who we are
Welcome to First Parish in Hingham, Unitarian Universalist, known as Old Ship Church.
We are a liberal Unitarian Universalist community of about 250 members of all ages. More than 100 children and youth participate in our religious education programming. We worship in an historic Meeting House and we hold religious education classes and gather after services in
our Parish House across the street. Our minister, Rev. Kenneth H. Read-Brown, has been with us for more than 25 years.
Our Meeting House, a National Historic Landmark, has stood on Hingham’s Main Street since 1681. It is the only remaining 17th-century Puritan meeting house in the U.S.
Our community encourages personal spiritual growth through worship, engagement and service to others.
We do not require adherence to a specific creed. We affirm the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Principles and Sources, and we support each individual's unique search for truth and meaning. We are proud that our community is both a "Welcoming Congregation" and a "Green Sanctuary," both official designations from the Unitarian Universalist Association. We cherish diversity of religious backgrounds, racial and cultural identities or backgrounds, ethnicities, national origins, ages, ranges of ability, sexual orientations, gender expressions, financial means, educations, and political perspectives. We welcome all to share in congregational life.
tours of Old Ship Meeting House
We love to give tours! From September through June, tours are by appointment only. Please call the office in advance with a minimum of two days notice if at all possible. We have volunteer tour guides who are happy to come and give a tour. Old Ship is open on Sunday mornings for worship and anyone is welcome to come early (9am-10am) to view the inside of the building.
Contact information to arrange a tour:
Phone Number: 781-749-1679
To receive weekly e-updates, sign up here.
MINISTER'S BLOG: Musings etc.
Click here for directions
We are very pleased to welcome you to Old Ship. We want you to feel comfortable among us.
From September through mid June, our worship service, held in the Meeting House at 90 Main St., begins promptly at 10:25 am and lasts about an hour.
Childcare is available before and
during Sunday services.
Our Parish House, where we hold religious education classes, child care, fellowship hour,
meetings, etc. is across Main Street from the Meeting House at 107 Main St.
Click here for what to expect on Sunday
upcoming worship services
Sunday, November 29
The Sunday following Thanksgiving marks the annual pulpit exchange between our minister and the minister of First Parish in Cohasset. It is a tradition of many years (actually decades). A daughter church of our First Parish Hingham, First Parish Cohasset was formed in the 18th century at a time when Cohasset was still part of Hingham - but residents out that way back in the day were finding what we now call Hingham Square to be a long way to go to church. So... Ken will be preaching in Cohasset, and Rev. Jill Cowie will be preaching here at Old Ship.
Sunday, December 6
Hanukkah begins this evening with the lighting of the first candle. The increasing number of candles with each night of Hanukkah represents, among other things, what we might call increasing hope in a dark time. As leaders from around the world meet in Parish to strive for a new climate change agreement, we can hope they will succeed. But what grounds do we have for hope? Members of Old Ship’s “Green Sanctuary – 350” group will share some of their reflections during the service; Ken’s sermon will be “Hope in a Dark Time”.
Sunday, December 13
“Singing As If We Believed” will be Ken’s sermon.
Many of us love singing what we think of as the “traditional” Christmas carols… even though we may not be too sure we “believe” the words we’re singing. Are we in denial? Pretending? Or are there ways of understanding the old words and stories that are as “true” as any literal understanding? So that we can sing unapologetically with spirit!
Our monthly outreach offering will be given to The Women’s Lunch Place, which offers comfortable daytime shelter, nutritious food, and support services for women experiencing homelessness or poverty.
Sunday, December 20
We are all invited to participate in our Christmas Pageant during our regular morning worship service. For the past few years our pageant has been an all-comers affair – so if you (whatever your age) are feeling like a wise one or a shepherd or perhaps an angel… you will have an opportunity to be part of the story as Ken narrates and the “characters” assemble across the front of our Meeting House. Or just come to watch and to sing familiar carols along the way.
Christmas Eve Service – 5:00
Our annual Christmas Eve service offers a full Meeting House (best to arrive by 4:30!), familiar carols for all to sing, very special music from the choir loft, along with readings and a Christmas Eve story from Ken Read-Brown.
The Christmas Eve offering will, as in past years, be shared with the Father Bill’s Place shelter in Quincy, the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Child care activities will once again be offered in our Parish House by our good friends from Congregation Sha’aray Shalom. Though children are of course welcome to the Christmas Eve service, if you think yours would be happier across the street, they will of course be well cared for and entertained.
Sunday, December 27
This will be our annual service of shared readings in the Fellowship Hall of the Parish House. Preceded at 9:30 by a breakfast for all (including Ken’s famous granola!), the service will begin at 10:30. All are invited to bring a favorite reading to share as the New Year approaches.
COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE
Wednesday, November 25 at 7:00 pm
Old Ship hosts the annual Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service, sponsored by the Hingham Hull Religious Leaders Association, in our Meeting House on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7 pm. With participation from most of the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations in Hingham and Hull and an interfaith choir, this service is a powerful reminder of all that we share as faith communities. The offering will be given to the Wellspring Multi-Service Center in Hull. Please join us!
MERRIE MARKET : an Old Ship tradition
Saturday, December 5, 9am to 2:30pm
This special holiday bazaar & cafe features tables of treasures, baked goods, gift baskets, crafts, used books and media, children's toys, a silent auction, gingerbread house raffle, and the highpoint: spectacular holiday wreaths, created by Old Ship members. Not to mention the famous Old Ship chili and other goodies served in the Jingle Bell cafe. Help us fill each table with goodies beforehand, and join us to volunteer & SHOP! Click here for how to help.
• All events are listed on the calendar
• This month's e-newsletter here
Old Ship Annual Fund Drive / Canvass
What does Old Ship mean to you? Please show your commitment to the Old Ship community by making a pledge of financial support.
Click here for the pledge card, letter and informational materials. Please return your pledge ASAP! Thank you.
meeting house preservation
Old Ship is proud to announce that the Meeting House Restoration Project completed in 2014 has received a significant award: The 2015 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award, given for Restoration and for Stewardship. You may read the full nominating document complete with photos describing the scope of the work done on the project here. Congratulations to everyone who worked on and supported this spectacular project!
Curious about the early history of Old Ship
and of Hingham?
Purchase this excellent DVD, televised in 1998 on The History Channel®. Details here…