How First Parish Works


First Parish governs itself through the democratic process, following our Unitarian Universalist principles. While we may seek guidance from the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the UUA does not dictate how individual congregations conduct themselves. At our Annual Meeting of the church membership, we elect our own representatives to our Governing Board and the Board of Trustees.

First Parish has three governing bodies: the Governing Board, the Program Council, and the Board of Trustees.

The Governing Board ensures all First Parish policies, practices, and procedures are direct reflections of our church mission. Board responsibilities include the financial health of the church, decisions on hiring staff, calling a minister and creating policies to guide our staff and congregation. In ongoing partnership with our minister, we support one another in developing goals for the church year, hold one another accountable and cultivate opportunities for growth in our welcoming spiritual and engaged community. The Governing Board follows Bylaws that are ratified by the membership. The Bylaws spell out how we govern ourselves, what officers we elect, how we form and manage committees and what responsibilities are assigned to which people and programs.

The Program Council supports the mission of our congregation by maintaining contact with all First Parish committees, supporting them in their work and communicating their activities to the church leadership.  The Program Council keeps the lines of communication open to ensure effective operation within and collaboration between committees. For information on the First Parish committees, visit the Volunteer page.

The Board of Trustees, formed in 1906, follows the guidance of the original trust documents. Its seven members elected from the membership manage our endowment funds to carry out their responsibility for the maintenance, preservation, and repair of our historic building and other physical assets.