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 30 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.
What are Unitarian Universalists? click here.
Copyright and Text—Unitarian Universalist Association
tours of Old Ship Meeting House
June 5, 2019
No tours are available at the moment.
Our steeple renovation has begun, which involves scaffolding on both the outside and inside of the building.
It might be possible to give tours once the inside scaffolding is erected, but we will not know this for a few weeks. Stay tuned.
To receive weekly e-updates, sign up here.
MINISTER'S BLOG: Musings etc.
SERMON ARCHIVES: read Ken's sermons here
Click here for directions
We are very pleased to welcome you to Old Ship. We want you to feel comfortable among us. For a glimpse into our congregation, please watch this introduction to Old Ship Church, a video put together by our former ministerial intern, Dave Egan. Enjoy!
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. The Meeting House is handicapped-accessible. 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. It is handicapped-accessible, with parking spaces and the entrance on the left side.
Click here for more information about what to expect on Sunday morning.
upcoming worship services
All June worship services will be in the Parish House Fellowship Hall, due to the work repairing the Meeting House steeple:
Sunday, June 9, 10:25am
Ken's sermon will be "Touchstones." He writes: "During my sabbatical I spent some of my time compiling what I'm calling touchstone passages and quotes from the world's wisdom traditions, philosophy, and literature, both ancient and contemporary. I'll share some of what I discovered about the words and wisdom I return to over and over again, and invite you to reflect on your own touchstones.
At noon there will be a parish meeting to hear updates about the potential Parish House sale and about alternative plans for staying in our current Parish House.
Sunday, June 16, 10:25am
This will be our annual Flower Sunday, as we complete our year of "regular" worship. Though usually this service is held in our Meeting House, we will still celebrate with our UU Flower Communion ceremony in our Fellowship Hall. We are each invited to bring a flower to place in a shared bouquet, symbolizing the ways in which we each bring our unique gifts to our shared community.
Following the service, we are invited to enjoy strawberry shortcake!
Sunday, June 23, 10am
We begin our summer worship services, mostly to be led by wonderful Old Ship members and friends! This first summer service will be led by Ken Read-Brown: "Speaking from the Silence" - reflections on worship in the manner of the Friends (Quakers)..
Summer services will be in our Fellowship Hall, and will begin at 10:00.
Summer Worship Services
Regular worship services ending in June means Summer Services will be begin!! Starting June 23, please join us each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. to continue Old Ship worship through the summer months. We move our services over to the Parish House Fellowship Hall which allows us to meet in a wonderful, intimate setting with doors wide open and nature just pouring in. The topics for our services this summer are varied with both staff and congregants leading the way.
We begin June 23rd with Ken Read-Brown's annual Quaker service and end Sept. 1st with Chris Hossfeld's Music service. The Sunday services in between are as amazing as last summer: Elizabeth Torrey will lead her wonderfully moving poetry service, Catherine Mayes will introduce the Bodhisattva group and lead a labyrinth meditation, Ginny Perelson will speak on Ableism, the church youth will show you how to think out-of-the-box, and Rich Elliott and Karen Churchill want to throw in their two cents on a few Sundays as well. Summer Service dates with speakers will be announced shortly.
We still have one or two openings available if you would like to lead a service or just give a "sermon." Please contact Karen Churchill with any questions at email@example.com. Looking forward to sharing these once in a lifetime experiences with you.
Old Ship Annual Summer Retreat at Craigville Beach, July 12-14, 2019 - Everyone is Welcome!
Our 6th Annual Summer Retreat will take place July 12-14, 2019 at the Craigville Beach Retreat Center. We will be housed in the Sunset Lodge which has a beautiful view of the ocean and various meeting/lounging areas.
This weekend is for all ages, and is a great way to engage with fellow Old Shippers on a deeper level and have lots of fun while doing so. Our lodging is fantastic, all meals are prepared for us, and the setting is beautiful. Please note, in accordance with church policy, this is an alcohol and substance free event. Also we encourage limited use of electronic devices.
The purpose of our retreat is to build community in a fun and relaxed setting. There is no formal agenda. Beautiful Craigville Beach is within easy walking distance and a focal point of activity. In previous years, we have also enjoyed a kickball game, some meditation, games and puzzles in the common area, spectacular karaoke, and our own service in the beautiful tabernacle. Relax or be active. It's completely up to you!
There is more information available by clicking: "Essential Retreat Facts" and "Registration Form". The cost for the weekend including room and meals is $208 per adult, $141 for youth (6 to 11), children 5 and under are at not cost. It is kindly requested that registration forms with payment be returned no later than May 31st. If we do not reach our minimum number of paid registrants by this date the retreat will be cancelled.
Please reserve your spot now, and RSVP by May 31st to Diane Jordan - firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jeff Lee - email@example.com.
Please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you all this summer at the beach.:)
Diane Jordan and Jeff Lee
Support Old Ship
Support Old Ship Church through Amazon Smiles!
Using this link below, shop on Amazon and a portion of the sales are donated back to Old Ship! How? Start here: https://smile.amazon.com/ and designate Old Ship Church as your charity of choice.
Old Ship is proud that the Meeting House Restoration Project completed in 2014 received a significant award: The 2015 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award, given for Restoration and for Stewardship. Click here to donate to helping preserve the historic Old Ship Church, including the current major project: restoring its steeple.
Curious about the early history of Old Ship Meeting House and of Hingham?
Purchase this excellent DVD, televised in 1998 on The History Channel®. Details here…