Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 12/17/2015

Weekly Link 12/17/2015


This Week in Worship

Sunday, December 20 Worship @ 10:30 am in Meetinghouse

A letter from an 1834 edition of The Christian Register, A Boston Unitarian magazine.
“All the children are expecting presents, and all the aunts and cousins to say nothing of near relatives, are considering what they shall bestow upon earnest expectants. I observe that the shops are preparing themselves with all sorts of things to suit all sorts of tastes; and with cunning skill with which the most worthless as well as most valuable articles are set forth to tempt and decoy the bewildered purchaser.” The same letter warned shoppers to “put themselves on guard, to be resolved to select from tempting mass only what is useful and what may do good; and to avoid empty trifles, which amuse or gratify for the day only.”

One of the many interesting things about the 1834 letter is the fact that Christmas was not made a legal holiday in Massachusetts until 1855, showing that at least eleven years before the holiday was legitimated by the state, people in our faith struggled with its consumerist nature. As you may remember me saying last year the history of this winter holiday is like a snowball rolling down a hill, it picks up everything in its path from the winter solstice, to the Roman Saturnalia, from to the birth of the Zoroastrian god Mazda, to St. Nicholas, the birth of Jesus, and a celebration of gift giving. What all this means is that there is no one message of Christmas to get back to, Christmas can and does mean many things to each of us, but that meaning should be based on what we want it to be, not on what corporations say it should.

So in the last week before Christmas, relax YOU get to make the rules.

See you in church!


Religious Exploration

Sunday, December 20

  • Spirit Play Pre K – 2nd grade – Go directly to their class room at 10:30am
  • SGM 3rd – 6th Graders – Will begin in the Meetinghouse before being dismissed to their Religious Exploration class
  • Junior Youth Group 7th – 8th Graders – Meet in the Parlor at 10:30
  • Youth Chat 9th – 12th Graders – Meet in the youth room at 10:30am
  • The Nursery is available for children ages 4 and younger


Calling all Angels, Animals and Shepherds!

Are you planning on attending the 5pm Christmas Pageant? Have a child interested in a part? No experience needed! We would love to have you! Holding a rehearsal for our younger kids, Sunday at 9:45am in the Parish Hall.

Christmas Eve Pageant 12/24/15 5PM Information: “Do We Have Time to Send Jesus a Card?” by Joel Hiller

Please join us on Christmas Eve at the 5:00PM service for a non-traditional, inter-generational pageant. The pageant this year is called “Do We Have Time to Send Jesus a Card?” with original music composed by Joel Hiller and performed by a cast of First Parish members young and old.

The Christmas Eve pageant is still in need of young angels, shepherds and animals! If your child of any age is still interested in participating but has not had a chance to connect with Joel, please leave a message for Joel Hiller or text him at 617-980-2358.

Pageant rehearsal schedule:

Young children (angels, animals and shepherds) 9:45AM on Sunday, 12/20/15 in parish hall. Full cast rehearsal at 12:00PM on Sunday, 12/20/15 in meeting house. Final dress rehearsal and cast party at 3:00 – 4:30 PM Christmas Eve, Thursday, 12/24 in meeting house.

Youth Group Happenings

This year the youth group will be holding a first time service project for the Christmas season. We are organizing the collection of homemade or store bought holiday cookies and snacks to pack up and deliver to local fire stations, police stations, and hospital emergency rooms on Christmas Eve. We hope to thank our community’s first responders for their invaluable work – especially at the holidays. Baking a batch of Christmas cookies? Make an extra dozen or two for us. Looking for a fun family activity on your way home from Christmas Eve church service? Sign up to deliver a basket to your local police department! It’s a simple and fun way to say thank you at Christmas time. Youth will be in the parish hall at fellowship hour to answer all of your questions about this great project. Thanks!

News and Announcements

Ushers Needed for Christmas Eve!

If you are interested in ushering during the Christmas Eve Service at 5:00pm please let us know by sending us a message.

Thank you,

Visit to the Outdoor Church

The Junior Youth Group would like to extend our gratitude to the congregation for participating in the sock drive for the homeless. We distributed approximately 300 pairs of socks to the homeless during the outdoor church, in addition to sandwiches that we made to bring with us. We had a really eye-opening and heart-warming experience and we were very proud of our congregation’s contribution.

We asked each of the Youth to share one thought from the experience. Following are some of their insights:

  • It was humbling to see how people had to live under those conditions
  • It was very interesting
  • They [the homeless] were very nice to us, and very appreciative.They liked to have conversation.
  • It was a very insightful experience
  • Their faces were filled with joy and they were glad that other people cared about helping them
  • The Outdoor Church community was kind and seemed to care about others.

Finally, Jr. Youth parent, Jen Erbe Leggett, took a video (with permission) of one of our new homeless friends reciting a poem that he wrote about his experiences. We encourage you to watch the (very short) poem, as it was quite powerful. Here’s a link to the video.

Sunday the youth group will continue their annual gift wrapping fundraiser!

The youth group will be available to accept gifts to be wrapped starting at 9:45 am and wrapped gifts will be ready after church service. Wrapping is done in exchange for your donations. Not sure what to pay? We’re happy to give you a suggestion. Hope to see all of you and your unwrapped presents soon!

Community Events

First Parish in Brookline Invites you to Las Posadas Celebration.

On behalf of First Parish in Brookline, I extend a warm invitation to you and your congregation to join us for the celebration of Las Posadas on Saturday, December 19th beginning at 2:30 p.m. This is a free event and all are welcome!

We hope you can join us!

In Community,

Rev. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa
Assistant Minister, First Parish in Brookline

The Search Continues

News from the Ministerial Search Committee

Ready, Get Set…

We approach the holidays with great anticipation: Our Congregational Record is live, and the UUA has confirmed that they will release names of interested ministers to us ( as well as to other congregations in search) as early as January 2nd. That’s also when we’ll be able to review the credentials of those ministers.

We are furiously putting together the beautiful photos, videos and important information we have about our congregation and the geographical area we serve into the Congregational Packet, along with the information we’ve gleaned from the survey. We’re organizing the information we’ve gathered to ensure the information is available in an easy to navigate website. The packet will not be public; it will be available only to ministerial candidates selected by the Ministerial Search Committee. Please consider giving us the permission to use photos of you in the packet: sign the media release form.

As always, feel free to contact the members of your Ministerial Search Committee with questions or concerns:

Debbie Alsebai, Charlie Franich, Franc Graham, Elise Henricks, Jim May, Brigitte Miller, and Tracey Robinson.

Social Action Committee Needs You! Want to Save the World?

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
-Mother Teresa

The First Parish Social Action Committee is currently involved in the following projects through The U.U. Urban Ministries in Roxbury and Father Bill’s & Mainspring in Quincy.

  • Father Bill’s & Mindspring: First Parish volunteers will help prepare and serve a meal to our neighbors in need. Date: TBD
  • Renewal House: Two projects: (1) The First Parish Social Action Committee will be organizing a toiletries drive to collect items to give to the Residents of Renewal House. (2) Purchase of Mother’s Day gift for a woman living at Renewal House
  • Fair Food Inc: First Parish members will meet one Saturday a month, from 10 am – 1 pm, to help distribute food. Join us Saturday, December 19. Contact
  • Boston Public Schools: Focus on Children: Individual volunteers will work with UUUM staff for out of school-time program for at risk students from Timilty Middle School in Roxbury.
  • Jericho Road Roxbury: Individual First Parish Members will be teamed up with a non-profit, who is need of your unique talents.

If you are interested in joining us for one of this fun and transforming events, please contact: David Egan, Social Action Chair or after church during Coffee Hour.

Details are available HERE. Flyers on the Information Table in the Stebbins Parlor and in the Parish Hall Foyer.


Kiki’s Corner

Year End Pledge Payments. Please remember if you are writing a check to the church for the 2015 tax year, the check and postmark must be dated December 31, 2015 or earlier. We are in the process of mailing out pledge statements to help you know what you have already paid toward your pledge.

Furnace Conversion Update. Williams Energy arrives December 21 to prepare for the actual furnace swap the week of December 28. The buidling will be without heat probably from December 28 – 30 (3 days). This was scheduled when the building has lighter usage (no nursery school or toddler music program). But the campus is not closed that week. We will be happy when it is all done and our long-time oil furnace system is retired. Stay tuned for updates on this work and our schedule for the week beteween Christmas and New Year’s. Most likely Miriam, Kevin and I will be in on December 28 until the heat is actually shut off.

Wonderful World Market Fair Sale and Brunch – A collaboration of committees and individuals. Leslie Artinian MacPherson, Deb Larson-Venable, Richard Veneable and Dave Egan were the primary coordinators for the day. But it took a village for a successful event! Thanks to those that brought items for the brunch without being asked. Here is a (hopefully complete) list of individuals that were responsible for the brunch, sale, and ambiance on Saturday and sale on Sunday. Congratulations to all involved.

Parish Hall Activities and Brunch: Deb Larson-Venable & Richard Venable, Paula & Michael Bennett, Julie Blackburn, Tasha & Mike Bello, Tucker Smith, Laurie Bilyeu, Liz Bennett, William Bennett, Myrtle Flight, Charlie Franich, Mark Whall

World Market Sales Force: Leslie MacPherson Artinian, Dave Egan, Natalie Monroe, Mike and
Tasha Bello, Pat Gallivan, Elise Henricks, Zane Baker-Poverno

Wrapping Station: Dianna Wilson, Julie Baker, Debbie Alsebai and Youth Group members.


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Worship, 10:30am in the Meetinghouse

Silent Prayer & Meditation, 9:00am in the Children’s Church


Please consider volunteering for important Sunday worship positions like ushering, hosting social hour, providing flowers for worship, and lighting the chalice. Sign Up Here!