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Oct 3 / Nancy



At the sign of the rose, we’re happy to announce that our new season of Vespers quiet time for prayerful meditation and peace, wonderful reflections from the Reverend John Hughes, candle-lighting at the altar, and perfect music, resumes this fall. All are welcome.

The Sanctuary opens at 6:30 for meditation

& prayer; our service is from 7 – 7:30 PM, followed by ten minutes of music.

Starting in the Fall on Weds. evenings when there is no Vesper program join us in our candlelit sanctuary for an Hour of Tranquility, 6:30 PM

A place of tranquility to enjoy peaceful music and private meditation, all faiths are welcome to join in this space.

For further information, call 978-526-7661.

Fall 2016

Weds., Sept. 21 – Vespers: “hallelujah” psalm 146


Weds., Oct. 5 – Vespers: “wait patiently” psalm 40

Weds., Oct. 19 – Vespers: “no slumber” psalm 121

Weds., Nov. 2 – Vespers: “delights in people” psalm 149

Weds., Nov. 30 – Vespers: “peace within” psalm 122

Spring 2016

Weds., Jan. 6 – Vespers: Epiphany


Weds., Feb. 10 – Vespers: Ash Weds.


Weds., Feb. 24 – Vespers: “shall I be afraid?” psalm 27


Weds., Mar. 9 – Vespers: “covered sins” psalm 32

Mar 9 2016

Weds., Mar. 24 – Vespers: Maundy Thursday


Fall 2015

The Sanctuary opens at 6:30 for meditation

& prayer; our service is from 7 – 7:30 PM, followed by ten minutes of music.

For further information, call 978-526-7661.

 Weds. Sept. 23 – Vespers: “let evil recoil” psalm 54


Weds., Oct. 7  – Vespers: “nothing hidden” psalm 19

Weds., Nov. 4 – “blessed is…” psalm 146

VesperBulletinNov4 2015

Weds., Nov. 18 – “I take refuge” psalm 16

VesperBulletinNov18 2015

Weds., Dec. 2 – “do not remember my sins” psalm 25

Fall 2014

Wed. Sept. 24th remember the wondersPsalm 105:1-6

VESPERS September 24 2014

Wed. Oct. 8thw/o speech or languagePsalm 19

VESPERS October 8 2014

Wed. Oct 22nda world firmly establishPsalm 96

VESPERS October 22 2014

Wed. Nov. 5th why cast down?Psalm 43

VESPERS November 5, 2014

Wed. Nov. 19thlook to the Lord” Psalm 123

VESPERS November 19, 2014

Wed. Dec 3rd:make your face shine” Psalm 80

Vespers December 3, 2014

Oct 30 / Nancy

Worship Bulletins

Nov 18 2018

Nov 11 2018

Nov 4 2018

Oct 28 2018

Oct 21 2018

Oct 14 2018

Oct 7 2018

Sept 30 2018

Sept 23 2018

Sept 16 2018

Sept 9 2018

Sep 2 2018

Aug 26 2018

Aug 19 2018

Aug 12 2018

Aug 5 2018

Jul 29 2018

Jul 22 2018

Jul 15 2018

Jul 8 2018

Jul 1 2018

Jun 24 2018

Jun 17 2018

Jun 10 2018 Tucks Point

Jun 3 2018

May 27 2018

May 20 2018

May 13 2018

May 6 2018

Apr 29 2018

Apr 22 2018

Apr 15 2018

Apr 8 2018

Apr 1 2018 Easter

Mar 31 2018 Vespers

Mar 29 2018 Maundy Thursday

Mar 25 2018 Palm

Mar 24 2018 Lenten Vespers

Mar 18 2018

Mar 17 2018 Lenten Vespers

Mar 11 2018

Mar 10 2018 Lenten Vespers

Mar 4 2018

Mar 3 2018 Lenten Vespers

Feb 25 2018

Feb 24 2018 Lenten Vespers

Feb 18 2018

Feb 17 2018 Lenten Vespers

Feb 14 2018 Ash Wednesday

Feb 11 2018

Feb 4 2018

Jan 28 2018

Jan 21 2018

Jan 14 2018

Jan 7 2018

Dec 31 2017

December 24 2017 7 PM Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017 5 PM Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017 10 AM Christmas Eve

Dec 23 2017 Advent Vespers

Dec 17 2017 Pageant

Dec 16 2017 Advent Vespers

Dec 10 2017

Dec 9 2017 Advent Vespers

Dec 3 2017

Nov 26 2017

Nov 19 2017

Nov 12 2017

Nov 5 2017

Oct 29 2017

Oct 22 2017

Oct 15 2017

Oct 8 2017

Oct 1  2017

Sep 24 2017 Jazz

Sep 17 2017

Sep 10 2017

Sep 3 2017 Communion Sunday

Aug 27 2017

Aug 20 2017

Aug 13 2017

Aug 6 2017

July 30 2017

July 23 2017

July 16 2017

July 9 2017

July 2 2017

June 25 2017

June 18 2017

June 11 2017

June 4 2017

May 28 2017

May 21 2017 Children’s Day

May 14 2017

May 7 2017

Apr 30 2017

Apr 23 2017

Apr 16 2017 Easter

Apr 13 2017 Maundy Thursday

Apr 9 2017

Apr 2 2017

Mar 26 2017

Mar 19 2017

Mar 12 2017

Mar 5 2017

Mar 1 2017 Ash Wednesday

Feb 26 2017

Feb 19 2017

Feb 12 2017

Feb 5 2017

Jan 29 2017

Jan 22 2017

Jan 15 2017

Jan 8 2017

Jan 1 2017

Dec 25 2016

Dec 24 2016 7 PM Christmas Eve

Dec 24 2016 5 PM Christmas Eve

Dec 18 2016

Dec 11 2016

Dec 4 2016

Nov 27 2016

Nov 20 2016

Nov 13 2016

Nov 6 2016

Oct 30 2016

Oct 23 2016

Oct 16 2016

Oct 9 2016

Oct 2 2016

Sep 25 2016

Sep 18 2016

Sep 11 2016

Sep 4 2016

Aug 28 2016

Aug 14 2016

Aug 7 2016

Jul 31 2016

Jul 24 2016

Jul 17 2016

Jul 10 2016

Jul 3 2016

Jun 26 2016

Jun 19 2016

Jun 12 2016

Jun 5 2016 Confirmation

May 29 2016

May 22 2016

May 15 2016

May 8 2016

May 1 2016

Apr 24 2016

Apr 17 2016

Apr 10 2016

Apr 3 2016 Membership

Mar 27 2016 Easter

Mar 24 2016 Maundy Thursday

Mar 20 2016

Mar 13 2016

Mar 6 2016

Feb 28 2016

Feb 21 2016

Feb 14 2016

Feb. 10, 2016 Ash Wednesday 

Feb 7 2016

Jan 31 2016

Jan 24, 2016

Jan 17, 2016

Jan 10, 2016

Jan 6, 2016 Vespers Epiphany

Jan 3, 2016

Oct 5 / Nancy

More about Altar Flowers

Members of the congregation are encouraged to donate altar flowers in remembrance or in honor of loved ones or in celebration of an event. The flowers can be fresh flowers in a vase (even from your garden!), a flowering plant or an arrangement from a local florist. Altar flowers do not need to be large to be beautiful.

After the service you can take the arrangement you donated or request that it be given to someone, that the Deacon’s choose or you suggest, whose day will be brightened by them.

Penny Lapham coordinates flower donations and you can tell her that you are interested in donating or ask her questions about donating by speaking to her after worship, calling her at 978-526-7128 or emailing her at Please consider helping to brighten our worship with a donation! You can also see dates available and sign up online at

Oct 2 / Nancy

Christmas Fair by the Sea

Saturday, November 10, 2018

9 AM – 2 PM

Join us to kick off the holiday season! We will have – Delicious food fare featuring a wide variety of homemade baked goods, 100’s of cookies, and a mouthwatering breakfast and lunch menu with Fresh Hot Belgian Waffles (with your choice of strawberries, real maple syrup and whipped cream) and Gobbler Sandwiches (anandama bread, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce). Hand Craft tables full of holiday gift items such as knitted goods, hostess gifts, holiday greens and plants. Raffles that include our famous raffle of quality themed baskets perfect for gifting. 3 White Elephant Rooms (1 dedicated to Books) and a Jewelry table full of fabulous treasures reasonably priced.

Oct 2 / Nancy

Harvest Food Drive

The annual First Parish Church Harvest Food Drive helps our neighbors who are struggling to feed their families. Every year our congregation responds generously to the call for food donations to stock the pantries at Beverly Bootstraps and The Open Door. The canned goods and non-perishables that are collected during our Harvest Food Drive assist families and individuals in Beverly, Manchester, Essex, Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, and Rockport.

The Missions Committee, Youth Group, and Sunday School are all cooperating in this important effort. All through the month of October we will be collecting non-perishable food items and on Sunday, October 28th the youth of the church will bring the donations to the altar for a blessing before items are delivered to the food pantries.

Items can be dropped in the Chapel conference room, brought to Sunday school or Youth Group or left in the Narthex.


Oct 2 / Nancy

Soup & Conversation

Dear Friends-I hope you will join me for worship as well as Soup and Conversation on Sunday, October 14th.  The focus will be on how churches around the country connect with their community and reach new people.  We will talk about the best practices of growing churches, what your Vitality Team is currently doing, and how you can get involved in this process.  Less than 10% of people in New England go anywhere to church; there are great opportunities for congregations that will reach out and make a difference.   I look forward to seeing you.  Blessings, Rev. Paul Nickerson

To donate soup or salads click here

Aug 31 / Nancy

Bible Study Fall 2018

Weekly Bible Study resumes Thursday, September 13th, 4:00 to 5:30 at the home of Vin Terrill, 37 Beach Street.

For September, we will be studying the lectionary texts for the following Sunday’s worship.  Text for September 13th will be Mark 8:27-38.

Format of the study is as follows:  we begin with sharing joys and concerns, we have a time of prayer (where people are free to pray silently or out loud), and then 2 volunteers read the text out loud, while we all notice which words the Spirit draws our attention to.  (This way of reading Scripture is called “Lectio Divina.”)  We each have the opportunity to share with others the words “speak” to us, as well as ask questions about the text.  We also discuss how the text might apply to our lives today.

The study is led by Rev. Marlayna.

All are welcome to join us!

Email or call Rev. Marlayna for more information, or 978-526-7661 ext. 2.

Aug 30 / Nancy

Newsletters Newest November 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Nov 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Oct 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Sept 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Jun 2018

Church Bell Newsletter May 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Apr 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Mar 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Feb 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Jan 2018

Church Bell Newsletter Dec 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Nov 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Oct 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Sep 2017

Church Bell Newsletter May 2017

Church Bell Newsletter April 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Mar 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Feb 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Jan 2017

Church Bell Newsletter Dec 2016

Church Bell Newsletter Nov 2016

Church Bell Newsletter Sept 2016

Church Bell Newsletter Jun 2016

Church Bell Newsletter May 2016

Church Bell Newsletter Apr 2016

Church Bell Newsletter March 2016

Church Bell Newsletter Feb2016

Church  Bell Newsletter Jan2016

Aug 22 / Rev. Marlayna Schmidt

Transition Update – Approved Vision, Values, Purpose Statements – The Transition Team/June 24, 2018

FINAL Core Values, Purpose, and Vision Statement (Approved at Annual Meeting June 14, 2018)     

 The following represent the CORE VALUES of First Parish Church, Congregational, United Church of Christ at this time in our history:

  1. We value Transformational Worship, which we define as being fed and nourished by the Holy Spirit–through music, preaching, and prayer–in such a way that we find ourselves feeling accepted as we are; challenged to grow beyond where we are now; and refreshed, joyful, and helped to live from a Grace-filled center when we walk out the door into our week. (Romans 12:2)
  2.  We value Fellowship, which we define as enjoying each other’s company, sharing both joys and concerns, caring for one another despite our differences, and deepening our connections with one another in our family of faith. (Acts 2:42)
  3. We value Tradition, which we define as the rituals associated with the rhythms of life and faith, rituals that BOTH connect us to our democratic congregational roots that go back centuries, AND allow us to adjust to changing times, mindful that when Christ is at the center of what we do, our traditions can creatively evolve in order to stay relevant. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
  4. We value Christian Education, which we define as a growing understanding and knowledge of God that continues throughout life, helping both adults and children to form (and re-form) our faith and align ourselves with God’s Vision. (Colossians 3:16)
  5. We value Preserving Buildings, which we define as providing an environment, rich in history, to support the work of the congregation so that we can continue to pass on our faith to future generations, as it was passed on to us, for the “up-building” of community. (I Chronicles 29:16)

 The following represent the ASPIRATIONAL VALUES of First Parish Church, Congregational, United Church of Christ; these are values we hope to embody more fully in the near future:

  1. We aspire to value Social Outreach, which we define as following Christ’s example of caring service, which involves finding a better balance of connecting with BOTH those who are currently part of our fellowship AND those who are not, inviting all to experience a community whose mission is characterized by love, care, and justice for all. (Matthew 25:40)
  2. We aspire to value Building Up the Community, which we define as seeking to follow Christ together in unity, cooperating with one another, speaking the truth in love, and trusting that each of us has the best interests of the church at heart, even when we disagree. (Ephesians 4:15-16)

 The following is our PURPOSE STATEMENT, which is a description of what we feel God is calling us to do, based on our Values:

Awaken to the Light and Love of God

Be a Joyful Beacon to our World

 The following is our VISION STATEMENT, which is a “picture of the future,” a description of what we hope the church will look like in 5 years as we live out our Values and Purpose:

As a congregation, we recognize the following trends in our immediate community (and/or in our world) which we feel called to address:

  • Many people in our society (young, middle-aged, and old alike) experience social isolation and loneliness.
  • Many people in our society (young, middle-aged, and old alike) feel anxious and fearful.
  • Many people (especially young families and some seniors) are being “priced out” of our area and struggle with economic issues such as affordable housing.)

In light of the above trends, by the year 2023, we will have increased our average Sunday Worship Attendance by 20% and our active membership by 10% by means of engaging in—and inviting others to engage with us in: 

               Weekly worship that is lively, joyful, uplifting and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  (With the understanding that within each worship service there need to be elements, such as prayers and sermons, that provide encouragement to the congregation as we acknowledge and address the brokenness of ourselves and the world.)

Vibrant weekly Christian educational opportunities for children, youth, and adults that help deepen people’s faith and help them find a center meaning and vitality.  (Such as Sunday School, book groups in people’s homes, Bible studies)

Monthly Christian fellowship and learning opportunities that give people a sense of feeling welcome, accepted, cared for, and connected to God and our family of faith.  (Such as Friday game nights, Soup and Conversation, useful parenting groups)

Other spiritual activities that occur once or more during the year that give people the sense of being fellow travelers on the journey of faith/life.  (Such as Advent/Lenten Vespers, retreats “off campus”, ecumenical services in alternative locations such as outside, on beach, in movie theatre.)

Partnering with other community organizations to engage in one or two “large scale” inter-generational activities per year to give people a sense of belonging and connection.  (Such as working with Parks & Rec to plan a community kickball game with police or fire department; a candy cane hunt following the Dec. Christmas Concert we host with Women’s club; having a summer picnic on the beach; planning an activity with the Council on Aging; coordinating with High School to do an activity that dovetails with their “week of gratitude”).

Consciously making both the exterior and interior of our buildings more welcoming.  (Through use of such things as banners, signs, plants, colorful wreaths or decorations on front door during services, as well as “boards” showing our activities.)

By the year 2023, we will have increased by 10% the number of people participating in “mission events” in which we already engage AND we will have chosen one or two high investment missions for the whole congregation to focus on for a set number of years.  (Examples of current mission events:  Open Door meal serving; Brown Bag lunches.  High investment mission possibilities could include:  Zimbabwe Mission, Grace Center, and/or Family Promise.)

Aug 11 / Nancy

Latest News/Vision Process

Settled Pastor Search Committee Formed

Approved Vision, Values, & Purpose Statements

Interim Vision Process Meeting 1 – History

History – Reflective Sentences

Aug 9 / Nancy

Summer Healing Service

Summer Healing Service

30-minute Service of Healing, Movement, and Prayer

 The service will draw on both Christian and Eastern traditions,

incorporating easy movements from Qi Gong and Yoga

(No prior experience with prayer or movement is necessary)

 Sunday, August 19th, 10:15 A.M.

 Held outside, weather permitting

Meet on the steps of

First Parish Church, Congregational

10 Central Street


Offered by Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt,

Interim Pastor of First Parish Church, Congregational; and

Carla Mattioli, M.A., Interfaith Minister of Awakening Arts,

Teacher of Yoga, Tail Chi, Qi Gong