Your Weekly Link – News and Updates 9/3/2020

Weekly Link 9-3-2020

This Week in Virtual Worship

Sunday, September 6 , 2020 9:30am

“Where lies liberation ? Songs of salvation. 

Facilitated by: Robert Johnson

Worship Associate:  Penny Partridge

Music:  Liz Alvarez

Sound Tech: Madeline Miller

Virtual Social Hour Host: Melinda Collins


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, 09/4.

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!

With the Democratic and Republican conventions over, launching stark differences in world views and visions for our country,  the anxiety, fear, hope, determination and urgency is palpable in our society.  So much feels at stake: finding a vaccine and collective agreement to the pandemic response, economic insecurity as food, shelter and employment hangs in the balance for so many, the undeniable call to address racial disparities, and the ever present imperative for environmental advocacy.  All this while schools are struggling to juggle safety and need, and families are juggling the struggles of home, work and school life.

First, how about recognizing the strength and perseverance it has taken to navigate these months?  You may feel worn out, but know you have it in you to find your way through. Second, how about honoring the creativity and innovation, the reaching out and letting in of new ways of being and communicating?  You may feel unnerved by it all, but you have a wisdom of relating that can find a way.  And thirdly, how about noticing the breadth of resources you have in your own strength of being and in interdependent relating.  As UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray reminded us in a recent video blog: “This is no time to go it alone.”

We must be mindful, especially these days, of what can renew and restore us, what can encourage and delight us, and what can spur us on to share of ourselves for the good of the whole.  Therein lies the stamina, the hope, the joy, the humility, the grace that will get us through.

Through zoom, email, and occasional socially distanced meetings, I can testify that this congregation, that you, have vast resources of love, creativity, innovation, care, vision and determination.  Do not doubt it, or if you do, contact a fellow congregant who can remind you that being in this together, brings good things to our lives and the lives of those we touch.

Get ready for a great year together. We can do this.

Blessings Be, Rev. Lisa

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.~

Events, News & Announcements

 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-6:45pm 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.

Save the Date!

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

Participants will be asked to stay in their cars for the event.

More details will be available soon!

Please note that the date in last week’s Link was incorrect. This event is happening on SUNDAY, September 13th. 

Seeking photos for our Ingathering Service!

Please submit a photo of yourself for a photo slideshow during our Ingathering worship service in September. Choose a photo of a summer activity, a favorite hobby, or any photo you’d like to share. Family group shots or individual photos are welcome. We hope to get photos of as many folks as possible.

Please send your jpg photos by September 7 to

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:

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:




Hyde Park

First Parish’s Social & Environmental Justice Committee (S&EJ = “sage”)will collaborate with several organizations this year believing that *incommunity lie our solutions*.

Naomi Klein, Canadian journalist and author of *On Fire, The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, *wrote this tough excerpt (“Stop Trying to Save the World All by Yourself”), “We all hear the clock ticking loudly in the background.  But that doesn’t mean that climate change trumps everything else.  It means we need to create integrated solutions, ones that radically bring down [greenhouse gas] emissions while tackling structural inequality and making life tangibly better for the majority.  The hard truth is that the answer to the question, ‘What can I, as an individual, do to stop climate change?’ is: nothing… *We can only meet this tremendous challenge together, as part of a massive and organized global movement.”*   We at First Parish Milton will journey together using compass and road maps of UU Mass Action, Mass. Interfaith Power and Light, Mass. Power Forward, and Mass. Youth Climate Coalition. We encourage you to join us for online events, discussions, and workshops this fall. Read “The Link” for upcoming news.

“Stay tuned for online events, discussions, & workshops.We hope you will join us.”

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

For the past month, our church community has been writing postcards to help stop voter suppression for this upcoming critical election. Our team has already written 1700 postcards and is almost at our goal of 2000! If you would like to help us finish this campaign, please order your postcards.   To order postcards through our church, click here.  Questions? Contact Cynthia Guise at

Mainspring lunch program – HELP needed! 

 For our delivery on  September 9th – 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, 10 Parish 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!