• August 16, 2017
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    • Sunday Service

      Our world is complicated and many of us feel threatened by the erosion of the values we embrace. Clarity comes by exploring the relationship, the connection between these opposing ideas. Clarity gives us the foundation from which we can move ourselves, our community, and our culture forward in a positive direction.

      Please join First Parishioner, Joe Foster, for worship this Sunday when he will guide us on how we reconcile our division between liberal and conservative values, both in our own internal lives and our interactions with others.

      Joe Foster has had a long career working for the military as both a rocket scientist and counter-terrorism expert. In parallel with his professional life, he’s been the president of the Unity Church of Gulf Breeze, an organizer of both Lutheran Youth Groups and Divorce Care Groups and is one of the founders of Minuteman Indivisible, a local nonpartisan political activism organization.

       

      Guest musician will be Yukiko Sekino.

      Click here to hear last week’s sermon by Rev. Anne Mason, “How Can I Keep from Singing.”

    • Among Our Own

      We sadly recognize that our beloved Satt Oishi is in decline. He is at home with Hospice care, and would welcome short visits from congregants who might like to sit quietly with him during these precious days of his life. If you would like to visit, please call his home and the aide on duty will let you know if this is a good time to come by. Rev. Anne and the Pastoral Associates have been visiting with him as well. Please hold him and his family in your hearts in these days.

    • Local Prayer Vigils and Calls to Action

      TONIGHT — STAND IN SOLIDARITY AND ACTION FOR CHARLOTTESVILLE AND OUR FUTURE

      Wednesday, August 16th
      6:00 – 7:30pm
      Outside First Parish Church
      630 Mass Ave, Arlington
      We will start by taking actions:
      ACTIONS:
      –Sign our Commitment to Change poster.
      –Write a postcard in support of a federal inter-agency task force on Fighting Hate.
      –Make a card of healing and support to the victims in Charlottesville. 
      –Make a poster for Saturday’s Counter Protest and Resistance Rally in response to the gathering of white nationalists on Boston Common this Saturday. More info here: 
      https://www.facebook.com/events/165697793990647

      Around 6:45PM, we will gather together for a moment of silence, brief words, and singing to strengthen us for what’s ahead.

      Children are welcome!  

      We hope you’ll join us! Please share widely. 

       

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      STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST RACISM AND AND VIOLENCE: A PRAYER VIGIL

      Sunday, August 20, 2017, 6:00pm

      On the Steps of Hancock Church (overlooking the Lexington Green)

      The Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association stands in solidarity with all those who are horrified at the growth of racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry that was recently on display in Charlottesville. We believe that all citizens of our community need to be ready, willing, and able to resist voices of hatred in our midst. We pledge to maintain vigilance in our community and to continue to raise the consciousness of members and parishioners about these evil that are growing in around us. We invite the Lexington community to join us on the stairs of Hancock Church, opposite the Lexington Green, for a prayer vigil to celebrate our solidarity against racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism on Sunday evening, August 20th at 6pm.

      PRAYER VIGIL ON SUNDAY EVENING

    • Call to Action from UUA New England Region
      You May Be Asking, “What Can I Do?”

      We are all horrified by recent events that evidence an emboldened white supremacist influence and aggression. The vandalism at Boston’s Holocaust Memorial last night and the gathering of hate groups to Boston Common planned for this coming Saturday are wake up calls to anyone who might believe New England is immune from openly hostile and violent institutional expressions of hate.

      Standing on the Side of Love staff has been in conversation with Boston-based activists organizing a counter-rally and protest, with local clergy, and with Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. They have compiled information that lets you know how you can be part of efforts to resist the hate. Read below to learn how to support this effort financially, and where, when and how you can show up to embody love.
      We encourage everyone to follow through on what you are called to do, to stay centered in love and prayer, and to stay awake to the realities of hate and fear that threaten marginalized communities around the country.
      Meck Groot, Justice Ministries Lead, New England Region UUA
      Beloveds,

      I am not sure of most things these days. But I do know that white supremacy lives everywhere – and so does love and resistance. Everywhere. Absolutely everywhere.You may have heard that there are white supremacists gathering on the Boston Common on Saturday August 19th. And in so many cities and college campuses. Maybe yours. There is no neutrality. Now is when we show up. To confront hate – in the form of white supremacists gatherings and the white supremacy that is in our laws, our school systems, our families, our congregations, our land. Find your frontlines. Below is a request from one our frontlines – Boston, where our UU congregations and clergy and UUA staff will be showing up as best we know how.

      Show up:

      • Join Violence in Boston, Black Lives Matter Boston and Black Lives Matter Cambridge to Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest and Resistance Rally. Gather at 10am at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. Be sure to check the event page for opportunities to make signs.
      • Use Sunday, August 20th to talk and pray about how white supremacy lives in your congregation, your community, and institutions in your city/town/state.
      • Whether or not you can show up in body, showing up with resources is key. Give over your collection, give personally. Organizers have asked that you contribute to and ask others to donate directly to local Black and queer organizers and Black, Indigenous, People of Color victims of white supremacy in your area and in your congregations. BLM Network/BLM Cambridge have also set up a Fund – support it and share it widely! You can directly support the healing and medical care needed for folks attacked last weekend.  Support Alexis and Nicole and Dre directly here. This is Black August so we have an opportunity to practice abolition by supporting bailing out Black families and community members today. Contribute to Southerners on New Grounds Black August Bail Out Actions.
      • Fight Supremacy! Organizing Committee, Karlene Griffiths Sekou, Black Lives Matter, Boston and Rev. Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey Clergy, United Methodist Church, are calling all clergy who are planning to attend the march and would like to stand in solidarity with this effort to attend a pre-gathering on Friday, August 18th 6:00-8:00 at Union United Methodist Church at 485 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 02118. If you are a clergy person and attending, please email: m4blmboston@gmail.com.

      Or don’t show up. As Black Lives of UU says “To Black UUs, organizers of any faith or no faith, and our UU of color siblings, we struggle with you….To you, we say be where you need to be. Feel what you need to feel, and do what you need to do. Text a friend and meet up. Message someone you met at GA on Facebook. Go to a solidarity vigil, or avoid one-but find community, somehow.”

      If you are called to show up – here’s how:

      • Let us know you’re coming by filling out this form
      • Ground in our faith. In our seventh principle of interdependence and deep connection means that none of us are safe and beloved until we are all safe and beloved. In our fourth principle of a free and responsible for truth meaning means that when someone’s search means that our friends, family, siblings of color are not safe and beloved, it is no longer responsible. And our responsibility is to confront and dismantle white supremacy with reparations and repair.
      • White folks are being asked to show up to:
        • Provide resources to the most marginalized
        • Serve as a buffer between white nationalists/police and people of color
        • Take up as little physical and rhetorical space as possible (Don’t speak over Black, Indigenous, People of Color or clamor to get to microphone or bullhorn, etc)
        • Speak up and uplift the voices of the most marginalized
        • Realize that whatever they’re doing, some will interpret it as “wrong” or insincere and they have to accept that and continue to work or move aside
        • Examine what to do AFTER these rallies and how to capitalize on the momentum and dismantle white supremacy that’s less “obvious.”

      Non-violent Direct Action Training (NVDA) which includes a “Know Your Rights” legal component, or a comprehensive training that includes NVDA, “Know Your Rights, and MEDIC components trainings are strongly encouraged. Schedule below:

      • Thursday, August 17th, 5-10pm, Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116 
      • Friday, August 18th, 10am – 8pm, Union United Methodist Church, 485 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 02118 
        • Schedule: 10:00-1:00 NVDA ▪ 2:00-4:00 MEDIC ▪ 5:00-7:00 Legal Advisory: Know Your Rights
      • Friday, August 18th, 5-10pm Hope Central Church, 85 Seaverns Avenue, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 

      Again, NVDA Trainings are strongly encouraged. Questions? Check out the FAQ.

      We all get to practice humility, flexibility, trust, not needing to know everything as the situations are dynamic. Things will change. We will adapt and learn and be stronger for whatever needs our love next.

      With all love,

      Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen
      Ministry Associate for Youth and Young Adults of Color and
      Spiritual Sustenance Advisor, Standing on the Side of Love

    • Focalpoint Submission Deadline

      The September issue of the Focalpoint will be full of information about the return to committee meetings, Sunday services, programs, and events at First Parish. If you chair a committee or program at the church and want to advertise your fall schedule in the September issue, please send the information to Jane Foley by Friday, August 25th.

    • Plate Donation Program 2017-2018

      As we approach the beginning of the church year, it’s not too early to start planning for this year’s Plate Donation Program. This special collection happens once a month, when money collected during the offertory are donated to local organizations to help support and sustain their programs. We are looking for suggestions from the congregation for recipients of the 2017-2018 Plate Donation program. Are there organizations you deeply care about or are involved with that you would like to see supported by us? We have only one commitment to donating in November to Black Lives UU. Some we are considering for the coming year are MLK Day, The Children’s Room, C4RJ (restorative justice), LexRap, Music Makes Me Happy, and Woburn Council for Social Concern. Please think about the wider community and how we can educate ourselves about it’s needs and awaken others to it’s needs. You can email your suggestions to Carolyn Fleiss, coordinator.

    • Grounds Clean Up

      On the morning of Thursday, September 7, a bunch of hearty folks, hopefully including you, are going to meet at First Parish to clean up and spruce up the grounds. Please save the date. More details will be provided as the date approaches. Thanks! Now go back to enjoying your summer.

      ~Dave Pollack, Buildings & Ground Committee

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