Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 7/16/2020

Weekly Link 7-16-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship


Sunday, July 19, 2020 9:30am

“Little Known History-Careful it May Shock You”

Facilitated by: Deb Alsebai

Worship Associate: Penny Partridge

Music:  Pat Neves

Virtual Social Hour Host: Amy Kavaldo



Please see the zoom link below. Please log in at 9:20, to give some lead time for the service at 9:30. 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, 7/17.

Sunday’s offering will be dedicated to the services and ministry of First Parish Milton.

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!

Below in the LINK: 

1. Wanted

2.Pledge Reminder

3. Solar Project Update

4.Congressional Candidate Town Hall Forum

5. Yoga

6. Fair Foods volunteer opportunity

7. Main Spring volunteer opportunity

8. Meditation9. Office Summer Hours


Rev. Lisa Ward

I was talking with a working parent the other day who shared simply: “This is a hard season of parenting in the best of circumstances.”  I find myself holding families in my heart and mind these days, admiring the strength it takes to juggle all the challenges and wondering what resources we need to create in order to help sustain them in the continued months of this pandemic.

We need to find new and different ways to offer respite or engagement, play or down time, while juggling the imperative of physical distance and the ache of zoom fatigue.  The ability to go out of doors is certainly helping during this summer and some families have created relational bubbles to widen the circle of covid-careful community.  However, the insensitivity of national government officials in their insistence on flagrantly unwise school openings in the fall adds to the stress of isolation in shouldering the care of children and families.

Whenever a policy decision that makes little sense comes to the surface, it is important to ask: “What is the economic reason?”   You don’t have to look far when listening to Education Secretary Betsy Devos: “American investment in education is a promise to students and their families,” DeVos said. “If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds.”

Let’s take a far different approach than business as usual and neighbors as commodities.  Let’s honor relationship and community, bearing witness to each other’s lives and finding ways to thrive.  Let’s reach out to each other and listen to what we each are navigating.  Let’s recognize that this pandemic calls on all of  us to take heed of the stress and the hope, the new connections and the learned wisdom. And thank a parent this week, for all she/he/they are doing.

Take good care.  Rev. Lisa

Rev. Lisa will be out of the office from July 19 – August 3.  Pastoral concerns can be directed to the Caring Committee chair, Brigitte Miller.  Administrative concerns can be directed to the office:

Religious Exploration

Children, Middle School and High School: Programming will resume next fall. Wishing all families a summer full of moments of connection, beauty, and spiritual renewal !

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

Events, News & Announcements

Cameras that attach to computers and/or working laptops are wanted.  Please kindly contact the office if you would like to donate.  Thank you.

Pledge Reminders for New Fiscal Year for First Parish

First Parish began its new fiscal year on July 1, 2020, and thus, we are into the new pledge year! Once again, we in the Office thank everyone in the First Parish Community for your continued support.

If you changed your pledge amount for July 2020-June 2021 from what it has been this past year, and have  automatic payments scheduled either through FPM’s VANCO system or through your own bank, YOU will need to change your monthly pledge withdrawal order (even if you filled out a pledge form with a new amount). Please understand that this is not out of a desire to make things more challenging, but to ensure security for you.  We in the Office only change credit card information when explicitly asked by you the card holder. Of course, we are always happy to help you in whatever way we can, with your permission. If you have an automatic payment set up with VANCO, I can send you the instructions on how to update – or you can simply call the Office from 8:30-1:30pm Monday-Thursday and speak to Sherri. We will get your change info to our lovely bookkeeper. If you have automatic payments through your own bank, you can usually easily update the withdrawal amount through your bank’s online banking app.

If you’d like info or help with setting up automatic payments through VANCO, please just send me an email to We have very easy instructions (promise!) written out, with helpful screenshots. 

Thank you again for your pledge!  If for any reason you did not have the opportunity to turn in a pledge for this new fiscal year during the Stewardship Committee’s annual budget drive this past spring, it’s not too late.  Email me and I will be happy to send you a pledge form.

Where Are We In the Cultural Shift Toward Racial Justice?Bi-weekly Conversations by Zoom with Rev. Lisa and Debbie Alsebai 

We are postponing the start of this group till August, come share your voice!

Wednesdays at 7 pm:   August 5 & 19, September 2

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 at

Solar Project Update

The solar project at First Parish is moving full steam ahead! After months of paperwork and permits, we now have the approvals needed to start construction, which we hope will be complete by the end of the summer.

We are excited to announce the recipients of the “community solar” credits generated by our system, which represent the solar energy the system produces above and beyond our own needs. 90% of the credits will go to the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry in Roxbury and 10% to the youth center at First Congregational Church in Milton. Recipients of the credits will receive discounted electricity from our panels while also enjoying the benefits of clean electricity and taking action in the fight against climate change.

Other good news is to date the Solar Panel Legacy Project Committee has received pledges in the amount of $65,400 to cover 81.75 panels. We are more than 1/3 of the way there and appreciate all the donations made this far. 

If you missed out on the initial offering there are still 123 panels left to sponsor so consider being part of this important First Parish legacy project and make a pledge today! (Pledges can be paid on an annual or monthly basis over the next 3 fiscal years.) Please send an email to the office ( and we will be happy to send you a copy of the solar pledge form electronically.

 If you already made a pledge please try to get your donation in by July 31, 2020 by check or electronic Vanco payment. Extensions are available by request for year 1 payments until 12/31/2020.   

The committee is also interested in your ideas or vision of what the donor recognition installation on the campus should be. This installation will creatively list all donors of $200, or more, on a permanent structure.

Please email creative installation ideas or pledge extension requests to Debbie Alsebai at

For questions about the solar project as a whole, please contact Tony Dutzik at

 ZOOM FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT:CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE TOWN HALL FORUMTuesday, July 21, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Several local (Friends of the Blue Hills; Sustainable Milton) and statewide environmental groups will co-host this virtual Massachusetts 8th District Congressional Candidate Town Hall on the Environment. Many First Parishioners live in this district, and UU’s of conscience aspire to have congressional representation aligned with our values regardless of district.  Congressman Stephen Lynch and challenger Dr. Robbie Goldstein will discuss their views on environmental protection, renewable energy, equity, sustainable transportation, climate resilience, and more. Each candidate will speak and take questions in sequence, with Congressman Lynch from 11:30am-12pm and challenger Dr. Robbie Goldstein from 12pm-12:30pm.

Massachusetts needs representation in Congress that understands and prioritizes building a thriving and equitable Commonwealth. How our elected officials intend to manage our climate and environmental challenges must be a top issue in every campaign.

Registrants will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance upon registration. The session will be moderated by Judy Lehrer Jacobs, Executive Director of Friends of the Blue Hills, who initiated this event. To register and receive the Zoom link, please contact Judy at OR Casey Greenleaf, Environmental League of Mass.,

Yoga Classes Are Back!

First Parish has restarted  Monday night yoga classes- virtually via Zoom! Elyse, our yoga instructor for many years, will be teaching Mondays from 6:30-7:30pm. Elyse describes her yoga classes as slow flow Vinyasa with modifications offered to allow for all levels. Use your breath, poses and meditation to regulate your nervous system and allow yourself to come up for some air. This class is open to all- even  if you never attended the in-person yoga classes before!

Cost for the yoga classes: $15 for one class, or 8 for $80. If you previously paid for yoga classes that were cancelled due to the pandemic, we are honoring those payments.

If you are new and need to pay for classes, you can do so with ease from your cell phone. Text (617) 539-7576 and the amount you are paying with the word “yoga”- so a text message would say “$15 yoga”. For those of you that have already set up text giving with us, it is the same phone number and system, so you will not have to set up another account. If you haven’t set up text for giving, when you text the number, it’ll prompt you to create an account. Once you create the account, giving really is as simple as a text message. You can always mail a check to the church (putting yoga in memo line) if that is more comfortable for you.

After shutting down in the wake of COVID-19, Fair Foods is back up and partially running again, rescuing produce and other food items that would otherwise go to waste and distributing them in Boston and beyond. Currently, volunteers are needed on Fridays 10:00 am and on 9:30 am Saturdays at First Parish in Dorchester,  though details vary by week.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Tony Dutzik at

Mainspring lunch program – HELP needed!

First Parish has delivered more than 800 lunches to Mainspring in Brockton since the COVID emergency was declared. We plan to continue providing 100 lunches every other Wednesday through the summer. We noticed a drop in volunteers last week and are hoping we can get a few new volunteers for our delivery on July 29 & August 8.  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 for instructions or if you already know the drill, signup on our Mainspring Signup Genius website – please indicate number of lunches you will bring.

As always, thanks for your generosity!

Meditation continues ….

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

Thursday evenings at 7:00pm 

Sunday mornings at 8:45am

Newcomers and friends welcome.

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


Rev. Lisa Ward, Minister

  • Vacation:  June 27 – July 6
  • In office weeks of July 7 and July 14
  • Vacation:  July 19-July 26
  • Study Leave:  July 27 – Aug. 3
  • Vacation: Aug. 24 – Sept 1

Susan DeMinico, Office Manager

  • Summer hours:
  • Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30-4:30,  Thursday mornings
  • vacation: August 15-22

Sherri Moldaver, Administrative Assistant

  • In the office  Monday-Thursday 8:30am-1:30pm

Laurel Whitehouse, Director of Religious Education

  • Out of Office June 25-June 30 & July 20-24

Tim Steele, Music Director

  • Back in the Fall