Steeple Preservation Project


We are the First Religious Society, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  We're glad you're here. We aspire to be a welcoming and inclusive community that encourages spiritual growth as we strive for truth and meaning and serve the social and spiritual needs of our larger community.

Climate Action Project (CAP) news

Earth afloat in oceanComing to FRS

Sunday, May 1 at 11:45am: “Climate Café” in Parish Hall (2nd floor).
FRS is successfully completing a “100 year solution” for the meetinghouse and steeple. Why not imagine a “100 year solution” for slowing climate change? What might it look like? Can we be part of the solution? If not us, who? Come for coffee and conversation.

Bring your family to May Breakfast

Saturday, May 7, 2016: Annual May Breakfast. Parish Hall, 8-11am. $6 for adults and $4 for children. Enjoy local eggs fried or scrambled, ham, veggie sausages, baked beans, hash browns, apple cinnamon pancakes, fresh fruit salad and baked goods, as well as Fair Trade coffee, tea and juice. Open to the whole community. Bring your family and friends.

Kids matter with Local Poverty Matters

Wednesday, May 4, 2016: Local Poverty Matters. Lower Meeting House, 7-8pm. Ever wonder how kids grow up to be productive members of society in today’s crazy world? Or what you can do to help? Hear from Jim Keenan, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Merrimack Valley, about how the club inspires and enables young people, especially those who most need support, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Bring a friend who also cares about the kids growing up in our community.

Steeple project is highlight of Preservation Week

Friday, May 13: Talk on steeple project for Newburyport Preservation Week. Custom House Maritime Museum, 7pm reception, followed by program. Free admission. Bill Heenehan, our Business Administrator and Project Manager, will give the keynote talk for the weeklong events celebrating “Preserving the Architecture of Faith.” Through pictures and artifacts, he’ll share the two-and-a-half-year journey the church and its membership has been on.

Helen Murgida's Journey of Faith

Helen Sampson MurgidaHelen Sampson Murgida gave this Journey of Faith on April 10, 2016.
My childhood was steeped in Roman Catholicism. Ritual and worship such as chants, communion, and processions were a cloak of comfort and predictability. I was supported in my faith by my neighborhood and parochial schools, and by my loving parents, who were deeply involved in caring for others through Catholic services like St. Vincent DePaul. 

Friendship Table goes green in March

Our church hosted the Friendship Table at the Salvation Army on March 17, 2016, which was St. Patrick's Day. We served our signature lasagna and salad, along with a special St. Patrick's Day dessert. Ilise and Lucy O'Brien made and served cupcakes with green icing in honor of the holiday. The guests were thrilled to see such festive desserts!

We had just enough lasagna for the guests and ran short of about two servings for the takeouts. We had plenty of salad and bread and no one went home hungry.

Incarceration and Poverty

barbed wire

Incarceration and poverty are intimately linked.

For those of us who have had the opportunity to volunteer or work in programs in our prisons, a door is opened to the intimate lives of many of our fellow Essex County citizens. These are people we pass on the streets, see in grocery stores, or schools. I understood little about the challenges of their lives. Now I am beginning to see the person behind the external masks.


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