A Progressive Peace and Justice Congregationrainbow
1151 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 864 9275

The OCBC Experience

“I came to OCBC for its social justice track record and its open and affirming GLBT history, but I keep coming for the intimate spiritual bonds among members and friends, the excitement of singing in a challenging and beautiful choir, and the frequent integration of the arts into the worship experience.” (Marcia)

“I joined the church over 40 years ago because it brought the Gospel to life through social conscience and action – particularly racial justice and the anti-war movement. I have stayed because OCBC keeps doing this – addressing issues of gender equality, justice for Central America, the GLBT community, for refugees and the homeless.” (Sue)

“What I value most about my experience at OCBC is that I feel valued, not just for what I give to and do for the church, but for myself. I feel loved.” (Richard)

“OCBC has been a wonderfully supportive community for my husband and I as we have raised our children, steeping them in the experience of the Biblical teaching to love tenderly, act justly, and walk humbly with God and our neighbors.” (Maureen)

“OCBC reminds me of the early church in Acts, a place where everyone is welcome. Even me.” (Brian)

“I started attending OCBC in 1985 because of the openness to GLBT community here. I continue to stay for the friendship, that cut across gender and sexual preferences, for the music, and the inspiration offered by individuals who have made social justice their life’s work.”

Family Transitions & Transformations

A study and support group @

Old Cambridge Baptist Church, 2013-2014


All of us are in transition. When one person in a family undergoes a major change, that change affects the entire family, and indeed the entire community. Transition has a passive connotation, however, and we are encouraged to be more active during times of change, and to seek transformation.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

Topics (order may vary): Identity and Role Change, Self-care and Family Care, Values and Priorities, Grief and loss, Dependence and independence, Dealing with money, Health: Cure vs. healing, Changing relationships: to God, to neighbors, to self

Dates: Third Wednesday of the month: Oct. 16, Nov. 20, Dec. 18, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, Mar. 19, Apr. 16, May 21

Time and Place: 6:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m., Old Cambridge Baptist Church, 1151 Mass. Ave. Cambridge, MA in the Chapel.

This group is being formed to provide that faith safety net for whatever transition you and your family are facing, so that you can be transformed, coming out of whatever change with a stronger relationship to God and in this community, more skill at navigating changes, and a deeper understanding of tools and processes of transformation. We'll incorporate bible study, theological reflection, music, prayer and other spiritual practices.

So whether you are starting college, moving, starting retirement, facing illness, being a caregiver, grieving the loss of a friend or family member, looking for a new job, getting married, getting divorced, or just living your life, join us as we all journey through changes.

Join us in person and/or online:

Online discussions and resource materials at https://ocbcministries.coursesites.com.

Click on this course title. You must request enrollment to get access.

Contact Rev. Nancy Willbanks via the online course site for more information about this group.



Opportunities for Active Involvement in Chronicling OCBC’s Past and Shaping its Future Directions

There has been a lot of anticipation and curiosity about what will be coming from the OCBC Transition Team (TT). As many of you know, the TT is focused on helping the congregation reflect on who we are, what our mission is, and how we might effectively move toward that mission. These activities will in turn help the congregation make a more informed decision about its next pastoral leader who can help them realize their future mission.
Consistent with the Baptist tradition, the TT has designed a number of activities that will provide “hands-on” opportunities for OCBC members and friends to contribute to creating our future. In the spirit of transparency, we share the following activities and timeline:

Name of Activity Description Timeframe
Survey An information gathering process (through electronic and paper survey) designed to recruit hosts and designate times for the House Meetings (see description below). House Meeting hosts will open their residences and supply refreshments for each meeting. Aug. Return by Sept. 2, 2012
Host/Facilitator Recruitment for House Meetings (described below) Hosts, facilitators and recorders will be needed for each House Meeting. The facilitators will be responsible for helping participants address key questions (to be developed later). Following the House Meeting, the facilitator and recorder will summarize their findings and send it to the TT in order to generate general themes/activities. Mid to late Aug. 2012
Facilitator/Recorder Training Both facilitators and recorders will receive an orientation on the House Meeting process so we can ensure a uniform approach to each meeting. It is important to emphasize that while we will be asking the same questions for each meeting, each facilitator will be free (and encouraged) to use the presentation style that is beneficial for them. Early Sept. 2012
House Meetings The House Meeting is the core method of getting information from OCBC members and friends. Each OCBC participant will be asked to participate in one House Meeting. The following areas will be covered in the House Meeting (actual questions to be developed later):
  • What attracted you to OCBC? What keeps you coming back?
  • What is your vision for the future of OCBC? What activities would define this future scenario?
  • How do you see yourself participating in these activities?
Each House Meeting will have between 8-10 participants in addition to the facilitator and recorder. As mentioned earlier, the results of each House Meeting will be recorded and aggregated to outline key themes. These themes will also be combined with the information gathered by the Structure and Staffing Assessment Group (SSAG) in 2011.
House Meetings:
Mid Sept. to late Nov. 2012.
Data compilation:
Dec. 2012 to Feb. 2013.
Testimonies A series of personal narratives at worship services that will help the congregation understand how OCBC has shaped the spiritual trajectories of individual members as well as how these members have invested their talents within the church. This will be a key opportunity for OCBC members to share their stories Fall 2013. Actual dates to be determined
Wall of History A half-day event geared to tell the story of OCBC through contributions from members and friends. Efforts will also be made to chronicle this history so that all have it as a reference point as we outline the future direction for the church. To this end, there is an emerging opportunity to develop a church historian and/or history committee to support chronicling efforts. Mid Jan. 2013

As indicated, further details will be developed as this process moves forward. As we are moving forward, all activities will be communicated to members and friends through various church media outlets, including the weekly program, the website and blogs from Rev. Hess. We look forward to sharing this journey of exploring our motivations for participating in OCBC, exploring our history and shaping our future so we can select the pastoral leader that can help us write the next chapter of this great institution.

Ministry Teams

Old Cambridge Baptist Church (OCBC) is a lay-led congregation.  We welcome and encourage all members of our community to contribute to the life of the church by participating and serving on one of our ministry teams.  Each team is led by a designated chairperson who also serves as a deacon.

Spiritual Life Team - Chairs: Martha Collins and Maureen Power

With the Pastor and Music Director, we plan worship services (including the regular Sunday services), review recent services, and engage in spiritual centering.  We also recruit and prepare preachers, liturgists, and other volunteers as needed.

Pastoral Care Team - Chair: Ginny Wallace
With the Pastor, we respond to the individual needs of church members, especially in times of personal distress (illness, death) and transition (birth, marriage).  We coordinate visits, flowers, and notes, and provide more specialized support as needed.

Membership and Outreach Team - Chair: Brian Greene
With the Pastor, we work to build community within the congregation and organize our church's efforts in reaching out to the wider community of Cambridge and beyond.  We oversee small groups at OCBC as we seek to fully engage and integrate all members into the life of the church.  A major focus is on ministry to newcomers. We also maintain the church's website and coordinate all publicity and advertising for the church.

Social Action Team - Chair: Betsy Sowers

We plan and lead the congregation in taking action on social justice issues.  We develop recommendations for communion offerings and benevolences, and coordinate nominations for the annual Pauline Swift Award.

Christian Education Team - Chair: Kevin Henze

We plan Christian education experiences for children and youth, recruit and support teachers, and choose and order curriculum materials.

Community Events Team - Chair: Sherri Tucker

We organize community events such as hospitality after worship services and meals before congregational meetings.  We also coordinate our annual Recognition Sundays.

Building and Long-Range Planning Team - Chair: Jim Wallace

With the Church Administrator, we oversee the use of the church building, including developing rental agreements and managing tenant relations.  We also plan and schedule major renovations to the building and coordinate grant proposals to support them.

Finance Team - Chair: Doug Koch

With the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and other members selected by the Deacons Council, we maintain the church budget, conduct pledge campaigns, and manage the church's investments, real estate, and insurance.

Transition Team - Chair: Rev. Meg Hess

The function of the Transition Team is to work closely with the Interim Minister and the Deacons to accomplish the tasks of the Interim Period, to oversee the effective implementation of planning and work pertaining to these tasks, and to evaluate the Interim process at its ending.  In general, the work of the Interim period is to reflect on where the congregation has been, assess its functioning in the present, clarify its vision and goals for ministry, and set priorities for moving into the future. When a congregation has a clearer sense of who they are, where they have been, and where they are going, then they will take that clarity into the process of finding an appropriate match for their ministry in a settled pastor.

Building Ministries

Old Cambridge Baptist Church rents space to various organizations.  With the exception of the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, all of these use office space in our newly remodeled basement.

José Mateo Ballet Theatre
OCBC presently enjoys a unique partnership with the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, in which the ballet occupies the worship space of the congregation for six and a half out of seven days per week.  The church and the ballet company are long term partners, with a forty year lease.  On Saturday nights, the worship space is reconfigured from a ballet studio into worship space, as chairs, altar table, organ, piano, and choir risers are moved into place for the worship service on the following day.

Homeless Empowerment Project
The Homeless Empowerment Project publishes the Spare Change street newspaper.

Adbar Ethiopian Women's Alliance
Founded in 1993, Adbar Ethiopian Women's Alliance is the first Ethiopian women's organization in the United States.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Solutions at Work
Since 1989, Solutions at Work has helped people transition out of homelessness by empowering homeless people to advocate for their own needs and by breaking the economic chains that bind people in homelessness.

Cambridge Child and Family Associates
Cambridge Child and Family Associates is a group of mental health clinicians who work to raise awareness of and educate the public about the variety of therapeutic services available to children, adolescents, adults, families, and schools available in their community.

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