Save the First Parish Meetinghouse

Towering over Town Square in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on the site where a meetinghouse has existed since 1622, stands a historic treasure, a symbol of our country's origin, a tribute to the Pilgrim's journey to America, and a cornerstone of our history. Today, it's in desperate need of repair.

Please Consider Donating Today
Courtesy sdowen on Flickr

The English Arts & Crafts Movement & its Relevance to First Parish Church

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 @ 10:00 a.m. – doors open @ 9:45 a.m.

First Parish Meetinghouse

19 Town Square

Plymouth, MA 02360

Join David Berman, owner of Trustworth Studios, designer of textiles and wallpaper, and authority on the Arts and Crafts Period of Design, as he explains the significance of the interior of First Parish Church as an authentic representation of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Lecture is free; refreshments to follow; donations gratefully accepted.

508-747-1606

info@restorefirstparishplymouth.org

Visitors Encourage First Parish Tours!

Here are just a few reviews provided to TripAdvisor from satisfied tour-goers who visited First Parish. Join the club; take a tour today.

“Ask for a tour”
Reviewed July 31, 2014
Even if it's just a quick tour, you will appreciate the church much more if you have someone to explain to you the symbols in the wood carvings, the stories represented in the Tiffany windows, and the beliefs and controversies of some of the founders. Definitely worth the short walk (two blocks?) up the hill from Plymouth Rock. ($5 for the tour)
Visited July 2014 - Tulsa, Oklahoma

One Step Closer to National Recognition

First Parish Church located at the top of Town Square has received notification from the Massachusetts Historical Commission that their application for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places will be considered at a meeting of the Commission on Wednesday, September 10 at 1:00 P.M. at the Massachusetts State Archives in Dorchester, MA.

The National Register of Historic Places is the Federal government's official list of historic properties worthy of preservation. Listing of a property provides recognition of the community's important historic resources. In Massachusetts, properties nominated to the National Register are automatically listed in the State Register of Historic Places.

First Parish, also known as The National Memorial Pilgrim Church, was built in the late 1890's as a monument to the Pilgrims. It stands just below the pilgrims' first fort, and dates it's records to 1606 in Scrooby England. The Tiffany stained glass windows, which tell the Pilgrim story are currently undergoing restoration thanks to a grant from the Community Preservation Commission in the Town of Plymouth.

Challenges of the Art of Stained Glass Restoration and Conservation - 6/15

You are cordially invited to an informative early evening lecture entitled:

Challenges of the Art of Stained Glass Restoration and Conservation
by Roberta Rosa

Sunday, June 15 at 4:30 p.m.
Doors Open at 4:15

Lecture to be held at First Parish Meetinghouse, 19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA

Roberto is a nationally recognized and award winning stained glass restoration specialist. He has been Vice President of Serpentino Stained Glass of Needham since 1988, and his firm was awarded the contract to restore First Parish’s historically significant and unique stained glass windows. Rosa studied art at the “Liceo Artistico Massini” in Rome, Italy, from 1983-1986.

Join us to hear a basic, brief introduction on stained glass in general, then briefly about Tiffany and his studio.

He will then move on to challenges they find in restoration and conservation of stained glass and discuss proper conservation methods. He also will be showing some images of the windows from First Parish Plymouth Meetinghouse, what they encountered and how they are repairing them.

Painting the Town of Plymouth with Eric Dowdle!

Eric Dowdle is a folk artist who travels the world, spends time in various towns and cities getting to know the people and what’s important to them, and then paints a picture of the town from which he creates posters and puzzles. Eric visited Plymouth in the fall, spending two weeks here with another purpose besides creating a canvas. He also had a film crew with him to create the first episode of a PBS series called (what else?) Painting the Town.

On Friday, May 31st Eric set up in Memorial Hall to unveil his painting of Plymouth and give those of us who attended a chance to preview the half-hour program featuring Plymouth. Those of you who missed it will have to wait until Fall when it’s aired nationally. But you don’t have to wait to purchase a puzzle or poster. These are on sale at First Parish Plymouth tours in Town Square on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10-3.

All sales benefit the restoration of First Parish Meetinghouse.

Tours Resume at First Parish! - 5/22

May 22, 2014 is the opening day for tours of historic First Parish Meetinghouse. Our tour days are every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until the end of October. For a donation of $5.00 (children under 16 are free), you will receive a customized tour of First Parish and all of its riches.

Come and see some of our best kept secrets such as: a stone plaque, sent from the Delftshaven church, as a gift to acknowledge the building of “The National Memorial Pilgrim Church.” This threshold piece is from the church’s entryway, and the Pilgrims would have stepped over or on it on their way out of Holland en route to Plymouth.

When was the First Meetinghouse Built?

It is interesting to note that during these early years, Plymouth’s First Church and the town were really one entity. Drawing on Bradford’s writings and on Plymouth’s early town records, Fred A. Jenks concludes that“as freed men they taxed themselves to pay town charges to build and keep in repair a meetinghouse used for meetings of the townsmen and as a place to worship God.” This purpose was served first by the common house and then the fort “until 1637 when their first meetinghouse was built on common land on the north side of Town Square.”

There is some debate, however, concerning the actual date of construction. According to Reverend Cuckson, “In 1648 the first church was built. It was situated behind Bradford’s lot, and facing Leyden St.. . . ” Built on common land, “the lot was actually carved out of the (Burial) hill.” In the words of Arthur Whitney and George Marshall, it was “a square house of unpretentious lines. It obviously and significantly was a house of God, not a temple.”

The Robinson Window: A Sermon

The John Robinson window slid gracefully to the floor revealing an infinite cloud grey sky. Robbed of backlight, Robinson appeared murky lying against the wall. I looked out the window where Robinson had stood lo these last one hundred and eighteen years dressed in his blue silk suit with his arms up, his cape stirring in the sea breeze welcoming us to leave or arrive. It was grey and windy. I could imagine the Mayflower stealing away on return voyage to England and Saints and Strangers standing by the sea or on the very hill, waiting for Mayflower to cross below the horizon and then waited some more--stood there in their loneliness held only by their hope, God, and the sandy shore of the new world.

What did those Saints and Strangers imagine as they stood alone after that wicked winter when almost half perished. We can hardly place ourselves in their space and time; hardly imagine life without cars, electricity, running water and indoor bathrooms. I can hardly remember anymore getting up to adjust the volume on the TV.

"Transcendentalism in Plymouth" - 3/16 @ 4:30

The campaign for the restoration of the First Parish Meetinghouse cordially invites you to an informative afternoon lecture by Patrick T.J. Browne, Executive Director of Pilgrim Hall Museum and the Pilgrim Society, entitled "Transcendentalism in Plymouth".

The event will take place Sunday, March 16 at 4:30 p.m. at the First Parish Meetinghouse, 19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA.

Complimentary refreshments will be served following the lecture. Sponsored by BF Architects, Plymouth, MA. This is the first in a series of four free lectures in 2014 offered by the First Parish Meetinghouse Restoration Committee.

"This program is supported in part by a grant from the Plymouth Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency."

Three More Windows Head Out for Restoration

On January 7th three men from Serpentino Stained Glass Studios spent four hours removing most of the windows on the South side of the Sanctuary, as well as two stained glass door windows in Kendall Hall. They will be restored and returned in early spring. Upon their return, the North side windows will be removed for restoration.