Press Release


Contact: First Parish Office
Tel: 617-566-1933

Brookline Church Welcomes New Minister

Rev. Lisa to Lead Services, Sermons and Events Throughout the Fall

Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood, a compassionate activist, counselor, parent, and now a Unitarian Universalist minister, preached her first sermon on “Lessons from a Summer in Water”, on Sunday, September 9, at the Opening Sunday service of First Parish in Brookline. The service was the first of many services, sermons and events to be led by Rev. Lisa, every Sunday, 11 a.m. at the historic First Parish church, at 382 Walnut Street in Brookline. The service this Sunday, Water is Life, will honor the “Water Protectors” – the men and women from indigenous communities in the U.S., who have led the fight and risked their lives over the past several years to protect the waters of all people in lands threatened by gas and oil pipeline development across the U.S.

“I’m excited to be part of this loving congregation,” Perry-Wood says. “First Parish offers a deep commitment to activism, diversity, and justice, all within a sacred sanctuary full of history.”

After a two year search process and parish vote, the First Parish congregation called Rev. Lisa as Senior Minister last April. Ellie Boynton, Chair of the Search Committee said “Our Search Committee was excited to find a minister whose depth and breadth of experience and skills, talents, and passions are such a good match for First Parish in Brookline. We are excited about our future!”

Rev. Lisa is a native New Englander who has lived in Lexington, MA for over 30 years. She recently served as Acting Parish Minister at The First Parish in Bedford. She has also served as summer minister in Lexington and Winchester UU congregations, and was ordained on June 3, 2018 in Lexington. Before entering Andover Newton Theological School in 2012, Lisa was a mental health counselor, trainer and community mediator, a K-8 charter school founder and leader in Lynn, and interim executive director at a number of non-profit organizations.

Lisa is animated by a deep, long-time commitment to social justice with a particular focus on racial justice, prison ministry, immigration justice, marriage equality, and class inequity. As early as 1994 she was a founding member of Lexington’s Coalition for Racial Equality. From 2008 to 2010, she served as Executive Director of the MA Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. She has developed and led powerful worship services that reflect these values and commitments.

Traditional and non-traditional family experiences have shaped Lisa’s understanding of life and ministry. A parent of three grown children from a first marriage, Lisa later came out as lesbian and, in 2004, legally married Zoe, a school psychologist and professional artist-photographer. Lisa is a grandparent of three (including twins), and, with Zoe, in 2010 took in a great niece and two great nephews when they became homeless in Los Angeles. As a biological parent of a child with physical and serious mental health challenges, and later as a foster parent of children with no prior experience of a middle class or affluent lifestyle, Lisa has had many opportunities to learn about her “own vulnerabilities, the pressures on teens, and how to love someone through countless moments of grief and despair.”

Rev. Lisa is available for interviews. Please contact the church office at 617-566-1933 or email . For more information, please visit our website at

More on First Parish in Brookline

First Parish in Brookline is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Members of this congregation are united in a belief that the human spirit needs tending and the struggle to live a moral and ethical life is transformative and essential.

From September through June, worship is held Sundays at 11 a.m. in our Sanctuary in Brookline at the intersection of Walnut and Warren Streets. Services are deeply theological, musically inspired, and intellectually challenging. Childcare is provided, and parents can register children and youth for regular Sunday Religious Exploration classes. First Parish is also wheelchair accessible, and provides other accessibility services.

As for what we stand for, our mission statement says it well:

Called by Love, Sustained By Community, Committed to Justice

We strive to be a welcoming, diverse and loving congregation that nurtures spiritual growth for individuals and families, celebrates multicultural community, and works together to demand social justice, dismantle racism, and care for our living earth.

This congregation began in the early 18th century. In 1717, a meeting house was built at the center of Brookline, known then as Muddy River. The patch of lawn that today splits Walnut and Warren Streets was the original town green. Our Sanctuary, dedicated in 1893, is the fourth to house the congregation that began as The Church of Christ, a Christian church in Puritan New England, and evolved into the First Parish in Brookline, a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Today First Parish is a congregation composed of people of deep conviction, strong faith, and devotion to community involvement. While very proud of our solid and rich history, we are passionately dedicated to responding meaningfully to the world here and now and to spiritually nurturing ourselves and our children for the challenges of the future.