What can you expect on Sunday? An hour of rest, beauty, music, silence, spaciousness, laughter, community, simple ritual, provocative words, thoughtful reflections and a chance to step back from the day-to-day anxieties and preoccupations of life.
You can expect a warm welcome regardless of your age, background, family status or interests. You can expect a multigenerational community and a safe, creative, wonder-full environment for children and youth.
“Early Church” is at 9:30 to 10:00am. During this time our sanctuary is open for silent and musical meditation, reflection, prayer, lighting of candles. Also there is early coffee and social time in Parish Hall. Nursery care is available.
Worship services run approximately one hour and are held every Sunday at 10am. During the church year nursery care and children’s programming run concurrently.
All visitors are welcome to all our services and programs.
Unitarian Universalism is a broad and deep religion theologically or philosophically. Our congregation includes atheists, agnostics, humanists, theists, Buddhist UUs, Jewish UUs, Christian UUs, Pagan UUs, panentheists, mystics and undecideds. Our members have a wonderful mix of backgrounds. Some grew up as Unitarian Universalist, some with no religious background at all, and many in other faiths.
Quite a number married someone of a different faith and have found a home in Unitarian Universalism. Some discover they have “always been UU and just didn’t know it existed”. Whether you grew up and retain some identity as a Jew, a Catholic, a Quaker, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Protestant Christian, an Ethical Humanist or something else, you are welcome.
Together we affirm the wonder and mystery of the cosmos, the worth of all people and life on earth, the power of love, the importance of community, the rewards of personal integrity and the value walking together through the journey of being human.
We aspire to be an inclusive community, involving all people without regard to age, race, gender, present or previous marital status, financial resources or economic status, mental or physical health challenges, religious background, sexual orientation or gender identification. North Parish is a Welcoming Congregation in accordance with the guidelines established by the Unitarian Universalist Association. As a Welcoming Congregation, North Parish openly welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people into full participation in the life of the church and supports equal marriage.
When you enter the Meeting House, you’ll be greeted and given an order of service, which tells you what the service will include. You may sit anywhere in the sanctuary, and families with children can sit together. There is no dress code! People dress casually or more formally as they wish.
Our services are about an hour in length and include: music, the lighting of the chalice (a UU symbol), a time for all ages, hymns, readings, time for silence/meditation/reflection/prayer and often lighting candles for our joys, sorrows and remembrance, an offertory, and a sermon. First time visitors are welcome to simply be our guests and are not expected to contribute to the offertory unless they feel moved to do so.
Children and youth leave the service to go to their own programs about 15 to 20 minutes into the service. You can accompany your children downstairs or they can stay with you in the sanctuary if they prefer. After the service, any who wish are invited to stay for a fellowship hour, with free coffee for the adults and juice and snacks for the children.
If you’re willing, before you leave, please fill out a guest registry form (found on a podium next to the doors to the sanctuary) so we know who visited, and if you request it, can send you additional information.
Some children prefer to stay with their parent(s) on the first visit to a new place; others are fine jumping right into the children’s programming. You and your child can decide what’s best on a particular visiting day.
We offer a Sunday morning children’s program from September through June for children in pre-kindergarten through ninth grade. Nursery care is available for infants and children under age 3 in the Nursery area – adjacent to the Parish Hall, just before the stairs up to the sanctuary. Children are cared for by our adult Nursery Supervisor and a youth assistant. Children in grades PreK–5 participate in classes with volunteer teachers; junior youth meet during the 10 am service hour in their own space. Older teens generally attend worship in the sanctuary.
For detailed information about our religious education and youth programs, please click here.
If you work on Sundays or are out of town some weeks, you can still connect to worship services and the congregation in person or via technology:
- Sermons and reflection questions are posted (podcasts will also soon be available), click here.
- Some spirituality groups use sermon themes as meeting topics, so joining a group is another way to experience Sundays.
- You can order a copy of a CD of the service by contacting the church office. We ask for a $2 donation for a CD.
- Photos from the services can be seen by checking the North Parish Facebook page.
Unitarian Universalists do not have a single scripture that they follow. Readings for our worship services come from many sources including UU writers, poetry, and the scriptures or readings of various religions.
Throughout the year, our services cover a variety of themes and call upon various sources for inspiration. The worship calendar includes services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Christmas and Easter, the Solstices and Equinoxes. A few of our annual traditions include remembering those who’ve died at an annual All Souls service, celebrating the congregation’s birthday every October, and appreciating the interdependent web of life on Earth Day Sunday.
We also have a few services that include Universalist rituals of sharing: a water communion in September, a bread communion for Thanksgiving, a chocolate communion for Valentine’s Day, and a flower communion in June. Members of the congregation and the Senior youth take lead roles in several of the services.
The North Parish Church is located in North Andover’s historic Old Center, just 3 miles from the Lawrence MBTA, 6 miles from Methuen, and 8 miles from Haverhill. If you are coming off Route 495, take the Massachusetts Ave exit towards North Andover and after 2 miles you will bump right into the Meeting House at the rotary. A bike rack is available outside the front doors near the Peace Pole.
For detailed directions via car, train, or cab, please click here.
For detailed parking instructions and driving directions, please click here.
Since there are limited parking spaces close to the Meeting House, please leave spaces in the cul-de-sac and right by the walkways for those with special needs, including parents with infants or young toddlers, the elderly, and those with disabilities.
Other places to park:
- The municipal parking lot through the rotary and just beyond the Brick Store building
- The lot of the North Andover Youth Center beyond the Brick Store building
- On Academy Road and in front of the North Andover Historical Society
- On Great Pond Road and on Johnson Street
- On Sundays only in the driveway of the Museum of Printing on Massachusetts Ave. or behind the museum building itself
- The far side of the Old Center Common for those who enjoy a short walk to church
Yes, the North Parish main Meeting House and Religious Education wing are accessible. There are accessible sidewalks, appropriate door handles and restroom facilities.
There are accessible parking spots in front of the Meeting House and a sloped ramp to the front doors. There is wheelchair seating in the sanctuary, in the front and back rows at the end of the short pews. An elevator off the front of the sanctuary brings people to the lower level.
We have a Braille hymnal and assisted listening devices. Please ask ushers for assistance.