Continuously Updated News From First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, MA
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"We're All In the Same Boat Now"
Led by Rachael Stark
Family business as social justice? A well-known story of immigration can inspire us to connect with, and stand up for, ourselves, our families, and the families of others.
Sunday, August 20 ♦ 10:00 am
Sunday, September 10 ♦ 2:00 pm at First Parish
Doris Schwaab, 91, died on June 30. Doris had been a member of Frist Parish for 57 years before moving in 2015 to New Jersey to be with her daughter, Margot Sage-EL. Doris was a beloved Alliance member and vibrant member of the First Parish community.
In lieu of flowers you are invited to make a contirubtion to the music program at First Parish. Checks cvan be made out to First Parish with a note with “Doris Schwaab Music” on it.
The memorial service will be led by Rev. Marta Flanagan. Follwing the memorial service the Alliance is hosting a light reception. All are welcome to honor Doris.
Saturday, August 19
On Saturday, August 19, white nationalists plan to converge on the Boston Common. As we have seen with the events in Charlottesville and around the country, white nationalists are emboldened. Rallies and marches organized by white supremacists are more prevalent and more violent than in recent years. If you are interested in going with a group of counter-protesters, come join us!
Where: In front of First Parish UU Church-Arlington!
When: 11:00 am (subject to change depending on the most recent news)
Contact person: Esther Kingston-Mann at esther.kingston-mann @ umb.edu
Our new office schedule is below -- please note that Monday office hours will be from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm so that the Office Manager can work at First Parish one Sunday per month (which she is very excited about!).
The new office schedule:
Monday, 10:00 am-1:00 pm
Tuesday 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.
The office will be closed on Labor Day.
Each year, First Parish comes together as a community to make and serve chili on Town Day to raise money for the myriad vital social justice activities our community undertakes throughout the year. The more chili we sell, the more Social Justice activities we can fund! Town Day this year is on Saturday, September 16! We are looking for volunteers for Friday evening, Sept 15, to help make the chili and on Saturday, Sept 16, to help serve the chili. Volunteer early and often! Want to volunteer or have questions? Email manmadechili @ yahoo.com. Thank you!
Visit www.firstparish.info/ferrybeach before September 18 to register!
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!
The retreat has sold out during the past several years, so early registration is advised. For additional information, please contact ferrybeach @ firstparish.info. Hope to see you there!
Mondays July 24 - August 28 ♦ 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm
Would you like an opportunity to reflect on current events and themes related to race in a small informal group of First Parish folks?
The Racial Justice Coordinating Committee (RJCC) is pleased to offer just such a chance on 6 Monday evenings this summer, beginning July 24 and running through August 28. Each conversation will be lightly facilitated by a RJCC member, with the fundamental purpose of creating community and space for personal story-telling, sharing, and reflection on the subject race. Come to one or all six.
We will meet from 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm and lemonade will be served. The room will be posted on the board next to the reception desk. Please join us!
Please note that two lay-led worship services will be led by RJCC members and will focus on race: Jonah Estabrook's August 6 service, titled "Addressing Racial Justice," and Lori Kenschaft's August 13 service, "Mavis and Me: How One White Humanist UU Was Challenged and Changed by African-American Christianity."
Each year, First Parish comes together as a community in a pie ministry -- donating, cutting, and serving pies on Town Day to raise money for the myriad vital social justice activities our community undertakes throughout the year. The more pie we sell, the more Social Justice activities we can fund! Town Day is September 16! Bring your pie September 15! Volunteers also needed to staff the Pie Palace booth on Town Day! Questions? Email socialjustice @ firstparish.info. Thank you!
♦ 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)
♦ NEW full schedule begins Monday, August 28: Monday, 10:00 am-1:00 pm; Tuesday 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. This new schedule allows the Office Manager to work at First Parish one Sunday per month. (Which she is very excited about!)
♦ 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.
First Parish is seeking to hire a Part-time Building Maintenance Sexton. Please click here for the job description.
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.
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.
Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Note: Handbell rehearsals will resume in the fall. Please contact ringers @ firstparish.info 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.
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 @ firstparish.info
► 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 www.firstparish.info/flowers, and you can email flowers @ firstparish.info 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.
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.
► Send requests for Sunday morning spoken announcements to announce @ firstparish.info. 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 @ firstparish.info by 12:00 pm Wednesday for inclusion in that week's bulletins.
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!
Click here to download a PDF of the Summer Services schedule.
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.
"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?
"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.
"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.
Led by Steve Carmody & Youth
Reporting back on experiences, lessons learned from Youth Group trip to Pittsburgh.
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.
"Spirituality and the Sea"
Led by Pamela Powell
Reflections on personal and universal lessons of the Spirit from the sea.
"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.
"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.
"We're All In the Same Boat Now"
Led by Rachael Stark
Family business as social justice? A well-known story of immigration can inspire us to connect with, and stand up for, ourselves, our families, and the families of others.
"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.
"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.
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 @ firstparish.info. We’d love help with graphics/design, food prep, video/photography and decorations. It's going to be a great night!
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.
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 @ firstparish.info or 781-648-3799 x204.
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 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.
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 bikesnotbombs.org
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 www.rocainc.org
Be a part of First Parish’s turning outward -- Volunteer 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.
The following three opportunities are UUUM’s current volunteer-need priorities. Is one a fit for you?
Fair Foods -- Food justice support
Join with other volunteers to unload, package, and sell fresh produce to Roxbury neighbors. Watch for FP-organized outings to Fair Food Saturdays or venture on your own or as a family/friend group.
Saturdays, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, at UUUM Roxbury Meetinghouse.
Contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement at mvenay @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm at schrammm @ hartwick.edu.
Jericho Road –Match professional expertise with Roxbury non-profits
Are you experienced in data management, social media, strategic planning, web development, grant writing or any other critical professional skills? UUUM’s Jericho Road project wants to match you with an area nonprofit in need of that skill to help it more effectively carry out its mission. Go to jrroxbury.org or contact Aziza Robinson-Goodnight, Director, at ArGoodnight @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x201.
Believe in Success -- Job readiness support for survivors of domestic violence
UUUM’s new initiative, Believe in Success, helps low-income/LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence move beyond trauma with job preparation, skills training and college readiness support. They need workshop co-leaders, mentors, wellness instructors, and other volunteer assistance. To learn more about opportunities and expectations, contact Hannah Stohler, Director,at hstohler @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x226.
Tutor Roxbury Young Program students or prepare weekly dinners for them and their families.
Teach English as a Learning Language (ELL) or provide day care to Renewal House residents.
For more information for volunteering with UUUM, contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement, at mvenay @ uuum.org or 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm at schrammm @ hartwick.edu, or Maryglenn Vincens at vincens @ mac.com.
Also check the FP Connection Board and the UUUM table at fellowship hour after Sunday services for specific activities and calls for help.
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 arlingtonma.gov/foodpantry or Contact Jean Nagle for questions.
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 socialjustice-at-firstparish.info
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 @ firstparish.info
As a volunteer, you are required to complete a RIM Covenant Agreement
For more information, email refugeeconcerns @ firstparish.info.
Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O’Brien,
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 @ firstparish.info or check the church calendar for events.
click here to visit the Green Sanctuary page of the web site.
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 @ firstparish.info.
click here to visit the Diversity/Inclusion Group page of the web site.
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 meditation @ firstparish.info
Click here to visit the Meditation Group page of the web site.
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.
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 @ firstparish.info
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 abtosti @ outlook.com. I would be happy to talk with you and/or provide simple prayer shawl patterns.
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.
Next up: Sunday, August 6 ♦ 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 @ firstparish.info.
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 @ firstparish.info
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 @ firstparish.info