First Parish of Norwell is a liberal church in dialogue with the religious questions of the modern world, yet still honoring the best within our Judeo-Christian heritage. Recognizing no distinction of class, sex, nationality, race, age or sexual orientation, ours is a welcoming church that stresses the need for community amidst the impersonality of the secular world. First Parish of Norwell is a member church in the Unitarian Universalist Association. We have no creedal test for membership, believing that all persons should be free to define their own sense of religious reality.

The members of our church support the Seven Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association:
  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person

  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large

  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

  • Respect for the independent web of all existence of which we are a part

Download our informational brochure in pdf format (3.16Mb).

Want to talk to our membership chair? Send us a message.

Our Mission

First Parish of Norwell is a religious community where adults, youth and children can evolve spiritually, morally, and intellectually through worship, education, and service to the community and the world. Recognizing no distinction of class, sex, nationality, race, age or sexual orientation, we are a welcoming congregation that stresses the need for community amidst the impersonality of the secular world.
We unite to:
  • • Create a safe place in which to nurture our spirituality and celebrate life's passages.
  • • Provide a place where all persons are accepted and respected and can find mutual care and support.
  • • Welcome and gather strength from diversity.
  • • Sustain and promote Unitarian Universalist principles and purposes and participate in the larger fellowship of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
  • • Be a forum for the discussion of contemporary issues and a catalyst for social action.
  • • Support outreach to the community, to both children and adults, and through educational and artistic programs of both the performing and fine arts.
This mission is grounded in a nearly four hundred year history as a congregation.

Right Relations Covenant


Diversity is an inherent aspect of Unitarian Universalism. The vitality and integrity of our faith, and the health of our congregation depends upon the respectful expression of our differences. Therefore, in order to create a beloved religious community where every person can search for truth and meaning in an environment that builds connections, renews spirit and inspires action, we enter into this covenant of right relations as expressed by the ideals and examples listed below. We commit to living and working with this covenant in all our human imperfection and acknowledge that this is a living document which may change in the future.
Our Ideals:
  • 1. Welcome and Hospitality
    We welcome and engage members and visitors alike.
    We share the vision of Unitarian Universalism and invite others to join us.
    We greet friends and strangers warmly while respecting their boundaries.
    We take the time to get to know one another.
  • 2. Furthering Diversity
    We work to foster a multicultural and multigenerational community that sees diversity in all its manifestations as a sign of our strength.
    We strive for inclusiveness.
    We work to empower the disempowered.
    We are mindful that silence in the face of bigotry implies consent.
  • 3. Listening and Speaking
    We listen with respect and attention and speak with care.
    We listen to understand, deeply and compassionately.
    We encourage people to speak their truth without blaming, shaming, judging or competing with them when they do.
    We freely add our viewpoint to the mix of viewpoints spoken, refraining from silencing ourselves.
    We respect confidentiality.
  • 4. Serving our Church Community
    We serve our church community with generosity and good humor, and we acknowledge the service of others.
    We honor all levels of service to the church.
    We encourage ourselves and others to make choices that balance everyone's needs.
    We invite others to join us in our activities, including membership on committees, respecting that they have the right to say no.
  • 5. Financial Stewardship
    We give generously of our financial resources so that our parish will thrive.
    We support the parish with as generous a pledge as possible within our means.
    We keep our financial commitments to the parish.
    We appreciate our physical environment and contribute to its maintenance and improvement. We appreciate and contribute to support the work of the Parish staff and of the many volunteers.
  • 6. Working with Conflict
    We work to resolve conflicts directly, with openness and compassion.
    We make every effort to settle differences directly.
    We stay engaged with each other through difficult conversations.
    We refrain from triangulation (we do not ask others to relay potentially emotional or conflictual communications to a third person on our behalf, nor do we relay such information for others.)
    We hold ourselves responsible for hearing all sides.
    We do the inner work required to show up, stay present and remain open-minded.
  • 7. Forgiveness and Reconciliation
    We acknowledge our mistakes and shortcomings.
    We forgive ourselves and others.
    We acknowledge our own and others' imperfections.
    We honor commitments made during reconciliation of conflicts.
  • 8. Learning and Growing
    We support and encourage one another's spiritual seeking and learning in many forms.
    We participate in meaningful worship services.
    We support religious educational opportunities for all ages.
    We are open to growth and to new perspectives.
  • 9. Solidarity and Accompaniment
    We support each other in times of need and celebrate with one another in times of joy.
    We honor the history of FPN and the beauty of our buildings.
    We remind others of the spark of divinity within them.
    We retain our sense of humor.
    We know that the feelings of others matter to the wellbeing of our entire community.

Download a pdf of the First Parish of Norwell Right Relations Covenant. (407KB pdf)

Our Congregation

First Parish of Norwell is a distinguished old New England congregation serving the area for 375 years. More than 300 active members and friends of our church come equally from Norwell and neighboring towns. Our congregation is one that is diverse in interest, age group and theological perspective.

First Parish of Norwell was established in 1642. As a Unitarian Universalist Church we share in the long and proud history of our denomination. We number among our forebearers women such as Clara Barton and Susan B. Anthony and men such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, and Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Videos of our Congregation & Activities

375th Anniversary Video created by Don Messinger & Scott Stephenson
March 2017

UUA video - Blessings from Our House to Yours!
Ninety heartwarming photo blessings from UU congregations and groups set to an original song by The Ever Hopefuls from Jefferson Unitarian Church - Golden, Colorado.

Please click the arrow in the center of the video below.
Video created by Kevin Houston
December 2014

Support to Charities and Social Causes

In the spirit of the words of our covenant - "to minister to each other's needs and to those of humanity" – the Service Committee empowers the ministry of social justice and outreach at First Parish by serving as a conduit for outreach to the wider community locally, nationally and internationally. Please visit the Service Committee pages for more information.

Religious Education Program

Firmly grounded in the traditions and principles of Unitarian Universalism, and part of a gathered religious community that traces its history back to 1640, our programs seek to maintain the best of our traditions while continually exploring and seeking to grow in mind and soul. Our church school offers classes for children three years old until the 8th grade. High school youth can become active in our youth group. As a cooperative church school, we rely on a dedicated and very enthusiastic group of volunteers who together are dedicated to our children and youth and to their growth in the liberal spiritual, and social values of Unitarian Universalism.

Program Goals

The Religious Education Program at First Parish of Norwell seeks to foster in our students:
  • an appreciation of their U.U. heritage and a knowledge of the U.U. Principles and Purposes
  • an acquaintance with their Judeo-Christian roots
  • an introduction to world religions
  • a sense of their church as a place of spiritual support and community
  • a belief in the continuous search for truth and knowledge
  • an understanding of the viewpoint of others and increased ability to make moral decisions.

Our adult learning program offers a wide variety of programs and sessions from Book Group to Bible Study to Knitters and everything in between. Religious education is a vital part of First Parish of Norwell, a vibrant, warm and welcoming community. Please read about our offerings in the Religious Education pages.