Q & AFrequently Asked Questions
1. What will I find on my first visit to Forestdale?
Forestdale is a welcoming, gracious community of believers at all different stages of faith. We come together each Sunday to learn about loving God and following Jesus, and we support and nurture one another in our journeys of faith. Sunday morning services are the cornerstone of how we come together in community, and they offer a great flavor of who we are: diverse, warm, down-to-earth, and friendly. Our services last about one hour and are filled with music, prayer, dynamic sermons you can immediately apply to your life, and thanksgiving and sharing. We have a small worship band that plays a mix of contemporary and traditional hymns, and lots of people mingle after service to chat and catch up. People who come to Forestdale for the first time often tell us that what draws them back for another visit is how approachable folks are, and how easy it is to get to know our small but active community. People from all backgrounds come to Forestdale and we approach everyone with respect and grace. There’s no dress code, so just come as you are! A visit is the best way to see what we are like.
2. Do you have child care?
Children are our most important community members! Children of all ages are welcome to stay and take part in either of our services, or we offer a nursery child care program in our fellowship hall below the sanctuary during the 11 a.m. service. That program is geared toward infants through Kindergarten, though some older children participate as well, and no child will be turned away. Parents are welcome to bring their children down to nursery at the start of service; or, if they are trying to help their children ease into staying upstairs as they grow older, they can come downstairs right after the worship music ends and before the offering is taken. Our nursery is always staffed with two unrelated adult volunteers who have undergone CORI review, and parents may check on their children at any time. Our staff do not change diapers or assist with the potty, but children do not have to be toilet trained to participate in nursery; staff will simply come get parents if they need help. Bottles, pacifiers and snacks may be left with nursery staff. A typical nursery session starts with free play then includes a craft and story time following the sermon series adults are hearing upstairs, followed by clean-up and more free play.
3. When are your worship services?
We have two worship services each Sunday morning at 8:30 and 11 a.m. They last about an hour and are equally attended by around 50 people of all ages. We share communion on the first and third Sunday of each month, with ushers passing trays of bread and “wine” (grape juice) row by row, which we then take together from our seats. In the summer we combine into one service at 10 a.m. with coffee and donuts afterward from mid-June through Labor Day weekend.
4. What is Sunday School?
Between the two services we host Sunday School each Sunday from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a. m. Open to children and adults, it is a place where we learn about the Bible and the Christian Faith. Each session is led by a volunteer from the congregation and covers topics that align with our ongoing sermon series and may also touch on current events or immediate applications for the scripture we’ll read in the service. Kids may begins Sunday School at age 5, and adults may still come at age 95! Children older than five meet downstairs in the fellowship hall, teens meet in the library upstairs, and adults meet in the Sanctuary.
5. What are the pastor’s sermons like?
The sermons each week are about 20 minutes long and seek to make the Bible come alive for us. They help us better understand what God’s word meant in Biblical times, and what it means for us in our world and in our lives today. For a sample, click here to hear or read the most recent sermon in our current series on “Rediscovering Jesus.”
6. How do I join the church?
Anyone is welcome to come to worship and participate in small groups, as well as women’s and men’s breakfasts , and other gatherings. Becoming a member is a step of commitment in which you would say to the rest of the community, “I’m in!” And being “in” means that you covenant together with us to a life of “loving God, loving others, and making disciples.” If you’re interested in what that “life together” looks like in more detail, just check out our Church Covenant. We are happy to answer questions about the membership process, what joining entails, and any other helpful information about membership at Forestdale.
7. How can I get more involved outside of Sunday mornings?
We have small groups that meet during the week to help us grow in faith and love. We also have a Women’s Breakfast on the second Saturday each month at 9:30 a.m., and a Men’s Breakfast that takes place on the last Saturday each month at 9 a.m. Each Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. is a Bible study at the church for dialogue and deeper understanding of the scripture text that was preached on Sunday morning. We also offer community outreach activities that are open to the public, from Easter egg decorating to Vacation Bible School and pumpkin decorating in the fall. We are also very service-oriented and we encourage our members to get involved in local ministries such as the Bread of Life in Malden, which helps to feed the hungry and homeless in our area, as well as other needs that arise, from gathering donations for a local women’s shelter and packing care bags for people living on the street to caroling at a local retirement community. We are always looking for more ways to serve the immediate Greater Malden community, and we welcome new ideas from our membership.
8. What denomination are you affiliated with?
Our heritage is Congregational, and we are a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC). Our roots go back to the Pilgrims and Puritans who first settled in Massachusetts, though we are simply Christians seeking to live out the faith in the Metro Boston area with a gospel-centered focus.
9. What if I don’t know anything about the Bible or have never been to church before?
Now is a good time to start, and this is a safe place to try “dipping a toe in the water.” The Bible is a rich collection of sacred texts which are the product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans. These texts are best read “in community” with others. We love to help people discover how the “big story” of the Bible and the more personal “smaller story” of each of our lives interconnect. Worship services are informal and you won’t get lost!
10. Will I be asked to stand up or say anything?
No. You won’t be put on the spot at all. People will greet you in a quiet way and hopefully make you feel welcome. But you won’t be asked to wear a visitor name tag or stand up and introduce yourself. You can sit quietly and rest in God’s sanctuary, and perhaps in the prayers, the songs, the Scriptures, and the sermon you will hear God’s ““still small voice” speaking to you and inviting you to come further in to find out more.
And please, feel free to contact us ( 781-321-1828 ) if you don’t see an answer to a question you may have. We will get back to you as soon as possible!