I am thankful for all the times I have been able to travel: to visit family and friends, for work, for relaxation, for adventure. It is during these times away from home, where I break from my daily routine and familiar surroundings, that I feel the world is fresh with possibilities and challenges.
I am thankful for all the inspiration that comes with these new experiences – the new art, new food, exposure to different life attitudes that seems to fit better than my own at home.
I am thankful for all the times I have returned home with refreshed gratitude for my family, my community, my country.
The effort of putting time and distance between me and my normal day helps me see, with new perspective, not only the world around me but also myself. I am more aware of what can be, for better or for worse, and I feel more apart of and responsible to the world beyond my safe home base.
But when daily responsibilities, finances, or health make travel impossible, and the distance and time that can come so naturally through packing a suitcase and getting in the car or on an airplane, I am ever grateful for the spaces close to home that provide a space to reset and gain perspective – a church, a sand dune, a friend, and on somedays, a good book.
Thank you God for all the opportunities to travel, and when we cannot, for the gift of our local retreats. Amen
The First Parish in Lincoln holds a unique, fascinating history, dating back before the Revolutionary War. The current church originated from both the Unitarian Church and the Congregational churches.
Back in the 1730s, the rural community that is now Lincoln did not have their own church, and they grew weary of travelling to churches in Concord, Lexington and Weston. They petitioned the court to be declared a separate township. On April 24, 1746, the Second Precinct of Concord was incorporated. Well before the Town of Lincoln was itself founded (1754), residents organized a Congregational church in 1747 and built their meetinghouse where the “Stone Church” now stands.
In the 18th century, Sunday services were eagerly anticipated by Lincoln’s residents, offering a welcome diversion from their lives as farmers and craftsmen. The Sunday meeting was comprised of both morning and afternoon services, broken by a lengthy “nooning” filled with food, trade, and socializing.
Following the successful tenures of Rev. William Lawrence and Rev. Charles Stearns, Elijah Demond arrived in 1827. Demond presided over a rocky five years at the church. He held rigid theological beliefs, and his fire-and-brimstone sermons did not comport with the religious and political thinking in Lincoln. After three years, the town dismissed an article intended to fund Demond’s salary, and two years later, he left the church.
Parishioners alienated by the Demond years joined Unitarian churches in Concord and Lexington, as well as the Methodist Episcopal Society in Weston, the Baptist Society in Cambridge and other Congregational churches. Some Unitarians wanted to worship in the Lincoln meetinghouse, but were unable to gain approval from town meeting to do so. The Unitarians then decided to build their own meetinghouse and erected today’s Sanctuary in 1842.
For the next 80 years, the Unitarian church had no resident minister, and clergy from nearby towns led the services. Only in the early 1900s did the Unitarian church begin to gain traction under the seasonal ministry of Rev. Dr. James De Normandie from the First Church in Roxbury, who summered in Lincoln.
In 1922, Dudley DeForest Zuver became the first resident employed Unitarian minister. For the congregation’s musical needs, John Pierce had donated a Hook & Hastings organ in 1901, which was replaced in 1970 by a Noack organ.
Meanwhile, a fire destroyed the original Congregational church in 1859. A second church was then constructed. In the 1880s, parishioners rejected repairing the second church in favor of new construction. In 1892, today’s Parish House or “Stone Church” was built. This church acquired a Hutchings organ, long preserved and still used to this day. In 1928, Rev. Charles N. Thorp was called to serve the Congregational Church, where he remained until 1934.
Though it took time for a union to come to fruition, the Unitarian and Congregational churches held united services as early as 1920. For many years, the members of both churches enjoyed strong personal and community ties with one another. In 1935, a joint committee was formed to pursue a trial merger agreement, and called the Rev. Charles M. Styron to launch the process.
From the start, Rev. Styron’s Sunday services were based on a new unity, embracing the strengths of each church while keeping the denomination’s strictures at arms-length. Under Rev. Styron, the church members enjoyed several years of joint services and shared spaces, followed by a trial federation, then a complete union. The First Parish in Lincoln’s parishioners formally began worship in their united church on May 25, 1942.
Rev. Styron’s tenure at First Parish in Lincoln would last 35 years (1935-1970), during which time he established a deep foundation that supports the church to this day. The congregation agreed to worship in the former Unitarian Meetinghouse, and retained the former Congregational Church as a Parish House that provides office, meeting and classroom space.
The 2016 – 2017 Stewardship Campaign has now concluded. Your Stewardship pledge is just one of the many ways we will continue to build a thriving and caring spiritual community. Thank you.
-The Stewardship Committee
The First Parish is like a co-op in that we all chip in. While there is a core staff in place to provide the essentials, we rely on our members and friends to come together and support the church in whatever way they are able. In addition to financial support, this can include singing in the choir, arranging flowers for the pulpit, serving on a committee, teaching Sunday School, and helping with a special event.
If you have an interest, there is an avenue to fulfill it at FPL! Some of the committees you can join include: Parish Committee, Personnel, Stewardship, Finance, Deacons, Nominating, Facilities, Building, Membership, Outreach, Youth Programs, Ministerial Intern, and more!
Feel free to submit events and notices to The Parish News, FPL’s monthly publication, and weekly e-mail news briefs. E-mail email@example.com
First Parish in Lincoln’s Communications Policy
We are a community church with a covenant relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Both of these churches promote church polity, which means that self-government and self-determination form the foundation of what we do and how we do it.
[lg_slideshow folder=”/lg”] Our members and friends come from more than 25 different denominations and religious traditions—as well as from no tradition at all. Accordingly, denominational labels are less expressive of our identity than our goal and purpose of responding to the needs and reflecting the aspirations of our congregation and community.
To this end, our essential characteristic is a deep respect for our own and other religious traditions, which informs our choice of prayers, the words we elect to use, the hymns we sing, the rituals we celebrate, the study groups we form.
We represent varied and vocal opinions on spirituality, ethics, politics, and social responsibility. For example, we choose to give a significant portion (approximately 20%) of our annual budget to outreach, which is given to a variety of social projects for local, national and international causes researched and carefully chosen by our Outreach Committee. We also roll up our sleeves and perform service projects, as well as actively support the initiatives of our Faith in Action groups.
Continue reading “About Us”
Our regular worship services are held every Sunday at 10:00. Visitors are welcome anytime. When you arrive at the church, feel free to introduce yourself to one of our ushers or greeters, if you wish.
If you have any questions, any member of the congregation will be glad to help you.
Members of the congregation who have a smiley face 🙂 on their nametags are particularly interested in helping visitors.
We have “coffee hour” after our service, an ideal time to get information about our church and meet the ministers and members of the congregation.
If you would like more information about becoming a member of the church, contact Kathy Harvey-Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Continue reading “For Visitors”