The E-Bulletin

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

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Sunday Worship head 



Sacred Circle Dance
circleMonday, December 18 from 7 to 8:45 pm  - Bailey Room
This dance will focus on the Winter Solstice - It is customary to wear something white.  Also fine to wear all black or anything else. There will be candle dances and live music for some of the dances.
All dances are taught  Some dances are slow and meditative, others are lively and invigorating! Beginners are welcome!   No dance experience nor partner is necessary – the circle is your partner. Wear clean shoes or none. Come to connect with yourself, each other and have fun!It's free. Invite your friends!! Led by Inez Folsom.


First Parish Holiday Office Hours
♦ Monday, December 25 Closed
♦ Tuesday, December 26, Closed
♦ Wednesday, December 27, 10 am - 4 pm
♦ Thursday, December 29, 10 am - 4 pm
♦ Friday, December 29, 10 am - 4 pm
♦ Monday, January 1, Closed

Second Annual Bella Ciao Knit In
and Planetary Dance
earthrun score3New Year's Day, January 1, Noon - 4 pm in the Vestry 

On the first day of the year let us come together and knit hope into the community! Let us sing what we hold in our hearts, our dreams for ourselves and each other! Let us drum a beat of strength that pulses through our community! Let us walk, run and dance together in the planetary dance for ourselves, our people, our planet and the just, life sustaining society we are building together!
First Parish's Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell is faculty of Anna Halprin's Tamalpa Institute and will lead the Planetary Dance!  All ages are welcome!  What is a Planetary Dance? 12 minute DocumentaryContacts: Elizabeth Grace Rocco or Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell.

Women's January Book Group
Thursday, January 4
7:15 pm - Damon room

Join us to discuss John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. 

“Steinbeck has compounded a bitter and uproariously funny commentary on the futility of human aspiration and the barrenness of existence . . . an extraordinary mixture of wild laughter and searing pain.” — The New York Herald Tribune

“It’s one of the most thoroughly enjoyable and delicious books you’ll ever have the fortune to read.” — Chicago Sun Times

“Everything is always somehow overlaid with laughter, the special kind of laughter and contentment with one’s lot, however humble, that only John Steinbeck can put into words. . . . John Steinbeck sees his characters with deep compassion as well as amusement.” — Chicago Sunday Tribune



Alliance Annual Chowder Supper
uuaSave the Date! 
Friday, January 5, 6:30 pm
Come for the fine traditional chowder supper and stay for the great company! There will be a variety of chowders, salad, corn bread -- all gathered or made by Alliance board members. Bring a book you are finished with and that you think others might really enjoy and we'll gather them on a side table for browsing and sharing. Dessert will be pot-luck - bring something you enjoy sharing.Questions?


Annual Social Justice Potluck

Friday, January 19, 6:30 pm

Bring a dish to share to this community-wide event and learn about some of the great social justice activities here at First Parish.


December Worship at First Parish in Arlington


Sunday, December 24, Worship at 10 am
Pagan Yule Circle in the Sanctuary
This purely Pagan service celebrates the turning of the year from darkness toward light. We will hear music from Diane Taraz with her dulcimer leading us in hymns and chants. Come contemplate what to leave behind in the old year and what you most hope for in the new. 


Sunday, December 24 candles
4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm
Candlelight Ceremony
The Christmas Eve candlelight services are the favorite services of the entire year at First Parish. This year the three services feature all the same elements but for a few differences in musical selections. Come to any one of the services and experience the wonder of bringing light into the darkness.


Sunday, December 31, Worship at 10 am
Words for the Ending and Beginning of the Year
Poems provides wisdom and perspective at the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new. If you have a favorite poem, bring it along. The service is led by Pamela Powell, Worship Associate.

Ushers Needed - All Christmas Eve Services

leavesWe need volunteers to help with Christmas Eve services. This year there are more opportunities than ever with services at 10 am, 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm on Sunday, December 24. No experience needed. Open to all - grade 5 and older. Please contact Kate Tranquada if you are able to help out with any of the day’s services.

Holiday Cookie Bake

cookiesSaturday, December 23 at 11 am

Come join us in baking holiday cookies! Lots of cookies! Grand Parents, Parents, Aunts & Uncles, Youth, 'Tweens, and Kids. (Note - anyone under the age of 11 must be accompanied by an adult). We will be looking for some help supplying ingredients (and a few hand mixers) andapple cider! We also need help to setup and/or clean. The freshly baked cookies will be enjoyed during the First Parish Christmas Eve receptions at 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm. Please email your RSVP or call Carolyn Hodges 617-943-0364. All are welcome!

Conversation with our Minister, Marta Flanagan

chaliceJanuary 21, 2018
After the Service

Are you new to First Parish? Do you have questions about our community and how we are involved in Social Justice and Climate Change issues? Are you curious about Unitarianism and Universalism? We are an active and engaged community. Are you wondering how to get involved? You may be curious about our minister, Marta, and how she sees her role as minister.

On January 21 after our service, come along with others to meet with Marta. She will answer your questions, talk about her ministry and the ways she supports First Parish. This gathering is sponsored by the Membership Committee and is open to all.


Unique Art Show

Sisters in Stiches BannerThe Sisters in Stitches Joined by the Cloth is a New England quilt guild dedicated to preserving the art, tradition and culture of African-American quilting. The following description of story quilts is from the Sisters' website: 

"The art of quilting has traveled across oceans, survived 400 years of slavery and has been carried down by generations of our family and friends.. Over the centuries,  we of African descent have joined together to make quilts as a way of sharing our joys, sorrows, traditions and to celebrate our history. Quilting connects us to our ancestry, preserves our memories and gives us a way to connect with generations to come."

Those who have read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd will recall that story quilts are central to the plot. Come enjoy some more modern story quilts and chat with the quilters about their stories.

2018 Giving First Nominations

givingOur Giving First program donates 50 percent of the non-pledge offering each month to a charitable organization that we feel is consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles and our mission to challenge the excesses and injustices of our time. The program began in November 2009, and First Parish has donated well over $80,000 to more than 50 organizations. We are seeking nominations for recipient organizations for February 2018 through January 2019. Anyone who is part of the First Parish congregation can submit a nomination. We’d like your help identifying which organizations to support. Deadline for nominations is December 31, 2017. Click here learn more and to submit a nomination.

uuaThe Parish Committee recently approved First Parish's first two official Safer Congregations Policies. The purpose of these policies is to create a process for responding to concerns about an individual's behavior in a way that respects our desire for a physically safe environment, our mission of being welcoming to all, and our principle of honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

One policy creates a Safer Congregations Committee, whose mission is to make thoughtful decisions about the participation of an individual in First Parish activities when there is a substantive reason to consider whether that individual might pose a threat to others. The other policy requires adults who have been convicted or accused of a sex offense to speak with a member of the staff before participating in First Parish activities, and lays out a process for deciding whether and/or how that individual's participation in First Parish's activities should be limited.

If you are concerned about an individual's behavior, please speak with any member of the First Parish staff.


Graphic Designers and Artists - We Need You!

musicOver the past months, a varying group of people have been working to create a First Parish Song Book with a particular focus on social justice and multi-cultural songs. What comes to your mind as a graphic element for our own songbook? We will also need a cover design and will likely use graphic elements within the book. Email us fpsongbook @ firstparish . info with your ideas and artwork!


Contemplative Retreat - Save the Date

walkingSaturday Feb 17, from 8 am - 4 pm
Edwards House in Framingham

Led by the Rev. Marta Flanagan
More details to be announced soon.

Community Building During Upcoming Stewardship Campaign – Save the Dates!

stewardOur annual stewardship campaign will begin in early February. Save the dates for these fun, community-building events.

  • Sunday, February 25th: Luncheon after service for New Members within the last 3 years
  • Sunday, February 25th:  Dinner for Parents of Coming of Age and Youth Group members
  • Sunday, March 4th:  Luncheon after service for RE Parents of children in Grades 4-6


Climate Action Working Group (CAWG)
climate action

The First Parish CAWG is gearing up new efforts, and there are great opportunities for First Parish people to get involved. We are participating in a series of creative, strategic actions at the statehouse in Boston this October and November. The actions will take place mostly during lunch hour on the weekdays, and are part of a coalition campaign to get Gov. Baker to halt the construction of new fracked gas infrastructure in Massachusetts and instead invest in our communities and in renewable energy. We are also planning to provide information at Sunday coffee hours regarding how Arlington residents can easily get more of their electric power from renewable sources, through the town's new Community Choice Aggregation program. If you would like to learn more about these and other actions  of the CAWG, Contact Alan Linov.


Job Opening: Part-time Building Maintenance Sexton (Custodian)

nowhiringposter1First Parish is seeking to hire a Part-time Building Maintenance Sexton. Please click here for the job description.

handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary starting September 7

Come ring chimes with us! Starting Thursday, September 7, the handbell 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. Please contact ringers @ for more information.

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.


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.


Boston.  Racism.  Image.  Reality.

bostonAn important Boston Globe Spotlight series

Boston has a reputation for being the most racist big city in the United States. Is this reputation deserved?

A recent survey found that a majority of African-Americans living in Boston consider the city unfriendly to people of color – much more than in any other city surveyed. Why? These and related questions motivated the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team to do a week-long series of articles on race in Boston.

Start with the introduction here.

Other articles discuss:

  • The Seaport district and building wealth for whites
  • World-renowned hospitals co-existing with major health disparities
  • The stagnant proportion of black students on Boston campuses
  • Sports and sports fans
  • The relative dearth of black people in powerful positions in Boston

The final article – to be printed Saturday – will explore options for going forward from here.

Join the “Discussing Race in Boston” Facebook group if you want to reflect on the issues raised by the series and see what others have to say.  Boston has a reputation of being racist.  Do you find this true?  Have you witnessed it firsthand?  What can we do to solve it?

This Facebook group is moderated by Globe staff, and prospective participants must answer two short questions before they are approved to join it. Its goal is to create a forum for Bostonians to connect with one another and Globe reporters about the issues facing our city.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, 2017 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient

nikolListen to and/or read her award-winning journalism on school and housing segregation

Nikole Hannah-Jones combines historical and policy research with moving personal narratives to explain the persistence of school and housing segregation.  What public polices and personal choices keep us separate?  What are the consequences of segregation? 

Her best-known piece describes her personal process of choosing a school for her young daughter in a segregated city, and the many considerations that led her to decide to send her daughter to a high-poverty neighborhood school largely attended by low-income black and Latino students.

She spoke compellingly on NPR about how school segregation is maintained by individual choices (34 minutes).

She explained why Michael Brown attended one of the most segregated school systems in the country and why American schools are still so unequal.

She talked on “This American Life” about the problem we all live with – the failings of our country’s two-tier education system and the continued resistance to racial and economic integration (58 minutes).

She started the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, with the goal of increasing the number of reporters and editors of color and the breadth of reporting about racial justice.

And she received a MacArthur Genius Grant for “chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in American society, particularly in education, and reshaping national conversations around education reform.”


Save the date: Rep. Byron Rushing speaks on abolition and slavery in Roxbury

byronTuesday, January 9, 6-8 pm
UU Urban Ministry
History & Justice Series
10 Putnam Street in Roxbury

We often associate slavery with the South, but it also existed right here in Massachusetts – Arlington, Medford, Boston, etc.  Many enslaved people here struggled in isolation: they were often the only enslaved person in a household and labored 24/7 in close proximity to their owners.

Massachusetts was also the nerve center of the abolitionist movement.  William Lloyd Garrison, Lydia Maria Child, and many other abolitionist leaders were born here. 

Rep. Byron Rushing was active in the 1960s civil rights movement, and he has represented Boston’s South End in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1982. He is a tireless advocate for equality for all, including GLBT folks, and now serves as the Democratic Whip.

Rep. Rushing was also the first president of Boston’s Museum of African-American History and has a deep interest in the African-American history of Boston’s African-American neighborhoods, especially Roxbury. 

He will give the inaugural talk in the UU Urban Ministry’s History & Justice Series, which Rev. Mary Margaret Earl invited us to attend when she preached at First Parish in November.

This is a wonderful opportunity to hear from a civil rights veteran and current political leader, as he reflects on the history of abolition and slavery in a city he loves.

If you would like to travel to this event with other First Parish folks, email


Multicultural books for kids & how to talk with kids about race

seedsResources for families
Looking for good books for children you care about?  Want assistance in talking with your children about race? 

Check out this great website, How to Talk to Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help. It includes general tips, links to other articles, a few books for adults, and lots of books for kids.

Looking for something specific?  Multicultural Books for Kids provides dozens of lists of children’s books of many different kinds – including books about the Arab world, multicultural foods, the Civil Rights movement and Harlem, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, country-specific books for several Asian countries (including less-known ones like Sri Lanka, Laos, and Bangladesh), and even books about Asian kite-flying traditions. 

For great books by African-American authors and illustrators, check out the winners of the Coretta Scott King Awards in 2017 and previous years.

There are so many good books out there!



Good reads for adults

good readsFirst Parish member Mary Fusoni highly recommends Philip Dray’s At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America.    

From Mary: “I read it a few months ago and it had a profound effect on me. While the subject is, of course, deeply disturbing, the book also tells the uplifting stories of the many brave people (Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois, and many more) who fought to end this horrific practice.”

From the publisher:  “It is easy to shrink from our country’s brutal history of lynching.  Lynching is called the last great skeleton in our nation’s closet: It terrorized all of black America, claimed thousands upon thousands of victims in the decades between the 1880s and the Second World War, and leaves invisible but deep scars to this day. The cost of pushing lynching into the shadows, however—misremembering it as isolated acts perpetrated by bigots on society’s fringes—is insupportably high: Until we understand how pervasive and socially accepted the practice was—and, more important, why this was so—it will haunt all efforts at racial reconciliation.”

“The celebrated historian Philip Dray shines a clear, bright light on this dark history—its causes, perpetrators, apologists, and victims. He also tells the story of the men and women who led the long and difficult fight to expose and eradicate lynching, including Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and W.E.B. Du Bois. If lynching is emblematic of what is worst about America, their fight may stand for what is best: the love of justice and fairness and the conviction that one individual’s sense of right can suffice to defy the gravest of wrongs. This landmark book follows the trajectory of both forces over American history—and makes the history of lynching belong to us all.”

What books have moved you, thrilled you, disturbed you, changed you? What books did you enjoy and savor? What books do you find yourself thinking about weeks, months, or years later?

Please send your suggestions to Thank you!

Other recommendations:

Award winners [ (Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, Hugo Award, Pulitzer Prize, etc.)

More award winners from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (fiction & non-fiction)

15 excellent black history books (It’s not for just black history month any more!)

Fantasy & science fiction recommended by The Root

21 books by people of color that everyone should read

New novels by people of color

African-American literature  (a broad selection)

The 101 most influential novels written by African-Americans (mostly 20th century classics)

100 must-read African-American books  (A checklist for serious readers – How many have you read?)






Christmas Eve Candlelight Ceremony

candlesSunday, December 24 
4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm

The Christmas Eve candlelight services are the favorite services of the entire year at First Parish. This year the three services feature all the same elements but for a few differences in musical selections. Come to any one of the services and experience the wonder of bringing light into the darkness.


First Parish Joins Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries

cmmCooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM) is the oldest interfaith social justice network in the Boston area.  Founded in 1966, its goal was to help build Rev. Martin Luther King's vision of a Beloved Community for all citizens.  It now includes nearly 100 congregations in Boston and its nearby suburbs, including Muslims, Jews, Bahai, many types of Christians, and of course Unitarian Universalists.

Today, CMM's mission is "to mobilize congregations and communities across economic, religious, racial, and ethnic boundaries so that, in partnership, we can work more effectively for a just and peaceful society and for spiritual growth and interfaith understanding."

The Parish Committee voted for First Parish to join CMM as a way to encourage interfaith relationships, nurture First Parish's turning outward, and express interfaith solidarity in these tension-filled times.

Please look for upcoming announcements of CMM's programs and activities, including its interfaith day of service on Martin Luther King Dayon Martin Luther King Day.

re announcements

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Religious Education Announcements

Dear Families,

I hope to see you and your families at First Parish over the next few weeks to celebrate the holidays in whichever ways you choose. During this season of giving and generosity please remember our neighbors in need, and donate generously to the Arlington Food Pantry. They are in special need of cereal, so please bring boxes of cold and hot cereals with you when you come to First Parish. You may leave your donations in boxes located by our doors. THANK YOU for your help!




Sunday, December 17: Celebrate Hanukkah with a Latke Party, from 2-6 pm. This is a family event and all are welcome.
Sunday, December 17: OWL last class and Coming of Age Parent Orientation, 7 pm. Youth Group holiday party.
Sunday, December 24: 10:00 am worship service. NO regular classes for children. The Nursery will be open for babies and toddlers through the age of 3
Sunday, December 24: Christmas Eve services at 4, 6 and 8 pm.
Sunday, December 31: NO regular morning or evening programs. The Nursery will be open. Charlie Brown's Christmas movie will be shown in the Bailey Room for all other children.
Sunday, January 7: First class of the winter teaching term. COA and Youth Group in the evening.


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Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Community, ​

​May you find some warmth and rest in these holiday times! Our December looks exciting, with lots of opportunities to build community and celebrate one another. Join us.

Please note some upcoming events:

Sunday, December 17, 5:30–6:30pm: Prom Planning Committee – We plan for our upcoming dance, January 20th!

Sunday, December 17, 6:45–8:45pm: Youth Group Evening Program – Our holiday party, hosted by the freshmyn reps!

Thursday, December 21, 5–7pm: Youth Alumni Holiday Party – Current and former youth groups are invited to this friendly time!

As always, you can contact Steve, Youth Program Coordinator, if you have any questions or concerns. Email Steve or phone 781-648-3799 x204.

STAR: spirit, transormation, adventure, reflection

 Aging Well in Our Community

aging wellThursday, December 21
10 am - Noon in the Parlor 

Purpose of our group is to foster engagement and build community among women over fifty who wish to explore themes related to planning and consciously living out our later years. We are an open group facilitated by Kit Hayes. Some meetings have guest speakers; others include small-group or large-group conversations. All include two breaks for physical exercises such as stretching, yoga, and sacred circle dance. We are in our sixth year! Open to all women over fifty. New participants welcome. Contact Kit Hayes at 781-648-0373.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

Tuesdays at 7 am to 8 am in the Parlor
and Thursdays at 8 am to 9 am in the Parlor

Lectio Divina is a method of reading and listening,lingering with, and sharing personal responses to selected biblical texts. Diverse responses to the text provide new insights and help us grow in our spiritual lives and set intentions for our daily lives. Drop­ins are always welcome! Click here to visit the STAR page of the web site.

social justice section header

UU Urban Ministry Volunteer Positions

ryp afterschool students

Be a part of First Parish’s turning outward --Click here to view current volunteer opportunties with the UU Urban Ministry to promote social justice and equality. Urban Ministry works side-by-side with individuals and communities in Boston, primarily in Roxbury, to create opportunities and instill hope for a brighter future through education and social activism. 

For more information for volunteering with UUUM, contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement, 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm or Maryglenn Vincens.

Also check the FP Connection Board and the UUUM table at fellowship hour after Sunday  services for specific activities and calls for help.

Arlington Food Pantry

pastaCollection 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 Arlington Food Pantry welcomes donations of unexpired, unopened, non-perishable food and personal care items. Please avoid glass containers. Items can be placed in the collection baskets at the front and office doors. Monetary donations can be sent to:The Arlington Food Pantry, 27 Maple Street, Arlington, MA 02476.  Learn more and donate online or contact Stephanie Franzosa.

Refugee Concerns Working Group

refugeeThere 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

See our web site for more information.

Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O'Brien
Suzi Lubar
Sarah Trilling

Giving First Recipient for December: Artsbridge

artsbridgeArtsbridge, Inc., brings transformational change to young adults from communities in conflict. Our unique training model inspires future leaders to work creatively through their differences to develop innovative approaches to complex human problems. Artsbridge, Inc. was established in 2007 in the aftermath of the Second Intifada and in response to the prolonged, multi-faceted conflict throughout Israel and Palestine. Through an innovative approach of dialogue and the creative arts, Artsbridge develops youth into leaders through providing the necessary skills and support for them to communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, and ultimately create sustainable change within their communities.

Artsbridge, Inc. fosters leadership, understanding, curiosity, and creativity in young adults through the creation of intercultural collaborative arts projects and our unique method of dialogue based in best practices. Today, our participants span beyond Israel and Palestine to include youth from right here in the United States. Each year, our staff welcomes up to 30 students from these locations to participate in a three-week intensive summer program located in here in the United States. It is here that our youth engage in the challenging processes of working towards constructive communication through dialogue as well as collaborating to create works of visual art and films. At the end of the program, participants have the opportunity to witness the impact of their work through a summer showcase open to the public. The final component of Artsbridge spans throughout the year, where students meet in The Region for three follow-up seminars to strengthen and further develop their skills learned. Research is already showing that the skills developed during our Intercultural Leadership Program have a lasting impact on our graduates, mature over time, and can be applied through various life experiences.


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.


The First Parish Meditation Group Welcomes You

hand ringing a chime bowl

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.) 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.

For more information, contact

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.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

painting of woman knittingDo 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 abtosti @ 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.

First Parish Men's Group

men's groupThe 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 & 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 @

Calling Older Men

older mens groupFirst 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


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