Tuesday Spiritual Studies

Our next Spiritual Exploration unit begins in May: “These Things”: Considering Your Life Testament

Tuesdays: May 3, 10, 31; June 7, 14, 21 (additional weeks as needed) 7:00pm – 8:30pm on Zoom

Based on a spiritual exercise crafted by Jesuit priest and author Father Anthony de Mello, this unit will involve considering and sharing our responses and insights regarding a number of “these things” statements – for example: “These things I have loved in life:” and “These experiences I have cherished:”

It promises to be a time of deep spiritual reflection, challenge, clarity and growth.

After the first session, one or more “these things” prompts will be provided as “homework” in preparation for the following session.

If you are on our email list you will continue to receive details on times and how to participate in all our offerings from the Church Office either on the day of or day before each gathering. Or contact office.fpchurch@gmail.com for the Zoom link.

Links to recorded versions of Prayer and Mediation, Bible Study and Spiritual Studies can be found in the emails sent on how to participate in each program. You can also contact the Church Office for a direct link.

Prayer and Meditation

After discussions with the regular and frequent participants of Prayer and Meditation,  it was decided that those sessions will move from Wednesdays to Thursdays beginning in March. This will allow members of the Choir, some of whom often participate in Prayer and Meditation on Wednesdays the Choir doesn’t rehearse, to be able to participate more regularly.

Prayer and Meditation will be offered on Zoom twice in May at 7pm:

Thursday, May 5

Thursday, May 26

Prayer and Meditation will take place twice per month most, if not each month until August 2022.

Bible Study

Thursday- Bible Study sessions, also continuing on Zoom at 4 PM. Participation in this has significantly increased since going online, another sign of how many of our community are using this time of necessary distancing wisely and well for the benefit of their spiritual lives. To join us with your computer, tablet, smart phone or phone contact office.fpchurch@gmail.com for details.

Bible Study will be held on the following dates in May at 4pm on Zoom:

Thursday, May 5

Thursday, May 26

There will be no Bible Study on Thursday, May 12 or 19Those on our email list will continue to receive details on times and how to participate in all our offerings from the Church Office either on the day of or day before each gathering. To join our list sign-up on our homepage.



Sunday Morning Worship Service, 10 AM, 10 Central St. Manchester by the Sea, MA

Click to watch online at Facebook Live

Worship is led by Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea with Dr. Herman Weiss, Rebecca Shrimpton and Paul Knox and the First Parish Choir.

Past Worship services also available on YouTube, here.

From the first strains of the cantata “Once Upon a Tree” to the last notes of the “Hallelujah Chorus” and “Go Out With Joy” on Easter Sunday, it was a deeply meaningful Holy Week and Easter for our spiritual community.

Enormous gratitude to Dr. Herman Weiss; soloists Rebecca Shrimpton, Paul Knox and Jim Brennan; Good Friday musician Kelsey Boyea; our Easter Sunday guest musicians; our Deacons; and all our participants in the Maundy Thursday commemoration for blessing us with their time and gifts to help make it so.

As we enter the month of May and continue our time of Easter celebration:

We will celebrate both the Sacrament of Communion and the Sacrament of Baptism for William Vickery, son of Tom and Lindsey (Ferm) Vickery on Sunday, May 1. We celebrated the Baptism of William’s brother Charlie in our Sanctuary back in early March of 2020.

On Sunday, May 8, we will give thanks for and honor Mothers near and far.

On Sunday, May 15 and Sunday, May 22, Rev. Mark will be away. Rev. Dr. Dave VanArsdale will return to serve as Worship Leader and Preacher on May 15, while our own Jeanne Westcott will serve in that role on May 22.

Lastly, on Sunday, May 29, we will host the Manchester by the Sea American Legion for a Memorial Day weekend Worship time at 10am. Details are still being determined.

Book Group

Join us Monday, May 1, 6:30 PM at Mary Ellen Cook’s home, 23 Harold St. Manchester,
to discuss “The Henna Artist” by Aika Joshi. (This is the April gathering rescheduled from April 25th.)

Book Group is open to everyone! Consider joining us. Questions can be directed to Mary Ellen Cook at 978-500-0018.

We next meet on Monday, May 30 at 6:30 PM at Lauren Gudonis’ home,

56 Masconomo St. Manchester. We will be discussing  “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult.

Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.

Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different. goodreads

The Seaside Parish Knitters

Meeting the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at the FPC Chapel building, 1 Chapel Lane, 1-5 PM. The Seaside Parish Knitters are looking for knitting needles and yarn that you might be considering “casting” aside. We continue to knit blankets, shawls, and scarves; and for our military troops: helmet liners, neck gators, and scarves.

We use both 100% wool and synthetic fibers for yarn, and straight and round knitting needles….all sizes. Contact Penny Lapham at 978-526-7128 or  laphenpen@live.com We welcome anyone wishing to join us.

Read more about us

**Book Group – Books Read


  • May Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
  • April The Henna Artist by Aika Josh
  • March Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor.
  • February, January Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by  Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe


  • December Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
  • November The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman
  • October The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • September The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
  • August The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • June Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
  • May The Exiles by Christina Kline
  • April The Searcher by Tara French
  • March This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • February The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
  • January Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout


  • December No book to read. Let’s get together to share how we are celebrating the holidays, share a recipe…
  • November Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  • October Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe by Laura Lynne Jackson
  • August/September Free read month-read at your leisure and we will share our reads at these meetings
  • July I Feel Bad About My Neck” Nora Ephron
  • June Leaving Lucy Pear” by Anna Solomon
  • May We Must Be Brave” by Frances Liardet
  • April “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett
  • February “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • January “Nutshell” by Ian McEwan


  • November “Last Christmas in Paris” by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Web
  • October “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles.
  • September “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith
  • August “The Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See
  • June  “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
  • May “There There” by Tommy Orange
  • April  “Becoming” by Michele Obama
  • February/March “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, by Zora Neale Hurston
  • January “Alias Grace” by Margaret Atwood


  • Summer “Leaving Before the Rain Comes” by Alexandra Fuller
  • June “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
  • May Small Great Things ” by Jodi Picoult
  • April “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story” by Hyeonseo Lee
  • March “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman
  • January/February “King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village” by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman


  • November/December “Waking Lions” by Aylet Gundar-Goshen
  • October “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate
  • September “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Summer “Last Hope Island” by Lynne Olson
  • May “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles
  • April “Hillbilly Elegy” by J. D. Vance
  • March “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng
  • February “Hissing Cousins: The Lifelong Rivalry of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth” by Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer
  • December 2016/January 2017 “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman


  • November:  “Inferno” by Dan Brown
  • October: “Carry On” by Lisa Fenn
  • Summer: “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex” by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • June: “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom
  • May: “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.
  • April: “The Secret Diaries Of Charlotte Bronte” by Syrie James
  • March: “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff
  • February:  “The Little Paris Book Shop” by Nina George
  • January: “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown


  • November/December: “Fish in a tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and “Out of Dust” by Karen Hesse
  • October 10: “I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives” By Martin Ganda
  • Summer 2015 “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay
  • May 2015: “Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks
  • April 2015: “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.
  • March 2015: “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese

The Still Speaking Seminar

New dates TBA

The Still Speaking Seminar meets on the first and third Mondays of each month from 7:30 to 9 pm via Zoom.  Its purpose is to look at a variety of modern intellectuals’ thinking on issues of faith, morals and justice as they relate to our spiritual tradition.  Topics rotate in response to the interests of the group.  In recent weeks we have spent time with topics such as Harvard Philosophy Professor Michael Sandel’s exploration of the ethics of meritocracy; twentieth century Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s work on social ethics in relation to economic inequality and warfare; Catholic Social Teaching and Christian Democracy movement; Pope Francis’ recent encyclicals on the environment and immigration:  The Fourth Turning by demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe; and spiritual experiences in eastern traditions.

The name Still Speaking Seminar is a play on the UCC’s slogan “God is Still Speaking” and is intended to  highlight our view that faith is constantly renewing itself and presenting fresh insights in the present moment.  We will continue to use our  format of a video exploration of some aspect of  modern thought from an authoritative source, followed by discussion.  No preparation is required; additional background material will be available for those interested in deeper explorations of the ideas under consideration.  The group is coordinated by Richard Smith and Steve Carhart.  If you are not already on our email list and would like to receive regular notifications of topics and Zoom invitations, contact us at 978-590-7497 (Dick) or 978-407-8454 (Steve).

Soup & Conversation Topics:


  • March 24 Maren Tirabassi
  • February 24 Christiane Alsop “We Are Our Stories”
  • January 6 Steve Carhart and Richard Smith “Jordan B. Peterson and a Psychological Approach to Scripture”


  • October 14 Rev. Paul Nickerson “Best Practices of Growing Churches”
  • April 15 Christiane Alsop “We Are Our Stories”


  • October 29 – Rev. Dr. Llewellyn Smith “Reformation”
  • April 30 – Jen Powers “Reflections On My Childhood in Saudi Arabia”
  • April 2 – Lisa Fenn, author of “Carry On”


  • October 23 – Edward M. Matuvhunye, the past President of the United Church of Christ of Zimbabwe.
  • October 2 – Margaret Bendroth, “Congregational History”, a 300th Anniversary Event
  • February 28 – Barbara and Richard Smith presented “Courage and Light” Exploring Passion, Renewal and Creativity.
  • March 13 – Rev. Lelly Smith presented Pilgrimages: Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and African American.


  • March 22, 2015 we kicked off our Soup and Conversation with Wendy Booker
  • April 26 – Larry Kirby visited with us and provide a fascinating afternoon of  conversation on “The Emotions of War”
  • May 31 – We had Vin Terrill, Henry Lapham and George Nickless visit with us all about the history of the FPC Steeple and clock
  • October 25 –  Rev. Rona Tyndall on The Grace Center