Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 2/18/2016

Weekly Link 2/18/2016


This Week in Worship

Sunday, February 21 Worship @ 10:30 am in Meetinghouse

Prelude to a Reflection by Melinda Collins

We can look at our social universe as a set of circles radiating out, with the individual at the center.

Somewhere in there is First Parish Milton and a little beyond that our larger faith denomination. But just because it’s there, doesn’t make it easy to see. For instance, until I joined our Mass Bay District board last May, I couldn’t answer any of the following questions.

  • Did you know the UUA had 19 districts with individual volunteer boards at one time?
  • Did you know their job was to oversee staff and coordinate the pooling and eployment of financial resources for the health and welfare of our faith?
  • Did you know that congregations vote by delegate at the district annual meeting on policy and finances – finances that we contribute to?
  • Did you know that staff and stewardship are now managed by the UUA on a regional basis?

Curious about what the district is doing now and what the next vote is about?

Come to worship on February 21st and hear about it.

From our Minister

Willis Daniel Lowe from “He whom all blessing flow,” that’s how Willis introduced himself my first night at the Masonic lodge. Even in his seventies he was still a hulking figure of a man, with long hair that reached his shoulders. His broad smile was welcoming and joyful, but when you looked in his eyes they told you of the pain that he had experienced and created for others and the sincerity of his atonement. Willis was a big boisterous man, an extrovert who needed you to yell everything, because he had lost much of his hearing during the years as a professional wrestler. He would tease me about being a Unitarian Universalist and I would quiz him on his bible knowledge and feign shock when he would give an incorrect answer. Then there were those times when he would get quiet and tell of how much he loved and missed his beautiful wife. He faulted himself for her death and would tell me how he wished that she had found the Lord as he had at the Salvation Army. A fourteen years ago this month he, with some others from the Salvation Army, went into a bar in to retrieve a friend with whom they had just been praying. They got him out onto the sidewalk and Willis began to witness to him. After ten minutes Willis went to get on his bicycle and said to the man “I’ve got to go, I’m going home to talk to Jesus about you.” The doctor told us that he was dead before his body reached the ground.

I and many others miss Willis and the cold gray of winter can cause us look back with sorrow on those who meant so much to us and now gone. Often we see the void where that person had been, when instead we should see all that surrounded them and surrounds us now. As important as it is to mourn the loss of relationships, we also need to remember all that those persons had taught us, and what they would expect us to be. Regardless of our very different ideas about faith and God we both knew that what was truly important in this world. It is about the quality of the relationships that we have with people in this world, no matter what class, race, or religion, a person is. Willis’ example of working and praying with those less fortunate, people who struggle with addiction or under other burdens whether personal or systemic, motivates me in this work.

I know that if Willis knew that I was writing about him in here that he would have a big laugh, and ask me again why I don’t believe in Jesus. And he would be happy.

Rev. Hank

Religious Exploration

Sunday, February 21

  • One Room School House
  • Check signage on Sunday morning for details
  • Nursery Care available for ages 4 and under

Stewardship Sound bite

“Our humanist community should be thinking more about demonstrating the fundamental truth that goodness requires neither God nor the belief in God by organizing together as a community to do good.” –Rebecca Goldstein

Our annual stewardship campaign is coming to a close next week. If you haven’t submitted a pledge – at any level – please pledge on line or at the church office. The future of First Parish depends on you. Please pledge today!

Pledges as of February 16, 2016

$160,130 — representing 51 households

News and Announcements

Showing Your Care for One Another – Keep forgetting to fill out the form at church? Try online.

The Caring Committee facilitates care giving within the community by matching needs with volunteers. Periodically the committee updates the bank of volunteers. Did you filling out the Caring Committee’s volunteer survey in church a couple of weeks ago? Not to worry! You can fill out the survey electronically here.

Next First Parish Orientation — Saturday, March 5, 2016 9 am – 12 noon

Learn more about First Parish and Unitarian Universalist history, a tour of the campus, and the path to membership. Share your own spiritual path with like minded seekers. This orientation program is part of the path to membership as well as just learning more about the church. Only members are able to vote at congregational meetings, including the upcoming vote on the next settled minister. Please let me know if you are interested in attending this session hosted by Rev. Hank and me. On campus childcare may be arranged. – Kiki Giatis

We need your help to have more items for the First Parish Silent Auction FUNraiser!!

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 7 PM

The more items we have to bid on the more successful our auction will be. The Auction Committee is hoping you will help by either contributing or asking for contributions amongst your family and friends or local businesses.

Items might include:

  • a restaurant or store or a gym gift certificate or merchandise game
  • tickets to the Sox, Bruins, Celtics, Patriots or to the Symphony vacation home rental
  • work of an artist or poet lessons from a musician or performer
  • services from a gardener or landscaper, a baker or chef. a piano tuner, babysitter
  • themed gift baskets, spa services, acupuncture or massage services
  • handyman services, tutoring, special meals, wine tasting, golf outing, sports equipment, gym membership, etc.

Use your imagination!! You don’t need to know the person or business to ask! Businesses are often willing to donate their services or products for a good tax deductible cause and it is good advertising for them!

Help us make this night of silent bidding a success for First Parish. Please let Ruth Hannon know what you can offer.

And remember to Save April 2, 2016 to come to our Silent Auction FUNraiser! A good time will be had by all.

Social Action Committee Volunteer Opportunities:

(Check out flyer on our bulletin boards & Information Tables)

  • Fair Foods (Our Chocolate Auction recipient)

Dates: February 20, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18

For volunteers who want to unload, organize and sell produce to low-income residents, we will meet at 9:00 AM on the third Saturday of every month at the parking lot of First Parish Milton. We will then travel together to the UU Urban Ministry at First Parish Roxbury. Stay for 30 minutes or 3 hours! Contact: Dave Egan

  • Father Bill’s & MainSpring

Dates: March 19th, March 26th, April 9th, and April 23rd

First Parish volunteers will help prepare and serve a meal to our neighbors in need on Saturday evenings. Contact: Pat Gallivan

  • Roxbury Youth Programs Tutors

This is an out-of-school-time program that serves middle and high school students. Contact Linda Carney-Goodrich. Individual First Parish Milton volunteers will be trained to mentor at-risk middle school students from the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury.

Linda Carney-Goodrich represented our congregation at the training for mentors for the sixth graders at the Timilty School. The program provides reading buddies and mentors to students starting in February and running through June.

  • Renewal House

Renewal House is a domestic violence shelter for individ­uals and families who are fleeing violence or abuse. Contact Linda Carney-Goodrich.

The Social Action Committee would like to thank the congregation for their donations to the families of Renewal House. We collected all the bags, baskets and boxes of toiletries and have dropped them off at the shelter. We hope to make this an annual event.

Coming up, we will be purchasing a Mother’s Day gift for each woman living at Renewal House.

Another grand success: 18TH ANNUAL CHOCOLATE AUCTION

Many thanks to all who participated in this year’s Chocolate Auction – those who brought in the fabulous items we bid on, those who got into the spirit of the bidding, the dedicated bidders who stayed to the bitter end, the really helpful Youth Group volunteers who helped set up chairs, Sadie L who assisted with deliveries, and all who helped clean up. As always, a true group effort. A fun time was had by all, and we raised a whopping $1700 to support the work of our friends at Fair Foods Inc. in Dorchester! (Check out their website and volunteer to work with them through our Social Action Team.)

Your humble Auctioneer, Chris Pitt

The Search Continues — News from the Ministerial Search Committee

Mark Your Calendars

During the months of February and March, members of the committee host pre-candidate weekends, where we meet our candidates face-to-face, have in-depth conversations, show them around the area, and see each one preach at a neutral pulpit. This is the time for us to get to know each candidate well and for each of them to get to know us. No announcement on the final candidate may be made (per UUA regulations) before April 7.

Currently there are two weeks that we are tentatively holding for “Candidating Weeks”:

  • Sunday April 24th through Sunday, May 1st
  • Sunday May 1st through Sunday May 8th

Please mark your calendars NOW to meet the proposed minister, and to participate in this important vote. Note that to vote, you must be a member of First Parish. “Friends” are not eligible to vote

Please know that you may 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.


Kiki’s Corner

Office Hours are generally 10:00 – 2:30 Monday – Thursday. Typically one or more of us is around other times as many of you can attest. Please call or email us if you are planning to drop by to chat or work with one of us. Also note that Miriam’s new schedule has her in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. The office is closed on Fridays, although Rev. Hank is around.

There is an updated Events Calendar and Staff Listing (March – June 2016). Check the Information Table in the Stebbins Parlor or the foyer of the Parish Hall for a copy.

Snow closing information. Nothing new in the information, just a reminder.

If the Milton Public Schools close for snow, so does First Parish. Sundays we realize are trickier as well as public school vacations. We will call it no later than 8 a.m. on a Sunday. Look for closing information in three places.

  • Channel 5, WCVB television. We are listed as First Parish – Milton. Check their website if you want to get automatic, direct notification through the TV station.
  • Check our website. We put a banner on the home page with closing information.
  • Check our Facebook page. First Parish Milton UU. We will post office and worship closing there as well.

REMINDER: Any forms or notes you want to leave should go into the gray box next to the office. This includes pledge forms, caring committee forms, notes for Kiki or Miriam, checks that did not make the offeratory. This insures that your papers are getting to us.


Follow First Parish on Facebook and get updates, poems, announcements and more. You’ll be glad you did!


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!