Progressive Parish

First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist was erected by the town’s sea captains in 1834. Their worldly journeys and liberal views greatly influenced the progressive direction of the congregation. An organ built in 1861 united the church in sweet music, and its rich sound continues to provide music for churchgoers today. By 1970, First Parish had reached nearly 200 members. From 1982 to 1999, the church experienced tremendous growth and expansion, with membership peaking at 750. An addition was built in 1983 to house church school and adult programs. In 1991, First Parish became the first church to officially welcome the gay, lesbian and transgender community. In turn, it became the leading church on Cape Cod advocating for gay and lesbian issues. In the mid-1990s, it became visible on issues of racism within the church and the American community. The church continues to preach in a Unitarian Universalist theology, humanistic to its core. Renovations in 2011 helped return the church, composed of several buildings, to its original splendor. Over the past 20 years, First Parish has received the United Nations Award, NAACP Award, the Beyond War Award and the Peace and Justice Center Award for the congregation’s social activism. First Parish also offers an active children and youth ministry, which includes Sunday morning and evening programs. A highly celebrated music ministry features a large choir, an instrumental ensemble, a folk-rock group and even ukuleles. — Danika Thiele

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