Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 5/23/2014

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Interim Minister

May 24, 2014

Dear Fellow First Parishioners,

In my first official communication as the new Chair of the Parish Committee, I am excited to announce that we have hired an Interim Minister to assist us through the transition following Parisa’s departure, as we prepare to call our next settled minster.

Our Interim Minister will be Rev. Henry I. (Hank) Peirce.  Hank is familiar to some of us, having been a guest in our pulpit twice in recent years.  He is a seasoned interim, having served for the past two years as the Interim Minister at First Parish Church United of Westford (MA).  Prior to that he was for twelve years the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford.  Hank has deep local roots.  He grew up in Fairhaven, graduated from UMass Boston (1994) and Andover-Newton Theological School (1998), did his ministerial internship at the Church of the Presidents in Quincy, and was ordained from the UU Church in New Bedford.    He lives in Medford with his wife, Rebecca, and two daughters, Ruth (8) and Bethiah (6).

The process of calling an interim minister within the UUA is usually quick, but ours has been lightning-fast, not nearly as detailed and methodical as our search for the next settled minister will be.  Immediately after Parisa announced her resignation on April 30, the Parish Committee met and appointed an Interim Search Committee, consisting of three members of the Parish Committee, Kathy Fagan Bauer, Laurie McCorry and Eric Miller, Marsha Maurer from the Committee on Ministry and Jen Erbe-Leggett from the RE Committee.  Ruth Hannon was tasked with preparing and filing with the UUA the required Application for a Congregation Seeking an Interim Minister, which she accomplished in less than a week, allowing us to participate in the search cycle that was just about to start.  In a week of concentrated attention, the Search Committee considered ten candidates assigned to us based on our application, interviewed four, and made an enthusiastic and unanimous recommendation of Rev. Hank Peirce to the Parish Committee.  Within 48 hours, the Parish Committee met and (1) considered the recommendation of the Search Committee, (2) considered and voted on a compensation package to be offered, and (3) authorized Marsha Maurer as de facto chair of the Search Committee to extend an offer to our recommended candidate.  She did this Friday at the stroke of noon, the very beginning of the offer period for this search cycle.  Happily, our offer was accepted.  In the next several days we will complete administrative details and finalize a contract.  Hank’s contract in Westford runs to August 15, so he will start with us on or shortly after that date.  The Parish Committee has determined that we will do a two-year interim period, so Hank will be with us through the end of the 2015-16 church year.

There will be much more to follow about Hank and about the goals and challenges for our congregation during this period of interim ministry.  Your church leaders are confident that we have the right person to prepare us for the next phase in our life as a faith community.   We extend our thanks to the Interim Search Committee for a job well done.  And it cannot be forgotten that we are in this good place because of the steadfast and nurturing ministry we have enjoyed over the past ten years with the Rev. Parisa Parsa.  Her legacy will be our strength going forward.

Respectfully yours,

Chris Pitt

for the Parish Committee

This Week in Worship

Sunday, May 25, 2014

10:30am WORSHIP

“Our Cloud of Witnesses”
Rev. Parisa Parsa
music by Joel Hiller and a group of First Parish Singers

Memorial Day weekend rounds out our month of exploring ideas of heaven. This morning we offer prayers and remembrance of those lost to war, and also reflect on those we have lost in this community over the last ten years through excerpts from their eulogies. Allen and Alison Barry, Rosina Coolidge, Jeanette Peverly, Barbara Stebbins, Prescott Wintersteen and more will be remembered. Join us in remembrance and celebration of great lives of service.

Religious Exploration

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Children are invited to attend the worship service.

Nursery is available for children ages 4 and younger.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the office.

Do you enjoy spending time with kids?

Are you interested in exploring your own faith in a new context?

Do you want to engage with young people at First Parish as they ask big questions, think deeply, and grow spiritually?

Please consider leading a Religious Exploration class next year. You don’t have to be a parent, and you don’t have to have taught before – everyone has something to offer to our young people! We provide all curriculum materials, training and support for teacher. Leaders are needed for all age groups, in a variety of formats with different time commitments. We’ll do our best to find the place where program needs meet your gifts and passion. Please contact the office today!

News and Announcements

End of the formal church year is fast approaching.

Here are a few things coming up:

  • Memorial Day weekend – Rev. Parisa Parsa will be preaching
  • June 1st RE Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
  • June 1st last day of RE
  • June 8th End of the formal church year, multigenerational worship, Passages graduation, flower celebration and church picnic!
  • June 25-29 UUA General Assembly Providence, RI

Annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast

Sunday, June 1

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

The RE committee will be hosting the annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast to honor everyone who has been involved with Religious Education at First Parish this year. Breakfast will be served to the teachers, substitute teachers and their families and all teachers will receive a gift of appreciation from First Parish. Please consider thanking a teacher by dropping off a warm or cold breakfast item in the Parish Hall by 9:00 on June 1st. You can contact Miriam to let her know what you are bringing.

Summer Solstice in the Parish Hall

Saturday, June 14th at 7:00pm

The heat makes the earth shimmer under our feet, and the rain steams as it hits the ground. The hot breath of the sun fills our lungs; and the fertile smells of blossom, decay and growth are the bouquet of life.

All are welcome to join the FP Great Blue Hill CUUPS* (formerly known as the Earth-Centered Spirituality Group) as we celebrate the Summer Solstice in the Parish Hall on Saturday, June 14th at 7:00pm (Yes it’s a week early).We share a pot-luck feast after ritual.

Questions? Contact Mark Whall 617 282 4075 or

*Covenant of Unitarian Univeralist Pagans, the national UU organization, to which our ECSG has submitted an application for a FP chapter

Organ Fundraising Coming to an End

The fundraising efforts to repair our organ are coming to an end. Thank you so much to all of you who have given to this effort! For those of you who would still like to contribute, please send in your checks as soon as possible. We will be wrapping it all up by June 1st. Let’s keep the music going!

KikiKiki’s Corner

Take a look at the Information Table for information on Ferry Beach, Camp Rowe and other summer programs at UU affiliated organizations.

Looking for babysitters for the nursery Sunday mornings next fall. Must have completed babysitting certification through Milton Hospital or the Y. Contact me for more information.

Congratulations to Patricia Ostrem and her Organ Fundraising Committee for last Friday’s Gala to raise funds for the organ repair. Wonderful evening of organ, opera, champagne and desserts.

REMINDER: We all love being outside in this wonderful spring weather. It’s great we have space for the children to play. If your child is outside, you need to be outside too to make sure everyone stays safe. Climbing trees and tipping over benches are safety hazards.


Follow First Parish on Facebook! “Like” our page 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. The link to SignUp Genius is:

Sign Up Here!