Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 11/19/2020

Weekly Link 11-19-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship

Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:30am

“Seeing Abundance”

Facilitated by: Rev. Lisa Ward

Worship Associate:  Christopher Clifford

Music:       Tim Steele

Audio Engineer: Madeleine Miller

Virtual Social Hour Host: Allison ZippayPlease 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, 11/20.

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

1.   Christmas Tree Ordering Information

2.   Volunteer Opportunity

3.   Milton Interfaith Clergy Association Thanks for Giving Service

4.   UU Urban Ministry Community Conversation

5. Prison Book Program

6. Gifts From The Kitchen

7.   Holiday Giftcard Program

8.   In Person Check-in Chats with Minister

9.   Racial Justice Conversations

10. Lunch brigade & Father Bills volunteer opportunity

11. Fair Foods volunteer opportunity

12. Weekly Meditation

Scrolling down this e-newsletter today (aka the link), you will find an invitation from the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association to the annual celebration of Thanks-For-Giving.  This is a town-wide gathering designed to highlight honorees from various town organizations on behalf of their volunteer service for the year.  Many volunteers do many things, however each organization is asked to highlight one or two.

Our congregation’s Parish Committee unanimously nominated Eric Miller and Joe Ayoub, who have facilitated the steady stream of worship services during this pandemic.  It has taken innovation, diligence, experimentation and perseverance to serve First Parish in this way.

Here are the short bios that will be shared at the livestream ceremony on Sunday, November 22, at 4 pm.  All are welcome to zoom in.  Please find details further down in this e-newsletter.

Eric Miller has organized the audio-visual set up for live stream worship at First Parish in Milton since March. This has taken many hours of finding and setting up equipment, troubleshooting, and training a technical crew.  Accepting this herculean task, Eric has volunteered his talents with calm, diligence, humor and care.

Joe Ayoub, the Chair of the First Parish Milton Worship Committee, has devoted countless hours to help shape and coordinate live stream Sunday worship since March.  With a steady focus, dedicated recruiting and an intuitive understanding of worship, Joe has provided skillful, heartfelt and energetic assistance to the minister and for all live stream worship services.

Many thanks Eric and Joe! 

Blessings Be, Rev. Lisa

Rev. Lisa will be on vacation the week of Thanksgiving: Nov. 23-30.

Religious Exploration

Christmas Eve Pageant: Planning is underway to create a pageant video following the Pageant-in-a-Box approach piloted last December. Costumes and props will be available to pick up and pageant participants will be able to record themselves acting out their parts. We will then stitch it all together into a video for the 5:00 pm Christmas Eve worship service.

Family Spirit Circle: Packets were delivered this past weekend to families of elementary school or younger children on the theme of Gratitude. The story for all ages during the November 15 worship service was related to this theme. Families are encouraged to post photos of things for which you are grateful on our Padlet page so we can be inspired by each other’s contributions! Email if you need the newsletter or would like to be added to our list of RE families.

Minecraft on Sunday Afternoons at 4:30 pm: A Minecraft group for all started this past Sunday. Eleven children and youth joined our session to begin building unique creations including a lava launcher, an ocean tower and a charming flower garden. This is an ongoing group meeting weekly. Please email if you would like to participate. This group is open to all ages! Anyone who enjoys Minecraft is invited to come and build with us on Sunday afternoons. You will need a copy of Minecraft (Java preferred but we have a server for Bedrock players as well) and an account. Let us know if you need help getting set up.

High School Youth: The Youth Visionaries are soliciting ideas for our next youth event. Please email if you have suggestions for social justice, congregational life, or just plain fun events or projects.

[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.~

OUR MUSIC THIS SUNDAY will be led by Stuart Ryerse

Events, News & Announcements

Any submissions for next week Link must be submitted by noon Monday, November 24th

This year may be different but our tree tradition continues.First Parish has ordered Frasier firs from the same farm we used last year; this year, we have ordered their premium, 6-7 foot trees. The price is remaining the same — $65 — with proceeds going to the church. There are only 50 trees available, so place your order ASAP by emailing the office at the number of trees you wish to purchase.

This year, pick-up will be on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — November 28th– from 9-12. If this time does not work for you and you’d like to purchase, please contact Leslie for alternate arrangements.

We will follow all safety protocols during pick-up.You can pre-pay by check (mail a $65 check made out to First Parish in Milton, with Christmas tree in memo line, to 535 Canton Ave, Milton Ma 02186 OR pay by text, a contactless way to pay for your Christmas tree.

Simply text (617) 539-7576 and in message body, the payment amount (for example, $65). You’ll get an automatic text message back, asking you to do a 1-time set up to create an account with your credit card/debit number. If you’re used text for giving for Sunday giving, you do not need to set up a new account. You can simply text the $65 and we’ll apply to a tree order automatically. 

But wait, there’s more! While your tree is being tied on top of the car we encourage all ages to come by the RE table and pick up ready to make Holiday craft kits. Help yourself to one kit or take a few. Do your holiday crafting at home whenever you have time. Keep the completed decorations for your own holidays or bring them back to hang on our Sharing Tree for others to take to brighten their homes. Craft kits will be available in the Carriage House to pick up anytime until supplies run out. The Sharing Tree will be in the Carriage House throughout December to leave or collect a holiday craft.

Help Needed

On Friday, November 20 join me with the Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice Group in rewarding the Food Pantry Volunteers of the Concord Baptist Church on Blue Hill Ave with a surprise lunch where each volunteer will receive their own mini butternut squash lasagna and mini apple crisp. There are 20 volunteers that come out every other week to help serve over 200 clients of their food pantry. I am looking for volunteers to help make the 20 lasagnas and 20 apple crisps and 2 to 3 folks to socially distanced, distribute them to the volunteers on 11/20 from 11:30 to 12:30. Please email Debbie at if you would like to volunteer for the cooking/making or the delivery. 

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call me at 617-821-9460. Thanks!

Debbie Alsebai (-: 

You are Invited to Our Annual

 Milton Interfaith Clergy Association

 Thanks for Giving Service

 Sunday, November 22, 2020  @ 4:00 PM

 Please join us in gratitude for our many blessings, including this year’s Extraordinary Honorees

 from many of our Communities of Faith

 and Civic Organizations

Register in advance for this virtual webinar by clicking this link

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


“Gratitude can transform common days

into thanksgiving, turn routine… into joy,

and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

Tune in to UU Urban Ministry Community Conversation Several weeks ago, the Rev Mary Margaret Earl joined our worship service to share new from the Urban Ministry at First Church in Roxbury.  She invited us to participate in a series of Community Conversations organized by the Urban Ministry.

The next Conversation on  November 24 features Imari K Paris Jeffries speaking on “Closing the Racial Wealth Gap in Boston. Jeffries is the Executive Director of King Boston, a privately funded non-profit working closely with the City of Boston to create a living memorial and programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Jeffries also oversees the King Center for Economic Justice opening in Nubian Square.

Tune in via Zoom from 6 to 7:30 on the 24th.

 Do not forget that you can donate books from now till December 1st

“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

Gifts from the Kitchen

Friday, December 11th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM  This night 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.

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

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. 

 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. 

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


Another way to give this holiday season: sponsor a child!

The Interfaith Social Services in Quincy has 300+ children registered for the Help for the Holidays program.

To sponsor a child, click here to complete the Google form and you’ll be assigned a child to “adopt.” Then, the fun begins as you provide “your” child with items that can make their holiday magical!”

Thank you for your generocity !


(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:

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.

Here is the sign-up genius for those meetings.

At your home:

Have mask will travel:  I am open to house calls.  We can meet outside your home.  Masks required.  We will honor the 6 foot distance. If you are interested in a visit to your home, please contact me at

All ages welcome for a check-in.  Minors must have a parent or guardian present. 

It is good to be with one another.

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

Next Session: Wednesday, December 9, 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:

“As of this week, First Parish members have made 1,737 lunches for the clients of MainSpring House in Brockton and Evelyn House in Stoughton. With much gratitude to all the lunch makers who have contributed to this ongoing effort since March. We hear that the clients appreciate our nutritional meals.”

Volunteers are needed on December 2nd & 16th.  Volunteers acquire food and pack 10-20 lunches and deliver to the church between 12:45-1pm on Delivery day. One team lead drives all the lunches to the shelter in Brockton.

If you can help, please contact Peter Schneider at for instructions or if you already know the drill, signup on our Mainspring Signup

Genius website – please indicate number of lunches you will bring.

Fair Foods is a non-profit program that rescues fresh produce that would otherwise be wasted and uses it to feed our communities. The beginning of the new church year brings the return of a regular Fair Foods volunteer schedule for First Parish. We will volunteer together the 2nd Saturday of every month, starting at roughly 10 a.m at First Parish Dorchester, 10Parish St. in Dorchester, near Fields Corner.

Next session is Saturday, December 12th Please wear a mask – gloves will be available at the site.  Fair Foods has numerous other volunteer opportunities during the week – including every Friday and Saturday at First Parish Dorchester.  Please contact Tony Dutzik at 617-291-4685 or  to find out more or with any questions.

Meditation continues ….

All are welcome to join for 30 minutes of silent meditation/prayer on:

Thursday evenings at 7:00pm 

Sunday mornings at 9:30am

Newcomers and friends welcome.

Please contact Tracey at if you have questions or want to join us!