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! We are happy to give tours, but kindly request two days notice in order to arrange a volunteer tour guide. Please call or email the office to schedule a tour.
To receive weekly e-updates, sign up here.
MINISTER'S BLOG: Musings etc.
SERMON ARCHIVES: read Ken's sermons here
Click here for directions
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
Wednesday Evening Vespers
We continue our annual tradition of peaceful services between Thanksgiving and Christmas in a gently darkened Old Ship Meeting House on Wednesday evenings at 6:30. This year's services will be on December 7, 14, and 21. Each service lasts from thirty to forty minutes, and consists of brief readings, musical selections on guitar, violin, dulcimer, or piano, and plenty of healing silence. All are of course welcome.
Sunday, December 11, 10:25am
A line from a Theodore Roethke poem affirms that "In a dark time the eye begins to see. Ken's sermon, "In a Dark Time," will blend reflections on solstice, Jesus' birth, and our own live.
At noon there will be a forum in the Parish House parlor with Mikey Walker, founder of the Kerry Jon Walker Fund. The fund provides opportunities for financially under-resourced teens from Boston to travel to Africa and work in service with orphaned teens at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwanda. Last spring, our Social Outreach Committee made a grant to support a partial scholarship for one of these teens. One of the students who has benefited from the fund will be present along with Mikey. Join us to hear stories and learn more - and receive a thank you!
Sunday, December 18, 10:25am
As we have done for the past few years, we will look towards Christmas with a pageant for everyone - participation open to anyone of any age willing to carry a shepherd's crook or a star, or wear a crown or halo.
Christmas Eve: Saturday, December 24, 5pm
Christmas Eve at Old Ship brings not only Old Ship members and friends, but many from Hingham and surrounding communities for whom this has become a beloved annual tradition. Savvy old-timers know to arrive no later than 4:30 (even earlier is better) in order to have a chance at or near a favorite pew. There will be child-care for the very young in our nursery, offered by wonderful volunteers from Congregation Sha'aray Shalom.
The service will include familiar carols for all to sing, wonderful music from the choir loft led by our new music director, Chris Hossfeld, traditional and contemporary readings, and as always a story for Christmas Eve from Ken.
Sunday, December 25
There will be no worship service at Old Ship on Christmas morning.
Sunday, January 1 - service of shared readings in the Fellowship Hall
Our annual service sharing readings and poems falls on New Year's Day this year. Bring a reading to share, or just bring listening ears. Ken will provide a light breakfast (yes, including that famous home-made granola) at 9:30, followed by our service at 10:30. All in the Fellowship Hall.
Moments from Merrie Market . . .
Caroling!! on December 10, 2016
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 10. We will gather at the Parish House at 12:45 in order to leave at 1:00. Come if you've participated for years; come if this would be your first time. Whatever your spirits at 1:00 on December 10, 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!
Gingerbread House Making
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 4:00 p.m. Fellowship Hall (immediately following caroling) 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!!
Coffeehouse off the Square presents Aine Minogue on Sunday, December 18 at 4pm, in the Old Ship Meeting House. (Please note this is a Sunday afternoon performance.)
Aine’s renowned harp playing, her beautiful, nearly ethereal singing voice, and her sometimes enchanting guests have made this sell-out event the high point of many recent seasons. From her time as harpist in residence at Ireland’s Bunratty Castle, to her playing and teaching her, Aine’ only gets better. This time she will be playing at the Old Ship’s beautiful and evocative sanctuary. http://www.aineminogue.com/
To hear a clip of Ms. Minogue's music, click here:
Life Learning classes have begun. Check out the full schedule here.
.• All events are listed on the calendar
• This month's e-newsletter here
meeting house preservation
Old Ship is proud 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…