- Christmas Eve Services at First Parish
On Christmas Eve, please join Rev. Anne Mason at the 5 PM family service, where she will share a retelling of the Christmas story by Simon Andrews called, “Our Story: A Backwards Christmas.” Rev. Anne will be joined by the children and youth of the congregation as sheep, shepherds, wise people, other animals, angels, and Mary and Joseph. The children’s choir will sing Vince Guaraldi’s tender “Christmas Time is Here” (from A Charlie Brown Christmas) and Felix Mendelssohn’s beloved Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” with soloist McKenna O’Hare Gibson. Schuyler Hess, Jordan O’Hare Gibson, Gabriela Padilla, Peter Svensen and Liz Whitman-Kinghorn will sing the energetic Calypso carol “Mary’s Boychild.” Andreas Padilla will sing the serene boy soprano solo “Once in Royal David’s City.” Jordan O’Hare Gibson, on bass clarinet, will play Vince Guaraldi’s jazz arrangement of “O Tannenbaum” (from A Charlie Brown Christmas) for the centering music. And for the postlude, Rip Jackson will play a rousing jazz piano arrangement of “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” We will have guest instrumentalists Regie O’Hare Gibson (percussion), Aidan Dwyer (contrabass), Mark and Mitch Therieau (guitars) and Jamie Willis (percussion). The congregation will be singing beloved Christmas carols during the service.
For the 7 PM Christmas Eve candlelight service, the sanctuary choir, soloists and instrumentalists will adorn the worship service with beautiful Christmas music. Rev. Anne and members of the congregation will share readings from the Gospels, the Koran, Maya Angelou, Wihla Hutson, and Sophia Lyons Fahs. The sanctuary choir (with harp, clarinet, flute, French horn and piano) will sing two of John Rutter’s beautiful Christmas Carols – “Christmas Lullaby,” with soloists Elisabeth Jas and Dave Meharry and “Candlelight Carol,” with soloist Toni Tasker. Julia Jaffe and Elizabeth Walsh (with all of the instrumentalists) will sing a beautiful duet version of Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night.” Guest tenor soloist Jamie Willis will sing Pietro A. Yon’s lovely “Gesu Bambino.” For the centering music, Ryan Lee (clarinet) Martha Moor (harp), Meg Newhouse (flute), Erik Svensen (horn) and Rip Jackson (piano) will play Ralph Vaughan Williams’s gorgeous “Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves.’” The congregation will be singing beloved Christmas carols during the service, and Rev. Anne will lead the congregation out of the sanctuary to rekindle the candles and sing carols on the steps of the church.
We hope you and your family will join First Parish for these special services.
- Church Closed December 26th – 31st
As in the past, First Parish will be closed from the day following Christmas Day through New Year’s Eve. During this period, not only will staff be on vacation, but necessary work will be done to repair damage from a roof leak and to address other issues. The building will be closed to everyone except the contractors doing the work.
- A Note from the BoardThis year your Parish Board has been working on documenting how decisions are made at First Parish, including decisions about staffing, finance, committees, building use, worship, music, religious education, and how we present ourselves to the public. We compiled all this into a single document called “How Decisions Are Made at First Parish” which is now available on the members page of the First Parish website. The Board hopes the document will improve transparency, stimulate discussion on whether the current policies are the most appropriate ones for First Parish, and identify policy gaps that need addressing. The Board welcomes your comments and suggestions.In the spirit of community,Tom RichBoard Chair
- Voices on the Green – Call for Submissions
First Parish’s new bi-monthly community program, Voices on the Green, will debut on Friday, January 27th from 7-9 PM in Parish Hall. Each program will coalesce around a central theme and consist of a TED-type talk by a local expert, 3 or 4 short Moth-type stories (deeply personal while also universal), and 2 or 3 songs, poems, or musical selections on the same theme. An intermission will provide opportunity for general conversation with refreshments and music. Donations will be requested, and a percentage of the proceeds will support the evening’s community-service partner.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
The theme for our first program is “Breakthrough.” Have you had a scientific, artistic, creative, literary, invention or personal breakthrough you’d like to share? If so, please send a brief description to David Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 6th.
Everyone is welcome to submit: we will select the best combination to make a lively and entertaining evening. If you have a great story to tell, but are unsure if it fits this theme, or unsure of yourself as a presenter, we will provide opportunity for conversation, practice, and expert mentoring. Contact any member of the steering committee with questions: David Rose, Deb Lapides, Regie O’Hare-Gibson, or Laura Juitt.
The next two events will be held on March 31st and May 26th. The theme for March is “Living in the Hyphen” – the challenges and opportunities of growing up bi-culturally in Lexington or the surrounding area. Our community service partner for that evening will be Lexington Youth and Family Services.
- First Parish Delivers 55 Gift Baskets to the UU Urban Ministry
In conjunction with the highly successful annual FP Holiday Workshop held this past December 3rd, our Social Action Committee made and delivered 55 holiday gift bags to women residents of the UU Urban Ministry transitional housing program and mothers of the Roxbury Youth Program. The project was led by Brenda Prusak. Dori Reuss, Dep Lapides, Jane Beswick, and Elaine Hylek. Items included in the bags were small lotion bottles, glitter markers, small notebooks, sanitizers, a handmade greeting card, tissue packets, socks, and a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts. The bags were topped off with Deb’s cookie box (including her cookies plus those donated by Jane and the Youth Group). The UUUM and the women were thrilled with the gifts.
- News about The Engagement Project
The Committee on Leadership and Service is embarking on a project to connect with all the members and friends of First Parish on a one to one basis for a dialog around what brings you to First Parish and how you engage in the congregational fabric of the community.
These interviews will be relatively brief (about 30 minutes) and very key yet engaging. When members of our team reach out to you over the coming weeks, please find time for this important opportunity to connect and let us and the rest of the congregation hear about your values and interests.
As part of this project, we would are looking for volunteers to have their interviews recorded on video for publication on our church’s website. Please let us know if you’d be willing to participate. In the short term, we’re also looking for 4-5 young adults (college age) members and friends to participate. If you have a son or daughter coming home for the holidays in the next week or two and can spare 30 minutes, we’d love to interview them for this project.
Thank you all for your consideration.
Yours in Leadership and Service,
Erik Svenson & Elisabeth Jas
Committee on Leadership & Service Chairs
- LexRAP Laptop Drive
As the holidays approach and gifts of new laptops twinkle in the eyes of your loved ones, keep the old ones for Lexington Refugee Assistance Program (www.lexrap.org). LexRAP is seeking usable laptops to give to refugee families who have recently resettled in this area. The laptops will also be given to refugees who came to the U.S as unaccompanied minors and are now in college. If you have recently bought anew laptop and the old one is still sitting around, please consider donating.
We ask that PC laptops you donate have at least Windows 7 or above to be usable. Mac laptops should not have significant known problems. It should not be more than three to four years old.
We will not be able to fix laptops that don’t work. Please do not give us damaged, broken laptops or those without charging cords.
Volunteers will delete user accounts, user profiles, and files.
Drop off laptops on Saturday January 28th and Sunday January 29th from 10AM to 5PM at 10 Grant Place, Lexington. For more detailed information go to www.lexRAP.org and click on “Laptop Drive.” If you need to arrange a different time, call 781-254-6002 or email email@example.com. For other questions, feel free to be in touch with Jane Eckert.
- Save the Date – Martin Luther King Community Day Activities
Monday, January 16th, will be the fourth annual Martin Luther King Community Service Day, and congregants can join with more than 400 volunteers from throughout Lexington for a variety of services to Lexington and to our surrounding communities: making cards for hospital patients, veterans, and disabled adults; making goody bags for homeless children with senior residents of Waltham Crossing; serving lunch at senior villages in Lexington; joining in activities with homeless children and adults at the Waltham YMCA; making scarfs for those in need; helping deliver donations to such organizations as the Lexington Food Pantry. Many of these activities are family-friendly, and lots of fun.
Many First Parishioners have participated in this day since it began, and found it moving and community-building. It will provide many ways for us to share in the work of providing concrete resources and hope to our nation’s most vulnerable residents.
More information will be provided in January’s Focalpoint. In the meantime, go to Facebook: Lexington Community MLK Day. To volunteer: go to lexingtonmlk.org For questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Helen Cohen at email@example.com.