Latest Worships



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