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Our Mission

  • First Parish is a Unitarian Universalist church that welcomes individuals and families who seek spiritual growth and nurturing.
  • We worship, celebrate and learn together.
  • We respect each other and value our differences in a way that reflects the love, compassion and openness of our faith.
  • We strive to build a better community for all people.


We encourage you to visit us for a few months and join our activities, attend an orientation meeting, or have a conference with our minister. When you are comfortable with us – when you feel you’ve found your spiritual home – tell our minister that you would like to sign the membership book, and become a full-fledged member. Twice a year we have a ceremony at a Sunday worship service, a special welcome to those who have recently joined. While the ceremony is simple, the commitment is real.

We have these expectations of our members:

  • Be present – attend regularly and bring your authentic self.
  • Grow your own faith – seek to develop a spiritual life.
  • Make this part of your community – venture into deeper connections with others.
  • Give of yourself at least three ways each year: e.g., help our children, do something for social justice, care for those in need, help with a Sunday service.
  • Support the church financially by making an annual pledge.

Our budget runs about $220,000 per year. A pledge of financial support is a good faith estimate of what you will contribute to support the operating budget. We hold a Stewardship Campaign each February during which we ask people to pledge, according to their means, for our next fiscal year, July 1 through June 30.

Click here for an overview of Finance at First Parish.


In the Fullness of Time – December 24, 2010

As Unitarian Universalists, the living tradition we share draws from many sources. Among those many sources are the teachings of the Christian tradition. Tonight is a night held sacred by followers of Jesus, some here in our congregation, some our neighbors, family members or friends, and billions of others all over the world, unknown to us by name. So, it is fitting that on this night we should take time to appreciate the insights of that faith tradition. Read More >>

There’s Room Enough at the Inn – December 19, 2010

In a moment, we are going to hear a story. It is an old, familiar story, that our children are going to tell to us. They’ve been working hard on it, I’m looking forward to it. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises. But I do want to comment, just a bit, on one small part of that story, before we get to enjoy the whole thing, together. Read More >>

FPC songstress shares her bliss.

Kathryn Lordan’s CD, “Following My Bliss” is out.


Sunday Worship Services

Through the ministry of words and music we gather each week to celebrate our community and to experience inspiration and support for the living of our day to day lives. This shared experience buoys our spirits and challenges us to reflect on our individual and collective endeavors to make the world a better place.

Lay Led Services


Problems would Maybe I last on with package.

year our Music & Worship committee schedules several Sunday services which are not led by our minister. They may be led primarily by one person or by a group, be drawn from within our church community or from outside resources.

On Sunday October 25, 2009 four members of our church, Julia Quigley Long, Sarah Shamel, Doug Baumoel, and David Flynn, generously and with love shared their spiritual journeys. Although they are from all different backgrounds, their stories were funny and touching, and full of appreciation for where they are now, and for how they got here.

Grandmother’s Attic: Tales from the First Parish Church Building

How many of you remember your grandparents? I certainly do. In particular, I clearly recall my grandmother. As I was growing up she had so many stories of her life during the war in Norway. She repeated them over and over again (embellished them more each time, I think) as I listened, transfixed. As I got older, I became more skeptical of these stories and eventually felt the need to investigate them further. Some, it turns out, were really embellished. Some were dead right. And some things I found out about my grandmother- well, she never told me! On balance, the stories have become a treasure for my family, and a body of memories I will carry with me always.

If members of this congregation (indeed, all residents of Beverly) were to claim a common ancestor of sorts, it might just be the building that is the First Parish Church. It has stood at this location since before the American Revolution. Read More >>

Following Yonder Star – December 12, 2010

It is nearly the end of the second week in December. The days here in Beverly are growing all too short and the wind off of Massachusetts Bay is blowing powerfully cold. There are carols on the radio, red, white and green colored cookies and treats in the shop windows, and all of my favorite sitcoms had “very special” episodes this week. Even I, who am so critical of the effects of capitalism upon religion, and in particular of retailers who put up decorations and play jingles earlier each year, in the hopes of drumming up more sales. Even I, must admit: we are really in it now. The season of Christmas is upon us. Read More >>

Winter’s Chill

Winter is coming. Its been cold enough lately that you could believe it was already here. The days grow shorter and the nights grow longer as the orbit of our Earth takes us as far away from our star as we can get in the course of a year. I can see the breath in front of my face, and feel the dry cold crinkling on my hands and face.

Long ago, the onset of winter was a time for bonfires and revels late into the night. People gathered together for warmth and shared what light they could make together in the dark. Pagans marked the solstice with fire – and today still do – but that habit is not unique to them. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Christian observance of Advent all involve lighting candles in the days close to the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter. Tiny suns to keep watch in the lengthening night.

In our modern age we have things much brighter than meager candles or even large bonfires, of course. Electric lights and decorations, both in-doors and out, mark this season now. There is one particularly impressive house on my new street this year that is a nightly storm of color and radiance, all flashing and glowing and beaming, casting shadows until the dawn.

We have magnified the brightness of our substitute stars, and found ways to insulate ourselves from the cold – gas furnaces, synthetic insulation and cars with heated seats – that our ancestors could not have hoped for. And if we can afford them, any of these privileges may be ours. But so many of these new ways we have to insulate ourselves from the harsh realities of Winter push us apart rather than bringing us together. We retreat to private spaces for electric light and fossil-fueled heat. What is too often missing in our modern rituals for surviving the coming of Winter is the warmth of community.

And this is why I come to church. I do not wish to be warm and alone, or to live a life brightly lit, yet afraid of the dark. I should rather spend time with others who share my fate: held tight by gravity to a rock spinning through space, its axis askew and my own little part of it starved for heat for three months or so out of every twelve. In the presence of community, there is light to share even in the longest night, and warmth to enjoy, even in the chill of Winter. So this year, as the seasons turn and the fire of the sun seems almost to fade, I will be with the people who celebrate life, and who will do their best to love each other even as the world grows cold. I hope I’ll see you there.

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson

PS: “Spend less, love more.” This was the basic challenge I set before us in late October of this year: to focus our practice of Hanukkah or Christmas or the Solstice or Festivus or whatever else, on creativity and depth of feeling, rather than commercialism. I have enjoyed hearing from some of you about how the experiment is going so far, and I have been challenged by it several times myself in the last few months. If this is something you haven’t given much thought to, there’s still time to try something new – just as there are still more than two weeks of shopping days left until Christmas, there are also just as many hours remaining for you to turn up the radio and have an impromptu family dance party instead of making one more trip to the mall. December 19th, the last Sunday before Christmas, will be our annual pageant Sunday, and will also be the day on which our Coming of Age class collects from the congregation all the money we didn’t need this holiday season. However much less you spent, bring it in. All contributions will go to the charity chosen by our children and youth: UNICEF.

On Being Hyphenated Religiously – December 5, 2010

I’d like to begin this morning by telling you a Unitarian Universalist joke. At least, I used to think it was a Unitarian Universalist joke – it was taught to me by a Unitarian Universalist, at a Unitarian Universalist summer camp. It starts out like this: a piece of string walks into a bar. Never mind how it is that there’s a piece of string walking around town frequenting businesses. This is a joke, and in jokes, as in life, we must be strategic in which contradictions and inconsistencies we confront, and which we choose, however temporarily, to accept. Read More >>

Ferry Beach

The First Parish Church members and friends gather at Ferry Beach one weekend each October for fellowship, fun and relaxation.



First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915


Office Hours: Mon 8:00 - 11:00 am & Tue-Fri 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

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