Wouldn't it be great if there were a church...

...that truly welcomes all people regardless of religious background, age, race or sexual orientation?

...that is grounded in a long and amazing history yet embraces current forms of inspiration and the cultivation of soul?

...that refuses to concede the Bible to mean-spirited and literal-minded interpretations and instead holds up the clarion calls for compassion and justice we hear in the scriptures?

...that encourages people to bring their whole selves to a service on Sundays and not simply check their brains at the door?

...with a long history of working for social change that actually speaks to the major issues of the day?

Well, there is a church like this, and we invite you to come check out our services and programs.

Welcome to the First Church in Salem!

Universally Accessible and Universally Welcoming! 

The First Church in Salem, Unitarian
is one of the oldest continuing Protestant churches in North America and the first to be governed by congregational polity, a central feature of Unitarian Universalism.

We are proud of our history and excited by our present.

First Church
Sunday Services 10:30am
Childcare is provided.

Our building is recently renovated and universally accessible
(with a full elevator).

We are a Welcoming Congregation!

Rev. Jeffrey Barz-Snell

Services and


Scroll down and see below for

Upcoming Services



Stewardship Dinner SAVE-THE-DATE 

Jim McAllister Lecture Series

Sign up for various events by clicking on the links below:


April 23
5:00pm Salem Pantry Bagging
7:00pm Compassion Book Group
7:00pm McAllister Lecture Series
April 24
7:00pm Social Outreach Meeting
April 26
9am Salem Pantry Distribution
10:00am Climate Forum on Divestment
4:45pm Lifebridge
April 27: Earth Day Service
10:30am Service
RE Mentor Sunday
11:30am New Member Orientation
12:30pm Bible as Literature
April 30
7:00pm McAllister Lecture Series
May 4: Annual Meeting
10:30am Service
Annual Meeting follows service.
May 11: Mother's Day
10:30am Service
New Member Recognition Ceremony
Fellowship hosted by
the Gentlemen of the First Church
May 16
Parish Wide Stewardship Dinner
May 18
10:30am Flower Communion Service

Annual Meeting: May 4 

This year’s Annual Meeting of the First Church will be held directly after the service on Sunday, May 4.  Draft copies of the Annual Report will be available for review onsite by Sunday, April 20, Easter Sunday.

No presbyteries, councils, bishops or popes. Just us... 

Saturday, April 26

Compassion Book Group

Final Session:
Wednesday, April 23 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm

The winter and spring is a great time to “go deep.”  Please join the Minister and several other church members as we read together 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong.  In this important and thought-provoking work, Karen Armstrong—one of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—provides an impassioned and practical guide to helping us make the world a more compassionate place.

The twelve steps she suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion,” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She shares concrete methods to help us cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion, and provides a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives.” Armstrong teaches us that becoming a compassionate human being is a lifelong project and a journey filled with rewards.

To sign up for the book group, please speak with the minister or call the Church Office. 

For April 23, we are reading, Chapters 10-12, pp. 156-194

Saturday, April 26
A Forum: Divestment from Fossil Fuels

First Church in Salem, 316 Essex Street, Salem.
Colleges, cities, counties, religious institutions and foundations across the country and around the world are committing to divest from fossil fuels. In Massachusetts there is pending legislation to divest government pension funds. This forum will explore this strategy for moving more quickly toward clean energy on our planet, followed by a Q&A discussion. For more information call 978-744-2941 or email northshore@350.org.

Sunday, April 27
New Member Orientation

Interested in joining the First Church and deepening your involvement with our liberal religious community?  We welcome new members twice a year, in December and May.  Towards that, we offer two opportunities to learn more about the church and meet some of our leadership and members.  A New Member Orientation session will be offered after church on Sunday April 27. Anyone wishing to join in May is encouraged to attend one this session.  New Members will be voted in during the Annual Meeting immediately after church on Sunday, May 4. To sign up or learn more, please speak with Rev. Barz-Snell or contact the Church Office 978-744-1551 or firstchurchinsalem@gmail.com. If you are need of childcare during these sessions please contact RE Director, Deb DiGiulio at debd01970@comcast.net

Sunday, April 27: Earth Day Action
To celebrate Earth Day, First Church members and guests are invited to share a message of environmental support. During Fellowship the Social Outreach committee will host a table where participants can write letters to our Congressional representatives: John Tierney, Elizabeth Warren, and Ed Markey. We will provide supplies and writing prompts. You can provide your interest and penmanship. This is an opportunity to share your interest in the environment with those charged to help protect it and to actively engage in Earth Day. If you have any questions, please contact David Radue at david.radue@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 27: Bible as Lit

The First Church in Salem, Unitarian, 316 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

Professor Theo Theoharis returns to the First Church in Salem this spring to lead another Sunday afternoon seminar series.  This year's topic is "The New Testament as Literature."  Dr. Theoharis will describe and bring to life the literary forms and the human concerns of the Four Gospels and Paul's Letters to the Romans and to the Galatians.

Total cost of this seminar $25 per session.  The next two sessions will be held Sundays, April 13 and 27 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm.  For more information go to: www.firstchurchinsalem.org

To register, please call the First Church Office @ 978 744-1551 or clicking on this link. The First Church is universally accessible and is a Welcoming Congregation. 

Sessions will be held from 12:30 to 2:00 pm on the following Sundays:

Sunday, April 27



Wednesdays through May 14
Jim McAllister’s
Spring 2014 Salem Lecture Series

Jim’s one - hour lectures will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Cleveland Room at the First Church in Salem, 316 Essex Street.  Please use the new entrance to the right and rear of the church. Doors open at 6:30. Admission is $12, cash or checks only please. Series tickets are available at a reduced rate of $48. For more information contact Jim at  culturecorner@gmail.com or 978.979.5907. The series begins April 16. Click here for a detailed schedule.

On Friday, May 16, we will hold a Stewardship Dinner in Willson Hall to recognize and celebrate First Church programs that enrich the lives of our members and enable us to help those in need in our surrounding communities. We will discuss Stewardship for FY15 and how Church programs thrive because of the financial support of our church members.  Please reserve this date on your calendar.  More information will be coming soon!


The First Church is a member society of the
Unitarian Universalist Association.