who we are
Welcome to First Parish in Hingham, Unitarian Universalist, known as Old Ship Church.
We are a liberal Unitarian Universalist community of about 250 members of all ages. More than 100 children and youth participate in our religious education programming. We worship in an historic Meeting House and we hold religious education classes and gather after services in our Parish House across the street. Our minister, Rev. Kenneth H. Read-Brown, has been with us for more than 25 years.
Our Meeting House, a National Historic Landmark, has stood on Hingham’s Main Street since 1681. It is the only remaining 17th-century Puritan meeting house in the U.S.
Our community encourages personal spiritual growth through worship, engagement and service to others.
We do not require adherence to a specific creed. We affirm the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Principles and Sources, and we support each individual's unique search for truth and meaning. We are proud that our community is both a "Welcoming Congregation" and a "Green Sanctuary," both official designations from the Unitarian Universalist Association. We cherish diversity of religious backgrounds, racial and cultural identities or backgrounds, ethnicities, national origins, ages, ranges of ability, sexual orientations, gender expressions, financial means, educations, and political perspectives. We welcome all to share in congregational life.
What are Unitarian Universalists? click here.
Copyright and Text—Unitarian Universalist Association.
tours of Old Ship Meeting House
We love to give tours of Old Ship Church!
From September 1 - June, we are happy to give tours, but kindly request two days notice in order to arrange a volunteer tour guide. Please call 781-749-1679 or email the office to schedule a tour. Please note: Old Ship Church is not open unless there is a tour scheduled.
To receive weekly e-updates, sign up here.
MINISTER'S BLOG: Musings etc.
SERMON ARCHIVES: read Ken's sermons here
Click here for directions
Curious about the early history of Old Ship and of Hingham?
Purchase this excellent DVD, televised in 1998 on The History Channel®. Details here…
We are very pleased to welcome you to Old Ship. We want you to feel comfortable among us.
From September through mid June, our worship service, held in the Meeting House at 90 Main St., begins promptly at 10:25 am and lasts about an hour. You can park along Main Street on either side of the street, or along the circular driveway in front of the Parish House. A few handicapped-accessible spaces are located at the top of the circular drive in front of the Meeting House. Childcare, located in the Parish House, is available before and during Sunday services.
Our Parish House, where we hold religious education classes, child care, fellowship hour,
meetings, the office, etc. is across Main Street from the Meeting House at 107 Main St.
Click here for more information about what to expect on Sunday morning.
upcoming worship services
Seasonal Vespers Services
On Wednesday evenings at 6:30 between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be vespers services in our gently lit Meeting House. Each service will include music from an Old Ship musician or two, readings from Old Ship readers, plenty of silence, and an opportunity to light a candle for someone or some hope or prayer - all coordinated and led by Ken Read-Brown. Each service will be about forty minutes long.
Sunday, December 10, 10:25am
Dave Egan, our student intern minister, will be preaching this Sunday. Dave's sermon will be "Season of Shadow." He will explore the shadow side of this holiday season that can include grief, depression and anxiety for so many.
At noon all are invited to a forum in the parlor, where Debbie Squires-Lee will read from A Season for Evil, a recently published mystery novel by Old Ship member Florence Noonan. Not only is our treasurer's name, Bryan Hurley, used as one of the characters, but also the Square Cafe in Hingham is one of the settings in the story. Nanobots or microscopic robots which are part of cutting-edge medical research figure into the plot. Curious about the writing or publishing process? Questions will be answered by Florence who won an honorable mention in a national writing contest. Profits from the sale of any books at the forum will be donated to Old Ship.
Sunday, December 17, 10:25am
Our annual pageant Sunday!
In what has become a bit of a tradition over the past several years, we will create a nativity tableau using volunteers, young and old, from the congregation as the spirit moves. If that morning you are feeling like a shepherd, angel, or wise one, you will be supplied with the appropriate costuming on the spot. The service will include familiar carols and readings, anthems from the choir, as well as a narration of the nativity story.
At noon, the newly formed Anti Racism Group ("ARG") will have our first meeting in the Parlor. All are welcome to join us as we explore issues of racism within us and in our communities.
Sunday, December 24
We will have a morning service at our usual 10:25 time; the service will be designed for all ages, including plenty of carols for all to sing, along with a few readings and stories.
Christmas Eve: Sunday, December 24, 5pm
At 5:00 will be our annual Christmas Eve Service. More formal than our morning service, the service will include carols, readings, prayers, a special story from Ken, and a Christmas Eve Offering to be given to Father Bill's & Mainspring, Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. There will be nursery care in the Parish House courtesy of friends from Congregation Sha'aray Shalom; though all ages are also invited to the service.
Please note: Our Old Ship fills to the brim for this service, so old timers know to come quite early in order to have a choice of pews!
Sunday, December 31 - service of shared readings in the Fellowship Hall
Our service on New Year's Eve will be in the Fellowship Hall, preceded by a light breakfast (including Ken's famous home-made granola). We are invited to bring a reading to share - a poem or other words of wisdom for the new year.
Breakfast at 9:30, service at 10:30.
Gingerbread House Making
Saturday, December 9, 2017 , 4:00 p.m. Fellowship Hall Join us for our annual Gingerbread House Making party in the Fellowship Hall. Chili, corn bread & hot cider will be available for snacking while we build. EVERYONE'S INVITED!!
Caroling!! on December 16, 2017
Our annual Carpool Christmas Caroling to some of our Old Ship members who have been ill or are otherwise limited in getting out, as well as to Harbor House Nursing Home, will be on Saturday, December 12. We will gather at the Parish House at 1:45 in order to leave at 2:00. Come if you've participated for years; come if this would be your first time. Whatever your spirits at 2:00 on December 16, your spirits will be lifted by 3:00 or 4:00. (And then you might wish to join in our annual Gingerbread House Making in the Fellowship Hall - details below...) Songbooks will be provided. All ages are welcome. Spirit way more important than perfect pitch!
Coffeehouse Off the Square presents Southern Rail on Sunday, December 17 at 4pm in Fellowship Hall
After many memorable Christmas shows we are glad to have Southern Rail back for another. This vibrant, engaging, Boston- based, Appalachian-rooted Bluegrass and Gospel group has long charmed us. Their music is high energy, exuberant fun with riveting harmonies, irreverent humor and sparkling banjo and mandolin solos. If you have not heard them, come and see why these Boston First Night favorites continue to stir us with their musicianship, spirit, energy, and goodwill. Sharon on Bass, Jim on mandolin, and their bandmates are always a pleasure to her. Don’t miss them. $15 admission at the door.
Winter Solstice Celebration, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 7:30pm, Meetinghouse
This season's Crossing Time is the Winter Solstice (marking the longest night of the year, and then the return of more light.) We will gather in our Old Ship Meetinghouse on the eve of the Solstice (which actually begins this year on Dec. 21st at 11:28 a.m. EST). Bring a poem to read, or simply come and listen. Leave the busyness of the holiday rush, and nourish your spirit with the steady and sturdy truths and beauties of poetry. The choral quintet, "Crossroads", led by Old Ship's Rich Jensen, will perform some winter carols and poetry set to music. This event is free. Come, bring a friend. All are welcome.
Support Old Ship
Old Ship is proud that the Meeting House Restoration Project completed in 2014 received a significant award: The 2015 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award, given for Restoration and for Stewardship. Click here to donate to helping preserve the historic Old Ship Church, including the current major project: restoring its steeple.
Support Old Ship Church through Amazon Smiles!
Using this link below, shop on Amazon and a portion of the sales are donated back to Old Ship!
How? Start here: https://smile.amazon.com/ and designate Old Ship Church as your charity of choice.
Celebrating Ken's 30th anniversary
Hear the choir sing "The Mild-Mannered Preacher"