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.
To see a short video about Unitarian Universalists, click here.
Copyright and Text—Unitarian Universalist Association.
tours of Old Ship Meeting House
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. You can park along Main Street on either side of the street, or along the circular driveway in front of the Parish House. A few handicapped-accessible spaces are located at the top of the circular drive in front of the Meeting House.
Childcare, located in the Parish House, is available before and during Sunday services.
Our Parish House, where we hold religious education classes, child care, fellowship hour,
meetings, the office, etc. is across Main Street from the Meeting House at 107 Main St.
Click here for more information about what to expect on Sunday morning.
upcoming worship services
Sunday, October 30, 10:25am
This will be our annual Remembrance Service, led by our Pastoral Care Team. During the service we will be invited to name those we love who have died. We are also invited to bring to the service a photo or small memento of a loved one to place on our altar of memory (all to be retrieved of course following the service). Ken's sermon will be "Woven Fine," reflections on the ways in which joy and sorrow both live in our hearts... sometimes poignantly at the very same time.
Sunday Forum: Legacy Giving, at noon in the parlor. Old Ship has thrived for 335 years, thanks to a culture of stewardship over the generations. Come learn how you may leave your legacy for Old Ship.
Sunday, November 6, 10:25am
"The Election Sermon" is an old New England tradition. As one writer has put it, "in keeping with the Calvinist belief that all human activity falls under the jurisdiction of God's Word, sermons were preached at significant public events" including elections.
Well, it has been a long time since a Calvinist theology has been preached in the Old Ship Meeting House; but as Unitarian Universalists we too affirm that religion ought to inform not only our personal lives, but our public lives. What needs to be said in the Old Meeting House as this year's election nears?
Sunday Forum: At noon in the Parish House parlor there will be a conversation sponsored by the Pastoral Care Leadership Team. Are you a caregiver for a loved one who is ill or otherwise challenged? We will share our experiences and strategies and resources; we will help one another through this conversation.
Sunday, November 13, 10:25am
"Now What?" will be Ken's sermon. Whatever the results of the election, from president on down to state representatives, life goes on. What have we been losing sight of in the midst of this most contentious presidential campaign? Where should our focus now be - personally and collectively? Let's take a deep breath... and consider our lives.
Sunday Forum: "New UU" at noon in the parlor. All newcomers are invited to gather with Ken and other Old Ship leaders to learn more about Old Ship and Unitarian Universalism. Old-timers are invited for a refresher... and to meet some of our new folks.
This will also be the first Sunday that our music will be led by our new Music Director, Christopher Hossfeld! Look for more information about Chris coming soon...
Sunday, November 20, 10:25am
Ken's sermon, as Thanksgiving approaches, will be "Still Grateful". In an annual tradition, "Guest at Your Table" boxes will be distributed in support of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
This is our annual Community Day Sunday! Following the service we will enjoy a pizza lunch and one another's company in order to fortify ourselves for work: Grounds clean-up, mailing to raise funds for the UU Urban Ministry's Renewal House program, and more.
Wednesday, November 23, 7:00 pm
Interfaith Community Thanksgiving
The annual Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service, sponsored by the Hingham Hull Religious Leaders Association, will as always be held in our Old Ship Meeting House. This service is an annual powerful reminder of all that we share as faith communities. Participants include clergy and lay leaders from most of the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations in Hingham and Hull. Our preacher will be Rev. Stephanie Shute Kelsch, minister at Second Parish in Hingham (UU) and current president of the Hingham Hull Religious Leaders. The offering will be given to the Diane Edson Fund of Wellspring Multi-Service Center in Hull.
So You Want to Meditate - October 29, 3:00-5 pm
Led by Rev. Ken Read-Brown
Whether you are a long time meditator or wish to begin, this gathering will offer basic instruction in mindfulness meditation and in Eknath Easwaran’s passage meditation. There will be time for questions and conversation, and time to meditate.
Ceilidh (“kay-lee”) Tuesday, November 1, 7:30pm
Share songs, stories, poems, and an old-fashioned good time. Bring an instrument if you have one or just bring yourself to listen and maybe sing along.
Old Ship Book Group Monday, Nov. 7, 1pm & 7pm
Join us to discuss "The Breadwinner," a young adult novel by Deborah Ellis, about a young girl whose circumstances in Kabul, Afghanistan, force her to become the breadwinner for the family. It's a timely, easy read (and a good one to discuss with any youth in your family) - and all royalties from the book go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. More...
What If? Led by Gwen Morgan
One Saturday workshop, Nov. 12, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
The What If? workbook is a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide to help get your affairs together in one convenient location. By filling out the workbook, you provide your loved ones with the necessary information they need should anything happen to you. The workshop will be led by the creator of the workbook, Gwen Morgan.
Life Learning classes have begun. Check out the full schedule here.
.• All events are listed on the calendar
• This month's e-newsletter here
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…