Our Mission Statement

Connected by Unitarian-Universalist principles,
We join hands in open-minded and caring community
To support spiritual exploration and growth,
To celebrate and honor life's journey,
And to inspire engagement in an evolving world.

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Our Minister & Staff


Rev. JenniferThe Rev. Jennifer Emrich serves as our Minister. Rev. Jennifer has particular interests and gifts inadaptive leadership, comprehensive programming and children and youth ministry which have served our congregation well since 2007. Rev. Jennifer Emrich is on Sabbatical from June 1, 2017 - September 5, 2017. Please contact the church office if you need assistance. If you are in need of pastoral care, please contact the office or reach out to our Caring Connection Coordinators, Joan Guild or Nancy Read.

 

Gwen Matthews, Program Assistant, holds a bachelors degree in education, and has lived in a tent for a summer, volunteered with Americorps, advocated for children and families who experienced abuse, and was a freeelance writer and editor before joining First Universalist in January 2016. Gwen values approaching the world with enthusiasm and openness and strives to connect people of all ages with our justice-centered, active, and inclusive faith. She lives with her wife, two dogs, two cats, and an ever-expanding garden on Sebago Lake.

 

Gail Mills, Administrative Assistant, spent family vacations in Maine as a child, and became a resident in 2010 when she moved to Lewiston with her family. She began working for First Universalist in September 2016. Gail is fond of animals, art, antiques, and especially enjoys working with others. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb where she studied art.

 

Russ Dupree, Sexton, has been with the First Universalist Church of Yarmouth since October 2016.

We are currently seeking two religious education teachers and a music director.

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Shared Ministry Structure

First Universalist is a church of shared ministry where the Minister and the Board of Trustees are each responsible for parts of congregational life. Our Minister oversees and is responsible for worship, pastoral care, religious education, and social justice engagement. Our staff assists the minister in implementing these programs. The Board of Trustees oversees and is responsible for church finances, the upkeep of our physical spaces, and developing and growing our congregation. The Healthy Congregation Team works with both the Minister and the Board of Trustees to ensure and promote the healthy functioning of our community.

Shared Ministry Goals: 2016-2019

1. Expand comprehensive social justice programs

2. Shift from family church to operational program church

3. Improve and maintain our building

4. Experience programmatic growth

5. Realize increased attendance and occupation of our physical spaces

6. Financial integrity

To learn more about the progress on our Shared Ministry Goals, Board of Trustees meetings are open to all church members and friends. To find out when the next Board meeting is taking place or to add an item to the Board's agenda, please contact our church office.

Handbooks, Procedures, Reports

Revised 2016 Bylaws

Annual Report 2016-2017

Employee Handbook

Safe Congregation Policy

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Did You Know…? Facts About the First Universalist Church of Yarmouth
First U is a welcoming place First U - and you! - are part of a national religious movement Joining a UU congregation is unique  
At First U all programs, salaries, and building updates are paid for by the membership itself UUs are connected to each other by how much they care Social justice is the lifeblood of Unitarian Universalism  
It takes a village to keep First U fiscally sound You can showcase your musical talents at First U UUs have long championed and affirmed LGBTQ inclusion in religion and society  

 

Healthy Congregation Tips
Healthcare Wholeness Live BIG The Dream
Non-anxious Leadership Be a Brave Messenger Openness to change In Mission to the Community
Everyone Contributes Striving to be a Democratic Community Follow your heart  

 

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History of Our Church

Universalism, with its doctrine of universal salvation, began in Yarmouth in schoolhouse meetings in 1832, the town later refusing use of the Town Hall on doctrinal grounds. In 1834, a parish was organized and a chapel, at what is now 25 West Elm Street, was dedicated. The First settled minister took office in 1835; the last was ordained here in 1877.

In 1859, due to political differences, some forty-five members of the First Parish withdrew to organize another "orthodox" Congregational church, which was named the Central Parish. The founding members erected and dedicated the present building in 1860. This church flourished, but members moved away due to the decline of shipbuilding; others died, and numbers were reduced. At length, the liberal preaching of one minister repelled some members, attracted others and in 1885, many members returned to the First Parish.

In 1886, the remaining members of the Central Parish, together with members of the Universalist church, established a Unitarian church, kept the name Central Parish, and retained ownership of the building.

The Universalist Church continued a formal but shadowy existence, and in 1920 became the beneficiary of a substantial bequest. Since there were no doctrinal impediments, the members of the Central Parish thereupon became the members of the Universalist Church. The First Universalist Church became the active body, while the Central Parish, as such, had a merely formal existence.

In 1962, following the consolidation of the Unitarian and Universalist denominations, the local Unitarian and Universalist organizations were consolidated under the name First Universalist Church.