The First Unitarian Church of New Bedford is a gothic, stone church located on Union Street, between Eighth and County Streets. The main church entrance is on Union Street. The Parish House may be entered through the double green doors on Eighth Street or the handicapped entrance from the parking lot.
Coming from South, West, or East
From Rte 195 take “Downtown” Exit (15) at Rte. 18. Go through first stoplight. At next stoplight (Union Street) turn right, go up hill until Eighth Street (last right before County Street lights). Turn right onto Eighth Street for handicapped parking lot access. Stone church on left is the Unitarian Church and the parking lot is behind the building.
Coming from North
Take Rte 495 S or Rte128 South to 24 South. Take Rte 140 South to New Bedford. Take the Rte 195 East exit and follow the directions above.
First Unitarian Church
71 Eighth Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
Our parking lot is very small. Please leave parking available for those in need of the handicapped entrance. On-street parking is available on all surrounding streets (meters not in use on Sundays).
Finding Your Way in the Church Buildings
What time do services begin?
Services begin at 11:00 am on Sunday mornings unless otherwise posted. Our “church year” runs from the beginning of September to the end of June. We hold services in the summer, but they are much more informal and tend to be much shorter. Children begin in the service with the adults and then head to their classes.
What goes on during the worship services?
Our worship usually follows an order of service with elements like readings, singing, meditation, and sermon. Our Coordinator of Ministerial Services usually leads two services a month. The other month’s services are led by church members or a guest speaker. Check the newsletter or the Sunday Service page for a description of the upcoming service.
Will I be able to speak to the Coordinator of Ministerial Services?
Our Coordinator of Ministerial Services enjoys greeting newcomers; unless she is tied up with other demands or if it is her Sunday off, there is a good chance that you can speak with her during the hospitality hour after the service.
Are people of diverse racial backgrounds welcome in this congregation?
We are an open and loving community. We encourage and support people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds to join us.
Are there bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgendered people in this congregation? Are they welcome?
Yes. Our congregation is officially a “Welcoming Congregation” which affirms and promotes the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.
What should we wear to this Church?
There are some who choose to dress up, but for the most part, people come in comfortable attire. Children, especially the youngest ones, should be dressed for comfort. Our Nursery accommodates infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Is there childcare/Sunday School during fellowship services?
We offer childcare for infants and toddlers from 10:45 am to 12:15 am. We also currently offer activities for children up to age 12. Our Spirit Play program is designed to help children experience the wonder of our world while learning important values and world religions.
If my child doesn’t separate well, can she or he stay with me in the service?
We always welcome children to stay for the entire service. However, please be aware that the sermon is generally for an adult audience, and younger children especially may not be interested. If you need to leave the service because of a fussy child or other reason, the service can still be heard from a speaker in the Parish House. Parents who wish to stay in the nursery for all or part of the service are welcome to do so.
Is there easy parking?
Yes. There is a small parking lot behind the church on 8th Street. We ask that these spaces be reserved for those with mobility needs. There is plenty of on-street parking on all the streets around the building.
Will I feel pressured to give money if I am a visitor?
No. A basket is passed for a free-will collection. We appreciate the generosity of all who attend, and on the second Sunday of each month, the cash collection goes to a local non-profit organization. We are pleased that you chose to visit us, and there is absolutely no obligation to contribute.
Will I be locked out if I am late for the service?
No. Latecomers are asked to enter quietly.
What if something about my visit bothers or concerns me?
We would certainly like to hear about it. Please mention it to the Greeter after the service or to the Coordinator of Ministerial Services.