Meditation & Spiritual Practices

What we are is God’s gift to us. 
What we become is our gift to God.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Faith and spirituality are not just about attending church on Sunday mornings (or tuning in on Zoom); it’s about cultivating our potential for compassion, our connection with the divine and with one another, and finding our understanding of our lives and the sacred transformed.

On this page you will find information about the devotional and meditation programs offered by First Parish Church, and other resources about mindfulness, prayer, and other spiritual practices to sustain your spirit.  It turns out that the simple practice of focusing on the present moment and practicing gratitude is a doorway to finding compassion, connection, and even transformation.

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God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist.  All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God.  I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don’t think my tradition defines God, I think it only points me to God. ~ John Shelby Spong

Weekly Morning Meditation
Wednesdays at 8:30 AM

Join Us on Zoom on Wed. at 8:30 AM

There is a NEW LINK as of August 2023

First Parish has a weekly Morning Meditation group that gathers Wednesday mornings at 8:30 am for guided meditation, quiet contemplation and restorative silence. Typically we meet in the Sears Chapel at First Parish, but we have moved online to Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weekly sessions typically begin with a short lesson or reflection on mindfulness and finding meaning followed by a guided meditation and a time of silence.   The guidance and instruction is suitable for beginners as well as those with an advanced meditation practice.  Everyone is welcome to stay afterward for 5-10 minutes of informal discussion.  We begin by 8:30 am and always finish by 9:15 am.

No prior experience is required, and all are welcome to join us.   We typically have anywhere from 9 to 25 people participating each week.

We invite you take a little time out of your week for contemplation and stillness… slowing down helps keep us steady when the world speeds up!

Muddy water set still.

Zoom Meeting ID: 868 9385 2932 (New link starting in August 2023)


Contact Jeff to join the meditation email list

Yoga Flow with Rev. Sarah
First & Third Friday at 10:00 AM


Yoga at First Parish

First Parish holds hatha/vinyasa yoga flow class on the first and third Friday of the month, taught by Rev. Sarah Napoline, our Assistant Minister. Sarah has been practicing yoga for over five years and completed a Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. The classes are an all-levels flow; it keeps up a moderate pace but includes modifications for beginners or options for more advanced practice. Vinyasa yoga flow means that we move through the postures at a mindful pace, linking our breath with movement. The classes are about an hour long and include stretching, strengthening, balance, and relaxation/meditation. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

“Let every moment be a prayer. With every sip of tea, let your lips move in thanksgiving. Be fully present to every stroke of the hairbrush, every cup of milk you pour for the children. Be present, without judgment or regret, without plans or expectations, or even dreams, and every moment becomes a prayer.”

— Elena Westbrook, Unitarian Universalist lay leader

Answers to our Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Yoga Flow page on our website. Be sure to check the First Parish calendar for any changes to the schedule.


Contact Sarah to join the yoga email list

Online Resources we Like and Use

There are some excellent meditation and prayer sites that we like and recommend. They include the following:

When I was about six years old I received an essential teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun.  I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved and mad, kicking anything I could find.  Laughing, she said to me, “Little girl, don’t you go letting life harden your heart.”

We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us.  We always have this choice.

~ Pema Chödrön (formerly Deirdre Brown)

Unitarian Universalist Resources


UU Wellspring grew out of a yearning to develop Unitarian Universalist identity and spiritual growth. We began offering UU Wellspring at First Parish in early 2023.
The original program has now spread to reach over 50 congregations and over 100 religious professionals. UU Wellspring Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a national Board of Trustees. The program has received grants from the UUA Funding Program and the Unitarian Sunday School Fund to support new programs.


Braver/Wiser is a weekly email from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) that offers a “weekly message of courage and compassion.”

These come in the form of written reflections and a brief prayer by ministers, religious educators, and other Unitarian Universalist spiritual leaders. You can subscribe to the weekly emails on the Braver/Wiser website.


InSpirit, the UUA Bookstore, also has a number of excellent books about spiritual practices:

SmartPhone Apps

There are many smartphone apps to help you with your spiritual practices, whether at home or on the go.  Below are some links to some of the more popular apps; some are free, and others require a subscription. If you have a favorite, let us know, and we’ll add it to our list!

The Calm Logo Calm

Calm is a popular smartphone app for meditation, guided sleep recordings, and relaxation. “Calm creates unique audio content that strengthens mental fitness and tackles some of the biggest mental health challenges of today: stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.”  Calm is available in both the iTunes App Store for iPhones & iOS, and the Google Play store for Android.

The Headspace Logo


Headspace is another popular smartphone app for meditation and mindfulness; the app has guided meditations, animations, articles, and videos. With Headspace, you can “learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with our free Basics course. [The paid subscription provides] bite-sized minis for when you’re short on time, exercises to add extra mindfulness to your day, and hundreds of meditations on everything from stress to sleep.”  Headspace is available in the iTunes App Store for iPhones & iOS and the Google Play store for Android.

the Insight Timer logo Insight Timer

Insight Timer believes that “everyone deserves access to a free daily meditation practice”  and boasts the world’s largest collection of free guided meditations, with over 65,000 titles. Insight Timer does not usually get as much attention/press as Calm or Headspace, but it instead focuses on effectiveness: compared to other applications, people using Insight Timer log three times as many hours meditating and return to the app more frequently during the week. Insight Timer has a free course called “Learn How To Meditate In Seven Days” The app is available in the iTunes App Store for iPhones & iOS and the Google Play store for Android.