, Newburyport, MA

December 6, 2013

First Parish Church welcomes new minister

Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURY – A native of Marblehead, First Parish Church’s new minister, Rev. G. Jeffrey MacDonald, graduated from Yale Divinity School in 2000 and served as pastor of Union Congregational Church in Amesbury from 2000 to 2004.

A journalist since his days at Brown University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1991, MacDonald works as a correspondent for The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor among other publications.

He’s received 12 national awards for reporting on religion, including a 2013 Reporter of the Year Award from the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA). His book, "Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul" (Basic Books, 2010), received third place as RNA’s Religion Nonfiction Book of the Year for 2010.

Healthy growth is happening inside First Parish Church these days, MacDonald said recently.

On Sunday mornings, the children’s Sunday School programs begins at 9:45 a.m. and Worship starts at 10 a.m.

“Services praise God, explore the meaning of discipleship and consider how faith translates into habits that honor God, neighbor and the planet,” MacDonald said.

A new Bible study has begun meeting at 8:30 a.m. every other week in the downstairs fellowship hall and the Secret Garden Preschool, which meets downstairs in the First Parish building, marked its two-year-anniversary as an environmentally-focused, secular program for children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years-old.

“The link between spiritual formation and care for the environment is increasingly appreciated in American denominations, especially insofar as local congregations are putting theories into action,” MacDonald said. “First Parish Church in Newbury is on the front lines of the movement."