The E-Bulletin

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

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Sunday Worship“Pagan Perspectives on Praying for Other People”

Led by Dawn Albright

Praying for other people is a given in many faith communities, but when someone doesn't share the same faith it's not always simple. We'll discuss some frameworks for praying for other people in a respectful and helpful way.

Sunday, July 2 ♦ 10:00 am 



Poems from Poetry Sunday

Several people have asked if the wonderful poems from the June 18 Poetry Sunday service could be made available. We've included a list of the publicly available poems below -- click on the links and check them out! 

"I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone"
by Rainer Maria Rilke

"In Blackwater Woods"
by Mary Oliver

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)"
by e.e. cummings

"Love After Love"
by Derek Walcott

"What He Said to His Enemies"
by Naomi Shihab Nye

"How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog"
by Taylor Mali

by Naomi Shihab Nye

"Theoretical Chemistry"
by Roald Hoffman

"Good Bones"
by Maggie Smith



First Parish Summer Office Hours

Full schedule continues through Friday, June 30: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Summer schedule (8 weeks):  Wednesdays only -- July 5, 12, 19, 26, August 2, 9, 17, 24 (10:00 am - 3:00 pm)

Full schedule resumes Monday, August 28

The office will be closed on Labor Day.

Weekdays when the office is closed we will be checking the office email and office voicemail. We'll respond to urgent messages as soon as possible. Non-urgent messages will be handled on office work days.

Publications for the summer:

The weekly E-Bulletin will continue through the summer. Deadline is noon each Wednesday.

The printed Sunday Bulletin is suspended for the summer. It starts up again on Sunday, September 10.

The first monthly Spire of the new church year will be distributed on Sunday, September 10.    


aids walk

First Parish Arlington Social Justice AIDS Walk Team update

We have raised another $600 this week and are now only $1,456 short of our goal of $10,000. These funds are especially needed at this time since the proposed fed budget is planning a $150 million cut to HIV/AIDS prevention programs, and an additional $550 million cut from HIV/AIDS research.  If possible please make your donation by June 30. Click here to make your online donation

or make your check out to AIDS Walk Boston and mail to Inez Folsom, Team Captain, 195 Harvey St #2, Cambridge 02140. Contact info: 978-758-3791 or ifolsom22 @

Out of 200 teams we came in #12.  And on Sunday, June 4, it was announced on the Hatch Shell stage that we had raised the most of all the Silver teams (Silver: $5,000 to $9,999). Yay team! Let's make it to GOLD! = $10,000!



Announcing Early Ferry Beach Registration!

Register online beginning July 1

This year's Ferry Beach retreat will take place from September 29 to October 1, 2017. The UU conference center and retreat, administrated by the Ferry Beach Park Association, is on the coast of Southern Maine between Saco and Old Orchard Beach. Attending the retreat is a great way to get to know other members of our community in a relaxing atmosphere. It also increases the chances that your kids will be lifelong UUs. Families, couples, and singles are all welcome!

Visit on or after July 1 to register.

The retreat has sold out during the past several years, so early registration is advised. For additional information, please contact ferrybeach @ Hope to see you there!

blood drive

Blood Drive August 5 -- Donors and Volunteers Needed!

Saturday, August 5 ♦ 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 August. Donors can sign up on the ARC Blood Donor App, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. We could really use a few more volunteers to help set up, serve donors, and clean up -- you can sign up to help at or by speaking to John Hodges. Thank you all!

brothers karamazov

Women's Book Group 

Thursday, September 7, 7:15 pm in Damon

"The Brothers Karamazov"

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Email Jean Nagle at womensbookgroup @ with questions.


Visions of Racial Justice at First Parish

The RJCC litany from the May 21 service is available online

The Racial Justice Coordinating Committee asked a couple hundred First Parish members about their visions of racial justice and shared some of the many answers they received during the worship service on May 21. Click here to read the litany they read aloud during that service.

first parish arlington

First Parish’s Long, Rich History

If you missed Diane Taraz Shriver’s “Opening the Doors” service on May 7, or just want to read it again (with the parts she skipped because the service ran so long), that sermon and last year’s reflection on our early history are both available on our website. Check it out and explore some of the things that have happened over the centuries in this sacred space.

window treatment

Looking for a Cornice Maker

There are two matching large windows in need of a cornice. One is in the minister's office and one is in the Director of Religious Education’s office. Marta and Tina would welcome some good Samaritan to come forward and volunteer their services to create either a painted wood or fabric covered particle board cornice.

If you are willing and able, contact Rev. Marta Flanagan or Tina Schultz, Director of Religious Education (marta @ or tina @ )

Lectio Divina

Exploring Lectio Divina Over the Summer

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

A STAR Adult Education Program. Feel like trying something new and contemplative this summer? Check out one of the Lectio reading and reflecting groups, which continue through the summer, meeting in the Parlor. One group gathers on Tuesdays from 7:00 am - 8:00 am, the other on Thursdays from 8:00 am - 9:00 am. It's a great way to start the day, and drop-ins are always welcome.

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. 

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

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.

handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

Note: Handbell rehearsals will resume in the fall. Please contact ringers @ if you are interested.

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.


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!


congspot 6 1 14
First Parish Summer Service Schedule

Click here to download a PDF of the Summer Services schedule.

June 18 
“Summer Poems”
Led by Elizabeth Hunter 
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that truth is not limited to a single text and meaning is found in many places. This service offers an opportunity to hear different perspectives and welcome different voices to our pulpit through poetry.

June 25
“We Are Called, We Are Ready”
Led by Jitendra Singh
We are called to restore justice and dignity to all peoples, to champion love in this age of anger, to keep fear and nationalism from dividing the country and the world. Are we ready?

July 2
“Pagan Perspectives on Praying for Other People”
Led by Dawn Albright
Praying for other people is a given in many faith communities, but when someone doesn't share the same faith it's not always simple. We'll discuss some frameworks for praying for other people in a respectful and helpful way.

July 9
“Reflections on Travel and the Journey”
Led by Kendall Dudley
The mountain town of Ronda, Spain, is one of the many "places" we come across that have much to teach us.  This will be an interactive service focusing on why we travel and how daily life may be more fully lived if we see it as an unfolding journey.   
July 16
Led by Steve Carmody  & Youth
Reporting back on experiences, lessons learned from Youth Group trip to Pittsburgh.

July 23
“Practicing Joy”
Led by Suzanne McLeod and the First Parish Buddhist Meditation Group
A heart that knows joy, and knows how to actually cultivate joy can share and appreciate the joys of all people. Likewise, the heart that knows joy can meet suffering as it happens with compassion and connection.

July 30
“Spirituality and the Sea”
Led by Pamela Powell
Reflections on personal and universal lessons of the Spirit from the sea.

August 6
“Addressing Racial Justice”
Led by Jonah Estabrook
A teenager reflects on their experiences around racial justice and the importance of awareness as well as how their UU beliefs have empowered him to work for change.
August 13
“Turning to Each Other”
Led by Anne Goodwin
Recognizing the power of each person to make positive change in the world, this service will be centered around an interactive meditation that will connect us to our own and each other’s potential. 

August 20
“We’re All In the Same Boat Now”
Led by Rachael Stark
Using storytelling of a family business, this service will reflect on connections with neighbors and inspire ways to stand up for our families and the families of others.

August 27
“Mavis and Me: How One White Humanist UU Was Challenged and Changed by African-American Christianity”
Led by Lori Kenschaft
A personal spiritual story and how being challenged and changed by African-American history, theology, and music. This service will feature the music of Mavis Staples, who has been singing about freedom and faith, suffering and hope, since the 1960s.

September 3
“Gotta Be This or That?”
Led by Woody Kay
The increasing and increasingly acrimonious divisions within our society explain much of the brokenness of our world. We, as members of a faith community, will take a step back and reflect upon the larger meaning(s) of division, separation, and categorization in human history.


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!



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.


re announcements

re img

Religious Education Announcements

Thank you for a great program year! Thank you to everyone who supported our children and youth -- teachers, mentors, advisors, classroom helpers, baby holders, Time for All Ages leaders, All Ages Worship supports, One Room Sunday School coordinators and RE Committee folks. It takes many, many people to organize and run such a dynamic and active village for our young people.

What happens with the children who join their family for summer services?

Childcare will be available! Every week two teens will be here to offer fun lessons, read stories, play in the fenced in playground area, and make new friends. Look for posters around the church campus to learn more about the location (which may change depending on the weather).

OWL will meet for their last class of the spring term on Sunday, June 18, at 7:00 pm.

Youth Group will meet for their last group gathering on Sunday, June 18, for a picnic.

Parents, please look for emails from the RE Committee and me at the end of the summer with information about what your child(ren) will be doing in Sunday School next year. Until then, we wish you a wonderful summer season during which time many happy memories are made.

Happy Summer!

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Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Group, here are some important dates coming up:

Saturday, June 17: Spring Hike – Youth are invited to climb Mt. Monadnock.

Sunday, June 18, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm: End of the Year Picnic – All Youth Groupers are invited!

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

social justice section header

summer giving first

Giving First Recipients for June, July and August: Bikes Not Bombs and ROCA

Bikes Not Bombs collects thousands of bicycles every year from Greater Boston and surrounding communities, and uses them in three ways. First, most of the bikes are sent to economic development projects in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Other bikes are used in their local youth programs that teach teenagers bicycle safety and mechanics and provide them with bikes to keep for themselves. Bikes Not Bombs also resells some of the donated bikes at its bike shop, which employs some of the youth program graduates and supplies some of the funding for its other work. Learn more at

Roca improves the lives of some the toughest-to-reach people –those between the ages of 18-24 who have been in and out of jail, are potentially gang-involved, who have limited or nonexistent family support and are largely impoverished. Roca also offers a young mothers program. Their staff are relentless in their quest to recruit participants and they do not give up on anyone, even if they fail the program. 

Roca has four sites in Massachusetts: Chelsea, Boston, Springfield and Lynn. Once enrolled, young people are employed on Roca-supervised work crews from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm, learning essential job skills such as reliability, working hard and being a team player. After crew work, they participate in classes to obtain life and job skills training, educational assistance and cognitive behavioral therapy.  Often, after a long day, the participants often chose to stay in this safe and supportive environment to have fun and play sports, such as basketball, or go on outings where they continue to interact with positive role models. Once it is demonstrated that they are “workforce ready,” Roca has partnerships with employers who agree to hire these young people. Roca meticulously tracks their data in order to be accountable and to receive funding. The results are highly impressive—this is an intensive, longterm model that works to disrupt the cycle of recidivism and poverty.

Roca is a nationally recognized organization that is starting to spread beyond Massachusetts. It has the support of the law enforcement community and is highly regarded within the judicial system as a way to reduce crime and help people to lead productive lives. More information including personal stories of Roca’s impact can be found at

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.

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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 @


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