Welcome to First Parish in Bedford, a joyous and affirming faith community for all ages!
If your family is visiting First Parish for the first (or even second or third) time, welcome! We’d love to meet you! Let an usher know you are visiting, and ask one of the ushers or someone at the Welcome Table to introduce you to a member of the ministry team (Rev. John Gibbons – Senior Minister, Rev. Annie Gonzalez Milliken – Parish Minister, or Deborah Weiner – Interim Director of Religious Education.
We offer child care for infants and toddlers on the church’s lower level nursery and play space (room L04) each Sunday, and religious education programs for children and youth in pre-kindergarten through grade 7. We generally start each Sunday together in the sanctuary. The first part of each service is family-focused, and there are Busy Boxes available at each entrance to the sanctuary – upper and main levels – to keep smaller hands occupied and creating fun! Children and youth generally exit the service around 10:20 AM for their religious education programs. Teachers for each class will be in the outer vestibule, holding signs with their groups’ ages on them, so classes can gather and move to their classrooms as a group. If you arrive late and aren’t sure where to go, see an usher at one of the entrances – they’ll be glad to help you!
Worship services generally end between 11:00 AM and 11:20 AM, and religious education programs end at 11:30 AM. Following those programs, parents of younger children (grade 3 and under) should pick their children up in their classrooms (on the church’s lower level). Children in grade 4 and higher will be dismissed and make their way down to the Common Room (on the main floor) for Community Hour. Look for the “Kids Only” snack table, where we serve juice, nut-free and gluten-free snacks and healthy options – all for kids only! There’s a welcome table outside the Common Room – stop there to talk to a greeter and find out more about our congregation, and pick up a religious education brochure which will tell you tell you more abut our programs for children, youth and families at First Parish.
On select Sundays, look for the Religious Education information table in the Common Room – ask them questions about the curricula we teach, ways in which families can get more involved in the life of First Parish, and more!
Childcare and Religious Education Programming on Sundays
Visiting parents may stay with your children in the nursery and listen to the service via our audio system, or complete a visitor form allowing children to stay with our professional staff while you enjoy the service and some time in community hour. Please see the Childcare brochure or staff for more information.
Children in pre-school and older start the morning in the Sanctuary with their families before exiting to the Common Room for a brief UU Kids Ingathering before classes and programs begin. Visiting children and parents are invited to join us. Parents may fill out a visitor form allowing your children to attend on their own. We ask that children in pre-school through second grade are picked up promptly at the end of their scheduled program. Older children are dismissed from classes and workshops and may join their parents in a pre-determined meeting place. For safety sake, children must accompanied in the building by their parents.
Registration and becoming more involved – Join us!
We hope that you’ll not only visit, but want to come back to First Parish in Bedford. If you decide that you’d like to make this your spiritual home we’ll ask you to complete a registration form (online, paper copies available on request) for your children to be registered for our program. This provides us with important information about your child and family and will help us to contact you easily should we have information to convey or questions. We ask to be kept informed of changes in contact information, allergies, and special needs as they occur – this helps us serve your children’s needs better!
First Parish in Bedford has a vibrant music program for children and youth. Our youth choirs perform on selected Sunday mornings throughout the year and at other occasions in the Bedford community. For more information please contact Janet Welby, Director of Youth Choirs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We’re glad you’re here – welcome!