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 in advance via email. To receive the link, send a request to office@fpwatertown.org. (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 the third Tuesday of every month 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

“Our Beautiful Blue Boat Home” – September 10th, 2023

Reading: blessing the boats By Lucille Clifton may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back     may you open your eyes to water...

“Radical Kinship” – June 4th, 2023

“Radical Kinship” READING: The reading today was written by UU minister and celebrated activist Rev. Theresa Soto and was published in her 2019 book, “Spilling the Light: Meditations on Hope and Resilience.” “The Spark Between” There must be fuel. There must be a...

“The Church of the Earth” – May 14th, 2023

READING: Adapted from “The Moor,” by Welsh poet R.S. Thomas It was like a church to me. I entered it on soft foot, Breath held like a cap in the hand. It was quiet. What God was there made [themselves] felt, Not listened to, in clean colours That brought a moistening...

“The Wild Unknown” – 5/28/2023

This morning’s reading comes to us from contemplative writer and thinker Thomas Merton. The language has been adjusted to be more gender inclusive. From “No Man is an Island”: “…There must be a time of day when [a person] who makes plans forgets [their] plans, and...

“Showered with Blessings” – May 7th, 2023

READING: “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life,” by Dawna Markova I will not die an unlived life  I will not live in fear  of falling or catching fire.  I choose to inhabit my days,  to allow my living to open me,  to make me less afraid,  more accessible,  to loosen my...

“Tending the Flame” – April 30th, 2023

READING: From “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulgham. “All of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in...
woman in black robe and white stole holds singing bowl and striker at lectern

Upcoming Worship

Worship Service

Sunday October 01, 2023
10:30AM - 12:00PM

All are welcome! We offer in person services (masks suggested) that are also streamed via Zoom. If you would like the Zoom link for the service, please contact welcome@fpwatertown.org by noon on Friday. 

Worship Service

Sunday October 08, 2023
10:30AM - 12:00PM

All are welcome! We offer in person services (masks suggested) that are also streamed via Zoom. If you would like the Zoom link for the service, please contact welcome@fpwatertown.org by noon on Friday.