; charset=UTF-8" /> First Congregational Church of Riverside Hires Musician Steven Cook for New Evening Service : Connecting Voices
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First Congregational Church of Riverside Hires Musician Steven Cook for New Evening Service

Originally published in The Press-Enterprise (PE.com) October 3, 2013.  Used with permission.

Steven CookFirst Congregational Church in Riverside will be launching a new progressive fellowship experience called As You Are on Sunday, Oct. 13. The senior minister of the church, the Rev. Jane Quandt, says she believes the church has something unique to offer to the community.

“We are a church known for being theologically progressive. It is important for us not to lose that, but we now want to combine our theologically progressive voice with some very contemporary music and a casual style that will speak to the wider community,” Quandt said.

Founded in 1873, First Congregational Church is Riverside’s oldest church. Known for its concern about issues of social justice, including racial equality, the rights of farm workers, the mistreatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, and most recently marriage equality, the church believes this new Sunday evening service will enable it to build upon that legacy with the next generation.

The church hired Steven Cook to be the lead musician for the service because of his ability to play a wide variety of music styles. “We anticipate incorporating many kinds of music in this service, including contemporary Christian, meditative chants, and gospel,” the Rev. Hannah Burke, associate minister of the church, said. “We are a church that values diversity in every form so it makes sense that our music would be diverse as well.”

Starting Oct. 13, the fellowship will gather every Sunday evening at 5 p.m. in the church basement, accessed by the stairwell on the Mission Inn Avenue side of the church. The church is at 3504 Mission Inn Ave.

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