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Nov 18 / Nancy

Christmas Cantata

‘Once Upon a Night’ 

Sunday, December 15, 10 AM

First Parish Church, Manchester

Presented by the First Parish Choir, led by Dr. Herman Weiss, Organist/Choir Director

‘Once Upon a Night’, is a cantata with words and music by Pepper Choplin. Mr. Choplin, a contemporary composer, has fashioned a full length work which describes the events preceding the birth of Jesus and the celebration of His birth.

All are welcome to join us for this joyous Advent event


Oct 29 / Nancy

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Oct 28 / Nancy

Monthly Mission, November

Our November Missions project was the Council on Aging Bags

and College Freshman Boxes

(Sponsored by Women’s Fellowship, Missions and open to the entire church)

We filled 20 COA bags and 6 freshman boxes to distribute to members of the community and youth from our church.

Oct 28 / Nancy

Book Group News

Meeting Monday, November 25 at 6:30 PM

At Joanne Hadaegh’s , 29 Hickory Hill Rd. Manchester.

The book for discussion is “Last Christmas in Paris” by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Web.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris. But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…
Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. goodreads

Please RSVP to Joanne at 413-221-4518 or for planning purposes.

Book group is open to everyone! This is a time for church members as well as non-church goers to come together and engage with one another, build relationships, and share in discussion of books that are of interest to people of various backgrounds.We have fun visiting, discussing the book and sharing stories. Each month is a new host, who provides light snacks, beverages and dessert but only once a year!!!! The host then chooses the book for the next month.

Meeting Monday, December 30 at 6:30 PM

At Nancy Peterson’s home, 111 Chebacco Rd. Hamilton

In place of reading a book we will gather for a potluck dinner and Yankee Swap (bring a wrapped used book!)

Please RSVP to Nancy at 508-284-0883 or


Oct 28 / Nancy

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Oct 22 / Nancy

Jordan Peterson Discussion Group

The next meeting of The Jordan Peterson Discussion Group will be at 7:30 pm in the First Parish Chapel on Monday, November 18. The topic will be Lecture 8 of the Biblical Series,The Phenomenology of the Divine. which includes the story of the Tower of Babel.   As time permits, we will also spend a few minutes on the Sermon on the Mount, using material taken from Lecture 7. As usual, no preparation is necessary; clips of the video lecture will be provided as a springboard for discussion.  However, if you would like to view the full lecture ahead of the discussion, both the video and the transcript may be viewed here:


All programs are self contained, so if you haven’t come previously or recently, please come!   This group is open to the public, so please feel free to invite anyone you think might be interested.  If you are not familiar with the Chapel, the entrance is the driveway to the right of Santander Bank as you face it from the street at 17 Union St in Manchester.  Go to the rear entrance of the building on your left in the back of the bank.

If you have any questions, contact Richard Smith (978-590-7497) or Steve Carhart  (978-407-8454).

Oct 8 / Nancy

Announcing Our New Pastor

First Parish Church recently voted to call the Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea as full time Pastor beginning in January 2020.

Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea has been the Senior Minister of First Congregational Church in Westfield, NJ, since 2005. Prior to that, he was Assistant Minister for Congregational Care at Union Congregational Church in Montclair, NJ.  Over a 20-year career prior to entering the ministry, Dr. Boyea, who holds a PhD in the Psychology of Human Performance, served as a coach, athletics administrator, faculty member, counselor, and sport psychologist at the  university, college, and private school levels at    institutions such as The University of Maryland, George Mason Univ., Daniel Webster College (NH), and Thomas College (ME).

While guided by his faith throughout his personal and professional lives, it was during his tenure as Director of Athletics and Instructor of Psychology at The Montclair Kimberley Academy in New Jersey that Mark realized what had always drawn him to teaching, coaching, and counseling – the desire to help people become all that God wants them to be. From this insight, he made the decision to enter seminary, and received his Master of Divinity degree in May 2005. His wife Cindy’s response when he anxiously told her of his decision to leave a great job and attend seminary?  “What took you so long?”

As Senior Minister at First Congregational Church, Westfield, Dr. Boyea led the development of a comprehensive Adult Studies program, involving 6-8 short-term courses in Bible Studies, Spirituality, Church History, and Current Events; regular prayer and meditation sessions; documentary film discussions; museum, theater and monastery trips; and forums and guest speakers on topics such as Islam, Judaism, the environment and the Syrian refugee crisis.  He worked to incorporate music more creatively and with greater variety in Worship, and the church had a thriving Church School and youth program, punctuated by annual Mission Trips which Dr. Boyea and his wife helped lead along with Westfield’s Associate Minister and other adults.

During his time in Westfield, membership also returned to its previous count after a Congregational crisis preceding his arrival; new spiritual opportunities were created, such as a “First Saturday” alternative Worship experience and monthly Meditation sessions; and several new avenues for service outside the church were initiated by members with his guidance.

Dr. Boyea continues to work on occasion with adult, college, and high school athletes and coaches, as well as teachers, musicians and business leaders on the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of human performance and leadership; has authored several articles; and was a contributing editor for three books: Coaching and Character, The Power of Three, and The Educated Child. In addition, he continues to serve as guest lecturer at high schools and colleges throughout the country, including Duke University.

He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Potsdam College (NY), a M.Ed. in Education and Administration from East Stroudsburg University (PA), a M.Div, from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and a Ph.D from the University of Maryland.

He provided us with this description of his philosophy and approach to ministry:

“It’s not my church, nor is it supposed to be. It’s God’s and Jesus’ church first. Then the members and friends of the spiritual community I serve. My job is to help create and sustain an environment that, through inspiring Worship, and diverse opportunities for study, service and social interaction, help every individual discover for themselves who and what God calls them to be, and how best to move toward that call in their everyday lives.

 “I am at my core, a spiritual teacher; a guide. And a guide’s responsibility is to essentially make themselves as unnecessary as possible, in the sense of helping equip others to find their own path to God and the practices that will best help them there. 

 “What I promise the members and friends of First Parish is inspiring and thought-provoking preaching and teaching, as well as steady, dedicated, compassionate pastoral care – that, and a consistent and sometimes “devilish” sense of humor.

 “All this is grounded in and guided by – as best I can in the moment but never perfectly – the life, teachings, and example of Jesus. While I firmly believe there can never be only one path to God, Jesus is the foundation of the way that speaks most clearly to me.”

Dr. Boyea, who hopes that we will simply call him “Mark” outside of formal settings, has been married for 35 years to his best friend and full partner, Cindy, a commercial property manager in New York City who is looking forward to new opportunities in our region. They are the parents of Ryan, a building engineer in the New York City area, and Kelsey, a law clerk with the Veteran’s Administration in Washington, DC.   He and Cindy look forward to living here in Manchester-by-the-Sea in our Church Parsonage and to becoming Red Sox / Celtics / Patriots fans!


Sep 9 / Nancy

Making Sense of the Cross, Discussion

“Making Sense of the Cross” Book Discussion group

In the introduction to his book, “Making Sense of the Cross,” Luther Seminary Professor David Lose raises many questions, including these:  “How should we regard the cross?  Is it a sad tragedy that we should grieve?  Is it the moment of God’s victory and redemption that we should celebrate?…what kind of God would require such a gruesome death to achieve redemption?”  And then he says, “By the time you are done [reading this book], you should not only understand what other Christians have said about the cross, but also what you believe about this central symbol and element of our faith.”  If you have ever asked any of these questions and haven’t quite yet found answers that are completely satisfactory, you might enjoy exploring this book with your fellow church members.  Rev. Marlayna will be leading a 6 week book discussion group on Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11:45 starting on Saturday, October 5th and running through Saturday, November 2nd.  Please talk with Rev. Marlayna if you are interested in attending.

Sep 9 / admin

Announcing New Choir Director and Organist

Dear Members and Friends of First Parish Church, Congregational, UCC–

The Music Committee is pleased to announce the happy news that we have found a new Director of Music and Organist!  We look forward to introducing him to the congregation on his first Sunday with us, which will be October 6th.  In the meantime, we want to let you know a little bit about him, so that you can begin to understand why he was our unanimous choice for this position.  First, let me share his picture and bio with you:

Herman Weiss is an internationally renowned composer, conductor, organist and pianist. Dr. Weiss is co-founder of two chamber music societies and created a Master of Music program in composition at the Longy School of Music, where he chaired the department of composition for twelve years. Formerly president and founding member of the Composers in Red Sneakers, he most recently served as organist-choir director for the Village Church of Nahant and, with Marsha Johnson, is a part of the Dreamsong Duo.

As you can imagine from the short summary above, the committee was very impressed with Dr. Weiss’ education, experience, and vast array of musical talents and gifts! So, with his permission, we share with you some of the details he shared with us during the search process:

Prior to serving as Choir Director and Organist of the Village Church in Nahant, Dr. Weiss was Choir Director and Organist at Quincy Point Congregational Church in Quincy, MA, Musical Director at Temple Beth Shalom, Peabody, MA, Organist, Choir Director and Composer at Temple Isaiah, Lexington, MA, Organist and Choir Director at First Baptist Church of Medford, MA, and Organist and Choir Director at First Congregational Church of West Medford, MA. He has conducted adult and children’s choirs and also managed a bell choir.

Besides extensive experience working with churches and temples, Dr. Weiss has a PhD in music composition from Brandeis University and studied composition and organ in Paris at Conservatoire National on a Fulbright Fellowship with Olivier Messaien. He also studied composition, piano and conducting at New England Conservatory.

In his work at Longy School of Music outlined above, he created and taught curriculum for Theory and Modern American Music programs.  As a composer, Dr. Weiss has written a great range of works including solo pieces, chamber music, symphonic and choral works. As a pianist and conductor, Dr. Weiss has been a guest artist at numerous music festivals in New England.

Dr. Weiss also has a wide range of musical ability and has worked in Shakespearean theater, was involved with production of musicals including “Godspell” and “Guys and Dolls,” and worked at an improvisation type theater. He worked with a choir to perform an interesting and delightfully humorous musical setting of a weather report composed by Henry Mollicone that is called “National Weather Report.” Herman also performs as part of the DreamSong Duo with his wife, soprano Marsha Johnson.

Herman has expressed that one of the most satisfying aspects of being a church Music Director is making the worship experience in church more meaningful. He also enjoys getting people to make music together. All of this, in combination with his “big picture” thinking, contributed to our committee’s sense that Dr. Herman Weiss is exactly what our church is looking for–praise be to God!

With joy and gratitude,
Maggie Michael, on behalf of the Music Committee
(Ann Greenleaf, Lauren Gudonis, Maggie Michael, Jen Powers, and John Round) and other church leaders who participated in the search effort (Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt, Interim Minister; Nancy Peterson, Moderator; Paul Knox and Rebecca Shrimpton, Section Leaders)

Sep 1 / Nancy

Steeple and Bell Information

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