Worship at First Parish

Worship should speak to a person’s mind, body and soul. Here at First Parish of Watertown, we consider the many ways that we worship to be invitations to put down the to-do’s of our lives and rest in the beauty of our sanctuary. Most consider worship to be spiritually transformative, and an intentional time of reflecting upon that which is most meaningful to them. Particularly now, when the world at large is at such high levels of conflict, division and distress, providing sanctuary for singing, prayer, silence and celebration, connection and direction, can be both healing and liberating.

Worship in Unitarian Universalist congregations may seem unfamiliar to some: we draw from a great variety of sources, from ancient texts to modern poetry. Our services include some traditional elements such as hymns and prayers, but the content of these elements is not limited to one particular theology. Similarly, music in worship may come from traditional western sources, but we also include many other diverse expressions.

And we don’t just worship on Sundays! Worship takes place in many ways here at First Parish. When we gather in a small reflection group, come together for a special concert or our monthly Evening Vespers; when we engage in adult learning that helps us dismantle systems of oppression, or deepen our spiritual lives, we open ourselves to the power of communal worship too. The ways we serve can also be worshipful: feeding the hungry at Watertown’s Community Fridge, working for justice, and helping to heal and bless our world.

Sunday Services

This community gathers for Sunday Worship on Sunday mornings at 10:30am in our Sanctuary. Check the church calendar for description of upcoming services and any schedule changes or cancellations.

Our building at 35 Church Street is an accessible facility. In an effort to be accessible to all, worship services are also streamed live on Zoom. Links to the service are distributed on Sunday via email. To get onto the mailing list or receive an upcoming week’s link, send a request to office@fpwatertown.org. For the current week, please please contact welcome@fpwatertown.org preferably before noon on Friday.  (Learn more about multi-platform worship and our COVID-19 response.)

Our services last about one hour and fifteen minutes and dress is informal. Our minister, Rev. Sophia, regularly leads worship, however several times through the church year, members of the congregation will lead special services. We also proudly host guest preachers from the surrounding area. Parishioner-led services are held during the summer months while our minister takes time to rest and restore. You will find these services to be informal, yet deeply moving and creative.

You can expect to sing, light candles, be led in prayer, meditation and ritual, hear selected readings, reflections and a sermon in our services, although some of this varies throughout the year. We always light our chalice, which is the symbol of our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Your children are welcome and wanted in our sanctuary. We offer a place for them to sit up at the front, on our blue carpet, or you may sit elsewhere. They may choose to stay with you during service, or participate in our religious education programming downstairs. All children and youth participate in worship for the first 10-15 minutes and are then guided downstairs to their classrooms, after our Time for All Ages. Our vibrant children’s Religious Education program offers age-appropriate activities and explorations of faith.

Evening Vespers

These candlelit contemplative services offer quiet music, readings, and time for shared silence in our beautiful sanctuary. Candles can be lit throughout the service, and we ask that you please enter and leave in silence.

We gather monthly on Tuesday evenings at 7pm and services run around 30 minutes. Attendants are welcome to begin arriving at 6:45pm to enjoy the silence of the sanctuary, as well as linger afterwards as needed.

You may join us from home on Zoom – the link is sent out to friends and members the day of the service.  If you are not on our mailing list and would like the link, please contact office@fpwatertown.org.

Past Sermons

“In Meeting We Are Blessed” – October 29, 2023

READING: When Great Trees Fall,  by Maya Angelou When great trees fall,  rocks on distant hills shudder,  lions hunker down  in tall grasses,  and even elephants  lumber after safety. When great trees fall  in forests,  small things recoil into silence,  their senses ...

“Lineage, Legacy and the Present Moment” – Morris Sullivan – October 22, 2023

Let’s reflect together for a moment: What made it possible for us to be here today? Think specifically about things other people—and other beings—did that made it possible for you and I to be here today, worshipping together. From my end, a lot of things had to happen...

“The Great Conversation” – October 8th, 2023

READING: “For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet”  by Muskoke/Creek Nation poet Joy Harjo Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop. Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control. Open the door,...

“An Open Palm” – October 1st, 2023

READING: To have without holding, by Marge Piercy Learning to love differently is hard, love with the hands wide open, love with the doors banging on their hinges, the cupboard unlocked, the wind roaring and whimpering in the rooms rustling the sheets and snapping the...

“Turn Aside and See” – September 24th, 2023

Reading: Blessing at the Burning Bush, Rev. Jan Richardson You will have to decide if you want this— want the blessing that comes to you on an ordinary day when you are minding your own path, bent on the task before you that you have done a hundred times, a thousand....

“An Ethic of Love” – September 17th, 2023

Reading: From Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, by Adrienne Maree Brown. “When we are engaged in acts of love, we humans are at our best and most resilient. The love in romance that makes us want to be better people, the love of children that makes...
woman in black robe and white stole holds singing bowl and striker at lectern

Upcoming Worship