Table of Contents
- Message from Molly B. Nolan
- This Week in Worship
- This Week in Religious Exploration
- This Week in Music
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Events and Meetings
- News and Announcements
- Beyond First Parish
Message from Rev. Lisa Ward
As images of the Russian war on Ukraine flood the media and cries for help fill the airwaves, we wonder what we can do, how we can help, what to tell our children, and what to demand of leadership. True to form, our social and environmental justice committee has rallied to identify an important aid organization for our next “share the plate” Sunday on March 20 (https://www.sunflowerofpeace.com/). Many of us have already given to other trusted organizations; for my part, Doctors Without Borders and International Medical Corps, and I look forward to contributing to Sunflower of Peace next Sunday.
At our Milton Interfaith Clergy Association meeting this week, we heard the testimony of a Ukrainian Milton resident, who honored us with the courage of her telling and the welcome of our witness. This, too, is a gesture that counts, though feels distant from any true remedy.
How does one navigate the sense of helplessness, when senseless atrocities are daily news and arrogance of empire distorts humanity? I, of course, don’t have the answer, but, perhaps, a few suggestions. One, keep in mind that we are one humanity, interconnected, inherently invited to live. The more we live into our mutual worth, the more we will find killing for borders untenable and lies to deny suffering reprehensible. As the “we” of humanity grows stronger, the fear-based conditioning of “the other” diminishes. Two, maintain a willingness to see, to not turn away in the face of adversity, to tap into our body knowledge of violence and how wrong it feels. Not easy, but an inborn guide to find pathways toward peace. And three, develop practices to keep our hearts open through forms of prayer or meditation. Prayer is not about getting an answer, it’s about how we are changed in the asking, how we are moved by the longing, and how we are centered in the aspiration for healing and well-being. Our intentions focus our lives, guide our choices and model our hope for humanity.
Let us give of our resources as we can, open to the testimony of those directly affected and deepen our aspiration, in our ways and walking, toward one world for all.
This I pray. With hope and love, Rev. Lisa
This Week in Worship
“Lifting Our Voice”
Facilitated by: Rev. Lisa Ward
Worship Associate: Tom Kemp
Music: Tim Steele
Audio: Graham Goodrich & Nina Truog
Worship Services are hybrid.
Join us in person or on Zoom.
Please 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.
Sunday’s offering will be dedicated to the services and ministry of First Parish.
This Week in Religious Exploration
Please bring a 12 oz to 1 lb box of rice or small shaped pasta to First Parish this Sunday. One box per person. This request is for everyone to fulfill. Everything will become clear during the Story For All Ages.
Youth are invited to participate in First Parish’s monthly turn at Fair Food on Saturday, 19 March. This is a multi generational event. Youth in 8th grade and older are welcome.High School aged youth through senior citizens are welcome. Youth not attending with their parents will need parent permissions to carpool. The carpool vehicles with youth will have 2 adults per car. Everyone will be masked, with windows open at least a crack for ventilation, We need to give
Fair Food a headcount by 16 .March. Please RSVP or send questions to Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org Service hours are available.
It has been so long since children were in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings, that many are experiencing their return as completely new. With the exception of unvaccinated children who go directly to the Nursery staffed with fully vaccinated and boosted childcare providers, we all begin the morning together in the Sanctuary. After the Story For All Ages, children and their teachers leave for Religious Exploration classes in Parish Hall. Parents pick up their vaccinated children from Parish Hall for Social Hour at the end of worship. Parents pick up their unvaccinated children from the Nursery by noon as they depart First Parish.
Molly B. Nolan, Transitional Director of Religious Education.
This Week in Music
This Sunday Grace Allendorf will be singing an arrangement of “Amazing Grace” with a non-traditional melody by composer Lena McLin. Ms. McLin is a graduate of Spelman College and taught for years as a music teacher in the Chicago Public School system. She is also an author and a pastor.
Franc Graham and Claudia Wellington will be collaborating on “Eyes on the Prize” by Alice Wine.
Mainspring Lunch Bag Program
The next date is March 16th-volunteers needed!
The Sign up Genius has the Wednesday dates listed- you can sign up now!
If you require more information or have questions please contact Peter Schneider at email@example.com.
Fair Foods is a non-profit program that rescues fresh produce that wwould otherwise be wasted and uses it to feed our communities. We volunteer together unloading and sorting food and packing bags once a month.
The next volunteer date is Saturday, March 19th.
If you want to volunteer, please sign up on Sign up Genius by Thursday
evening before the event. Start time and locations vary depending on Fair Foods’ needs, but typically start at 8:30 a.m. at their warehouse at 70 Amory Street in Roxbury.
Other volunteer opportunities are also available at Fair Foods on weekdays from early morning until mid-afternoon.
Any questions or for more information contact Tony Dutzik at t
Events and Meetings
Many of us want to DO something about our climate emergency but are unsure where to start. Taking action together is empowering.
Make some noise together
March 11th Hour Calling – Climate Action Standout
Friday, March 11, 6-6:30 p.m. [“Wet”/Rain/Snow: Sat. 3/12]
First Parish Church lawn ~ Gather round the spotlight
Bring a drum (improvise, such as the household item below), a bell, a whistle…. a DIY sign
Show that you care about the climate emergency, environmental justice, and Milton’s municipal response planning (see above). For safety: flashlights / headlamps / light-colored or reflective clothing. We welcome all to this energizing community event. Be bold: bring friends and neighbors… your Friday date! Spread the word.
Next weekend make your plans to attend Milton Community Concert’s first live concert in almost two years. On Saturday, March 19th at 7 pm talented singers from Opera On Tap will be presenting a program called “The Heart of a Woman”. The net proceeds of this program, honoring Women’s History Month, will go to support Renewal House, a shelter for those experiencing domestic violence. Tickets are $20 general, $10 senior, and free for 18 and under. Visitt http://miltoncommunityconcerts.com.
UU Elevator Speech– This course was designed by the UU Church in Dallas to help you voice what Unitarian Universalism and your membership at First Parish means to you, in a comfortable, conversational way.
Even if you missed the first session, you are welcome at the next two. We recorded last week’s so you can watch it and get caught up.
Next dates are March 15th and 29th (Tuesdays) from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm over Zoom
Please email Leslie and let her know if you plan to attend: Lesliecmacpherson@gmail.com
2. Walks– Debbie Alsebai and Dianna Wilson are leading walks after church, weather permitting. The next one will be on Sunday, March 20th. Meet up at Central Ave T stop in Milton at noon. Reach out to Debbie firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
3. Cooking – Save the date! Membership is celebrating April Fools Day with FOOLISH FOODS! We will be cooking a silly assortment of foods that may or may not be what they seem. (Are they cupcakes or meatloaf??) Friday, April 1st. More info will be coming.
The Racial Justice Focus Group invites you to join us in understanding the Widening the Circle of Concern UUA report.
In a nutshell, the report, which reads more like a book than a report, is about addressing the White Supremacy Culture within Unitarian Universalism.
Explore with us why we are engaging in studying the recommendations in the report with the intent of taking action toward implementing the recommendations. For example, many UU churches, have placed BLM signs on their front lawns, now many are adopting or in the process of deliberating adoption of the 8th principle which is about building a “beloved” community and dismantling racism and other systems of oppression within ourselves and within our communities. These are great first steps, but what does it mean to actually “live” the 8th principle?
We meet on the 4th Wednesday of each month from 7-8:30PM. All are welcome. Contact Rev. Lisa for the zoom link: email@example.com.
If you can’t stomach yet another zoom meeting, we encourage you to at least pick up a copy of the report to read on your own and provide suggestions or feedback on what recommendations speak to you. Several copies are available at the office. You can also access a pdf, with audio access, here: https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/cic/widening.
News and Announcements
March 13th is Commitment Sunday!
If you have not made your annual pledge for FY23, please fill out the annual pledge form sent to you from the Stewardship Team. Thank you for your commitment to First Parish!
Caring Committee Request
The Caring Committee has a request for information from our congregation. We are looking for the names, current addresses, and any food allergies or special requests for the college-aged youth from First Parish. The plan is to send “Care Packages” to our youth to arrive by mid-April. The packages will contain food items and fun trinkets to help our youth remember that they are still important to First Parish. Please send this information by email or text to Amy Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (857) 939-0716. (We will be setting up a table at social hour later in March to collect donations for the packages.)
Report from All Church Council – February 11, 2022
All Church Council meets several times a year — a gathering of committee chairs and church leadership to engage in discussions that strengthen our faith, our community, and our work together. All Church Council meetings are open to all. In February, the ACC gathered to discuss ideas for reaching the zero-carbon emissions goal we approved at last year’s annual meeting.
Our Congregation commits to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions and practicing total sustainability in all congregational activities by 2035.
The meeting was organized by the Climate Action Team; an ad hoc team charged by the Parish committee to develop an initial plan for reaching our ambitious net zero-carbon goal. Many committee chairs and representatives attended and contributed to the lively discussion. Here are a few ideas that came up in the discussion.
- Replace oil burner in the Children’s Church with heat pump/mini-split
- Add more trees, native and “pollinator plants” to our landscaping
- Hold one vegan social hour per month – help people make the connection between plant-based diets and climate change
- Switch to electric stoves when our new stoves reach end of life
- Consider ways to address “climate anxiety”
- Hold an adult education workshop on “calculating our carbon footprint”
As a special treat for the meeting, Charlie Franich offered his own adapted version of The Garden Song (by Pete Seeger) – last verse
Inch by Inch, row by row, I’m going to make this garden grow.
All I need is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
So, stand by standout, vote by vote, I’m gonna give this planet hope
All I need are some facts and your vote so the rain keeps tumblin’ down,
So the rain keeps tumblin’ down.
A key objective of the meeting was to promote the idea that it will take our whole congregation to reach our goal and to be successful, EVERYONE will need to be engaged. All committees agreed to continue thinking about how they can contribute to the climate action work ahead. The Climate Action Team consists of Mary Blanchette, Marie-Laure Brown, Deb Larsen-Venable, Henry Maclean, Tracey Robinson, Hale Smith, and Richard Venable. They will report to the Parish Committee this spring and plan to provide an update at the annual meeting in May.
Safety Guidelines (updated March 20, 2022)
The following safety guidelines will go into effect March 20, 2022. While some guidelines remain unchanged, some have been updated to reflect updated state and federal guidelines. Changes have been highlighted for your reading convenience.
Hybrid worship will continue indefinitely and will enable congregants to choose between in-person and remote worship experiences – based on individual preferences.
We continue to recommend that all members of the congregation are get fully vaccinated – including boosters as they become available. The scientific data indicates that this is the most important action we can take to keep ourselves and our community safe.
Updated policies for Sunday worship:
- Masks are required in the meetinghouse for all, regardless of vaccination status; please continue to wear your mask when sitting in your pew. Masks are optional for children 5 years and under. We will review the masking requirement when Massachusetts COVID statistics reach target low rates:
Positivity rate under .75%
Daily death count under 10
- Worship leaders may remove masks when speaking in the front of the meetinghouse; each worship speaker/soloist should have a dedicated microphone and podium; social distancing between worship leaders should be maintained throughout the service.
- Social distancing (at least 3 feet) should be observed in the meetinghouse; seating will be limited to alternate pews.
- Special requirements for choir members: because of the need for proximity for singers in the choir, vaccines will be required for all active choir members, including soloists. Special masks for vocalists will be provided by the church and will be required for all singing performers in the meetinghouse.
- We will NO LONGER require worship attendees to sign in. We respectfully remind everyone to please stay home if you are feeling sick or have even mild symptoms of illness. If you test positive for COVID within a week after attending a worship service (or other church event) we request that you inform the office. This proactive individual action will replace the need to collect data for contact tracing.
- Social hour—with refreshments—can resume on March 20, 2022. The preference will be to hold social hour outdoors in the courtyard, whenever possible. Social hour may be moved inside to the Parish Hall if temperatures/weather prevent outdoor gathering. Masks are recommended for indoor social hour. Parish Hall windows should be opened for indoor meetings. (The Hospitality Committee is authorized to make decisions regarding the location of social hour.)
- Childcare staff will be available until noon to care for nursery-age children of parents who would like to attend social hour.
- Religious exploration teachers will continue to plan for a blend of indoor and outdoor activities based on weather and other factors. Masks are required for students and teachers. The Parish Hall and the Chase Parlor will be the primary spaces used for RE. Outdoor “breaks” will be integrated into classes as possible to limit group time spent in indoor spaces.
Policies for other church related activities:
Outdoor gatherings may be held on campus and food/drink are permitted at outdoor meetings. Masks are recommended but may be removed for eating/drinking.
Indoor meetings/gatherings may be scheduled through the church office for use of the Parish Hall, Meetinghouse, Activity Room, Chase Parlor, or Children’s Church. Capacity limits are being suspended at this time, and masks are recommended but optional. IMPORTANT: groups are responsible for getting consensus from members of a gathered group about masking. Please respect the needs of any group member who feels safe only when all are masked. Seating should be arranged allowing for a social distancing guideline of 3 feet between participants. Air filters should be left on, and a few windows should be opened to allow optimal air ventilation.
Carpooling for youth events is approved provided all wear masks and windows are cracked open.
Carriage House Nursery School resumed in September. Carriage House teachers and families will use the lower-level door and bathrooms for entering and exiting.
Beyond First Parish
Mission & Vision (UUUM’s Community Conversations Series)
March 15th 6:00 pm-7:30 pm
Follow First Parish on Facebook and get updates, poems, announcements and more. You’ll be glad you did!
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS
Monday – Thursday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Other times by appointment
MINISTER OFFICE HOURS
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Other times by appointment
The Church office is closed on Fridays
Sundays through mid June
- Worship, 9:30 am in the Meetinghouse
- Choir Rehearsal (most Sundays) at 8:45 am
SIGN UP GENIUS (formerly known as the Planner)
The link to SignUp Genius is: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090d44aca728a02-sunday1
You can sign up for one our our Sunday volunteer positions.