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.

Every exit is an entrance

From the minister

“Every exit is an entrance somewhere else.”—Tom Stoppard

One of my ministerial mentors during my first ministry in Hanska, MN was the Rev. John Cummins, minister at that time of the First Universalist Church in Minneapolis. I want to share some words of wisdom of his on ministerial transition, entitled, “For Better or for Worse…but not Forever…”:

Attend General Assembly 2016

It's time to begin thinking about that exciting confluence of Unitarian Universalists–-General Assembly (GA)! This year GA is June 22-26 in Columbus, Ohio, recently named the top city to move to in 2016. Folks from this congregation who have previously attended GA found it eye-opening--so many different UU’s, stimulating workshops, training in useful topics, social action ideas, meaningful worship, and great exhibits. This year Harold Babcock will be recognized among retirees at the Service of the Living Tradition.

Results of CS/AI poll

UU Connect would like to thank the 96 respondents to our poll conducted on January 31, to discover the priority of topics for Congregational Study/Action Issue (CS/AI). This process sets policy for the 1,100+ churches in our UU denomination for study and action starting in 2017.

Music director search update

The search process begins now, and will culminate with hiring a new Music Director mid-May.

To begin, I have been interviewing members of the previous search committee as well as relevant stakeholders, church staff, other UU music directors, and a representative of the Newburyport Choral Society (which undertook a search last year). All have been very helpful in clarifying various aspects of the job and giving feedback on the search process. We are currently formulating the Search Committee to create a balanced group of folks to represent the congregation and the music program.

Making Music Together

Words from Jay Lane, departing Director of Church Music, February 7, 2016

When I arrived here in the spring of 2009, my head was spinning. I’d just spent ten years at an Episcopal church, and eight of them were wonderful. I had felt at home, and I was having that wonderful experience of having one’s spiritual life and working life going hand in hand with one another. But then, during my last two years there, factions developed in the church, and there was constant fighting. While I wasn’t involved in the conflict, I clearly had to get out. I applied for a few jobs, and felt that I was called to come here. I’d never worked in a Unitarian church before—in fact, I’d never been to a Unitarian service before, except for a wedding or two. What would it be like to work for folks whose religious beliefs were so different from mine?  It was a big adjustment, and I wasn’t at all sure what to make of it. But while I felt confused, I was absolutely certain that it felt right to be here. And it has been right.

February Collection for Cause

Every month FRS gives half the undesignated money from our Sunday collections to a charity, and in all but one month our generosity goes to a local agency that does important work in the community—feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, other crucial services. February is the exception—this month our generosity goes to the UUA, whose services support FRS and more than 1,000 other congregations.

The robots are coming!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016: Local Poverty Matters Discussion Group: The Robots are Coming! Lower Meeting House, 7-8pm. Richard Mullen will present a look at how technology will change the world as we know it. Robots will provide assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities. Solar, wind, wave, and water will be the energy of the near future making coal, oil, and gas obsolete. Driverless cars and trucks will disrupt employment and change the way we live our daily lives. But, will the impact be positive or negative? Were the Luddites right?


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