Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 12/3/2020

Weekly Link 12-3-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship

Sunday, December 6, 2020 10:30am

“True Refuge”

Facilitated by: Rev. Lisa Ward

Worship Associate:  Franc Graham

Music: Tim Steele

Audio Engineer: Daniel Truog

Virtual Social Hour Host: Cathy McGonaglePlease 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, 12/04.

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.   Performers needed for Christmas Eve Pageant 

2.   Last Call for Christmas Trees

3.   Photo Request

4.   Gifts From The Kitchen

5.   Racial Justice Conversations

6.   Courageous Conversations-Sharing of our Seasonal Traditions

7. Grief and Grace: Navigating  the  Holiday Blues

8.   UUU Ministry Community Conversation

9.   Climate Change Podcast

10. Lunch brigade & Father Bills volunteer opportunity

11. Fair Foods volunteer opportunity

12. Weekly Meditation

Last Sunday marked the season of Advent, a time when our Christian neighbors  focus in on creating an opening in our lives for the holy.  The first candle was lit for “hope”.  A first step in preparing the ground to welcome the holy in our lives.

Now there are ways that we hope that are not helpful – they may even block our ability to truly live.  When hope becomes a way to reject the present, then a true awakening or healing cannot occur.  We cannot be true to the moment if we use hope to ignore what’s before us.  Hope has very little to do with how things end up and everything to do with how we muddle through. 

Hope  cannot solve our problems or wipe away confusion.  It cannot shield us from the onslaught of fear.  Filled with hope we still can lose our jobs, we still can suffer losses, loved ones still die, and danger still exists.  Hope endures within our troubles, helping us both see what we are in and claim a steady undaunted presence of wholeness.  It will not be dispirited by whatever story we are in.   It abides with courage and steadfast assurance. Hope gets us in touch with a deeper belonging that will not abandon us, even if everything is crumbling around us.  

Reach out to one another.  Hope’s assurance can be known when two eyes meet in loving recognition, when two hearts sense truth, when tears are shared in understanding or compassion, when action nurtures health, when lives claim mutuality of being.  I have no doubt that these signs of hope are abundant in our community. Give the gift of hope by simply being with one another.  Guidance to get through the day will flow from there.

Blessings Be, Rev. Lisa

Religious Exploration

Family Spirit Circle: Packets will be delivered this coming weekend to families of elementary school or younger children on the theme of Celebrations of Light. Families are encouraged to post photos of the projects they make 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: This is an ongoing Minecraft group for all ages! Please email if you would like to participate. 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: Calling all youth to join our Zoom session on December 5 at 1 pm to discuss upcoming events in January and March. Email if you have not received the link to participate in our discussion and planning.

[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   This week during worship we will hear “Instrument of Peace” by Greg Gilpin, based on the well-known prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Our guest soloist will be Esther Yi-An Tien, a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory and a native of Taiwan. Claudia Wellington will be performing on the guitar and singing “”I Shall Be Released” – Bob Dylan.

Events, News & Announcements

Calling performers of all ages for the 2020 First Parish Milton Virtual Nativity Pageant! During the 5 pm Christmas Eve virtual worship service we will be offering a new approach to presenting the Nativity story, a video recording starring all of you as actors! No group rehearsals will be necessary and costumes will be provided. There are parts for people of all ages. Any part could be filled by anyone young or old, of any sexual gender, and could be speaking or non-speaking depending on personal preference.

How will this work? First, use this SignUpGenius to select your part. Then pick up your costume, props, and script, rehearse your action and lines (if any), and make a video of yourself in costume performing your piece of the pageant. We will then stitch all the individual videos together into a full Nativity story.

Costumes, props, and scripts are available to pick up from the carriage shed. Please be sure to use the SignUpGenius before collecting a costume so we can keep track of roles.

There will be two Zoom Q & A sessions if you would like further guidance on what to do: 

Saturday, December 5 at 10 am: Join Zoom Meeting

Sunday, December 6 at 9:30 am: Join Zoom Meeting

The deadline for submitting all videos is Tuesday, December 15.

Let’s make Christmas memories together!

Last call! Last call for TREES! First Parish friends – Last Saturday was a tremendous success! It was a joy for folks to SAFELY see each each other and pick up Christmas trees. But we still have a handful of freshly-cut trees left! We would like them all to find a good home. If you’ve been thinking about it, you’re not too late. Trees are $65 each and all proceeds go to FirstParish. If you know someone else who might like one, pass the word on. Please contact Leslie with questions: lesliecmacpherson@gmail.comYou can pay by check made out to First Parish in Milton, with Christmas tree in memo line,  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.

 Another Photo Array!Please send us your pictures.The picture theme is “Welcoming the light”. We are collecting photos for a display to be shown during the worship service on December 20 (near the winter solstice).  It’s a treasured opportunity to see a snapshot of our community.

Please send your photos  by December 15 to[].

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.

Racial Justice Focus GroupBi-weekly Conversations by Zoom with Rev. Lisa, Timothy Ellis 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:

RSVP for this Zoom event.

Grief and Grace: Navigating  the  Holiday BluesFriday, December 18th from 7:00 -8:00

An Interactive zoom worship service Co-led by Rev. Lisa Ward, Timothy Ellis and Leslie MacPherson Come spend an hour together, finding care in community, as we name the difficult patches of these holidays. Come hold space together out of isolation into a circle of care. Zoom link

Tune in to UU Urban Ministry Community Conversation

Several weeks ago, the Rev Mary Margaret Earl joined our worship service to share news 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 is on December 22:Mental Health and the Holidays in the Black Community,” presented by Toy Burton, founder of DeeDee’s Cry, a mental health awareness organization focused on communities of color. Tune in from 6 to 7:30 on the 22nd here.  Special thanks to Conversation sponsor The Aegis Group at Morgan Stanley.

 Trying to figure out how to fight climate change? A new podcast  presents stories about powerful forces behind climate changeand the tools we have to fix it. Episode 1 is “Give Up Your Climate Guilt.”. Justice and fairness are animportant part of this series.

Click here for more information

Brought to you by the Social and Environmental Justice Committee

“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 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 wouldotherwise be wasted and uses it to feed our communities. The beginning ofthe new church year brings the return of a regular Fair Foods volunteerschedule for First Parish. We will volunteer together the 2nd Saturday ofevery month, starting at roughly 10 a.m at First Parish Dorchester, 10 Parish 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!