The members of First Parish in Cohasset recognize the many ways in which their lives have been blessed and cherish opportunities to return something to the local and the world communities. This is both an obligation of the ethical member of the community as well as a wonderful opportunity to expand our own lives and experiences through interaction with whom we might not otherwise connect. First Parish service projects come in many forms, large and small.

Outreach Committee and Community Outreach Fund

The purpose of the Outreach Committee is to provide First Parish members and friends with opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people outside our immediate church community. Our mission is to raise awareness of and help facilitate participation in non-partisan social programs that need help and assistance.

Our funding sources come from two places. At each Sunday service half of the plate collection is designated for a specific charity. The Outreach Committee specifies the 5 charities during the year to receive the plate collections. In addition, a sixth charity is chosen to receive 100% of the plate collection on Christmas eve.

The second funding source is a Community Outreach Fund invested with Vanguard. The Outreach Committee budgets each year how to spend the proceeds of this account that are over and above a defined principal. We attempt to address local, regional, national, and international needs. In addition, congregants may apply for support for a project at a charity they are involved with.

The Outreach Committee also supports members’ efforts to get congregational support for a variety of charitable projects, such as the Christmas Angel Tree project which provides gifts for families supported by the South Shore Housing for the Homeless; holiday meal support for the Cohasset Food Pantry; Circle Ministry project for helping children in Ukraine through UNICEF; RE support for End Hunger New England; Christmas gifts for Rosie’s Place; etc.

As an example of our activity, from July, 2022, through February, 2023, First Parish has made contributions to the following charitable organizations through the Plate Share program:

• $1803.50 to Sandy Hook Promise, an organization focused on preventing gun violence before it happens
• $1752.10 to Common Hope, to support our sponsored Guatemalan child, Katherine Daniela, to receive an education and family social services (see below for more information)
• $1496.50 to Boston Health Care for the Homeless – to support their physical and mental health services to the homeless

And for the same period, First Parish has made contributions to the following charitable organizations from the Community Outreach Fund:

• $1000 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, through the UUA Disaster Relief Fund
• $1000 for hurricane relief in Florida, through the UUA Disaster Relief Fund
• $300 for Rosie’s Place
• $1000 for Wellspring Multi-Service Centers
• $2000 for World Central Kitchen
• $2000 for Direct Relief for earthquake aid in Turkey and Syria

— Marjorie Brown, chair, Outreach Committee (Feb., 2023)

History of the Community Outreach Fund:

The Outreach Fund was initially established in 1986 with an initial donation of $25,000 from Warner Bros. Studios, in appreciation for the use of our First Parish Meeting House as a location for the film, The Witches of Eastwick. The fund has grown over time through investment returns and additional donations. The fund primarily provides moderately sized financial grants to recipients approved by the Outreach Committee.

First Parish volunteers and staff of Rosie’s Place, 2019

Rosie’s Place

Living in an area as beautiful and well-nourished as Cohasset and the surrounding communities, it can be a challenge to stay in touch with the rest of the world, to be aware of people nearby who are not so fortunate.

Cohasset has had a relationship with Rosie’s Place since it opened in 1974. Rosie’s Place was the first women’s shelter in the United States and today serves 12,000 women a year with meals, housing, education and support services.

First Parish generally sends three teams a year to help prepare and serve meals to the women and children who are clients of Rosie’s Place. In all the ways we connect with Rosie’s, we are gifted with real time interaction with folks who might otherwise remain invisible to us as well as the opportunity to be part of the efforts of Rosie’s Place to shift the trajectory of their clients’ lives.

As the COVID pandemic winds down, we expect to begin scheduling visits again. Below are some photos of our 2019 visits.

We invite everyone to participate, both members and non-members. Please watch the First Parish newsletter for upcoming opportunities.

Common Hope

Common Hope is an international agency whose purpose is to fight poverty through diplomas, but also recognizing that education requires more than just school supplies, but extends to housing, nutrition and other forms of support.

First Parish has been active over the years with Common Hope efforts in Guatemala. Members have provided financial support for the sponsorship of children. In addition, a while ago a Vision Team from First Parish spent nine days volunteering at a Common Hope home in Antigua, Guatemala.

Two peole standing in front of a Christmas tree. A man with a clipboard is checking a lit, while a woman holds a gift card in her hand.
Mark Alves, coordinator of the 2022 Angel Tree program, and Holly Harris, chair of the Parish Committee.

Angel Tree

Each year, during the holiday season, First Parish has a tradition of the Angel Tree.

A tree is festooned with wish cards for clients of the South Shore Friends of the Homeless.

Members of the congregation take a card from the tree and provide a gift.

The total value of gifts and gift cards is estimated at almost $3,000.

Carriage House Nursery School

Our biggest service project, both in terms of budget and the number of families served, is Carriage House Nursery School (CHNS). Founded by the congregation in 1978, CHNS now serves about 70 children and their families.

CHNS is a non-sectarian, child-centered preschool for children aged 2 to 4. The CHNS Advisory Board is made up of First Parish members who work with the school director to carry out the educational mission.

Mission statement: Carriage House Nursery School encourages learning and growth, curiosity and enjoyment, self-esteem and respect for others.

Our commitment to children: We provide…
• Support for families through strong school partnerships;
• Child-centered education;
• Attention to the health, safety, and responsive care of all children;
• Active, individualized, developmentally appropriate learning;
• A culture of respect for one another and for all people and the world in which we live;
• A culture of respect and awe for the natural environment, of which we are a small part.

Carriage House Nursery School recently added an innovative outdoor classroom. By providing regular outdoor education, we are raising a generation of children who will respect and care for the Earth.

Seven children outdoors, standing in front of the sign for Great Brewster Woods.

Children and Teen Service Projects

Children who are in the First Parish religious education program have a number of opportunities each year to participate in community service. These service projects are typically scheduled during Sunday services.

Our children and teens participate in service projects regularly at Holly Hill Farm, a nonprofit organic farm on conservation land in Cohasset. Other service projects may be scheduled during the year, depending on the interests in involvement of families. Cheildren and teens have also volunteered at the Scituate Animal Shelter.

For over 20 years, our children have been doing trail maintenance on Great Brewster Trail, right off Cohasset Common. The sign leading to the conservation land honors their contributions, saying “Maintained by the youth of First Parish Church.”


Get Involved

The Outreach Committee encourages individuals to contact them at any point with ideas or ventures which they feel passionate about or would like to see sponsored and seeded on behalf of the wider church community. To contact the Outreach Committee, email the First Parish office at

Watch the First Parish newsletter for other opportunities to participate in service projects.