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Alliance Dates and Personnel

To Alliance Bylaws, History, Programs, Personnel, Definition Essay

Program Dates and Topics for 2016-2017

 

Friday, September 30

 Ingathering -- Getting to Know Us
Justine Sheffler leads a participatory session on the Enneagram

Dessert at 7 p.m.
Program at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 4

Living in Art and Craft, 
Mimi Kirchner, Arlington Artist and Internet Micro-celebrity

 

Potluck Supper at 6:30 p.m.
Program at 7:30

Friday, January 6

 Traditional Chowder Supper at 6:30
A chill-chasing relaxing evening
with a discussion of
Alliance donation recipients after supper.

 

 

Friday, March 3

An Evening with Martha Collins,
Award-winning Poet

Dessert at 7 p.m.
Program at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 23

 Alliance Sunday at First Parish   10 a.m.

Grandmothers: long on love

Led by Dorothy May

Our service is followed by festive coffee hour provided by The Alliance

Friday, May5

ANNUAL MEETING 

6:30 PM............. Gathering

7:00 PM............. Dinner

7:40 PM............. Business Meeting

8:00 PM............. Program   -- Designing a Life, with Deborah Parker

Designing a Life
Deborah Parker has been designing women's clothing for more than 30 years-- and right here in Arlington since 1992! Hear the story of how she got here, built a business, and won a following for her line of sophisticated, contemporary styles.


Officers of the Alliance

President  
Vice President  
Secretary Robbie Rinearson
Treasurer Jean Nagle
   

 

Board Meetings: Sundays at 8:30 a.m. —   9/25, 10/30, 12/4,
2/12 (donations planning), 2/26, 4/2, 4/30


Trustees of Trust Funds

Nina Duncan term expires 2017
Kay Snowden term expires 2017
Louise Strayhorn term expires 2017


Committee Chairs

   
Friendly Natalie Tyler
Hospitality for Alliance Meetings Marilyn Jackson and Ann Abbott
Lay Ministry Liaison Gwen Hooper
Membership Jean Nagle
Program Lisa Heisterkamp Davis and Mary Young
Communications Cheri Minton
Reflections   Gwen Hooper
Youth Representative Michaela Aladjem

.

Programs from Previous years

 

Program Dates and Topics for 2015-2016

Friday, October 2

 Ingathering -- Getting to Know Us
Led by Gwen Hooper

Dessert at 7 p.m.
Program at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 6

About the Women's Lunch Place
Elizabeth Keely, Executive Director

Potluck Supper at 6:30 p.m.
Program at 7:30

Friday, December 4

 An Evening with Arlington's Poet Laureate,
Miriam Levine

Dessert at 7 p.m.
Program at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 8  Traditional Chowder Supper at 6:30
A chill-chasing relaxing evening.
Friday, February 5

Route 27 South: 
Stories from the Boothbay Peninsula
Peter Southwick, photojournalist

Dessert at 7 p.m.
Program at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 4

 Discover Roxbury: A story of connection
between and within communities

Marcia Butman, Founder

Dessert at 7 p.m.
Program at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 3

 Alliance Sunday at First Parish   10 a.m.
Hope for the Community of Earth
Anne Goodwin, 
Climate Activist & Musician

Our service is followed by festive coffee hour provided by The Alliance

Friday, May 6

ANNUAL MEETING 

6:30 PM............. Gathering

7:00 PM............. Dinner

7:40 PM............. Business Meeting

8:00 PM............. Program

Law Changing, Life Changing, Celebration!
Alliance Reflects upon the Supreme Court support of Gay Marriage.
Annette Sawyer and Lisa Heisterkamp DavisWe celebrate this decision and will share some of the profound difference it has made, even in Massachusetts!  People in the know will offer their reflections on how the change in federal marriage law affects aspects of life, beyond the altar,  including work, retirement and travel.  In what ways does this change in law continue to influence our lives?

Program Dates and Topics for 2014-2015  (Generally First Fridays)

Friday, October 3,
7:00 pm

Our Ingathering for 2014/2015
Our first meeting is a chance to become better acquainted. Bring something to share for a pot luck dessert. Mary Young will lead our discussion on "What My Mother Gave Me" -- our gifts are both tangible and not -- show and tells are welcome.

Friday, November 7,
7:30 pm

You Can Live Your Potential:  Five Dimensions of Wellness, with dietition, nutritionist and wellness blogger, Kerri Hawkins.  Learn more at www.dietitiandrive.com.  Kerri's program will be geared to whole life health -- this will be a fine program to share with our multi-generational women's alliance.   We will gather at 6:30 for a potluck supper.

Friday, December 5,
7 pm

A Tribute to Pete Seeger

Anne Goodwin and Dorothy May will lead this participatory tribute to one of our inspirations across the years.  Bring a dessert to share and bring your whole family to enjoy the fun.

Friday, January 9,
6:30 pm

New England Chowder Supper and Dessert 
an evening to relax with good company.
Chowders, salad, cornbread provided.  Dessert is potluck -- bring a favorite to share.

Notice -- this is not the usual first Friday.

Friday, February 6
potluck dessert at 7:00 p.m.

program at 7:30 pm

Genderqueer Dandy Day: On Fluidity 
 An Evening with Jade Sylvan


Quoting from our guest's website: www.jadesylvan.com:
Jade Sylvan, called a "risque queer icon" by the Boston Globe, is an award-winning author, poet, screenwriter, producer, and performing artist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jade's most recent book, Kissing Oscar Wilde (Write Bloody 2013), a novelized memoir about the author's experience as a touring poet in Paris, received rave reviews, and was a finalist for the New England Book Award and the Bisexual Book Award. Jade has toured extensively, performing their work to audiences across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Sunday, March 16,
10:00 am

Alliance Sunday Service and Special Coffee Hour Reception

Laura Wagner, Executive Director of UU Mass Action, "The Power of Being a Faith Community."
What does it mean to be part of a faith community? How do we support one another in finding peace? Living in community is an essential part of resiliency. It is only through being part of a community that we can find peace in our lives and fight for justice.

Friday, April 10

potluck dessert at 7:00 p.m.

program at 7:30 pm

How Do You Want to be Remembered?
This will be a participatory program about planning your own memorial service. 

Friday, May 1: Annual Meeting

Supper and Meeting, 6:30 pm
Program at 8:00 pm

"Travels with Myself" -- our program will focus on the experience of a panel of women among us who travel by themselves.  We'll gather at 6:30 for a home-catered meal followed by our annual business meeting.

Program Dates and Topics for 2013-2014  (Generally First Fridays)

Friday, October 4,
6:30 pm

Our Ingathering for 2013/2014
Our first meeting is a chance to become better acquainted. Bring something to share for a pot luck supper.  Our "catalyst" discussion topic centers around our personal definitions of "The Alliance" -- what is unique about this group for you?  What do you want it to be and do across the coming years?

Friday, November 1,
7:30 pm

Reporter's Notebook: Pictures, stories, and impressions from my three-month assignment in China for Fortune magazine.

with David Whitford

Friday, December 6,
7 pm

An Arlington Family's Arctic Adventure

Winston Chen and Kristin Botnen and their two children lived for a year on a Norwegian island near the Arctic Circle.

Friday, January 10,
6:30 pm

New England Chowder Supper and Dessert 
an evening to relax with good company. 
Continuing: a  swap! Bring an item or two of favorite XXX you'd like to swap -- category of item TBA.
Notice -- this is not the usual first Friday.

Friday, February 7
7:30 pm

Reflections on Growing up African American in Arlington

Playwright, Kirstin Greenidge, wrote "Luck of the Irish" which played last year in Boston.  Kirstin's talk is being co-sponsored with First Parish Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Sunday, March 16,
10:00 am

Alliance Sunday Service and Special Coffee Hour Reception

Rev. Kathleen McTigue of the UU College of Social Justice.

Friday, April 4th

7:30 pm

Yoga through our Whole Lives

Peggy Gardiner

An evening of relaxing active learning with Peggy. 

Friday, May 2: Annual Meeting

Supper and Meeting, 6:30 pm
Program at 8:00 pm

A Woman Behind the Lines:  from the invasion of France to V-E Day

with Kay Snowden

In the spring of 1944, 27-year-old Libby Krider left her job and joined the American Red Cross. She spent the next year in France and Germany with US GIs, doling out doughnuts and coffee, conversation and cheer.
After her mother's death in 2010, Kay Snowden read the diary and letters that her mother wrote during that year. 
Moved by her mother's story, Kay and her family traveled to France in 2012 to retrace her mother's travels (in much greater comfort, of course). 
Come hear what it was like behind the lines in wartime Europe and how "ordinary" American men and women became The Greatest Generation.

Program Dates and Topics for 2012-2013

Friday, September 28,
6:30 pm

Our Ingathering for 2012/2013
Our first meeting is a chance to become better acquainted. Bring something to share for a pot luck supper and share the opportunity to get acquainted with each other and with our visitors from our partner church in Gage, Transylvania.

Friday, November 2,
7:30 pm

"Positive Aging: Opportunities and Challenges for Life after 50"
with Kit Hays

Friday, December 7,
7 pm

"Singing in the Season"
Meg Candilore, coordinating. Featuring our Youth Choirs with Laura Prichard directing. Special guests and carols for all of us.
Want help out? Bring a dessert to share and/or a gift for the Germaine Lawrence School special holiday gift program.

Friday, January 4,
6:30 pm

New England Chowder Supper and Dessert 
an evening to relax with good company. 
New this year: a clothing swap! Bring an item or two of favorite clothing you'd like to swap.

Friday, February 1
7:30 pm

"A Long, Winding, and Very Bumpy Road: The Course of Women's Suffrage in America, From Colonial Times to the Present"
with Woody Kay

Woody Kay notes that the "circuitous" reference refers to the rather odd fact that women COULD vote in some colonies before the Revolution, and that "progress" in this case was not linear as we usually think of it, but really a series of steps forward AND backward. Also, as a political issue, women's suffrage mixed very weirdly with voting rights for other groups over time. Woody plans visual material to enhance this interesting topic.  

About our speaker: Woody Kay, who is currently one of our First Parish Worship Associates, is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University.  Woody's primary research interest is in the field of science and technology policy; he explores how all of the various political processes mesh (or fail to mesh) with the work of scientists and engineers.  At Northeastern, he has served on the advisory board of the Women's Studies program and was a member of the group that created the university's first sexual harassment policy and procedures. 

Friday, March 1,
7:30 pm

"Working with Community Theater"
Elizabeth Hunter. Potluck Dinner at  6:30 pm

Theatre in Community/Community in Theatre - A group of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, coming together on a regular basis to explore deep questions of identity and truth, working together as volunteers to create something lasting and far greater than themselves--sound familiar?  Elizabeth Hunter, founding Artistic Director of Theatre@First>, will speak to the Alliance about the joys, challenges and unexpected surprises of running Somerville's largest community theatre.  She'll have stories and insights for us from her current production--The Vagina Monologues, February 9th at 3pm and 8pm at the Somerville Theatre <tinyurl.com/tvm-somerville>--and a sneak peek at their upcoming show: Lysistrata!

Alliance Sunday, April 14th

"Pathways to Political Leadership for Women of Color: Research and Action"
with Christa Kelleher
Our speaker, Christa Kelleher, serves as Interim Director of UMass Boston's Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and teaches in the center's graduate certificate program, will consider what we can learn from five female community leaders who have engaged in research to identify barriers and opportunities related to advancing the public leadership of women of color in Massachusetts. Reflecting on these women and their projects has motivated Christa to think more deeply about identity, representation, and the limits of knowing and understanding others. 

Friday, May 3: Annual Meeting
Program at 8:00 pm

"Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cancer but Were Too Nauseated to Ask -- Facts and Myths about Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment" 
Robin Schoenthaler, Radiation Oncologist, will discuss what cancer is, what we know about its causes, what progress we've made in treatment, how to help your friends with cancer, and will focus on "myth-busting"; dispelling myths about cancer causes, prevention and treatment. There will be time for questions.

Program Dates and Topics for 2011-2012

Monday, October 3,
8 pm

Foods in our Personal History
Our first meeting is a chance to become better acquainted. Bring a sample of a favorite traditional recipe you would like to share or just come, with a story and enjoy good company.

Friday, November 4,
7:30 pm

Criminal Justice as Social Justice Work
A U-U Perspective
First Parish member, Dave Deakin, who serves as Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Family Protection and Sexual Assault Bureau for Suffolk County, will talk about family violence prosecution, victim protection, sentencing and sentencing alternatives, civil rights and restorative justice. Ask the questions you've always wanted to ask about the workings of the criminal justice system.

Friday, December 2,
7 pm

"Singing in the Season"
The program includes many carols for all and will feature our First Parish children's choirs and UUlations. Songs from Strouse's musical Annie will be a highlight of the children's presentation.
Want help out? Bring a dessert to share and/or a gift for the Germaine Lawrence School special holiday gift program.
Cheri Minton, coordinator

Friday, January 6,
6:30 pm
New England Chowder Supper and Dessert
an evening to relax with good company.

Friday, February 3, 7:30 pm

<pAn Introduction and Tour of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, ME

Our speaker, Jean Rosenberg, writes:

Gardens of Delight   
Twenty years ago a group of mid-coast Maine residents founded a grassroots organization because they believed that northern New England would benefit from a botanical garden. By 2007 the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (CMBG) opened on a site with salt water frontage, and since then it has been recognized as one of the "most distinguished botanical destinations in the country."
Join Alliance member Jean Rosenberg for an evening to view CMBG's exquisite and unique gardens. You will encounter landscape designs that encourage visitors to explore the five senses as well as stone features, learn about Maine's "greenest building" and its "ecologically sound planting," and admire a whimsical garden that celebrates "beloved children's literature by authors with a Maine connection."

Friday, March 2,
7:30 pm

What is the Art in Art Therapy?
Michaela Kirby, art therapist, psychologist and educator, will talk with us about her work in art therapy.  Among other plans for her illustrated talk, Michaela is interested in dispelling some of the myths about art therapy and in considering ways art therapy differs from the use of art in psychology.

Alliance Sunday, April 22nd

Rev. Phebe Ann Coffin Hannaford:
an independent woman from Nantucket
Rev. Rosemarie Smurzynski

Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford was born on Nantucket Island in 1829, an island of open spaces and wide horizons, and profound intellect. Her cousins were Maria Mitchell, astronomer, and Lucretia Mott, abolitionist. She was ordained in 1868 to the Universalist ministry in Hingham Massachusetts, the first woman minister to be ordained in New England. She served Universalist Churches in New England and New Jersey and was active nationally in the Women's Right to Vote movement and the growing Women's Club movement. This sermon will focus on influences on Hanaford's life and legacy on Universalism and our country at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Hanaford was 92 when she died.

Friday, May 4, Annual Meeting & Program 8:30 pm

 

Azerbajian Experiences
Carol Orme Johnson

Carol willl talk and show photos about life in Azerbaijan. "On the surface it looks a lot like the U.S., but it actually feels and tastes very different."

 

 

Program Dates and Topics for 2010-2011

Friday, October 1,
8 pm

Arts and Hobbies
Our first meeting is a chance to become better acquainted. Bring a sample of the work you would like to share. Ann Abbott will lead our discussion. Sandy King will offer reflections and Ann Abbott and Jean Rosenberg will host our potluck dinner, beginning at 6:30 pm.

Monday, November 9,
7:30 pm

Politics and the Arts
First Parish member Woody Kay will share his interest in women in arts through story and illustration.
We will gather in the vestry for dessert at 7:00 PM and our program will begin at 7:30.
Erica Licea-Kane will offer reflections and Doris Schwaab will host our dessert, beginning at 7 pm.

Monday, December 7,
7 pm

"Singing in the Season"
Participants include UUlations and the Flute Loops; the children offer excerpts from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in a version edited for them by music director, Laura Prichard. The program includes many carols for all.
Cheri Minton, coordinator
Kiki Giatis will offer reflections and Gwen Hooper host our dessert reception following the program.

Friday, January 7,
6:30 pm
New England Chowder Supper and Dessert
an evening to relax with good company.
Rev. Marta Flanagan will offer reflections; our chowder supper is hosted by Jean Nagle, Phyllis Spence and Gwen Hooper.
Friday, February 11,
7:30 pm

Global brigades in Honduras -- a student's view.
Debbie Botos will offer reflections.

Rachel writes: Sometimes, even within a relatively stable democracy, lack of infrastructure can leave a population's health behind. Fortunately there are organizations trying to help. As a student leader in Global Brigades, Inc., Rachel Botos, who grew up in the First Parish community, has been to Honduras four times, helping to operate medical and dental clinics in rural areas. Join Rachel and the Alliance to hear her talk about the process, her participation, and how this experience has shaped her path. 

 

Friday, March 4,
7:30 pm
Transgender Issues with Ruben Hopwood
Reflections offered by Melanie Cohn-Hopwood
Hospitality: Andrea Jeffrey
Alliance Sunday , March 27

March 27th, Alliance Sunday
Featured Speaker: Rev. Dr. Dorothy Emerson
Why Margaret Fuller Matters

 

Friday, May 9,
8:30 pm
Annual Meeting & Program

A Trip to Nepal with Robin Schoenthaler
Our Annual Meeting is preceded by a catered dinner for Alliance members and guests. Following the meeting, First Parish member, Robin Schoenthaler will talk with us about her trip to Tibet. All First Parish is welcome.

 

Program Dates and Topics for 2009-2010

Friday, October 2,
6 pm

How do you find replenishment?
Our first meeting is a chance to become better acquainted. Annette Sawyer will lead our discussion.

Monday, November 9,
7:30 pm

Pursuing the Ordinary in the Midst of the Extraordinary
Monday, November 8th at 7:30 PM in the Vestry
Join First Parish Alliance members and friends for a special evening with independent filmmaker Alexia Prichard. Alexia will show the film Soma Girls, which she co-directed during her recent trip to India, and she will lead our discussion of the film. "Soma Girls" is a 27-minute documentary which deals with issues of equity, women's rights, paths to escape from child prostitution and new homes for endangered girls in Kolkata, India.
We will gather in the vestry for dessert at 7:00 PM and our program will begin at 7:30.

Monday, December 7,
7 pm

"Singing in the Season"
Featuring Children's Choirs and Intergenerational Ensembles organized and directed by Laura Prichard
Cheri Minton, coordinator

Friday, January 8,
6:30 pm
New England Chowder Supper and Dessert
an evening to relax with good company. Rev. Marta Flanagan will offer reflections.
Friday, February 5,
7:30 pm

New Work on Domestic Violence with sociologist Jim Ptacek. Jim will talk with us about the new book he has edited Restorative Justice and Violence Against Women.

Alliance Sunday , March 14

March 14th, Alliance Sunday
Featured Speaker: Awinja Otiato
Sustainable Development in Kenya and Boston

Awinja Otiato, has an MBA in Social Policy Management with a concentration in Sustainable Development. She works with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Department of Transitional Assistance, bringing the principles of sustainable development to state government.

Awinja writes:

"Working in Mass State government to help welfare participants find ways to overcome barriers and become economically self sufficient, I find myself drawing on my experiences growing up in the village in Kenya. In the village, women have each other. My children are your children. In the American culture, 'good fences make good neighbors'. Our work within DTA is to find ways to break down such cultural barriers and bring welfare participants together to collaborate with each other and look to accomplish the ultimate goal of achieving economic self sufficiency. Poverty is a social injustice.... 'Knowledge Advancing Social Justice' is the motto of Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University where I received my degree. The motto calls for each one of us to find a sphere of influence whether large or small and to use it to break the cycle of social injustice. Working within the state government is my sphere of influence."

 

Friday
April 9, 7:30 pm

How does your garden grow?
We talk together about own current gardens, past gardens, and gardens to visit.
Led by Jean Rosenberg and Robbie Rinearson with reflections by Wendy Page.

Friday, May 9,
8:30 pm
Annual Meeting & Program

Our Annual Meeting is preceded by a catered dinner for Alliance members and guests. Following the meeting, singer/songwriter Diane Taraz will offer a musical program. All First Parish is welcome.

 

Program Dates and Topics for 2008-2009

Monday, October 13, 7:30

Our guest speaker, David Raikow, is a specialist in international conflict management. David is a recent graduate of the Tufts International Law graduate program.  He has worked for the UN in Khartoum and for the Red Cross in Switzerland. We'll let you know David's specific topic next week. 

Friday, October 24,
6 pm

A Women's Poker Tournament!
Susan Moore and Annette Sawyer will lead off with basic instructions in poker for the uniniatiated. The evening will be a real poker tournament with prizes and all -- a low buy in of $25. There'll be additional games set up for those of us who are eliminated from the fray. Our youth group will provide refreshments all evening, with proceeds to benefit their own budget and go to help fund their upcoming working trip to New Orleans.

Monday, November 10,
7:30 pm

Poetry As a Spiritual Path
Cathie Desjardins will share her creative process and her lifetime connection with poetry, advancing the theory that the most spiritual poetry is not elevated and high-flown, but deeply rooted in everyday life. She will share some much-loved poems from poets old and new as well as reading from her own work, including her recent book With Child.
Join us in the parlor for dessert at 7:00 pm.

Monday, December 8,
7 pm

"Singing in the Season"
Featuring Children's Choirs and Intergenerational Ensembles organized and directed by Laura Prichard
Cheri Minton, coordinator

Friday, January 9,
6:30 pm
New England Chowder Supper and Dessert
Monday, February 2,
7:30 pm

Sustaining Relationships Through Illness & Adversity -- a facilitated panel discussion -- stay tuned to see who will be leading us -- good ideas needing confirmation.

Alliance Sunday , March 15,

Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Tom sadtler and Jane Webb

Friday
April 3, 7:30 pm
Group talk about gardens, gardening, favorite plants...
Friday, May 8,
8:30 pm
Annual Meeting & Program

A Wedding in India
Julie Dunn recounts and shows pictures from an unforgettable experience.

 

Program Dates and Topics in 2007-2008

Friday, October 5,
8 pm
"Getting to Know You"
Gwen Hooper and Mary Young lead a participatory session focussing on our stories about significant seniors in our lives.
Monday, November 12,
7:30 pm
China Impressions :
Wendy Page tells us about her recent trip to China and shares photos.
Monday, December 3,
7 pm
"Singing in the Season"
Featuring Children's Choirs and Intergenerational Ensembles organized and directed by Laura Prichard
Cheri Minton, coordinator
Friday, January 11,
6:30 pm
New England Chowder Supper and Dessert
Rev. Carlton Smith joins us with reflections.
Monday, February 11,
7:30 pm

David Whitford: "A Reporter's Notebook "

Friday, March 14,
8 pm
"Moving through Change : A Panel on Women's Careers"
panel assembled by Alliance co-president, Sandra King
Alliance Sunday
April 22, 10 AM
Lori Kenschaft: "Life in Balance:  Gardens as Spiritual Practice"
Music by "Sometime Singers" on a gardening theme

Monday, May 14,
8:30 pm
Annual Meeting

 

 

Program: The Liberty Bones, a trombone sextet, will play wide variety of music -- classical and pop, sacred and profane.

"So, what is The Alliance anyway? I still haven't figured that out"

This question from a woman friend active at First Parish spurred a number of Alliance members to fashion a contemporary "definition," starting in the traditional way, with a dictionary – why the name "Alliance?" Among several definitions is one underlying our name: "a merging of efforts or interests by persons, families, states or organizations."

To that definition should be added, as basic, that it's "The Women's Alliance of First Parish." The Alliance is the women's organization in our church, with a mission to support the women in our church, and through that support to advance the interests and efforts of our entire church. Formal membership in The Alliance is open only to women, but Alliance activities are inclusive across gender and age: men attend meetings as guests and as speakers, and The Alliance is supportive of, and supported by, the youth and children of First Parish. In recent years The Alliance has had a liaison member from the Youth Group who attends Alliance Board meetings on a regular basis. Based on thoughts provided by a number of Alliance members, this note was originally written for the March 2010 Spire.

Three brief comments touch on different aspects of The Alliance:

"For me, a relatively inactive member of the Alliance, it represents a network of support in which one can freely partake (or not) and which provides both financial and physical assistance for the church and its congregation." Nancy Crasco

"For me, the Alliance is a unique organization that provides me with a vital bond to intergenerational UU women. Most important, I can look to an older generation as a beacon – they have survived and thrived all that I face today and much more." Sue Sheffler

"We consider the Alliance legacy, specifically the endowments that we have inherited, seriously. Our support of both church needs and community and regional organizations reflects our desire to be relevant and to make a difference." Jean Rosenberg

Two comprehensive notes, one provided by Deb Botos, a recent Alliance president, and another by Lisa Davis, an active member and sometime officer. form the basis of a definition. Deb Botos begins her reflection: "The Alliance is an organization that can foster the friendship and community of women in a way that no other organization in the church can."

Why is that? Some of Deb's thoughts, some of Lisa's and some from Publicity chair, Cheri Minton, provide varied perspectives.

The Alliance is open to all women of our church, and over the long haul. Committee memberships change and classes end, but Alliance membership can continue across decades. Friendships made in all ways at First Parish enrich our lives. Alliance meetings and activities provide long term support of these relationships. Whether for a talk, a music program, a chowder supper or time in the kitchen preparing for a collation, members keep coming back together. Sue Sheffler refers to the intergenerational aspect of the Alliance: many Alliance members start as "youngsters" and wind up as "elders".

The Alliance has a set program schedule but is able to be very flexible about the content of those programs. Chowder suppers are just for fun; the Christmas holiday program is an all church happening featuring First Parish children; panels of women talk about their work lives and lessons to be shared; authors of both genders reflect and lead discussions on recent work; discussion-centered programs range from sharing concerns about supporting family members to sharing tales highlighting the fun and woes of gardening; and, as Lisa puts it so well: "We offer armchair travel – China, Cuba, the Galapagos Islands, Russia, a service trip to New Orleans. "

The Alliance has financial independence – income trust funds created by generous legacies provide a core of support. Seeing how carefully Alliance trustees work and how thoughtfully trust income is used, one can understand very well why Alliance members continue to contribute to the trust funds. The Alliance does not look to the church funds for program expenses but rather makes a substantial pledge to the church budget each year. Purchases for general church use are carefully considered – recent examples: contributing toward computer and phone systems, window repairs, new tables, coffee cups. Special gifts from members may inspire specific projects: one bequest provides annual support for a young person to attend General Assembly; another funded the commission of the hanging by Nancy Crasco shown in this brochure. Each year the Alliance contributes to local organizations such as Germaine Lawrence, a school for adolescent girls with severe guidance needs, and The Children's Room, a center for grieving families. Alliance members pay $30 annual dues and these dues go primarily to the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation, which in turn is providing grants to projects dedicated to "positive social change throughout the world."

The Alliance has the ongoing structure needed to provide support when needed. With guidance from our elders and energy from us all, The Alliance can "turn on a dime" and provide a collation with whatever notice is received, and members are glad to be able to do it. Recently, in preparing a reception (collation) after the memorial service for beloved organist and member Ted May's, plans came together very quickly, some capitalizing beautifully on preparations already underway for the reception following our new minister's upcoming installation. Members shifted weekend plans to be a part of the commemoration – what was requested was received in plentiful measure and from many corners. Members and friends had the chance to work together and to comfort one another as they gathered.

The Alliance is both historic and contemporary. Alliance history deserves its own write up – it is both long and ground breaking – the first Alliance Sunday was the occasion of the first laywoman to give a sermon from the First Parish pulpit – Virginia Thayer was the speaker. What can be underlined is the continuous adaptation to current needs and abilities, while keeping faith with both historic and contemporary missions. Whimsically stated, The Alliance can claim the ability to repeatedly throw out the bath water while carefully holding on to the baby.

Quotations from historic documents underline this continuity.

WEST CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSALIST FEMALE SAMARITAN SOCIETY 1842 Preamble: "We the females of the First Universalist Congregation in West Cambridge, in endeavoring to promote the interest of our cause, both publically and privately, have resolved to form ourselves into an association to be known as the ...........(above name); believing as we do, that frequent meetings of the same will not only be productive of much good in other respects, but that they will form a convenient medium through which the members may become acquainted, strengthen their friendship and draw closer the bond of union wherewith we are bound. We believe that the formation of such an association will effect much good in the production of a fund although it may be small, to be disposed of from time to time as we shall believe that the best interests of our cause demands always remembering that if there are any wounded by the wayside we forfeit our title in passing them by."

UNITARIAN SOCIAL CIRCLE 1849 "The Ladies of the First Congregational Parish in West Cambridge have formed themselves into a society for promoting a social, religions and philanthropic interest in said Parish."

Getting Involved

Email alliance @ firstparish.info to contact The Alliance president, or to ask to be included on a mailing list for program notices and appeals for help. Check the "Helping Out" section of the First Parish website (firstparish.info) for program schedules and current and historical detail about The Alliance. Volunteer to help with one of the working groups, to fill a spot on The Alliance board, or to serve as a trustee of Alliance endowment funds. Elections are held yearly at the May annual meeting.

Cheri Minton, Alliance Publicity Chair

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