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First Parish in Portland

First Parish in Portland Facts

The Reverend Thomas Smith is often credited with being the first minister of the First Parish in Portland. He preached at the old meeting house, which was on the corner of Middle and India streets. In 1740 a new meeting house was built on the location of the current day First Parish.

In 1809 the First parish became Unitarian under Reverend Ichabod Nichols. A Board of Trustees was founded in 1906 to ensure that the First Parish heritage buildings would be preserved. First Parish became a Welcoming Congregation in 2000.

Our mission is to nurture the spirit, to grow in community and to help heal the world.

The first meeting house in present-day Portland was completed in 1728 on the corners of Middle and India Streets. As the population grew the meeting house soon became too small, however, and it 1740 a new meeting house, "Old Jerusalem", was built on the site of the current First Parish. The parish voted to enlarge the meeting house in 1759 and renovations were finished that same year. A steeple was added in 1761. The Simon Willard tower clock was installed in 1794. The same clock tower remains in the First Parish's tower to this day.

In 1826 a new stone church was build on the site of Old Jerusalem. It was the second granite church in the state. The tower clock and bell were transferred to the new building. in 1891 a Parish House was built on the ground and the Parish's chandelier made the transition from gas to electricity. A Church School Chapel was dedicated in 1956 and renovation to the Parish House added a second floor to be used for classrooms. The First Parish was designated a National Historic Site in 1974. The 1980's saw several separate renovations on the church.

Office Hours:
Monday: closed
Tuesday - Frdiay: 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Saturday: closed
Sunday: closed