Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 12/31/2020

Weekly Link 12-31-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship

Sunday, January 3, 2021 10:30am

“Being Alive”

Facilitated by: Rev. Lisa Ward

Worship Associate:  Joe Ayoub

Music: Tim Steele

Audio Engineer: Brynne Mershon

Virtual Social Hour Host: Lisa WhitePlease 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, 1/01Sunday’s offering will be deidicated 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!

This last week has been filled with such holiday spirit and heart nourishment at First Parish! Three worship services in four days, including the dedication and talent of many people. Many thanks to our Harvard Field Ed student, Timothy Ellis, who served as zoom security at both Christmas Eve services and then led an inspiring service on Sunday, December 27th. Kudos to the office staff, Sherri Moldaver and Susan DeMinico, for the output of news and three orders of worship. The music was beautifully compiled by Tim Steele and Eric Miller. And the audio engineers, Madeleine Miller and Daniel Truog kept the transmission smooth.

Today I’d like to give a special shout out to Laurel Whitehouse, our Director of Religious Exploration. The 5 pm worship service was beautifully crafted, with a stunning video pageant, including 46 congregants, stitched together with Laurel’s direction. She located and engaged a videographer, Laura Villain, to work the magic of Laurel’s vision. Truly stunning work; full of heart, faith, joy and love. With all the pieces, planning and preparing, Laurel dedicated many hours to this endeavor. I am grateful for the shared experience in multigenerational community. The recording will be available for viewing by members soon.

Directing Religious Exploration during this pandemic is not easy. Zoom fatigue is especially strong amongst families with young and school age children.  Laurel and the Religious Exploration Committee have devised a way to stay in touch through the Family Spirit Circle Packets, again, encouraging shared experience in multigenerational community. We also have the work of the youth visionaries this year, stewarded by Laurel. All this has helped make it possible to engage, joyfully and caringly, in community.

Thank you, Laurel, for sharing your many gifts with us!

Blessings Be, Lisa

Religious Exploration


Family Spirit Circle: Family Spirit Circle packets will be delivered soon. The theme this time is releasing regrets and planting hopes as we enter a new year of possibilities. The story for all ages on January 3 will be related to this topic. Email if you need the newsletter or would like to be added to our list of RE families.

Special Minecraft on January 3: At 4:30 pm on January 3rd, join us for a Minecraft Winter Celebration!  Enjoy a snowball fight, ice boat racing, and good company around the virtual campfire.  No mittens required.

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: We are seeking feedback on and youth commitment to two possible upcoming events: A Winter Carnival in January and a Youth Worship Service in March. Please email with comments or questions.

[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.]


For this Sunday the music will be spreading its wings to embrace the themeof “Being Alive”. Jennifer Sgroe will be singing an uplifting solo byLeslie Adams, with text by Joette McDonald, called “Flying”.  Katie Steelewill also be singing a solo by Stephen Sondheim, “Take Me To the World”,from EVENING PRIMROSE.

Table of Contents

For Events, News and Announcements 

1.  Pledge Letter Reminder

2.  Weekly Meditation 

3.  Members Section of Website

4.  Blue Hills Climate Action Coalition

5.  Racial Justice Conversations

6.  Fair Foods volunteer opportunity

7.  Lunch brigade & Father Bills volunteer opportunity

8.  UUU Ministry Community Conversation

Events, News & Announcements

Pledge Letter Reminders by Susan DeMinico

Pledge reminder letters went out last week- you should have received by now. There is a typo on the letter- it says FY18 instead of FY21. The information on the letter- what you have paid and your pledged amount- is correct. My apologies for not catching the mistake.  If you have any question on your pledge, please feel free to message me or leave me a message in the office. Pledges are not due until 6/30/21, and tax letters will be going out the end of January, for your planning purposes.

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!  

Member Section of Website

In the past year, we’ve seen an uptick of scammers/hackers, posing as Rev. Lisa Ward and asking congregants for items- money, gift cards, etc. This is a national problem of all religious denominations, and because of its prevalence, recommendations have been made on how to best protect us from these cyber atacks. We have reviewed our website security, server safeguards, zoom security protections, etc. 

We have decided that one big things we can do to safeguard member’s info is to remove the Church Directory from the member’s section of the website. It is simply too big of a target. 

However- we have hard copies of the directory available for anyone who needs it, as well as a PDF that can be easily emailed. You can email Susan at if you’d like me get either (or both!) of these items to you.

Blue Hills Climate Action Coalition presents Climate Legislation: What’s New and What You Can DoThursday, January 7, 6:30 pm Register here Jacob Stern represents the Sierra Club MA on Mass Power Forward, a coalition of over 200 environmental leaders, community development organizations, clean energy businesses, faith groups, neighborhood health and safety advocates, and Massachusetts families fighting for our future.  The Massachusetts Legislature runs on two-year cycles. Jacob will discuss what policies are on the table for the next two years, how the legislative process works, and what residents can do to advocate for strong climate and environmental justice legislation. The Our Climate Crisis lecture series is co-sponsored by Blue Hill Observatory, Brookwood Community Farm, Friends of the Blue Hills, Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum, Massachusetts Audubon Society/Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Milton Public   Library, Neponset River Watershed Association,  Sustainable Milton, and The Trustees/Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate.

Brought to you by the Social and Environmental Justice Committee

Racial Justice Focus GroupConversations by Zoom with Rev. Lisa, Timothy Ellis and Debbie Alsebaimeets on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays monthlyAll are Welcome! Next Session: Wednesday, January 13, 7:00pm – 8:30 pm This focus group has been meeting since August. Each session is rich with stories, insights, questions, learning, re-learning, sharing of resources, sharing of wisdom. Each session stands alone, so you are welcome to attend at any meeting. Consistent attendance helps deepen trust and exploration. Dismantling systemic racism in ourselves and communities occurs incrementally, discovery by discovery. We recognize the importance of this life-long journey toward transformation and that it is a shared endeavor.  Contact the office to receive the zoom link:

 Fair Foods is a non-profit program that rescues fresh produce that would otherwise be wasted and uses it to feed our communities. We volunteer together unloading and sorting food and packing bags on the 2nd Saturday of every month, starting at roughly 9 a.m. Next session is Saturday, January 9th If you want to volunteer, please text or e-mail Tony Dutzik at 617-291-4685 or  by Thursday evening before the event. Start time  and locations vary depending on Fair Foods’ needs, but volunteering typically takes place at First Parish Dorchester, 10 Parish St. in Dorchester, near Fields Corner, or at Fair Foods’ new warehouse in South Boston. Please wear a mask and bring gloves if you have them. 

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 January 13th. 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 – please indicate number of lunches you will bring.

Tune in to UU Urban Ministry Community Conversation Several months 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 January 26:January 26:“What’s Happening to Roxbury: A Conversation on Gentrification and Displacement,” featuring Roxbury Native, Marisa Luse, a life-long Roxbury resident who considers her neighborhood the “village” that nurtured and raised her. She has extensive nonprofit management, community engagement and civic leadership experience. Tune in from 6 to 7:30 on the 26th. Link coming soon!  Special thanks to Conversation sponsor First Parish in Lexington