A spiritual home, a community working for justice
Are you looking for a spiritual home that accepts you as you are? Do you wish you had a community to join in working for justice? Do you want a caring community where your kids can learn progressive moral values?
Wherever you are on life’s journey, whomever you love, whatever your gender identity or immigration status, you are welcome at the First Religious Society. We are people of many ages, beliefs, and incomes. We come as singles or with our diverse families. Bound by common values, we come together to inspire each other and to make the world a better place.
How can you tell whether the First Religious Society is the right place for you? Visit us on a Sunday morning. Attend our worship service or sample our Young Church activities. Check out the vibe at coffee hour after the service. Meet with one of our staff members. Sign up for our newsletter. Try out a few of our programs. Join a Chalice Circle. We may be the spiritual home you have been searching for all along.
How is this church different from others?
Our members include humanists, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, pagans, atheists, and skeptics. Because Unitarian Universalism doesn’t have creeds or dogma, each of us is free to pursue truth and meaning in our own way. We commit not to beliefs, but to values and principles that are grounded in world religions, science, poetry, and personal experience. Our legacy of “deeds, not creeds” creates a strong commitment to social justice. Learn more about the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism.
When you arrive
Our building may look imposing from the outside, but inside you’ll find a light-filled and welcoming space. You can enter the church through the main door on Pleasant Street or from our lower level on the parking lot side of the building.
When you come into the busy vestibule on a Sunday morning, you may want to stop at the Visitor’s Table. There’s always someone there to chat with and help you get oriented if needed. Just inside the next set of doors, as you enter the sanctuary where our service is held, you’ll be handed a program–we call it the order of service.
Sit anywhere you’d like. You might take a seat in a center pew or the balcony or join a group in a “box pew” on the side of the sanctuary.
Children in the service
Kids attend the first fifteen minutes of the service. That includes a Moment for All Ages when they are invited to the front of the sanctuary for a story. After that, children are usually sung out to spend the rest of the hour with their age group (preschool to high school). Once a month, our worship service is designed for all ages.
Our nursery welcomes children ages 12-24 months for all or part of the service. You’ll find it on the lower level.
If your child would like to sample the Young Church group for their age, please register in advance online or come a few minutes early to register them with the staff. Read more about our religious education program.
Kids are also welcome to stay with their families for the whole service. If they get bored or antsy, you can pick up coloring supplies inside the sanctuary or step out to use the rocking chair in the vestibule.
When to visit
Come any Sunday, and even better, try us out more than once. Our services vary from week to week. The sermon is generally given by our minister, though you also may hear a guest preacher, church member, one of our youth, or an outside speaker. We don’t currently hold services in the summer, between Father’s Day and Labor Day. If you want to get acquainted by meeting with a staff member during that time, please email us.
What you can expect from the service
Unitarian Universalism has its roots in the Protestant Reformation. Worship services today are a beautiful combination of the world religions, including our Christian roots, and humanism. Most services are about an hour long. They include music (including choral and organ), hymns, a time for children, readings, an offering, meditative silence, and a sermon. Sermons can be about a variety of issues including dealing with life’s challenges, spirituality and issues of social justice. About once a month members of the congregation share their journeys of faith. These are particularly meaningful.
People find value in many parts of the service, including simply having time to reflect. Here at FRS we “worship together”–that is, we all leave changed for the better for what the service offered.
Following the service, we invite you to the Parish Hall next door, where members and visitors can get to know one another over coffee and goodies. Just follow the crowd out the side door of the church building.
The main door to the church has a couple of steps. Our accessible entrance is on the parking lot side of the building, where you’ll find a sloping walkway to the office doors. An elevator connects this lower level to the main floor.
For a large print hymnal, please ask an usher.