The E-Bulletin

Continuously Updated News From First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, MA

► This version of the E-Bulletin displays the full article text so you don't have to click "Read More."

Sunday WorshipSunday Worship Service

Rev. Leaf Seligman Guest preaching

Sunday, May 28 ♦ 10:00 am 



First Parish's 2017 Annual Report Available

Click here to download your copy of the 2017 Annual Report.

You will need First Parish's usual username and password. For assistance, contact the church office at churchoffice @

Paper copies of the report are available in the office or by request.


safe cong

Update: Safer Congregation Task Force

Wondering what ever happened with the Safe Congregation policy concerning sexual predators?

The Parish committee received the draft  from the safe congregations task force at the April Parcom meeting, about 5 weeks ago.

Before we adopt it, we on parcom need to work out a bunch of details--many related to how to implement the policy, how to make sure it is adaptable to our needs over time, and how it will fit with future policies, not written yet, that might address other safe congregation issues not covered this time. 

We have been busy as a one armed paper hanger the past few months, between putting together the budget, and annual meeting ,and racial justice meetings; so we have not had the time to focus on the safe congregation policy. 

Over the summer, and into the fall, we will work on getting it in shape to present to congregation, and then, hopefully enact it. 

blood drive

Blood Drive June 3 -- Donors and Volunteers Needed!

Saturday, June 3 ♦ 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

Please spread the news! Donors and volunteers are needed for our next regularly scheduled blood drive on the first Saturday of June. Donors can sign up on the ARC Blood Donor App, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Volunteers can sign up to help at or by speaking to John Hodges. Thank you all!



Women's Book Group 

Thursday, June 1, 7:15 pm in Damon

"Tenth of December: Stories"

by George Saunders

Email Jean Nagle at womensbookgroup @ with questions.

watering plants

Water One Week to Make a Difference!

Water one week and make a difference! We are looking for people who are willing to water and weed our flower gardens for one week during the summer. Our wonderful gardens with lots of flowers need care during the summer. We are looking for people, young and old who are willing to help keep the front garden and the children's garden healthy during the summer. Teams of two will be responsible for one week during the summer. Sign up and let us know what week in July and August works for you. Contact Peggy Gardiner (Peggy.gardiner @ or Natalie Tyler (Natle40 @

aids walk

AIDS Walk & Run

Sunday, June 4

Please join our First Parish AIDS Walk team for our second year, or make a donation. Our Team goal is $10,000 – we have raised $3,677! Click here for the Team link. Info and flyers will be available at our table in the vestry after Sunday services. Please take a flyer and post it in places you frequent. Thank You!

Support our team members: Jaffray Cuyler, Liz Blumental, Arleen Kulin, Jennifer Birenbach, Mary Lou Solliday, Cindy Stinson, Kit Hayes, Inez Folsom (Team Captain). Contact at ifolsom22 @ or 978-758-3791.


Congregational Art Show!

Check out the wonderful art in the Parlor created by our fellow parishioners. Over twenty First Parish artists are presenting works in a variety of media! 

two people exchanging plants

A Perennial Favorite! 8th Annual First Parish Plant Swap

Sunday June 4 ♦ 9:00 am - 10:00 am, rain or shine

Start potting now for the First Parish Plant Swap!

This is becoming a much-anticipated annual event for many gardeners in our congregation. Come join us in the church courtyard at 9:00 am!  Bring pots to share of seedlings, plant babies, and divided perennials. Please label them with plant name, your name, and instructions for planting (sun/shade, etc.).

At 9:15 am sharp, we will ask each person to explain what they've brought, then take turns choosing plants to take home until all have been claimed.
It's a great way to groom your own garden, acquire new plants, and meet others who share your enthusiasm for growing things.

All are welcome. There are usually extras looking for a good home, so come look even if you can’t bring anything this year.

Also, please forward this to anyone who might like to take part.

Hope to see you at this year’s plant swap.

ga 2017

Go to UU General Assembly in New Orleans, June 21-25

You could be a First Parish delegate!

Every year, thousands of Unitarian Universalists gather for General Assembly (GA), the UU annual convention. The days are packed with worship, music, workshops on every aspect of congregational life, and business sessions that largely focus on social justice issues. This year, delegates will elect a new UUA president and GA will be located in New Orleans — a city known for its music, food, architecture, and rich multicultural heritage. First Parish’s Youth Group, and many other UUs from all over the country, helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the GA planning committee has worked with local partners to develop hands-on service projects during GA. The Ware Lecturer will be Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, the author of Just Mercy, and an exceptionally powerful speaker who has dedicated his life to helping people who are poor, incarcerated, or on death row. A Racial Justice Training Workshop will occur on the two days before GA and every workshop slot includes at least one workshop related to racial justice. First Parish’s own Aisha Ansano is co-coordinating the track for young adults.

Interested? Want to learn more?

Click here to read more and register. (Rates increase May 1, and early registrants get their choice of housing.)

If you might want to be one of First Parish’s nine delegates to GA, email the Executive Committee at parishexec @

blm banner

Black Lives Matter to Us

For Adam Jones and everyone else who has been subjected to bigotry, here or elsewhere.

For Alton Sterling, Jordan Edwards, Walter Scott, and so many more people who have died violently.

For the 63 percent of black children who live in low-income families that have difficulties covering basic expenses.

Because of the continuing injustice and violence disproportionately faced by people of color, we affirm that Black Lives Matter.

community circle

Black Lives Matter and our Restorative Justice Process

Last winter First Parish entered into a restorative justice process with a man who had vandalized our Black Lives Matter banner.  We are especially grateful for the Arlington Police and the Center for Restorative Justice for making this possible. In November Marta Flanagan was asked to speak at the annual meeting of the Center for Restorative Justice. Click here for a copy of her remarks that describe our process. Click here for the full text of the apology from the man who engaged in vandalism.

handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

Come ring chimes with us! Our bell choir rehearses in the Sanctuary on Thursdays at 7:00 pm for just under an hour before choir starts at 8:00 pm. You are welcome to join us! We have plenty of chimes (3 octaves) but we could use a few more people to ring them. Reading music is useful, but not required. All ages who can follow instruction and maintain focus for the length of the rehearsal are welcome. There is no requirement to be a member of the choir or any other First Parish musical group. We perform at various services throughout the year. New ringers are welcome to join throughout the church year.

Contact ringers @ for more details.


Participate in Music at First Parish

The Music Committee and Music Director welcomes anyone interested in participating in music this year. There are a multitude of opportunities including the Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, Bell Choir, as well as instrumental groups such as the C-Winds and other ad hoc groups. For more information, visit the music pages of our web site, or email music @


Sign Up to Bring Sunday Flowers!

Follow this link to use our online flowers signup form

The flowers that grace our Sanctuary on Sunday mornings are donated by parishioners, often with a special dedication that is printed in the order of service. The Flower Coordinator can assist in ordering an arrangement from our florist, or you may provide one. You can find more information and sign up for a specific Sunday at, and you can email flowers @ to contact the Flower Coordinator. If a date is not listed on the sign-up form it has already been reserved. Please note that we will have special sign-up announcements for Christmas and Easter.

connection card

Get Connected/Stay Connected with First Parish

We invite newcomers to First Parish to fill out a Connection Card to receive our weekly email bulletin, give us your contact information, and (if you wish) indicate your interest in various aspects of life in our community. You can find the Connection Cards every Sunday at the visitors tables -- in the lobby before the service and under the Welcome sign at coffee hour. For those who are not newcomers: You can use Connection Cards to let the church office know about your new address or contact information.

cartoon of man with bullhorn

How to Request a Spoken Announcement or Submit a News Item

Send requests for Sunday morning spoken announcements to announce @ Requests will be forwarded to the Worship Associates every Friday. Please note that Spoken Announcements must be relevant to the whole congregation, and will likely be edited to fit into the welcoming script.

Send news items for the E-Bulletin or Sunday Bulletin to weekly @ by 12:00 pm Wednesday for inclusion in that week's bulletins.

video header

Enjoy this video about First Parish and our efforts to live up to our mission with our Meetinghouse Campaign. Many thanks to Joel Olicker of Powderhouse for creating this!




First Parish Celebration, Save the Date!

Saturday, October 21

Mark your calendars! Saturday evening, October 21 at First Parish. Please join your fellow parishioners for MARTAPALOOZA! We are celebrating Marta’s 30 years in ministry and our beloved First Parish community. If you’d like to join the fun in planning this party, please contact Tina Silberman or Lisa Davis at martapalooza @ We’d love help with graphics/design, food prep, video/photography and decorations. It's going to be a great night!


re announcements

re img

Religious Education Announcements

Teacher Recruiting for next year has begun! We are reserving a few teaching slots for newcomers who would like to be partnered with an easy going veteran teacher. There are currently openings in PreK, K and grade 6 for the fall teaching term. Slots are filling up quickly, so please stop by the RE table to sign up for your first choice of grade and teaching term or contact tina @ to learn how you can help.

Trivia Night, Saturday May 20:  The Youth Community cordially invites you and yours to an exciting family-friendly evening of Trivia this Saturday, May 20 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm at First Parish (in the Vestry).

Planned and hosted by the First Parish Youth Group (with special emcee Aaron Kitzmiller!), this evening will feature delicious snacks, creative trivia questions, and friendly multi-generational fun.

Come with a group or come by yourself, and we'll form teams to start the event. Questions are geared towards people of different ages and experiences. Childcare will be provided by youth members, with adult oversight. 

We ask for a $5 admissions donation for the evening, to help fundraise for our Youth Group's Service Trip this summer to Pittsburgh.

Sunday, May 21: Potluck for Parents and Guardians of 8th grade and Youth Group, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm in the Vestry

RE Calendar

Sunday, May 21: Regular morning and evening programming. Parent Potluck for youth group and COA parents, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm.

Sunday, May 28: One Room Sunday School program, no evening classes.

Friday, June 2: COA rehearsal, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm.

Sunday, June 4: Regular morning and evening programming. Coming of Age recognition service during worship. Grade 6 Field Trip to Children's Room. Regular programming for OWL and Youth Group

Sunday, June 11: Flower Communion during worship service. Last day of spring teaching term. Regular programming for OWL and Youth Group.

yg img

Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Group, as we settle into springtime, we'll be soon wrapping up the year with exciting projects, celebrations of our community, and preparations for the upcoming year.

Here are some important dates coming up:

Saturday, May 20, evening: Family Trivia Night – Community members of all ages are invited to come to this fun trivia night.

Sunday, May 21, 6:45 pm ​8:45pm: Youth Group Evening Program – Our program features games and a presentation from someone at Youth on Fire.

Sunday, May 28, 4:00 pm – Monday, May 29, 10:00 am: End-of-the-Year Lock-in – Hosted by the seniors!

Friday, June 2, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Dinner for Coming of Age – We'll be hosting the Coming of Age class for a dinner, starting at 6pm. come early to prep!

Sunday, June 4, 10:00 am: Youth Group Goes to Church – It's the annual Coming of Age Credo service! Join us to support the newest Youth Groupers!

Sunday, June 4, 6:45 pm – 8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program

As always, if you have any questions about youth group, don't hesitate to contact, Steve Carmody, Youth Programs Coordinator, at youthadvisor @ or 781-648-3799 x204.

STAR: spirit, transormation, adventure, reflection

man reading under tree

Contemplating Poetry

Third Monday of Each Month
Monday, June 19  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm in Damon

"People turn to poems for some kind of illumination, for revelations that help them to survive, to survive in spirit not only in body."
~ Denise Levertov

This gathering uses a "listening to, responding to, and resting with" practice of experiencing poetry. The focus will be our own internal responses so don't worry about "getting poetry" (or not) -- just come and listen for what resonates…maybe illuminates. Open to all. Questions? Email Lynne at lbjacoby @

aging well

Aging Well Within Our Community

Thursday, May 25 ♦ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Parlor 

Aging Well in Our Community is an open women's group for women over 50 that meets monthly on Thursday mornings from 10:00 am - noon. If you would like more information or will be attending Aging Well for the first time, please contact Kit Hayes at 781-648-0373 or kithayes5 @ Please also visit our web page, where you'll find a sampling of past programs that will give you a sense of the group.

Meeting dates for 2016-2017: 5/25, and 6/22

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

Tuesdays ♦ 7:00 am - 8:00 am in the Parlor
and Thursdays ♦ 8:00 am - 9:00 am in the Parlor

Lectio Divina is a method of reading and listening, lingering with, and sharing personal responses to selected biblical or other texts. Diverse responses to the text provide new insights and help us grow in our spiritual lives and set intentions for our daily lives. Drop-ins are always welcome!

Click here to visit the STAR page of the web site.

sacred dance

Sacred Circle Dance: Spring Schedule

Monthly April - June ♦ 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm in Bailey

Simple steps are set to folk music, classical and contemporary music. All steps are taught – no experience or partner needed. Wear soft shoes or none. Come to connect with yourself, each other and have fun!

A STAR adult education program, Sacred Circle Dance has a meditative focus. Some dances are celebratory and some playful. They are simple, and all dances are taught before the music plays and the dance begins. Inez has been part of the liturgical dance company "CREDO" since 1980. She discovered folk dancing in the early 90s, and quite by chance encountered Sacred Circle Dance in 2013 at a retreat. It was love at first dance. Within a few months she traveled to Scotland to attend a teacher training at Findhorn, where Sacred Circle Dance was started by German Dance Master Bernhard Wosien in 1976. For more information contact Inez Folsom at 978-758-3791 or ifolsom22 @

Dates: April 17, May 22 and June 19

social justice section header

transition house

Giving First Recipient for May: Transition House

For over 40 years, Transition House has been Cambridge's ONLY domestic violence agency. Transition House works throughout this diverse city to create a community where breaking the cycle of violence is an ongoing priority.

The emergency shelter serves nine families at a time and offers a caring, trauma-informed community and on-site clinical support with 24/7 staffing. The shelter is a converted home where all residents share a fully ADA-accessible common kitchen, four common baths, and indoor and outdoor play spaces.

The Long-Term Housing Programs are designed for individuals and families who have experienced domestic violence. Residents are housed in scattered site apartments and access a range of support services as they transition to independence and permanent housing.

Services include:

  • Safety planning
  • Public benefits advocacy
  • Training and technical assistance
  • Counseling for children, youth and families

For more info, please visit

ryp afterschool students

UU Urban Ministry Volunteer Positions

The UU Urban Ministry is looking to fill a number of volunteer positions. Could one be a match for you?

Tutor English as a Learning Language (ELL)
When: Monday or Wednesday mornings (10:00 am - 12:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Join our team of teachers who lead English and citizenship classes for Renewal House residents and others affected by domestic violence.

English as a Learning Language (ELL) Childcare Providers
When: Monday or Wednesday mornings (10:00 am - 12:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Take care of a small group of children while their parents participate in English classes.

Tutor with the Roxbury Youth Program
When: One day a week (M, T, W, or TH from 4:00 pm -6:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Help high school students with homework and MCAS or SAT prep.

Bethany House
When: Days and Times are flexible at Bethany House on Newbury Street.
What: Volunteers are needed to support the day-to-day operations of this affordable housing unit for young women (including gardening and office/door coverage).

Jericho Road Roxbury
When: As needed.
What: Provide professional consulting expertise to a Roxbury non-profit.

Cooks (Individuals or Groups)
When: Occasional Wednesday evenings (4:30 pm - 7:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Cook a healthy meal for ~40 students, parents and volunteers. Stay for game night!

For more information on these or other volunteer opportunities, please visit or contact The Rev. Rebecca Hinds, Director of Congregational Outreach and Volunteers, at rhinds @ or 617-318-6010 x214.


Arlington Food Pantry

Collection baskets are located at the front and office doors.

Monetary donations can be sent to:

The Arlington Food Pantry
Health and Human Services
27 Maple Street
Arlington, MA 02476

The Food Pantry can always use juice, jelly, cereal, things from baked goods aisle like cake mixes, etc., and personal items.

To learn more and donate online please visit or Contact Jean Nagle for questions.

"living our faith"

Living Our Faith: Organizations Supported by First Parish Members

In January 2013, the Social Justice Committee held a service entitled "Living Our Faith." A list of organizations that congregants meaningfully support was started that morning as people who attended the service were invited to fill out a form telling us about the organizations where they volunteer or work, or to which they donate money. We continue to collect names and contact information for social justice work important to members of our community. Please follow this link to see the list of organizations.

As we compiled the list, the amount and diversity of our collective involvement impressed us. The next step in this work, after we pause to recognize the deep social justice commitment displayed here, will be to foster connections within our community among those seeking to engage with organizations on this list.

If you see an organization or topic on this list that you would like to get more information about please contact the Social Justice Committee at


Refugee Concerns Working Group

There are currently more refugees around the world than at any time since World War II. The Refugee Concerns working group enables First Parish members to become active in a variety of efforts addressing the global refugee crisis.

Our current focus is working with Refugee Immigration Ministry to provide housing and support services for Asylum Seekers. The RIM program allows clusters of faith communities to work together. The First Parish Refugee Concerns group is working to build a cluster in Arlington, and is already housing and serving people in need.

How can you help? We are looking for volunteers for many activities such as providing one-time transportation to appointments, hosting our guest for a meal or coffee date, coordinating ESL study and practice sessions, fund raising or hosting someone in your home.

Contact the working group through email to express your interest, we can direct you based on your interest: refugeeconcerns @

As a volunteer, you are required to complete a RIM Covenant Agreement

For more information, email refugeeconcerns @

Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O’Brien,
Carolyn Hodges,
Lynne Jacoby,
Doris Orellana


Green Sanctuary Practices

The Green Sanctuary Group recognizes that we all have a responsibility to be mindful of the environmental consequences of our choices for the sake of the human community now on earth, future generations, and endangered species.

All are welcome to join us in working for a sustainable future. Contact gogreen @ or check the church calendar for events.

click here to visit the Green Sanctuary page of the web site.

Diversity/Inclusion Group

All interested First Parish folks are invited to meetings of the Diversity/Inclusion Group (D/IG). Our mission: to work together to make First Parish as welcome and inclusive as we can be and to assist outside efforts with a similar goal. We define diversity to include race, social class, gender, age, disability/special needs, and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender).

If you are interested in participating in decisions over upcoming plans, or if you are able to make a short- or long-term commitment to work on a particular issue, please join us. For more information, contact diversity @

click here to visit the Diversity/Inclusion Group page of the web site.

hand ringing a chime bowl

The First Parish Meditation Group Welcomes You

Please join us! We hold drop-in meditations on Mondays (gather at 6:00 pm and start at 6:15 pm at First Parish in the Damon Room) and on Sunday mornings (gather at 9:00 am, start at 9:10 am at the West Medford Community Center, 111 Arlington Street map: We sit for 35 minutes in the style of Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist meditation, and beginners are welcome. By focusing on mind/body sensations in meditation, it is possible to become more mindful in daily life. ALSO, four ongoing groups for those who already have a regular mindfulness practice meet one Sunday night each month for Buddhist-themed support and discussion. There is a waiting list to join one of these groups. For more information, contact Lynn Rosenbaum at 781-646-0313 meditation @

Click here to visit the Meditation Group page of the web site.

First Parish Music Programs

Click here for more information on First Parish music programs for youth and adults.

Concerts by First Parish Musicians

The Musical Connections page on the First Parish website provides information on concerts and events with First Parish musicians participating. Click the above link to check out what First Parish Musicians are up to in the weeks ahead -- concerts abound!

If we've missed your group or concert announcement, send a note via our musical connections form.

click here to visit the Music pages of the web site.

cartoon of scissors and thread

Stitch & Sew Returns

Thursdays, 10:30 am in Pierce

Join us for a weekly gathering of people to knit, sew, talk, eat lunch and  prepare items for the November Harvest Fair. Everyone invited to come or let us know if you can prepare items at home that would be appropriate for the Stitch and Sew Fair table. We meet every Thursday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Pierce room until fair week. Coffee and tea  provided, bring a lunch to join us. Drop in or stay for however long you are free.

Please email comments and questions to stitchandsew @

painting of woman knitting

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Do you like to knit or crochet?  Would you like to provide support to members of the congregation? Our supply of prayer shawls is running low and we could use your help. Participants in the First Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry knit or crochet prayer shawls for Marta or the Lay Ministers to give to people who could use a “hug with blessings.” If you are interested please contact Barbara Tosti at I would be happy to talk with you and/or provide simple prayer shawl patterns.


Join the Climate Change/Climate Action Vigil After Coffee Hour!

Sundays, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Please come join us for the weekly Climate Action Vigil on Sunday after coffee hour! And please stop by our table at coffee hour for information, sharing ideas, and discussion! If you'd like to join us another week, please schedule yourself on our sign-up sheet. Speak to Patricia Hawkins, or see us at our table at coffee hour.

men's group

First Parish Men's Group

Next up: Sunday, May 28 ♦ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The First Parish Men's group provides a forum in which we help each other with spiritual, emotional, and personal questions and concerns. Discussion themes often interweave questions of security, identity, authenticity, and purpose. We provide a place where men can share their lived experience and hear others in a small-group community. 

Our structure involves a check-in followed by discussion of issues that emerge. There are no attendance requirements although continuity benefits everyone.

We meet every other week on Sundays from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. For more information, meeting date, and location please send an email to mensgroup @


Jacob's Mother

First and Third Sundays ♦ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm at First Parish

Are you having more challenges with your child's behavior than most parents? Do you feel like your family and friends do not get what you go through? Join us for a change to get support from other parents and caregivers struggling with similar issues. For more information contact Mary-Beth Landy at jacobsmother @

older mens group

Calling Older Men

First Thursday of each month ♦ 12:00 pm in the Parlor

First Parish is organizing a monthly fellowship gathering for older First Parish men, aimed at reinforcing camaraderie and providing a forum for discussing topics of general interest. We meet on the first Thursday of each month. These are brown-bag affairs, so pack a lunch and a pleasing beverage and bring your open mind and heart. For more info, email David Desjardins, Lay Minister, at oldermen @


Copyright 2017 First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington

Editor log-in & log-out