Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 3/18/2021

Weekly Link 3-18-2021

This Week in Virtual Worship

Sunday, March 21, 2021 10:30am

March Theme: Courage

“From the Wilderness”

Facilitated by:  Timothy Ellis

Worship Associate:  Joe Ayoub

Music:  Stuart Ryerse

Audio Engineer:  Daniel Truog

Virtual Social Hour Host: Ruth HannonPlease 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, 3/19

Sunday’s offering will go to Courageous Conversations. Founded in 2016, Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice Milton Mattapan is a monthly dialogue-centered initiative on racism and privilege designed to address racial healing, equity, and justice in our community. Executive Director and Co-Founder Karen Groce-Horan will speak on behalf of CCTRJ.  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!

As many in the nation reel from the shooting rampage at three spas in the Atlanta area on Tuesday, killing 8 people, 6 of whom were women of Asian descent, a shudder of fear deepened and widened in Asian American communities.  May love surround all who are grieving and facing this terrible trauma.

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive Director of the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) acknowledged in an interview with the Washington Post that the specific motive for this shooting was not yet fully determined,  though “If you step back a little bit, pull back the curtains a bit, and really understand the history of how this country has perceived and treated Asian American women, it won’t be a surprise to come to the conclusion that there was some racialized motivation behind what happened yesterday.”

We can see the workings of systemic racism in the dance of motive reporting in the media.  First, centering whiteness:  notice the heightened interest in the motive of the young white man, making his narrative the important part of the story.  When there was no possible narrative of threat by the victims, the story turns to the shooter’s mental illness and unusual break in personality or behavior, diminishing the impact of the choice to kill and finally, a rendering of the perpetrator acting on his own, the “lone wolf” scenario, when in truth, his choice of violence against people of color is given permission in the fabric of our society through countless violent acts year after year with an epidemic lack of accountability.

We, as a nation, are seeing more, saying more, learning more about systems of oppression, violence and injustice.  It’s hard, painful work and liberating work.  We must hold each other in the learning, speak out and act up in the change-making and trust in our inborn knowledge of  harmony of being.  Step by step, we will find a way.

This I pray.  Amen.  Rev. Lisa

Religious Exploration

March 14 was the one year anniversary of COVID-caused virtual worship services. My story time focused on how religious exploration and my role have shifted to meet the challenges of virtual programming. I do not deliver stories in the Meetinghouse. I am at my home in my son’s former bedroom. He moved out on March 7th last year and I moved right in and set up what I refer to as ‘my Zoom studio.’

The first thing I did was to display a wall hanging showing sixteen religious symbols which was a gift from a retired DRE. Prior to the pandemic, it was being used as the altar cloth in the middle school Friends and Neighbors classroom so the class could find the religious symbol for each of the faith traditions they explored. Then I set up a home altar, covered with a rainbow cloth of course, because being Welcoming is a very important part of being a UU. There is also a Rainbow Flag, with a Transgender bracelet around it and a piece of selenite representing mystery and wonder with a Black Lives Matter bracelet around its base.

Next, I set about learning the ins and outs of Zoom. My son, now employed, gave me a powerful Yeti microphone so my stories would come across loud and clear. My husband gave me a round red light which hangs over the door to my Zoom studio in the hallway. I can switch the red light on to warn family members that I am ‘on the air.’

Telling stories over Zoom is so different from telling them in the Meetinghouse. I really miss the feedback and direct connection from sharing the space with you and feeling how the story is going. I had to learn to stand still and keep my arm gestures within the camera frame. Both those things are hard for me to remember. But, I get to wear slippers, so there are some benefits to Zoom!

I also miss being in the classroom with the children and the youth room with our vibrant youth. Those rooms are empty and silent now, but the spirit of laughter, creativity, questioning and spiritual exploration lingers and will flare up strongly once in-person programming resumes.

In the past year, we figured out how to complete the Passages and Coming of Age programs online and celebrated them during worship services last June. We’ve had lots of laughs over Zoom playing games. The youth offered a wonderful Creepy Carriage House experience at Halloween and the whole congregation pitched in to create an unforgettable Nativity Pageant video. I have been sending home what I call Family Spirit Circle packets every two weeks or so, containing ideas and possible projects related to various spiritual topics. The last packet was on Unitarian Universalism and the packet this week will be on creativity.

So the links on my personal chain of connection to First Parish Milton are growing shorter in number as my retirement approaches, but the time has been richly spent sewing seeds of spiritual deepening and resilience whose fruit will be harvested by all of you in future years. As Nelson Henderson put it so well, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

~ Our bodies may not be touching, but our hearts are still connected.


Stuart Ryerse will be leading the music this Sunday.

Table of Contents

For Events, News and Announcements 

1.   Chruch Event: Racial Justice Conversations

2.   Church Event: Weekly Meditation

3.   An Update from the Re-Opening Task Group

3.   Stewardship Committee News

4.   Stewardship & Worship Committee News 

5.   Membership Committee News 

6.   Social and Environmental Justice Committee News

Events, News & Announcements

Racial Justice Focus GroupConversations by Zoom with Rev. Lisa, Timothy Ellis and Debbie Alsebai meets on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays monthly

All are Welcome!

Next Session: Wednesday, March 24th, 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:

Meditation NEW TIME

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

Thursday evenings at NEW TIME 6:45 pm-7:15 pm 

Sunday mornings at 9:30am

Newcomers and friends welcome.

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

An Update from the Re-Opening Task Group

The task group continues to monitor U.S. federal and MA state guidelines to guide our own planning for resuming activities at First Parish Milton. This week we want to share some thoughts about how these guidelines impact our congregation. The Worship Committee plans to continue remote worship on Sundays until the end of the church year (June 13).

In consultation with the task group, the Membership Committee is assessing whether we can safely hold an outdoor year-end picnic in June. A final decision will be made in early June based on the latest MA state guidelines and status of the COVID vaccine rollout. The Re-Opening task group will assess when the church may resume rentals (such as AA meetings). The task group remains committed to the health and safety of our congregation: we encourage everyone to get vaccinated, avoid large gatherings, maintain safe distance from others in public spaces, and continue to wear your mask when in public or in gatherings that may include non-vaccinated individuals. Stay safe!

Dr. Guy Pugh, a member of the task group, is willing to be contacted by members of the congregation who have concerns or medical questions about the vaccine. We appreciate ideas and questions from members of the congregation as they arise; please contact Tracey Robinson.


COMMITTEE   Thank you to the 84 members who have pledged for Fiscal 22, that begins July 1, 2021. We’re almost there ! Please take a moment to make your pledge RIGHT NOW if you have not already done so.  Click on this link to pledge


Stewardship and Worship Committee

A Chance to Participate!  You may have noticed the testimonies of appreciation from fellow FirstParishoners on the Blue Screen during the Offertory portion of the WorshipService each Sunday. This was initiated by the Stewardship Team, and theWorship and Stewardship committees collectively have decided to continuethis aspect of the service, if there is interest. If you would like to “publish” your appreciation of anything that ishappening at First Parish or of something at First Parish that has impactedyou or surprised you in a positive way, please send your 2-3 sentence“appreciation” to Dottie Pitt at: As “appreciations” come in, we will make every effort to include one ineach service.  We will identify you by first name and last initial only inorder to protect your privacy.

FROM THE Membership Committee

 Rescheduled from February, master of ceremonies and veryfunny guy CHRIS HART will lead us in some improv activities. Come join the fun!

Saturday, March 20th at 7:00 pm

Zoom link

 Our next Poetry Salon will be on Thursday nightMarch25th at 7:00 pm. Come with beloved poems – either yours or another’s. Bringyour favorite beverage and let’s share the love of language together.

Zoom link

COOKING WITH DEB AND STEVE The next Friday Fun Cooking night will be on

March 26, from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Lasagna and pasta will be on the menu. Email Debbie ahead of time for recipes and ingredients list:

Zoom link coming Questions about any of these? Email Leslie:

Getting to


“Getting to Zero” declares our intention. First Parish Milton’s Social and Environmental Justice Committee plans to propose this intention — to become Net Zero by 2035 — for a vote at the church’s Annual Meeting in May 16.  In advance of the annual meeting, we will learn together through a 3-part virtual discussion series:   what it means to become “net zero” and how to live more sustainably.  This is a critical issue, not only for our church but for our community, climate, and planet.  Each session stands on its own, so we invite you to zoom in to as many sessions as you can.  Join us on this educational journey so that you will be prepared to vote on May 16.  Save the dates: Wednesday, March 17th

Getting to Zero 101: The Big Picture

Recorded session available if you missed this one

Contact  Tracey Robinson at for more info

Wednesday April 21st 6:30pm-7:30pm

Getting to Zero 102:  What’s involved & learning from other congregations

Wednesday May 5th 6:30pm-7:30pmGetting to Zero 103:  Process and next steps.

From your Social & Environmental Justice Committee


Social & Environmental Justice Committee 

For their Zoom book club CCTRJ is reading “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson.

CCTRJ Book Group

TODAY: March 18th 7:00pm

  Part 4: The Tentacles of Caste

  Come join us every other Thursday at7PM

Other dates are  April 1st, 15th, and 29th.

Link to join 


A Green Medley

Online Speaker Series for March:

Climate Change in the Blue Hills

The Blue Hills Climate Action Coalition invites the community to explore how climate change will alter the Blue Hills and surrounding communities.  Experts from organizations in and around the park will reveal how the warming climate will affect the watershed, woodlands, birds, food production and other flora and fauna of the Blue Hills area.  To sign up for the Zoom link, visit

The series’ aim is to raise public awareness about the local impacts of climate change and

showcase the groups in the Blue Hills area working to address them.  Each lecture will take place at 6:30 pm on the dates listed below. The issues and organizations featured in the series are:

Thursday, March 18

Birds and Climate Change

Mass AudubonAlthough the rise of sea levels due to climate change have fairly direct impacts on coastal bird populations, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns also raise less obvious challenges for breeding birds in the Blue Hills and Massachusetts as a whole. This presentation, by Dr Jon Atwood, Director of Bird Conservation for Mass Audubon, will give an overview of the impacts that changing climate conditions will likely have in bird populations in the Blue Hills, and suggest steps to address these problems.



save the date for the Next one !

Thursday, April 1

Managing Climate Impacts on Diverse Plant Collections

Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum

The Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum is a 25 acre property that lies within the much larger Blue Hills and Neponset River ecosystem.  The arboretum’s plant collection includes a very broad range of both native and non native species. This allows a unique opportunity to study the impacts of a changing climate on a variety of species. Arboretum Director Debbie Merriam will highlight some of the observations of the cascading impacts of a changing climate on plant species and its management strategy to adapt to these changes.


How to cut your heating bill, electric bill and carbon footprint to zero,by someone who has done it Thursday, March 25, 7:00-8:30 p.m

Attendance is free but pre-registration is required through EventBright David Green, presenterAll attendees will receive a free electronic version (for iPad or Kindle)of David Green’s practical guidebook, *Zero Carbon Home  *Co-sponsored by First Parish Milton UU & Sustainable MiltonSpread the word… it’s a useful, digestible primer for homeowners.

The 25th Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be taking place over a twenty fiveday period beginning in April and finishing with a virtual celebration onMother’s Day, May 9th at 9:00 AM. First Parish Milton has participated in this Louis D. Brown fundraisingevent for many years and we will have a team again this year. With a newname, “Getting to Peace, First Parish UU Milton” we will be beginning ourrecruitment of team members over the next few weeks. Louis D. Brown founder,Tina Cherry, will be speaking at a FP Sunday Zoom service in April. Moreinfo to follow soon. 

The wonderful volunteer crew !

Volunteers are needed on Wednesday, March 24th. 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 schedule Mainspring SignupGenius – please indicate number of lunches you will bring.

Crew at Fair Food Warehouse   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.

Next session is This Saturday, April 10th If you want to volunteer please signup on Signup Genius by Thursday evening before the event. Start time and locations vary depending on Fair Foods’ needs, but typically start between 8:00 and 10 a.m. at Fair Foods’ warehouse in South Boston. Please wear a mask and bring gloves if you have them.   signup on Signup Genius  Any questions or for more information contact Tony Dutzik at