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Religious Exploration Programs for Adults

At First Parish, there are adult programs for religious exploration, just as there are for the children and youth. Here’s just a sampling of what kinds of adult programming we offer at First Parish. Childcare or transportation can often be arranged in advance by phoning the First Parish office.

Our Minister, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty, will offer many workshops and discussions during the year.  Our members also offer engaging, meaningful programs such as book groups, meditation, and film presentations and discussions. Stay tuned to our website and newsletter as programs come up through out the year.

This I Believe class (2)

“This I Believe – the Original” and “This I Believe – Our Sources” adult R.E. classes

Roberta is pleased to announce in response to great feedback from last year’s “This I Believe” adult R.E. class that we will be offering two different classes this year.  “This I Believe – the Original” will meet Wednesday mornings at 10am and includes an adult exploration of many of the themes our youth explore in the Coming-of-Age class including history, theology, spirituality, faith in action, and more.  “This I Believe – the Sources” will meet Tuesday evenings at 7pm and will explore our six Unitarian Universalist sources and consider how each source can inspire our own spirituality and faith.  Contact Roberta today to sign up and/or ask questions.  You are welcome to take the Sources version whether you participated in the original class or not.

Check out these incredible programs by members of our congregation!

Adult programs often come about as “grass roots” initiatives, with individuals and groups, clergy and laypersons, all bringing ideas for programs to fruition. Those with ideas and passions get the ball rolling, enlist other interested folks, and take it forward.

The Religious Exploration Salon:

We are a group of congregants who are committed to a continued exploration of the world’s religions, philosophy, and spiritual beliefs. We meet regularly on a Sunday evening to have discussions centered on a specific book. The group is open to all members, friends and visitors at First Parish.  Paul Reising is the convener.  You may contact him via e-mail at , or at his home phone number, (978)443-3514.

Chalice Circles:

Chalice Circles are monthly groups for “spiritual deep-diving,” focused on a topic each month, using a structured format based on deep listening, openness, and commitment to the group for the year. Each circle is made up of six to twelve people and meets monthly for two hours, usually in someone’s home. A trained convener leads the meeting using a standard format: opening words, Chalice lighting, check-in, exploring a topic, check-out and closing words. Chalice Circles provide an opportunity for exploration to those seeking spiritual growth, those looking to know themselves better and those who simply want to discuss questions of faith and meaning.. All offerings – both those continuing and also those being added – will follow the established Chalice Circle or covenant group format which fosters deep listening by enabling only one person to speak at a time without feedback, advice-giving, or exchange of ideas. Chalice Circles are not discussion groups but opportunities for deep, personal, spiritual exploration in the company of others.

Insight Meditation Study and Practice:

This program is held on Tuesday from 1:00-2:30pm in The Commons throughout the year. This group was initiated by Laine Gifford, a member who is a practitioner of Buddhist Meditation in the Vipassana tradition. This group meets weekly to explore fundamental aspects of the teachings of the Buddha, as they apply to everyday life. The group will also provide a setting to learn about and receive support for the development of a regular meditation practice at home. These meetings are open to people with any level of experience.

Film Nights:

Film lovers are welcome to showings of films throughout the year sometimes hosted by our Faith in Action Committee, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, and others. Enjoy the film on large-screen and with surround sound. There is always a discussion following the themed films. Stay tuned to the newsletter for more details.

Green Sanctuary Initiative:

The congregation continues to devote special energy and attention to environmental awareness, advocacy, and justice. Basing our congregation-wide initiative on the principles and values of our faith  to attend to the needs of our natural resources, we hope to earn the designation “Green Sanctuary” for our intentional efforts toward “reducing our collective and individual footprint” on our planet earth. Stay tuned to the newsletter and website for more details.

Quilting and Crafting:

Are you interested in joining with a group of people to quilt, knit, or engage in whatever crafty hobby you do?  A group gathers to work on quilts which we are making for hospice patients, and also to work on our own projects. It’s inspiring, it’s a learning experience, it’s FUN.  All are very welcome to come on Tuesdays from 7:00-9:00pm in The Commons. For more information or to have your email address added to the quilters’ list (to find out about a cancellation, for instance), contact Fran Sharp at .

Men’s Group:

All men, young and old, who are members or visitors are invited to attend a Gathering of Men on the second Saturday of each month from 9 to 11:30am at First Parish.  The meetings are casual and largely social in nature, with topics ranging from current events to personal issues to religious beliefs.  Coffee and donuts are served.  For more information, contact Jim Gish at ">.

Women’s Alliance:

All members, friends and visitors who identify as women are warmly welcome to attend any Alliance event.  Each month the Alliance holds a brief meeting and potluck usually in the Commons at First Parish. Participants may just show up. Additionally we have a holiday party in December, and a rummage sale and a retreat in the spring.  Details are listed in the Sunday Order of Services, the newsletter (The Connector) and on this page.  You may also contact the administrator at or call the office at 978-443-2043.

And the list goes on…

In-home dinners, potluck suppers. There are many opportunities for participation in one-time and ongoing programs, some experiential, some intellectual, some focused on introspection, and many on helping others. They all have the potential for being enriching, stimulating, and bringing us closer together as a religious community.

New Programs:

We are routinely coming up with new programs to offer to our community.

  • What would you like to see happening at First Parish for adults?
  • What would you eagerly participate in, or lead?
  • What would you be willing to share with all of us here?


“Life becomes religious whenever we make it so:
when some new light is seen,
when some deeper appreciation is felt,
when some larger outlook is gained,
when some nobler purpose is formed,

when some task is well done.”

~ Sophia Lyon Fahs