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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.

Transition Team Findings, Part II

By Tom Stites

Second of two articles

UU churches that have seen significant growth in recent years tend to have experimented with and changed their approaches to Sunday worship. This trend became clear through conversations with ministers of similar-sized UU churches in our region that members of the FRS Transition Team visited during the last church year.

Further research, led by team member Forrest Speck, showed that this trend was true of UU congregations nationally – and that the familiar business principle of “change or die” also applies to churches.

“The field visits were wonderful,” said Jane Tuohy, chair of the eight-member Transition Team. “We’d done a lot of research and on the visits we saw what we’d researched being lived out.” The churches visited – in Portsmouth, N.H., and Bedford, Needham and North Andover, Mass. – were selected because, like FRS, they are historic congregations, and they have grappled with challenges similar to those FRS is facing. Most important, the team’s report said, these congregations have been growing despite the challenges.

FRS visitors to the other churches – members of the Transition Team as well as John Mercer, chair of the Search Committee that will select a candidate to be our new settled minister a year from now – heard about experiments in creating ways to make services more interactive and in diversifying the music offered during worship.

Donate flowers or steeple lighting

The following dates are available for Steeple Lightings and providing flowers for Sunday service. To sign up for a date, email Nicole Salemi. Please include in your email: Steeple or Flowers, the date you've chosen, and the message to include in the Order of Service. Steeple Lighting is $75. Flowers either you provide or the church orders a standard arrangement ($35 plus tax) and florist bills you.

Steeple Lightings 2017-2018

July 8, 2018

July 29, 2018

Make music at FRS

The FRS Adult Choir will resume Thursday evening rehearsals on September 7 at 7:30 pm, and we will rehearse at 9am on Sunday and sing in the Sunday Service on September 10. If you are interested in participating, please email Dana Maiben, our Acting Music Director. 

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