Latest Worships


Welcome to our worship online May 31, 2020

With Kate DeSilva and Zetta Carlin
Yannis Christ and Joanne McMahon
Ernie and Amy Pigeon
Beylen Curtis and Lucas Callahan
and Rebecca Pugh

Children’s message with Rev. Christine Hribar:

Welcome to our worship online May 24, 2020

With Rev. Rebecca, Rev. Christine, Melanie, Maya, and Joey Powers,

Jim Lahar, Dan Buletza, and Claire Buletza .

Children’s Message with Rev. Christine Hribar

TAPS 2020 with Tom Palance

Welcome to our worship online May 17, 2020

 With Rev. Rebecca Pugh,Rev. Christine Hribar, Summer Smith and Carrie Corder:

Call to worship with Rev. Rebecca 
Children’s sermon with Rev. Christine
Scripture reading with Carrie Corder
Song and Sermon with Summer Smith and Rev. Rebecca
Pastoral prayer and benediction with Rev. Rebecca

Welcome to our worship online May 10, 2020

1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s children message:

2. Sunday worship with Dr. Mark Allman, Liz Krafchuck, Beth Viehmann and Stacey Keane :

Welcome to our worship online May 3, 2020

1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s children message:

2. Sunday worship with Rev. Tom Lenhart and Lynn Lenhart:

Welcome to our worship online April 26, 2020

1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s children message:

Zoom Church School is on! If you’d like to join, please let Christine, know!   Please join us by 9:25am this Sunday for a 9:30am start.

2. Sunday worship with Dr. Mark Allman and Zeke  Allman:


Welcome to our worship online April 19, 2020 First Sunday after Easter

1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s children message:

Zoom Church School is on! If you’d like to join, please let Christine, know!   Please join us by 9:25am this Sunday for a 9:30am start.

2. Sunday worship with Dr. Mark Allman and Agnes Allman: 

3. Music with Lucas Callahan:

Welcome to our worship online April 12, 2020 Easter Sunrise and Easter Sunday

Easter Sunrise – with Rev. Christine Hribar and Friends:


Easter Sunday – with Rev. Tom Lenhart and Lynn Lenhart,
Rev. Christine Hribar, Lucas Callahan
                    Tom Palance and Lisa Palance                                   


Welcome to our worship online April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday

1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s children message:

ZOOM CHURCH SCHOOL  Click here on Sunday April 5th at 9:30am to join.

2. Sunday worship with Rev. Tom Lenhart and Lynn Lenhart:

3. Musical Offering with Jimmy Turner:

Beautiful City: IMG_3154

Welcome to our worship online March 29, 2020

  1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s children message:

Rev. Christine’s testing out a Zoom Sunday School Class 9:30am on Sunday!  If you saw her video last week, it’ll be a continuation of the story but with some more interaction.  Her usual class is pre-K through 1st, but all are welcome!  If you’d like a link to join the class, email Christine here.

2. Sunday worship with Rev. Tom Lenhart and Lynn Lenhart: 

3. Musical Offering with Brian Landry:

Deep river:

Panis Angelicus:

4. Musical Offering with Keane- Blagg Family:

Welcome to our worship online March 22, 2020

  1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s message:
  2. Sunday worship:
  3. Lucas Callahan ‘s musical offering:

Welcome to our worship online March 15, 2020

  1. Rev. Christine Hribar’s message:
  2. Dr. Mark Allman’s call to worship: 
  3. Dr. Dorie Mansen’s sermon:
  4. Dr. Mark Allman’s closing prayer:

Unity – January 26, 2020 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

  1. Rusty, Ginger, and Zippy were three members of the family in the Pugh Brown household.
  2. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians describes and seeks to resolve about 15 kinds of conflicts. This message is based on 1 Corinthians 1:10—“That there be no divisions among you…”.
  3. Douglas  A.  Campbell :  Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to a Community in the Middle of a Culture War–The church at Corinth Had Many Problems. Some Simple Kindness Would have Helped. In “Christian Century”, January 3, 2018.
  4. Isaac S. Villegas: “What if we treated all of Creation — Plants and Stars, Soil and Rivers —  as our kin? Christian Century, December 27, 2019. Reviewing: The Hebrew Bible and Environmental Ethics: Humans, Nonhumans, and the Living Landscape, By Mari Joerstad , Cambridge University Press. And Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus The Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, by Nick Estes, Verso.
  5. Wen de ya ho is the Cherokee morning song, roughly translated: “Aho, all of creation and the Creator are one.”

Good Teachers – January 19, 2020 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. The story about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes from James Cone’s Martin and Malcolm in America, Orbis Books, 1991.
2. The Scriptures in which John’s Gospel opens and closes with Teacher as the first and last name for Jesus:  John 1:38 and John 20:16.


The Holy Ground – January 12, 2020 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. The notes from Wangari Maathai began with an academic paper written by Sarah Brown, 1/10/2020, for Professor Rob Nixon: The Green Belt Movement: From Seven Trees to Collective Resistance.


2. The best website for Wangari and Green Belt Movement history is this:
3. Professor Rob Nixon’s book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011) is central to understanding the power of Professor Maathai’s dream.


Strangers and Holiness – January 5, 2020 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. The Magi came to Bethlehem, star gazers and scholars from the East, bringing wisdom and treasure from Iran. Many believe that their gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and gold were the reason that Jesus survived when he was a refugee in Egypt, because his family was very poor.
2. The new film “Harriet” was directed by Kasi Lemmons, who wrote the script with Gregory Allen Howard.
3. The notes about the tyranny of Herod come from an on-line article written by Allen Ross from Beeson Divinity School on the Visit of the Magi.
4. Krister Stendahl calls the Magi these “Visiting Ayatollahs from Iran” in “The Roots of Violence”, Paraclete Press.
5. “Stand Up” is the theme song to “Harriet”, written by Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Campbell, and recorded by Cynthia Erivo.


Giving Things away – December 29, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

  1. The Quiltmaker’s Gift, by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken
  2. Psalm 148 describes how we are all connected: the thunder, the stars, the angels, the nations, the whales, the fruit trees.
  3. The poet David Whyte has written that our final challenge is to give ourselves away.

The Blessing of the Angels – December 24, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. From World War One’s Christmas Truce, by Christopher Klein.
2. The angels bring diverse messages and we sing their songs especially this Christmas Eve night:
        Courage to the Shepherds
        Justice to Mary
        Mercy to Joseph
        Self-restraint to John and his parents
        Change and repentance to Jacob
3. It just took one soldier to sing one song, one church to send one box of candles, one teacher to teach a child how to speak a foreign language.
4.. On this Day, Earth Shall Ring, “Personet Hodie”, Piae Cantiones, 1582, arranged by Gustav Holst.

The hidden story of Christmas part 2 – December 22, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. Iroquois history, written by Tom Porter (Sakokwenionkwas) in his book “And Grandma Said… Iroquois Teachings
2. Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:46, the opportunity of the hungry to be filled, the blessing
3. Jesus, named as the Savior, rattled the Roman Empire badly
4. Jesus, called “King of the Jews” by the Magi, rattled Herod badly because he wanted to be the only King of the Jews
5. The historian Josephus, in “The Jewish Wars,” and “Jewish Antiquities”, in the first Century A.D.C.E. describes the death of Herod and the huge Jewish uprising as a result.
6. From Richard A. Horsley’s “In the Shadow of Empire”, 2008 Westminster John Knox Press.
7. “I Wonder As I Wander”, the old Appalachian Carol.

The hidden story of Christmas part 1 – December 15, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. Gaby Mann’s story comes from the BBC, The Girl Who Gets Gifts From Birds, by Katie Sewall, 2015.

2. Richard Horseley’s book, in the Shadow of Empire, Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance, 2008, is the source for the stories of the war that the shepherds were in the midst of.
3. Helen Keller’s quote came from a live theater piece performed in July 2019 at the river in Ipswich, during “Americans Who Tell The Truth”. The artist performing the piece was Mollie Steadman.
4. Mary’s Canticle, “My Soul Gives Glory to my God” comes from Luke’s Gospel, and is set to music by Miriam Therese Winter, 1978. The tune is from Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music.


See The Light Shining – December 8, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. Katie Green’s “The Image Maker” is in Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope,  New Society Publishers, 2002.
2. Sita Akka Paulickpulle gave the story seed of the Image Maker to Katie at a nonviolence training session in 1985. She was born in India, and trained as a nurse in England, and toured Nazi hospitals and concentration camps with the Red Cross during World War II, where she advocated for the hospitalized prisoners. 
3. Sar Shalom can mean “engineer of peace”, “bread baker of peace”, “general of peace”.  “Prince of peace”, is a popular translation but Sar Shalom is much more encompassing.
4. “Walking in Darkness, See the Light Shining”, “Everlasting counselor of peace, Thy will be done”; This is my musical adaptation of Isaiah 9:6, set to a melody by Sophia, who wrote a melody called “The Orbit” in the Buddhist and Universal community.


Hope – December 1, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. “Searching for Beauty” is adapted from a Jewish story written by Peninnah Schram, printed in Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope, New Society Publishers, 2002.

2. Robert Krusell’s wife Pat was a nurse and healer in Massachusetts, and she shared this story many years ago with Robert, who gave it to us at church in late November.
3. Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” was written in 1983 and recorded on his album “An Innocent Man”


                                   Jenny Slew—painting by Jillian Bemis, 2019

Silence – November 10, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. The sermon “Silence” was preached by Rebecca Pugh and Gordon Harris on Jenny Slew Sunday, November 10, to honor the legacy of veterans of the world and Jenny Slew as an 18th century heroine, who successfully fought for her freedom from slavery, through the Massachusetts court of law.
2. Silence has two meanings: Silence the noun is the blessed peace around you, in a church, in the forest, in a still calm place. Silence the verb is something imposed upon somebody when their voice is taken away. They have nearly opposite meanings in some contexts.
3. When Solomon’s temple is described in 1Kings, it is built in the blessed silence of a still place, and even the rocks are hewn before they arrive in the city.
4. Mr. William Morris was a World War Two Hero, and a deacon in Faith United Methodist Church in Staten Island, NY. He died last year at age 99. 


Memory and Hope – November 3, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh
1. Rachel Myers, who curates the oldest graveyards in the area, was doing an installation on the day of the funeral at the end of October.
2. Peter Gomes describes “thin places” in his 1996 book The Good Book.
3. The word for ark, as in box or cupboard of casket, in Hebrew is “Aron”.
4. Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun was published first in 1951.
5. “Listen more often” is a song adapted by the acappella band Sweet Honey in the Rock from the poem by Birago Diop.


Thou Shalt Not Kill – October 27, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


1. We write letters at First Church to prisoners, and we visit, to cry out against the unjust prison system in the United States, and to align ourselves with Christ’s statement “I was in prison and you visited me”.
2. Liz McAllister was part of the Kings Bay Plowshares Project. Most of the information for this portion of the sermon comes from “Democracy Now”.
3. Lo Tirsah, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, was explained by Dr. Marc Brettler, professor at Brandeis University, as “No Killing illegitimately”.
4. “We will do it and then we will understand it” is a theological reflection on the response of the Hebrews to the 10 Commandments, in Exodus 24, described by Professor Avivah Zornberg in her book “Moses, a Human Life”, as a part of the Jewish Lives Series, Yale University Press, 2016.
5. Kari Mashos writes for the Christian Science Monitor: as we reflect on “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, to understand it as a spontaneous and guiding force within us.



Freedom – October 20, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. “Let my People Go” is the theme of the book of Exodus.
2. Araminta Ross was born in Maryland in 1822, born into slavery.
3. Moses’ discomfort with being called by God is described by Avivah Zornberg in her book “Moses, a Human Life”, as a part of the Jewish Lives Series, Yale University Press, 2016.
4. This idea that your biggest problem is also your biggest gift is one that Zornberg describes in all of her books on the Torah.
5. Greta Thunberg, climate activist, also personifies this situation: that your handicap is your greatest strength.
6. Maimonides (1138 – 1204) is the greatest Jewish philosopher of the Medieval period. He describes Moses’ project of discovering a voice that is uniquely his, for the sake of Israel.
7. “And She Said Her Name Was Harriet Tubman” is Holly Near’s brilliant song from the 1970’s.


Doing the Right Thing – October 6, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


  1. “The Mosquito Extermination Project” is a folk tale from India, collected by folklorist Margaret Read MacDonald and published in her book “Earthtales”.
  2. The Scripture for the sermon comes from Genesis 9, the story of Noah’s difficulties after the flood.
  3. “My Paddle’s Keen and Bright” is a round written by Margaret Embers McGee in 1910.
Creation and Equality –  September 29, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh
  1. James Weldon Johnson, 1871 – 1938, was a poet, educator, musician, lawyer, civil rights leader, ambassador, and Secretary General of the NAACP. 
  2. His poem/sermon “The Creation” is published in God’s Trombones, 1927. Republished, Random House 2018.
  3. His poem Deep in the Quiet Woodis published in Camille T. Dungy’s Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press: 2009).
  4. Lift Every Voice and Sing is a beloved anthem written by James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson, created in 1905 to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
Searching for peace –  September 15, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


Treasure –  August 18, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. This sermon is based on Matthew 6:19: “Set yourselves up for purses meant for heaven”. “For where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also”.

2. William Wordsworth’s sonnet, “The World is Too Much With Us, Late And Soon,” was written in 1802.
3. This is from Gordon Harris’ historical article, “The Women of Chebacco Build A Meetinghouse” — contributed by Charlotte Lindgren:
4. “How Can I Keep From Singing”–lyrics first published in “The New York Observer”, 1868, by Pauline T.
Is Anything Unforgivable? –July 21, 2019 – led by Rev. Tom Lenhart


The Good Enemy – July 14, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

                                             Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh and Harvey Cox

“Mixing Religion and Politics?” – July 7, 2019 led by Dr. Harvey Cox


“The embarrassingly messy, awkwardly bodily,politically vulnerable, funnily real parts of our faith” – June 23, 2019 led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


Hello World – led by Jason Wertz  on June 16, 2019


Photo by Mike Densmore.
Snowy Egret on Plum Island, June 2019
Understanding – June 9, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


  1. Greta Thunberg, in Suyin Haynes’ Next Generation Leadersin Time Magazine, 2019.
  2. Pentecost in the Jewish Tradition: Jason Aronson’s Every person’s Guide To Shavuot,; retrieved June 8, 2019.
  3. Pentecost in the Christian Tradition: fromThe First Church Bible Study, Monday Mornings at 10. 1Meetinghouse Green, Ipswich MA, 01938.
  4. The Snowy Egrets Tabasco sauce man is Edward Avery McIlhenny, who was born on Avery Island, 1892., retrieved Thursday, June 7, 2019.

  1. Spirit Of Gentlenessis by James Manley, 1975.

Photographer: Kerry Mackin

Hope – June 2, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


1. The Appalachian trail crosses several high huts in New Hampshire, and the Zealand Falls hut is open all year.

2. “When all our nights become darker than a thousand midnights let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountain of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way.”  Martin Luther King Jr., “Where Do We Go From Here”, Georgia 1967.
3. James Bell’s first work when he was a child was for the desegregation of swimming pools in South Carolina. Now he works for juvenile justice in San Francisco and across the world. From Jessica Lum’s “James Bell”, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 1, 2012.
4. James Bell’s portrait comes to Ipswich July 1, 2019, as a part of the Americans Who Tell The Truth project, by Robert Shetterly.
5. Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen 2019 is Rachel Perry, of New Bedford, and she has survived a concussion by listening to and playing music, and by sharing it with others. She joined the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra concert for senior citizens, as a volunteer, at First Church in early May.
6. “Bright Morning Star” is an Appalachian mountain song, arranged by the Wailin Jennys in Winnipeg in 1998.



Tree of Life – May 26, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. Earl Shaffer wrote “Walking With Spring” in 1983, and it was published by the Menasha Ridge Press.
2. The Tree of Life as spiritual sustenance is in many places in Scripture; here we discuss it as John records it in Revelation 22.
3. Shinrin Yoku was described by the Japanese Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries in the early part of the 21st century.
4. Thoreau’s essay “Walking” was published posthumously in the Atlantic Magazine in 1862.
5. De o tino Helado, ne O Que Le Soon Wa is a song written by Rebecca from the Mohawk, “Give thanks to the trees”.


Discipleship – May 19, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


1.The story of Julian comes from RJ Palaccio’s Auggie and Me – Three Wonder Stories, Alfred Knopf, 2015.

2.”Love will guide us”comes from Sally Rogers’s Album ‘Love Will Guide Us’- Thrushwood Press Publishing, 1985.



Hospitality – May 12, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh


1. Egg and Spoon by Gregory MaGuire was published by Candlewick Press in 2014.

2. The Road to Emmaus comes from Luke 24: 13-35, and in it, Dr. Luke describes a mystical encounter on the 7 mile road between Jerusalem and Emmaus.
3. Henri Nouwen described hospitality as “that virtue which allows us to break through the narrowness of our fears and open our home to the stranger, with the understanding that salvation comes to us in the form of a tired traveller.” Quoted in The Queer Bible Commentary, SCM Press, 2006, Rev. Robert Goss, editor.
4. “Come unto me” is my own translation of Matthew’s wisdom statement, set to music by G.F. Handel in his Messiah.


Trust — a message for First Church in Ipswich, May 5, 2019
1. John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Crossan: the Sea of Tiberias, a talk at “The Universal Christ” conference, Albuquerque NM, March 2019
2. St. Gregory, on prayer, from “The word is Very Near You” by Martin Smith: Cowley Publicatoins: 1989.
3. Unamuno. “San Miguel Buono, Martyr”. 1939.
4. James Taylor. “You can Close Your Eyes.” 1971.


“Light” a sermon for Easter, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh
Photograph by Don Paquin, Easter Sunday 2017
1. Bob Oakes, “Morning Edition”, interview with Daniel Romanchuk, April 16, 2019.
2. John Dominic Crossan, lecture, “The Universal Christ”, hosted by Richard Rohr, Albuquerque New Mexico, March 30, 2019.


Treasure – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on January 27, 2019

1. The notes on the ship Ada K. Damon, built in 1875 in Essex and wrecked in 1909 in Ipswich, come first from Gordon Harris’ excellent article “The Wreck of the Ada K.Damon” on the Historic Ipswich website. The wind measured 72 miles per hour on the night of the terrible storm. 
2. The notes about coal replacing the wind-filled sail, to the wreck of the ship, come from Dan MacAlpine’s “Ipswich Wreck: An Information Treasure Trove”, in the “Ipswich Chronicle”, July 22, 2015.
3. The song comes through the Folk Tradition, taught by Audi Souza at the funeral of Bob Pigeon, originally from the poem “Crossing the Bar”, by Alfred Lord Tennyson


Found! – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on January 20, 2019
1. The Hebrew word for parable is the same word as for riddle: in Roman letters it is Mashal.
2. Krister Stendahl writes of this economy of extravagance in Roots of Violence, in his chapter on Salvation as Victory.
3. Tara Westover’s lovely new book Educated gives a vivid description of her search for safety and comfort.
4. “And We Like Sheep” is from Handel’s Messiah, and Handel loved the word painting in which the voices wander, lost, all over the hillside even as the sheep did.

Being present – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on July 29, 2018

1. Bill Powers: New Slow City (2014): Novato, California: New World Library.
2. Richard Rohr: Father Richard’s Daily Meditations. Tuesday, July 24, Real Presence. Https://
3. All About The Piping Plover has 8,400 breeding individuals. Retrieved July 28, 2018.

Sin – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh  on July 22, 2018

Youth Sunday – a sermon led by our Youth Voices

Families – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on June 24, 2018

Strong Souls – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on June 17, 2018

Power – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on June 3, 2018

Suffering – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on May 27, 2018

Notes from Standing Rock – led by Ali McCormack

Up – a sermon about renewal led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on March 11, 2018

The Work goes on – An Easter Sermon, led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on April 1, 2018

Unity – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on April 8, 2018

Damascus -God takes our bad habits, led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on April 29, 2018

Fences and Walls:
Scripture, from John’s gospel, in the bulletin
“He left Judea and started back to Gallee, but he had to go through Samaria…” -John 4:3



“He was in the wilderness 40 days, tempted by Satan, and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” Mark 2: 12-13