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.
tours of Old Ship Meeting House
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.
Childcare is available before and
during Sunday services.
Our Parish House, where we hold religious education classes, child care, fellowship hour,
meetings, etc. is across Main Street from the Meeting House at 107 Main St.
Click here for what to expect on Sunday
upcoming worship services
Sunday, October 2, 10:25am
Ken Read-Brown will host a very special guest
preacher, Laurie Carter Noble. A member of the
First Church in Belmont and a Unitarian Universalist
for most of her life, Laurie will be preaching on the
life of the Universalist Rev. Olympia Brown:
"Olympia Brown: Never Retreat One Single Inch".
One of the first women ordained to the ministry
in any denomination, Brown insisted on equal
opportunities for women in all things, whether
education, the professions, politics or on the
domestic front. A dedicated suffragist, she was also
a peace advocate and one of the first members of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. One of the only of the original suffragists still alive when the 19th amendment was passed, she cast her first vote while in her eighties and was still demonstrating, agitating and negotiating. There will be a forum conversation at noon in the
Parish House parlor with Laurie Carter Noble an
opportunity to learn more about Olympia
Brown and 19th century Universalism.
Sunday, October 9, 10:25am
In the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days, Ken's sermon will be "Facing Death With Life," which is also the title of the class beginning on Wednesday, October 12 to be led by Ken and Rich Elliott.
There may be a few who are able somehow to avoid taxes, but none of us can avoid death. Can "facing death with life" enrich our lives? Are their spiritual practices or
approaches that can help us to live fully with the full knowledge that we will die?
At 1:00, honoring St. Francis, there will be a "blessing of the animals" on the lawn in front of the Meeting House. Head home after the service and return with your pet of
any kind (we are assuming no one has a pet alligator or tiger...). Ken and all of us together will offer blessings for health and happiness for each of the animal companions who bless our lives.
Sunday, October 16, 10:25am
Coming a few days after the 28th annual "National Coming Out Day" Ken's sermon will be "Standing on the Side of Love" reflections on the challenges and blessings of our Unitarian Universalist inclusive way of being religious. How do we stand on the side of love
each day in the midst of a political and social environment that is often so toxic to those who
are perceived by some as different or dangerous... without ourselves demonizing those of different political persuasions or class or belief? Old Ship youth will participate in the service. The Social Justice Council will be sponsoring a forum at noon featuring a speaker from Father Bills'/Mainspring.
Sunday, October 23, 10:25am
"Balancing Act" will be Ken's sermon. Jesus often went aside to pray, and then resumed his really busy life as teacher and healer. The Buddha went from village to village for much of the year, but always leaving time for meditation and reserving extended time each year for retreat. Well, if these guys could do it, why can't we, too, balance a need for inward spiritual renewal with our outward active lives... not to mention in the midst of the
swirling life of politics and "issues" from local to global? But how?
Sunday, October 30, 10:25am
This will be our annual Remembrance Service, led by our Pastoral Care Team. During the service we will be invited to name those we love who have died. We are also invited to bring to the service a photo or small memento of a loved one to place on our altar of memory
(all to be retrieved of course following the service).
Ken's sermon will be "Woven Fine," reflections on the ways in which joy and sorrow both live in our hearts... sometimes poignantly at the very same time.
"Women: Mapping Their Paths-What Gets in the Way?" Sat, October 1 at 10:30 in the Parish House
You are invited to an informal discussion in the Parish House on Saturday October 1 at 10:30 AM on "barriers to women's advancement." Old Ship member Sherry Penney is continuing her research on women's issues and is currently looking at barriers that continue in the 21st century. She has done focus groups with Gen Xers and would like, as a next step, to convene an intergenerational group of Old Shippers. Her earlier work (Next Generation Leadership: Insights from Emerging Leaders, 2010) focused primarily on Gen X and Gen Y, but she believes that many of the issues are applicable to a broader group of women.
So please join us for a focused and provocative discussion. No need to prepare. Just come and bring your experiences to share.
Dive In! The water is fine! Old Ship Pool Party on Saturday, October 1, 1pm – 4pm!
Mark your calendar! All are invited to an Old Ship Pool Party at Doug Macauley and Rebecca Nidositko's house on October 1st from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Doug and Rebecca will provide the pool, soft drinks and a trained lifeguard! Please bring a potluck dish to share, your bathing suit and towel, and some sunscreen. For more information and to RSVP please contact Erin Alix, Membership Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessing of the Animals October 9
On October 9th at 1:00 pm please join us on the lawn in front of the Meeting House for a Blessing of the Animals. The Patron Saint of Animals, St. Francis of Assisi, was said to have loved humans and animals alike, and even preached to animals! Because of this each October people celebrate his memory with a blessing of animals of all types. Bring your beloved pet--be it a dog, hamster, chicken, cat, rat, bird, snake, lizard or otherwise!-- to be blessed by Ken Read-Brown. All are welcome so feel free to bring your friends and their pets, too! For more information please contact Erin Alix, Membership Coordinator, at email@example.com."
Life Learning classes will begin in September. A full color brochure is in the works, but you can get a preview of upcoming classes by clicking here.
We are in search for a Music Director.
See the job description by clicking here.
.• All events are listed on the calendar
• This month's e-newsletter here
meeting house preservation
Old Ship is proud to announce that the Meeting House Restoration Project completed in 2014 has received a significant award: The 2015 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award, given for Restoration and for Stewardship. You may read the full nominating document complete with photos describing the scope of the work done on the project here. Congratulations to everyone who worked on and supported this spectacular project!
Curious about the early history of Old Ship
and of Hingham?
Purchase this excellent DVD, televised in 1998 on The History Channel®. Details here…