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United Parish In Brookline - National Fund For Sacred Places
2023 Cohort

United Parish In Brookline

(American baptist; methodist; united church of Christ)

Brookline, Massachusetts

United Parish in Brookline has a proud tradition of honoring and making history with its progressive approach to equality and social justice. 

United Parish in Brookline by Sarah Fitzpatrick

United Parish in Brookline by Sarah Fitzpatrick

2023 Cohort

United Parish In Brookline

(Non-Denominational/Community of True Inspiration)

Brookline, Massachusetts

United Parish in Brookline has a proud tradition of honoring and making history with its progressive approach to equality and social justice. 

The church that houses the United Parish Brookline congregation was designed in the High Victorian Gothic style in 1873 by nationally renowned Edward Tuckerman Potter. United Parish in Brookline formed in 1970 after a merger between Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Baptist congregations. In 1988, it was the first house of worship in Brookline to call a woman, Rev. Patricia Coughlin, as Senior Pastor. United Parish Brookline has a long history of public support of LGBTQ+ rights, including multiple pastors and staff who identify as LGBTQ+, and now fly a transgender pride flag on its lawn despite the flag being burned twice.  

United Parish Brookline has maintained substantial community outreach and interfaith partnerships, including housing the town’s only thrift shop, a food pantry, and addiction recovery initiatives. The church also shares its space with a Buddhist meditation group and worships several times a year with a local Jewish congregation. In 2021, United Parish launched the Negro Spirituals Royalties Project, a racial justice initiative that donates “royalties” for Negro spirituals sung in worship to a local academy for the preservation and teaching of gospel music. 

A National Fund grant of $250,000 with $1.5 million in matching funds raised by the congregation will support urgently needed repairs to the deteriorating masonry. The sanctuary entrance under the building’s tower and other portions of the grounds have been closed off to the public until these urgent repairs can be made. 

United Parish in Brookline by David DelPoio

Spotlighting Women’s History at Historic Houses of Worship

Religious institutions have served both as a platform for the advancement of women’s rights and opportunities, and women have played critical roles in advancing religious traditions. The leadership and community building opportunities within these sacred sites have been critical to increasing female independence outside of the home and allowing women to develop institutions that strengthen their congregations and broader communities. The four historic houses of worship highlighted embody positive examples of how the histories of women and religion are inherently linked.

First Church in Oberlin

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez