We are a welcoming and inclusive congregation practicing God’s love together.
Vision & Mission
Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.
First Parish Church is open to everyone and welcomes participation in the full life, leadership, and ministry of the Church. We are a diverse congregation. We welcome persons of any race, gender, ethnic origin, mental or physical ability, religious tradition, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and economic circumstances. We affirm that the love of Christ for each person knows no bounds.
No matter who you are, or where you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here.
We are open-minded and encourage religious questions. We learn from each other’s insights and experience. We grow in faith together.
John is our Senior Pastor. He began his ministry in Brunswick in October, 2021. He has been a United Church of Christ pastor for 10 years.
Francesco serves FPC as our Associate Pastor. Francesco was born in northeastern Ohio. Beginning a career as an elementary school teacher, Francesco taught for 12 years, ending his teaching career in the high school classroom.
Jane Hagness joined the staff in 2017 as Minister of Music. Jane is a conductor, organist and lyric soprano.
Sarah is our Office Administrator. She is originally from Scarborough, Maine and has a B.A. in Theatre and Religion from St. Olaf College and two Master of Arts degrees.
Julie is our Finance Administrator. She joined the First Parish staff in 2023 after working as the bookkeeper of The Portland Club in Portland, ME. Julie also works part time as a landscape gardener.
Bridgette has been working at FPC in the Children's program in growing capacity since around 2016. With a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, 25yrs of Nanny experience for all ages, combined 14yrs of Jr High Ministry, and combined [...]
Jocelyn, a Brunswick native, has been working in the FPC nursery since sometime around 2008. With her BA in Early Childhood Education from UMF, Jocelyn taught preschool for several years before moving into her current position in the functional skills classroom [...]
Danielle is Brunswick born and raised. Her nurturing nature started early with her mother operating a daycare out of their home growing up...
Gwen is our grades 2-4 Church School teacher and is excited to continue to meet and work with the youth at First Parish Church!
Melissa, a Brunswick native grew up less than a mile from First Parish Church. Melissa has many memories throughout the years involving the church and its community...
Our staff collaborates with elected leadership groups to set goals for our life together. We have four selected groups in total.
The beginnings of First Parish Church are intwined with the origins of the town of Brunswick. That's because when New England was colonized in the 17th and 18th Centuries, you couldn't have a town without a church. Traders, missionaries, farmers, and entrepreneurs were pouring into New England to stake claims. But a settlement could earn the status of a town only if it had a church and a "settled minister." And so, First Parish Church was established in Brunswick, Maine, in 1717. All who lived in Brunswick were automatically members of the parish. Taxes supported the Church, and parish business was town business.
A prosperous relationship developed between Bowdoin College and First Parish Church. As the town grew, other churches were established. But First Parish continued to maintain its importance to the community. It took leadership in social and economic issues. It acted as an anchor as Brunswick evolved from a sleepy country village to a busy manufacturing town.
The Abolitionist Movement attracted many ardent supporters in the congregation. Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose husband was a professor at Bowdoin, was sitting in Pew 23 during a communion service. During this service, she had a vision of the death of an enslaved person, which became the pivotal element in her book Uncle Tom's Cabin. She was affected so deeply that she wept.
Joshua Chamberlain first came to Brunswick as a Bowdoin student. He married Fanny Adams, the adopted daughter of First Parish minister Dr. Adams, in the new meeting house. After graduation from Bangor Seminary, Chamberlain taught at Bowdoin College until enlisting in Twentieth Maine. He won distinction commanding these troops in defense of Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. Joshua Chamberlain later became Governor of Maine and president of Bowdoin College. He was a faithful member of First Parish for much of his life. He served on various committees, moderated meetings, and eventually donated the East Window behind the pulpit in memory of his father-in-law, Dr. Adams.
Many notable people have been members or spoken at First Parish Church. Both Dr. Lyman Beecher and Dr. Henry Ward Beecher preached from the pulpit. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was awarded an honorary degree here shortly after the Civil War. The Bowdoin Class of 1825 held its 50th reunion here in 1875. Class member Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was asked to read one of his poems. Disfigured by the fire that had killed his wife, he was initially reluctant to appear in public. But when it was explained that he would be partially hidden by the pulpit, he delivered his Morituri Salutamus (Salute to Death) to the packed house. Later came President William Howard Taft, Jane Addams, Ralph Waldo Emerson, England's Poet Laureate John Masefield, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the mid-20th Century, when the four denominations decided to merge into one, The United Church of Christ, First Parish Church, was an early supporter. Two of our members were delegates to the conference which established The United Church of Christ.
In 2009 the Reverend Mary Baard became the first woman to lead the Church when she was called to serve as Senior Pastor and Teacher. During her tenure in 2012, the Church voted to be recognized as an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation.
Today First Parish Church is the largest UCC congregation in Maine. We continue to grow our ministry of love, justice, and mercy to serve Brunswick and the surrounding area with God’s love.
The early records and documents of the congregation are available online through the congregational library and archives.
We belong to the United Church of Christ, a denomination that believes God is Still Speaking. We are always open to what God is doing next, which is why the UCC is called the “church of firsts.” Our denomination was the first in the nation to:
Locally, we belong to the Cumberland Association, which is part of the Maine Conference Of The United Church Of Christ. In the UCC, local churches can call their pastors and develop their worship style and governance structure. At the same time, our connection to the denomination expands our witness and service in ever-widening circles.
We come together to form a beautiful and loving community that holds each other up. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, we would love to share it with you. All religious questions are encouraged and gladly answered.
First Parish Church is a vital and active community. Here are some of the ways to join us in ministry and community.