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 Ministry Leadership Team, 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 Ministry Leadership Team (MLT) works to support our minister in the leadership of all teams and programs that comprise the ministry of our church.  The MLT works as a team and teams up with leaders across groups and committees to identify synergies and opportunities that single teams cannot leverage.  The group also helps address any conflicts that might arise across teams. The MLT Chair participates in monthly Executive Committee meetings with the Minister and the Governing Board President. 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.