Worship & Sermons

WORSHIP

Sunday services are held in our church sanctuary at 10:30am and are livestreamed on our YouTube channel. Advance registration is required to attend in person, and masks are required at all times in our church buildings. An outdoor 30-Minute Fellowship (weather permitting) and fellowship on Zoom follow the services.

Join us for services at 10:30am on Sundays, from the Sunday after Labor Day through Father’s Day. Experience elements of the world religions, including our Christian roots and humanism. Find inspiration in choral and instrumental music (including organ), congregational singing, a time for children, readings, an offering, and meditative silence. Hear a sermon on social justice, spirituality, dealing with life’s challenges, or other issues. The children’s choirs may sing. We may celebrate a holiday, act out a skit, hold a coming-of-age ceremony, or hear a member’s Journeys of Faith. Services end around 11:30am and are usually followed by Coffee Hour.

For a relaxed service with music from the jazz tradition, come to a Jazz Vespers. Our Christmas Eve service and Christmas Candlelight service are community traditions.

Sermons

Watch some recent sermons from Reverend Rebecca:

https://bit.ly/sermon-recordings

My Buddhist Practice

  by Bruce Deveau ​ I was first drawn to Buddhism in my late 20’s out of a need for connection. I didn’t really know anything about the Buddha’s teachings, but I was noticing that many people I admired or respected or read about were practicing the path of the...

The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

  by Joyce Haydock ​ Good morning. It is a beautiful morning, and so wonderful to be listening to and speaking about the healing messages and wisdom of Buddhism. First, I would like to thank Rev. Rebecca for inviting me to speak briefly about my Zen practice and...

Interfaith as a Continuum

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ My first foray into transformative interfaith work happened immediately following 9/11. I was taking classes focused on interfaith and learning the Abrahamic traditions at Hartford Seminary. Full time student status at Andover Newton...

The Power of Threes

  by Alex Matthews, Congregational Leader of Congregation Ahavas Achim ​ Read and print this reflection by clicking the link below: https://www.frsuu.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/2022-05-01-The-Power-of-Threes-Alex-Matthews.pdf

Beyond the Binary: It Isn’t Simple

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ What comes to your mind when I say, “red pen”? Close your eyes, and let’s try again: red pen. How many of you thought of school papers, blue books, math tests, or English compositions? I know I did. It may be a cultural or age thing,...

My Own Personal Easter

  by Alan Seale ​ Read and print this Easter reflection by clicking the link below: https://www.frsuu.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2022-04-17-My-Own-Personal-Easter-Alan-Seale.pdf

Spring’s Not My Thing

  by David Livingstone, Ministerial Intern ​ Spring never felt like it was mine when I was growing up. Maybe that sounds a little strange to you. And maybe it is a little strange, but I’ll try my best to explain. I was in kindergarten when I pledged an internal...

Climate Change is a Social Justice Issue

  by Marcos Luna, PhD, Professor of Geography & Sustainability at Salem State University ​ Thank you and good morning. When I ask my college students, "Who will be most affected by climate change?" they inevitably list future generations first, followed by...

To the Point

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ Nancy Crochiere had asked me if I would prefer to read the piece you just heard, since I wrote it. I told her it would be preferable, by far, if she read it, because I have learned that pain is not meant to be held alone and that it...

The Choices We Make

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ This church was incorporated with the name The First Religious Society in 1794. In its history it had been the Third Parish of Newbury, founded in 1725, and the First Parish of Newburyport from 1765 until 1794 when it claimed its...

Receiving as Giving

  by Julie Parker Amery ​ “It is better to give than to receive.” How many of us have had that adage running through our bones and blood since childhood? It is better to give than to receive. From a tender age, we are taught this. We who identify as female in...

Coming Face to Face

  by Reverend Stan Barrett, Affiliate Minister ​ Rev. Rebecca gave us a real gift in her December 5th sermon last year. She told us about an encounter with “the Holy,” as she put it, a reconnection with “God, eternity, goodness.” She and Bart had just arrived at...

The Art of Communication

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ “I’m here for you.” Little did I know that those few words would lead to a request that would change the history of our church. Father Jarred and I had been getting to know one another since he and his family moved here last August....

Rainbow Stitches, Golden Lacquer

  by Ministerial Intern David Livingstone ​ When I learned that I would be delivering my first sermon to an empty sanctuary, my first thought was, “Well, later in my career when anyone asks about my first time preaching, I will be able to proudly tell them that...

Remarks on Anti-Racism

  by FRS Member Lark Madden ​ Good morning. I’m Lark Madden and I want to start by asking you to join me in looking at one of the readings in our hymnal. If you don’t have a hymnal don’t worry – I’ll read it to you. I like many of the readings in Singing the...

Reflections on Anti-Racism

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the 1966 Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, the relationship he had with our Association wasn’t all a bed of roses. Though he and his wife Coretta did attend Unitarian...

Sources of Our Faith

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ Happy New Year Good morning! Welcome to 2022, a year that many of us have being waiting for a long time, perhaps even since March 2020. This year, 2022, is the year of the Water Tiger in the Chinese New Year, starting on February...

Open Our Hearts

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ The year was 1967. It was the year the first heart transplant took place, the first ATM was made public, and Public Broadcasting System was incorporated. It was also the year that The Beatles recorded their world-famous album,...

Space of a River

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ I might have missed it, the chance to reconnect with God, eternity, goodness. We had just arrived at the Grand Canyon and checked in to our dormitory-style room. We walked into the modest, aging space, my partner pulling our canvas...

Whom Do We Ask?

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ Helping, Fixing, or Serving – Dr. Rachael Remin Service is not the same as helping. Helping is based on inequality; it's not a relationship between equals. When you help, you use your own strength to help someone with less strength....

When More Is Not Enough

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ How do we know when enough is enough? How can we tell if our appetite is satisfied or even sated? I don’t know about you, but my sense of satisfaction, or “enoughness,” was broken long ago. For much of my life, I repeatedly passed...

Going Out of Business?

  by Reverend Bertrand Steeves - June 19, 1994 ​ A few weeks ago, during the morning worship service, Anne Verret-Speck sat on the stairs here surrounded by members of the Young Church and ably explained to the children my retirement. One bright five-year-old,...

AIM to Be Inclusive

  by Reverend Helen Murgida ​ Good morning and Welcome! If you are new to the First Religious Society, we are so glad that you have joined us. My name is Rev. Helen Murgida and I serve as Affiliate Minister and Pastoral Care Associate. I am a life-long educator...

Service of Remembrance

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ I have been with dying people, and the experience has often been beautiful. I’m sure many of you have sat beside the bedsides of loved ones passing away, perhaps even had the good fortune to sing to them or hold their hands,...

Exchange as a Pathway to Change

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ Friends, have we forgotten one another? Tell me, in our busyness, our fear, our desperation, have we forgotten we belong to one another? Have we forgotten how to love one another, how to see the sacred spark of creation in each...

People of Promise

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ In her book Traveling Mercies, the author Anne Lamott tells why she makes her son Sam go to church. The main reason is to give him what I found in the world, which is to say a path and a little light to see by. Most of the people I...

You’re Invited…

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the pain you live in and think you cannot share. I’m sorry for the loss you’re going through and for the aloneness you sometimes feel. I’m sorry if you’ve forgotten how amazingly, spectacularly, beautiful you...

This, Vulnerability, and an Elephant

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ It has been 78 weeks since we have been together in this sanctuary. We entered the 2019-2020 church year on September 8, 2019, full of hope and anticipation. We had spent the summer doing many things, including installing our new...

Foreboding Joy

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ My friend reminded me about the concept of foreboding joy about three weeks ago. The timing was perfect, as I was in the middle of experiencing a severe bout of just that. The Delta variant was on the rise. My previous excitement and...

Together We

  by Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​ “While worship is our collective act of celebration, affirmation, challenge, and inspiration, it does not ask of us what attending an annual meeting does. Experiencing our worship without participating in the community’s decision...

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