Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 9/10/2020

Weekly Link 9-10-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship

Sunday, September 10 , 2020 10:30am

“Here Comes the Sun 

Facilitated by: Rev. Lisa Ward

Worship Associate:  Penny Partridge

Music: Tim Steele  

Sound Tech: Madeline Miller

Virtual Social Hour Host: Jennifer PinkusPlease 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, 09/11.

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!

Even as we remain online in our gatherings, the ingathering spirit is alive in our congregation.  Groups are forming, projects continuing and celebration is in the air.  There are so many ways we are getting to know one another and we are finding different ways of connecting. Still, the energy of gathering is felt when we converge in worship.

I lift up many thanks to the Worship Committee, and Joe Ayoub as chair, for the wonderfully crafted summer worship program. Each week lay-led services brought wonder, intrigue, grace, wisdom and love to our homes, vacation spots and family gatherings. This summer was filled with truly inspiring services week after week. It couldn’t have been possible without the audio/video engineers, Madeleine Miller and Arlo Stoodt, mentored by our stellar audio/video volunteer, Eric Miller.  We were blessed with many, varied musical offerings as well, along with the steady presence of Liz Dunn Alvarez on piano. We truly are gifts to one another, each in our own way. Never doubt the importance of your presence in this community.

This is a time when Unitarian Universalists throughout the denomination are gearing up for Ingathering services. To highlight our connection to the larger UU community, I invite you to watch this message of greeting and encouragement from our UUA President, Susan Frederick-Gray.

Religious Exploration

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 while worship services remain virtual only.

Fear not! Religious exploration will continue as we experiment with new ideas and approaches in this time of liminal space. Family Spirit Circle packets will be delivered to individual families of elementary school or younger children approximately every two weeks. Each packet will focus on a particular theme, many of them seasonal. These packets will contain readings, supplies, and suggestions for how families might engage with the theme. Middle School Connections will continue to be offered online. The content for these sessions will be defined this fall in concert with our middle school youth.

Youth Group possibilities are being evaluated by a team of volunteers who have stepped forward to help reimagine how to sustain youth connections, foster resiliency, and encourage social activism as we move forward this year. At this time we are interviewing youth and youth families to determine what feels possible and valuable in a time of virtual schooling. The hiring of a new Youth Coordinator is on hold awaiting the results of this analysis and feedback on new options we might try out. The Youth Group Visionaries as I call our volunteer group, have some exciting prospects for what a revitalized youth program might include!

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

OUR MUSIC THIS SUNDAY: You’ll notice a certain bright and shining theme to our music this Sunday,as we joyfully celebrate our ingathering and new solar panels. After aprelude called “Heavenly Sunlight” by George Harrison Cook, we will heartwo solar solos: “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison, sung by ClaudiaWellington; and “Sun Don’t Set in the Mornin'”, arranged by Jay Althouse,

Sung by guest soprano Melissa Joseph.

Events, News & Announcements

Join First Parish on Sunday, September 13th at 4pm for a socially distanced celebration of the installation of our solar panels!

Masks are mandatory.

Please arrive at 3:30pm and stay in your cars (to assure covid-safety measures) at the front entrance of the Church (535 Canton Ave).  Traffic volunteers will guide you to position around the church campus. Contact Deb Alsebai ( if you have questions.

Bicyclists: There has been a request from some participants to arrive on one’s bicycle.  You must be masked and distanced at six feet with your bicycle.  Please go to the Engine road entrance and gather on the side lawn near Town Hall. Contact Andrea Geyling ( if  you have questions.

We would like to line the campus route with lawn signs with positive affirmations about the Sun/Solar Panels and need your help to come up with some catchy sayings and creative signs. If you would like to help there will be some blank lawn signs in the carriage house tomorrow by 1:00 PM for you to pick up and then drop back off by 5:00 PM Saturday. 

At 4:00pm on Sunday September 13, we will share in a brief zoom blessing with members of the solar panel task group and Rev. Lisa.  We will then ride around the campus to view the beautiful panels.  A drone photographer will be capturing this celebratory event. We hope many of you can join us at this celebratory event!

The Hospitality Committee welcomes everyone to the new church year!  FirstParish will continue to have Zoom social hours while the church servicesare remote.  If you haven’t attended, you should!  It’s a great way totouch base with friends, old and new. But in order to keep this going, we need your help!  Please sign up to hostone or more social hours this fall.  For those of you who love doing it,the more dates the better!  (If you haven’t done it yet, the Zoom skillsrequired are pretty rudimentary and we’ll provide training.) Please sign up at the link below:

Instructions and more information about hosting below:

Building Bridges !

Exciting Youth Summer Project !!!

Saturday, September 12th

(raindate Sept. 26th)

First Shift: 10:00am-11:30am or 2nd shift: 12:00pm-1:30pm 

Church of the Holy Spirit, 525 River St., Mattapan

Youth between 6th and 12th grades from Mattapan, Milton, Hyde Park & Dorchester are invited to create a Heart as a fundraising activity to support Essential Workers.  For additional information please contact:  Debbie Alsebai @ 617-821-9460 Social Distancing will be maintained and masks must be worn. Cleaning will take place between shifts.


to support residents in:

  • Mattapan
  • Milton
  • Dorchester
  • Hyde Park

 Welcome “back” from the Phased Re-Opening task groupSeptember has arrived, solar panels are “growing” on the church roof, the world continues to wrestle with COVID-19, and some of us have learned more about ZOOM than we ever would have imagined! We hope you all had many moments of fun and peace this summer and you feel ready to start the new school/church year with resilience and optimism. The Phased Re-Opening task group met intensively last spring and shared information with you all about the plan to extend online worship into the coming year. The task group met monthly through the summer to monitor COVID regulations and statistics, discuss the impact of COVID on church rentals and policies, and advise Rev Lisa and church staff on COVID related issues. We will continue to meet monthly to monitor the status of COVID. We are sure that some of you were hopeful that we could resume in-person worship and gatherings this fall – unfortunately, as you all know, the COVID situation remains uncertain and large gatherings remain unsafe, so we will continue to gather for worship, remotely, Sundays at 10:30 starting Sept 13. Our creative Worship Committee is hard at work planning new ways to use an online platform to explore new forms of worship so stay tuned and tune in. The task group will continue to monitor the COVID situation and recommend changes to the Parish Committee as things improve.>>>   One piece of good news is that the phased reopening plan in MA DOES allow for small and limited gatherings – especially in outdoor venues. In July, the task group shared with you all, our own church guidelines for small group in-person meetings. We are allowing outdoor gatherings for small groups with normal mask and distancing protocols to be observed at all times. If your group wants to meet in the church courtyard, contact the office for more information.  The Committee on Ministry and Rev Lisa have also designed several ways that we can continue to feel connected and supported through these challenging times:  chats with Rev Lisa, small group walks, weekly meditation, as well as our weekly Sunday worship and breakout discussion groups, are just some of the ways to connect with your First Parish friends. Check the weekly LINK (released on Thursdays) and the church calendar for more information about activities and events.  If you have questions for the Phased ReOpening team, please contact Tracey Robinson, chair of the task group (tdr02186 at


(Have mask will travel, while the weather is good)

As we will remain in physically distanced community, exploring ways to connect through cyberspace most likely through 2020, I’d like to check-in with as many members and friends of First Parish who would like a physical visit or a brief time together outside on our campus. 

On Campus:

 Adirondack chairs, lovingly crafted by Karl Pastore, will be set out in a safely distanced circle for a 45 minute chat.

I have set aside Thursdays, from 4:00pm-6:00pm for folk to come on by, by appointment.  We can have as many as four people meet together.

We meet for 45 minutes, which gives me 15 minutes to sanitize the chairs for the next small gathering.  Masks required.  We will honor the 6 foot distance.

Here is the sign-up genius for those meetings, which will begin August 20th.

At your home:

Have mask will travel:  I am open to house calls.  We can meet outside your home.  Masks required.  We will honor the 6 foot distance. If you are interested in a visit to your home, please contact me at

All ages welcome for a check-in.  Minors must have a parent or guardian present. 

It is good to be with one another.

Where Are We In the Cultural Shift Toward Racial Justice?

Bi-weekly Conversations by Zoom with Rev. Lisa and Debbie Alsebai

Next Session: Wednesday, September 16, 7:00pm – 8:30 pm

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:

   The Social and Environmental Justice Committee would like to encourage you to join us in an activity. From UU the Vote:   On Wednesday, September 23rd at 7:30 pm there is a UU the Vote virtual event gathering of leaders from across our faith to celebrate all that we have done so far and introduce a powerful week of action during #AllinOctober. We’ll roll out helpful tools to equip us for this week of action, learn how we can sustain this work through the Fall, and highlight some of the work of our UU the Vote volunteers and teams!   Please consider joining us in this virtual meeting to nurture us as we work together to encourage voting. For more information and registration go to:

Uncle Sam needs you to Volunteer! For the following S&EJ sponsored activities: in

First Parish has reached its goal of mailing 2000 postcards for Reclaim Our Vote! Our 30 plus volunteers sent postcards to people of color in Texas to encourage them to vote early and fight voter suppression.   Members of our congregation will be attending a meeting with UU the Vote (September 23 at 7:30) to learn of new campaigns that we can participate in. Stay tuned for more information!     Questions? Contact Cynthia Guise at

Mainspring lunch program – HELP needed! 

 Volunteers are needed on  September 23rd & October 7th- 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 website – please indicate number of lunches you will bring.

Fair Foods is a non-profit program that rescues fresh produce that would otherwise be wasted and uses it to feed our communities. The beginning of the new church year brings the return of a regular Fair Foods volunteer schedule for First Parish. We will volunteer together the 2nd Saturday of every month, starting at roughly 10 a.m at First Parish Dorchester, 10Parish St. in Dorchester, near Fields Corner. Please wear a mask – gloves will be available at the site.

Our first volunteer date will be Saturday,September 12.

Fair Foods has numerous other volunteer opportunities during the week – including every Friday and Saturday at First Parish Dorchester.

Please contact Tony Dutzik at 617-291-4685 or  to find out more or with any questions.

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.

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!