or who are hospitalized. Should you wish to be visited, or know of someone who could use a visit, please let the Senior Minister know either by phone call or email.

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people gathered for outdoor worship
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keith robellard playing organ for church service

keith robellard

Keith has served as the Director of Music at FCC for over 30 years. In 2014, at a luncheon celebrating his 25 years at FCC he was officially given the title of Minister of Music. He was educated at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory; Keith has worked for the Manhattan School of Music, where he was director of chamber music; the First Reformed Episcopal Church, both in New York City; accompanist-choir director at Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester; and served on the faculty of Rippowam Cisqua School. He was dean of the Westchester AGO Chapter from 1997-1998.

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jonathan riedel with sunday school children in front of black lives matter sign

Jonathan Riedel

Jonathan Riedel, our Director of Christian Education, has been a member of FCC Chappaqua since 2018. A life-long student of Judeo/Christian traditions, he also studies Buddhist philosophy, world religions, yoga, meditation, Kung Fu, and considers the Arts and creative expression as integral to his spiritual beliefs, practices, and teaching.  

While undertaking his work with our children, Jonathan discerned a call to ordained ministry. He is currently under care of FCC and the Hudson Mohawk Association of the New York Conference of the UCC. He is enrolled at the New York School of Ministry. 

He began his professional career as a dancer with the Limón Dance Company ( in NYC, touring and performing throughout the US, Europe and South America. He then began his own company, Riedel Dance Theater ( that he helmed to critical acclaim for over ten years.  Jonathan has been on the faculties of The Boston Conservatory, Brown University, Pace University, and currently, his alma mater, Purchase College (BFA 2001, MFA 2011).  He has been a guest teacher at the Juilliard School, LABAN (UK), Good Moves Dance Consort (Atlanta, GA) and the Steffi Nossen School (White Plains, NY.)  An artist of many media, Jonathan also leads the industrial rock band, Rubber Skulls ( He creates original, punk-inspired hats and jackets under the brand, Righteous Stitch ( He is currently working on a series of fantasy children’s books and also refurbishes used stuffed animals with hand-made unicorn horns for his side project, Horns-A-Plenty (find them on FB!).  He is a proud son, brother, husband, father of two, and resident of Pleasantville, NY. 

Jonathan’s Sunday School classes explore prayers, songs, and stories from the Bible and what they might mean. He hopes to inspire in his students spiritual curiosity, self-awareness, inter-religious tolerance, and a life-long appreciation for God, love, and all things divine. He does so through his weekly youth messages, age-appropriate Q&A sessions, outreach and charity initiatives, art and crafting projects, and creating original plays with the class.  He loves his job, his students and the entire FCC community. If you have any questions about the Christian Education program at FCC, feel free to contact Jonathan.

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wedding ceremony reverend martha with bride and groom
reverend martha with confirmation class

the Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs

Martha has been our pastor since April of 2014. She came to FCC after a 20+ year career as a professional chaplain. Martha graduated from New York Theological Seminary with her doctorate in 2005. Her book, A Clergy Guide to End of Life Issues, has been a must-read for seminary students, clergy and lay people. She continues to teach and lead workshops both nationally and internationally on end-of-life issues.  For several years, she blogged about end of life issues for The Huffington Post. Martha believes that the greatest gift we can give to our loved ones is letting them know what our wishes are as we near the end of our lives.

Martha was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, the youngest of 4 children. She was raised Jewish, and converted to Christianity when she was 17, having been exposed to Jesus when a friend asked her to sing some solos at his church. She learned about a different kind of God than she had been exposed to growing up. She learned about a God who was inside of her. And, she learned about Jesus, who she uses as her role model, mentor and rabbi. 

Martha loved being a chaplain. However, after more than 20 years of being present with patients and families as they dealt with some of the most difficult times of their lives, she realized that God was calling her to serve in a church. Her greatest concern, when discerning her call to become our pastor, was that she would not being able to come up with a sermon every Sunday. But, so far, more than 8 years after accepting the call to FCC, Martha has had a meaningful message for us each Sunday. She relates it to what is happening in our world and in our lives and tries to give us some respite from the difficulties of our world. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t talk about the difficulties we face, but she tries to put them into perspective and brings God into the conversation around how we live our lives and how we function in our world and how we treat each other. Because FCC members and friends span the spectrum of political and social activists, she preaches about the issues, and how Jesus expects us to handle them and not the politics that can often divide people. 

Martha has a healing and loving and accepting spirit. She has helped us to accept that we are human and make mistakes and that God does forgive us for the things we don’t necessarily do that are in the best interests of ourselves or others. She has also opened our hearts and hands and minds to help us to not just tolerate people who are different from us, but to actually welcome and embrace them for all that they are. 

Martha has been with her spouse, Pat Yost, for more than 40 years. While Pat did not expect to be married to a minister (they met when they were both in the theatre), she has become an important part of our church in her own right. She pitches in and helps us, as does Martha, when we have our Barn Sale, Tag Sale and other church events. They are both hands-on, and have helped us celebrate all that we are. 

Truly, Martha embodies – no matter who you are or where you are on your life journey – you are welcome to FCC.