Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 10/29/2020

Weekly Link 10-29-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship


Sunday, November 1, 2020 10:30am

“Justice and also Joy: A reflection on the inner work of makingchange.”

Facilitated by: Rev. Mary Margaret Earl

Worship Associate:  Penny Partridge

Music: Tim Steele

Virtual Social Hour Host: Jen Pinkus Please see the zoom link below. Please log in at 10:20, to give some lead time for the service at 10:30. You will be muted, but you can communicate through the chat box. If you do not have zoom on your computer, please download it ahead of time. It is free.

Please be on the lookout for an Order of Worship which will be emailed to you on Friday, 10/30.

Sunday’s offering will be dedicated to the services and ministry of First Parish.

We’ve added the offering to the service with a new way to give- text to giving! We will continue having a social hour after services. Just stay on the Zoom worship call.  It will be good to worship together. Do join us on Sunday if you can! 

Table of Contents

                                     ​Don’t forget to turn your clocks back Sunday!

1.  Congratulations to Karl Pastore

2.  Updated COVID safety policies for First Parish

3.  Ghost Stories

4.  Holiday Gift Program

5.  Prison Book Program

6.  Handel and Haydn at the Urban Ministry 

7. Grounding for Days to Come

8.  Racial Justice Conversations

9.  Cooking Lessons

10. In Person Check-in Chats with Minister

11. Father Bills volunteer opportunity

12. Fair Foods volunteer opportunity

13. Weekly Meditation 

It may be a grey day in Milton, but the sun is still shining on our solar panel project. Our panels were officially turned on Tuesday, October 27th. We are generating solar power! 

Thank you to the First Parish Community to their commitment to this exciting project!

My guess is, most of us are counting: counting the days till the national election, counting the stats of early voting, counting the poll projections (though hard to trust).  My guess is, as well, that most of you who are reading this column have already voted, or have a plan to vote.  At least I hope so.  This truly is an important time for us all to pay attention, to participate, and to keep on keeping on.

The challenge is that if you are paying attention you will naturally have moments of anxiety, hope, dread, and anticipation.  All of us are under a lot of strain and are finding whatever resources we have to carry us through.  The phrase “we are all in this together” is both true and a resource to consider.  We can feel more than our isolated selves with the knowledge that we all are showing up as best as we can.

This puts a sense of survival in different categories.  It’s not a time to compete or be special, it’s a time to support one another and celebrate our common humanity.  It’s not a time to get ahead or secure success, it’s a time to shift our sense of “success” and claim our opportunity for shared possibility.

Regardless of the outcome of this election, we have been honing new tools for facing the unknown, finding common need and foraging a new way together.  The values of peace, love, courage, and kindness remain.  This next week will mark our next steps into civic life, which we can faithfully meet and continue to build a just and healthy world with faith, love, and compassion.

In Faith, Rev. Lisa

Religious Exploration

Family Spirit Circle: Packets will be delivered this weekend to families of elementary school or younger children on the theme of Celebrating the Day of the Dead. Families are encouraged to create home altar decorations using the packet contents and then gather to remember their ancestors as well as friends or pets who are no longer living by sharing stories and memories with each other. See the coordinating family newsletter for a link to a related book, The Day of the Dead by Bob Barner, and a link to a fun Disney Junior music video, “The Dead of the Dead” from Vampirina. Families are encouraged to post photos of your completed memorial altars on our Padlet page so we can all see each other’s creations! And don’t forget to drop off your chalice to share in the bin inside the carriage sheds. Email if you need the newsletter or would like to be added to our list of RE families.

Halloween Event: Our middle and high school youth plus friends created a spooktacular outdoor Creepy Carriage House walk held on Saturday, October 24. Each bay of the carriage house held a different ghastly scene, lit by ghoulish light garlands. Speaking of lighting, the electricity was supplied by our newly activated solar panels! Strict COVID precautions were followed as individual pods of guests experienced the thrills and terrors on display. In all, 47 children and 49 adults participated. This was our highest turnout ever for the annual haunted hallway/walkway event. Many of the families came from the surrounding community and all expressed great gratitude to us for staging such a fun and safe event. We even had families offering to donate to the youth group to show their appreciation. Enormous thanks to our bevy of beastly volunteers who helped string lights, hang tarps to isolate each bay, and serve as grisly tour guides: Tony Dutzik, Charlie Franich, Elise Henricks, Deb Larson Venable, Karl and Luke Pastore, Tracey Robinson, and Richard Venable

[In-person religious exploration programs are suspended until we are able to gather together safely. There will be no Sunday morning nursery care, classroom programming, or youth group activities at First Parish Milton while worship services remain virtual only. Fear not! Religious exploration is continuing as we experiment with new ideas and approaches in this time of liminal space.]

~ Our bodies may not be touching, but our hearts are still connected.~

Rev. Mary Margaret Earl is Executive Director and Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. In this ministry, she has worked to strengthen bonds between UUs and the Roxbury neighborhood where the UUUM operates. She is on the Faith in Solidarity leadership team, which works to connect faith leaders with those impacted by poverty. Prior to her arrival at the UU Urban Ministry, she spent 10 years at a faith-based nonprofit in RI serving the homeless community, She is past president of the Board of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, recipient of the Heroes of Faith Award from the Rhode Island State Council of Churches for her interfaith work, and is a longtime vegan committed to standing up for nonhuman animals.

OUR MUSIC THIS SUNDAY:   This week we’ll be opening the service with a prelude by violinist Barron Clancy, Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major: Allegro. Barroni s a junior at Milton High School. A violinist and composer, he studies violin with Julia Cash and composition with Rodney Lister at New England Conservatory. He is also a member of NEC’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and is the assistant concertmaster of his high school’s orchestra. Besides music, Barron enjoys competing at Model UN conferences, studying biology, and skiing.   We are also welcoming back baritone Philip Lima who will be singing “Make Them Hear You” from the musical RAGTIME, by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Mr. Lima has sung leading roles with opera companies in America and Germany and has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops and over 60 orchestras. He is also the assistant chair of the vocal department at the Berklee School of Music, and serves as artistic director for The Bostonians, an opera and concert ensemble.   Jennifer Sgroe will also be offering a beautifully written song without words, titled “Clear Water”, by African-American composer Nadine Shanti.

Events, News & Announcements

The Friends of the Blue Hills (FBH) had its annual celebration last week and honored our very own, Karl Pastore !

For 34 years, he worked (& just retired from) for the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR.) The FBH honored him as a Community Partner as he consistently contributed to the FBH during his tenure at DCR. Recently, he spearheaded the Eliot Tower renovation. Karl went “above and beyond” his professional capacity by donating his handmade Adirondack chairs to FBH’s annual auctions.

Join us in congratulating Karl on this well deserved accomplishment !

Updated COVID safety policies for First ParishLast week, the Parish Committee approved an updated version of our COVID safety policies as drafted b y the Phased ReOpening task group.  The full policy will be posted on the First Parish website. Two key changes were introduced this month: 1.  Small group church meetings may now be held in the Parish Hall assuming all COVID safety requirements are met (scheduling/approval by contacting First Parish Office, masks, distancing, no physical contact, all group members feel safe).  Please read the full policy on the website for details.  2.  We have instituted a church sign-in process.  There are sign-in clipboards at the two doors into the Link (from back), at the Parish Hall door (from front), and at Basement door (off the lower parking lot).  All members, friends, renters, and guests are required to sign-in whenever they visit the church. We will continue to offer live streaming worship every Sunday.  Our weekly Link newsletter is an essential means of communication and connection – especially these days.  Please read the Link regularly to stay connected!

First Parish Presents Virtual Halloween Open-Mic

Stories, Music, Poetry, and Maybe More

Theme: Trick or Treat

Costumes are optional but encouraged.

Saturday, October 31, 7pm-9pm

Attendees who want to tell a story, play a song, read a poem, or otherwise share the fruits of their creative labor, can send a chat to the hosts at the start of the show to put their name in the hat. The hosts will randomly pick names, one at a time, and ask that person to unmute themselves. For the next 5-10 minutes, you will have the virtual stage. 

The Holiday Gift Program for Milton Residents and Parish Members in financial need has started it’s annual gift card collection.

  Gift card donations can be put in the grey box outside of the church office, in the church mailslot or mailed attn: MRF 535 Canton Ave.  Please label the envelope: Holiday Gift Program. 

Gift cards in $25 increments to Target, Star Market, Stop & Shop and TJ Maxx/Marshalls are most welcome but gifts of funds or cards are most welcome in any denomination. 

Please include your name and email address when donating so that a tax donation letter can be sent to you. 

Questions ? Contact Noreen Kearney Dolan at (617) 696-1214, OR Email:

Thank you for your generocity !

“Since 1972, the Prison Book Program, a  non-profit located in Quincy, has been sending free books to individuals in prison as everyone deserves the freedom to read. With each hand-selected book, volunteers send a note to help the recipient feel connected to a community outside the prison walls.  Due to Covid-19, people in prison are even more isolated now. Many prisons have been on lockdown for months, with no visitors and very limited library and educational opportunities. Your generosity is appreciated and needed now more than ever. There are several ways to support the program: Book Drive.

From now until December 1, you may donate gently-used and new paperback books in the following categories: Nonfiction: almanacs, trade skills, hobbies such as writing, gardening, crochet, and chess, Spanish dictionaries and books in Spanish, spirituality, sports, history, current events, and books by LGBTQ authors and people of color.Fiction: trade paperback books, especially westerns, thrillers, and mysteries. ( We cannot accept textbooks, books with spiral binding, hardcovers, or books in poor condition.) Books may be dropped off at First Parish through the mail slot. Purchase Books. You may purchase a book for a specific person with a special request. For more details, email Katie Vhay at Donate! The Prison Book Program is the designated Third Sunday Donation on November 15.

Handel and Haydn at the Urban Ministry

November 8th 3:00pm

Every year, H & h offers a community concert at the First Church Roxbury, celebrating the many voices of the Boston community.  This year’s livestream concert celebrates female composers-including queer women of color-in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendemnt, led by Reginald Mobley.  Also featuring a special livestream Q & A hosted by Emily Marvosh.

Add more music to your life by registering for this wonderful concert and support the UU Urban Ministry !

Go to the H & H website to register


    MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2 7:30 – 8:00 pm Rev. Lisa Ward and Elise Henricks   This next week has this nation in a high stress mode. Come together to share ways of coping and grounding in uncertain times. Gather some spiritual tools for the week.  Click on Zoom link  to join.     WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5 7:00 – 8:00 pm Rev. Lisa Ward The election results may not be all in, though we could use a gathering to debrief the events of the week.  Feel free to drop in and share your perspectives and places of being.  Click here to Join Zoom Meeting

Racial Justice Focus GroupBi-weekly Conversations by Zoom with Rev. Lisa and Debbie Alsebai

Next Session: Wednesday, November 11, 7:00pm – 8:30 pm

The isolation due to Covid-19 and the stark, unequivocal events of racial injustice in this nation has encouraged a widespread willingness to examine what is needed for true equity and justice for all. Let’s answer the call.Part of the work is seeing more clearly. This does not call for shame and blame, but for the courage of discomfort and openness to new choices and new changes. What does it mean that history is white washed? How does white privilege play out, even among well-meaning liberals? What is the networking of systemic racism? We’ll meet every other week to share stories, examine articles and short videos, and encourage one another to further see the culture we have been taught to navigate. This is a hope-filled endeavor.Please join us and invite your friends. A zoom link will be sent out the week of the conversation. Interested?  Contact the office:

The Membership Committee brings you Zoom cooking lessons !

Friday, November 13th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PMPumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Roast a sweet pumpkin and then you will be ready to make the most delicious chocolate chip cookies you have ever had !


Friday, December 11th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Gifts from the Kitchen Tonight we will make hot cocoa mix and granola to package up so you can give them to your friends and family as gifts.  Please sign up for one or both classes by emailing Debbie Alsebai at Classes are for all ages.  Kids will need adult supervision in the kitchen.  Recipes will be sent out at least one week before the class for your shopping convenience.


New Dates Added!

(Have mask will travel, while the weather is good)

As we will remain in physically distanced community, exploring ways to connect through cyberspace most likely through 2020, I’d like to check-in with as many members and friends of First Parish who would like a physical visit or a brief time together outside on our campus. 

On Campus:

 Adirondack chairs, lovingly crafted by Karl Pastore, will be set out in a safely distanced circle for a 45 minute chat. 

I have set aside Thursdays, from 4:00pm-6:00pm for folk to come on by, by appointment.  We can have as many as four people meet together.

We meet for 45 minutes, which gives me 15 minutes to sanitize the chairs for the next small gathering.  Masks required.  We will honor the 6 foot distance.