Whether you’re stopping by for Sunday morning Worship Service or checking us out online, here are a few things to know about First Parish.
We are part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and have a fairly independent, congregational structure with 200 formal members. We take the Bible seriously not literally.
We welcome everyone regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual preference. We have the UCC designation “open and affirming” (ONA) meaning our congregation warmly welcomes everyone.
Our weekly Worship Service is Sunday at 10:00 am. We live-stream this via Zoom and Facebook, and recordings are available on our Facebook page. Covid masks are welcome but not required; dress is typically business-casual. Assistive listening devices are available. Coffee and snacks often follow the service.
Our Pastor is The Reverend Doctor Deborah Roof, who has been our leader and teacher since 2014. She taught high school language courses for many years before being called to serve God, first in the Presbyterian church then the UCC. She weaves together liturgy, scriptures, and music to create meaningful worship services, and works collaboratively with the congregation on church and community programs and services. Pastor Deborah’s spouse, Liz Greenberg, is an active community leader; they have four adult daughters and two grandchildren.
We also have an active Ministry of Care team that helps nourish and support members having medical or other challenges, and a Board of Deacons that care for the spiritual life of the Church and Community in cooperation with the Pastor.
As a Congregational church, our members are very active in running the organization and working on our various programs and activities. Hence there are many ways a new member might participate, all enriching and rewarding.
Christian Education is a high priority for First Parish. We have classes for children after Sunday services, a vacation church school week in the summer, and other children’s programs. Adults participate in various extra programs, including bible study groups, virtual labyrinth walks/meditations, book club meetings, and more.
Community service is another high priority, and our missions board leads various service and support activities that are deeply important to the congregation. Every month we provide a free Community Spaghetti Supper—usually serving 100 or more diners—and monthly we prepare a meal for Family Promise’s guests and volunteer in Derry’s Sonshine Soup Kitchen. We work with and donate to several other non-profit organizations in the area including the Upper Room, Derry Friendship Center, and more. We also contribute time and funds to local holiday-giving programs and help support a sister church in Zimbabwe.
History is part of our lives at First Parish. The church has operated continuously since its founding by Ulster-Scots settlers in 1719. Founder Rev. James MacGregor is renowned as “the Moses of the Scots-Irish” and other notable members include Declaration of Independence signer Mathew Thornton, Dachau camp liberation chaplain Rev. George Gaskill, and astronaut Alan Shephard. Our 1769 Meetinghouse is an international historic landmark and we are nearing completion of a $2.5M historic preservation effort to protect it for another two centuries.
We hope you enjoy your visit to First Parish and look forward to sharing more with you.
To learn more, visit the rest of our website (currently undergoing revision) and Facebook page. Also feel free to contact:
• Pastor Deborah by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
• Office Manager Jill Taylor by email (email@example.com) or phone (603-434-0628).