Weekly Update

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The email newsletter of First Parish in Lexington is published on Wednesdays at 4 pm. Submissions are due on Mondays at 10 am. Email submissions or inquiries to the church office.
  • Sunday Service


    The prophet Micah has famously taught us that we are required to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” Using feminist biblical interpretation, Rev. Anne will explore what this ancient Jewish prophet might teach us today in her sermon, “Let the Hills Hear Your Voice”.

    There will be religious education programming for Pre-K through 8th grade. The nursery will be open for babies and toddlers.


    This Sunday the sanctuary choir will sing John Leavitt’s passionate “Sim Shalom” and Jim and Jean Strathdee’s serene setting of the Jewish prophet Micah’s powerful words of justice “What Does the Lord Require of You?” Julia Jaffe and Elizabeth Walsh will sing Rip Jackson’s lyrical duet “Shabbot Shalom.” For the centering music and postlude, Rip Jackson will play Mozart’s lovely piano piece “Andante” (from Sonata in Bb Major, K. 333) and Pachelbel’s spirited organ work “Toccata in C Major.”


  • Unity Group Luncheon, Monday, January 9th


    All are welcome to the next Unity Group luncheon and program, which will take place on Monday, January 9th. This month’s program will be “Fairy Homes and Gardens,” presented by author Ashley Rooney of Lexington who, along with Barbara Purchia of Bedford, has written a best-selling book that shows fairy worlds in a variety of settings with natural and contemporary mediums. Their designs have transformed the natural world into enchanting art that draws upon childhood feelings and dreams, uses natural objects, encourages recycling, and creates a sense of the fantastic.

    Guests are invited to the social time and lunch, starting at 12:00 or just the program at 1:30. No reservations necessary.

  • From Your Minister: Where Do We Go From Here?

    conversationOn Tuesday, Jan. 10th at noon, Rev. Anne will hold a discussion in Parish Hall exploring our continuing reactions to the political shift in this country. As we approach the Inauguration, some of us may want to consider what actions we might want to take as a congregation to help us understand the cultural landscape and to uphold our religious values in a country where hate speech is still on the rise. Having met several times in December, this conversation is still open to anyone who would like to talk, from any political perspective.

    One of the positive outcomes of our earlier conversation is the upcoming workshop on Bystander Intervention Training which we are holding on Jan. 28th from 9 – 12 with Prentice Anthony Pilot. All are welcome to come and learn what to do when we witness intolerant behavior and speech towards others. Please contact Lisa Maria Steinberg to sign up.

  • Bystander Intervention Training – only a few spots left!

    bystanderThere are only a few spots left for the Bystander Intervention Training on Saturday January 28th 9:00-12:00. In response to the needs of this community, we will be offering a Bystander Intervention Training with Tony Pilot. Mr. Pilot has had a long career in public safety and service, including 18 years with the Brookline, MA police department. He brings experience as an educator in Brookline’s Public Schools, as a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) trainer, a member of SRT (Special Response Team), as well as other areas of instruction and training in public safety. Additionally, Mr. Pilot has been a student of Wing Chun Kung Fu for 30 years. Join Tony, Lisa Maria, and Rev. Anne in learning techniques and language for standing up to bullying and speaking out in public when something is not OK.

    Please sign up in advance with Lisa Maria by Tuesday, January 24th.

  • Spring Potluck Dinners Sign-up Ends on Sunday

    potluckSunday will be the last day to sign up for Spring Potluck Dinners. These dinners are a great way to get to know newcomers and long-time members of First Parish.

    When you sign up, you will be able to choose which evenings are best for you, as well as indicate whether or not you could host a dinner. After you sign up, groups of 8-10 people are formed and attendees gather for a potluck dinner in a group member’s home one evening a month for four months. The same people remain in each group for each dinner. There are also options for family potluck evenings where children have their own dinner together, separate from the adults.

    Sign up during social hour on Sunday. Questions about spring potluck dinners? Please contact Linda Coyne at lindatcoyne2@gmail.com.

  • Social Action Ministry: Faith in Action

    change-the-worldThe Social Action Ministry (SAM) at First Parish comes from our Unitarian Universalist faith based on the values of love, justice, community and responsibility. We do this within the supportive environment of our broader church community and the mission of First Parish “…to act on our values to serve the larger community and create a more just and loving world.”

    The new year brings new opportunity to spread the word about, and become involved in, the work First Parish does within our congregation, in the greater Lexington community, with other UU organizations, and around the world. Some of the local organizations we support include the Lexington Food Pantry, LexEAT together, and LexRAP (Refugee Assistance Program). We promote and help the programs of the UU Service Committee, Mass Action, and the UU Urban Ministry, and we collaborate with international programs such as Communities Without Borders and Amnesty International, helping to work for justice around the world. One Sunday morning a month we “Give Away the Plate” when the money from the plate collection goes to a local charity.

    These programs, plus some new initiatives that we are undertaking (political advocacy, climate justice), are just some ways that the Social Action Ministry at First Parish puts our faith into action.

    Please join us! The SAM meets on the third Sunday of each month at noon in Parker Hall. Our next meeting will be on January 15th. All are welcome.

    For questions or to learn more about SAM, please email Elaine Hylek, Chair.

  • MLK Community Day of Service

    mlk-day-of-servicePlease join members of First Parish and the greater Lexington community on Monday, January 16th for the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Day when more than 400 volunteers from throughout Lexington gather 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.

    The Service Day also offers a wide variety of opportunities for sharing our resources with those in need: food for the Food Pantry; toys for Birthday Wishes; books, DVDS, CDs, video games, and other media for More Than Words; gently-worn (or new) kids clothing for Cradles to Crayons; gently-used clothes and shoes for all ages at the Waltham Y; and financial donations to any of these organizations and to Lexington Community MLK Day for expenses.

    The day will begin at 9:00AM with a Panel Discussion and Community Dialogue on Race at Grace Chapel, sponsored by the Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association and the Lexington Human Rights Council. At 11:00, all participants who are able will meet at the statue on the Battle Green for the Unity Walk to Cary Hall. At 11:30 at Cary Hall, there will be an inspirational program of words and music by First Parish member Regie O’Hare Gibson and by the Special Needs Arts Program’s (SNAP) Sing Along Chorus. Service activities begin following the program.

    Please see January’s Focalpoint for more detailed information, or go to Facebook: Lexington Community MLK Day. To volunteer: go to lexingtonmlk.org

    For questions: go to lexingtoncommunity@gmail.com, or contact Helen Cohen at helencohen@rcn.com.

  • News from the Board

    Tom-RichA Happy New Year to all First Parish members and friends!  The beginning of the new year is a good time to make sure your calendars are marked with church wide special events.  Here are a few:

    • January 27th is our inaugural Voices on the Green event. Developed for the church’s 325th Anniversary, Voices is an evening of thoughtful and entertaining story telling, lectures, and music all focused on a single theme developed in conjunction with a Lexington community organization.
    • March 10th is our annual Pledge Drive party at the church, with food, beverages, and community building, leading up to the Pledge Drive Sunday on March 12th.
    • March 26th is Rev. Anne’s installation service, at 4 PM. Installing a new minister is a milestone event in the life of a church that you won’t want to miss.
    • May 7th is our annual spring concert, featuring Broadway music by Rip, the Sanctuary Choir, Children’s Choir, and special guests.

    Please stay tuned for further information about these events. And check out the Events page on the First Parish website — fplex.org — for all upcoming events.

    In the spirit of community,

    Tom Rich

    Board Chair


  • Voices on the Green Premieres January 27th

    What do playwright Don Cohen, poet Cammy Thomas, photographer Zoe Perry-Wood, jazz musician Jeff Leonard and neuroscientist Todd Rose have in common? They’re all Voices on the Green!

    Each event in First Parish’s new community-focused series will feature a central theme and will include a brief scholarly talk by a local expert, three or four personal short stories, and live music performed by local musicians. We’ll have an intermission 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.

    The theme for January 27th is “Breakthrough,” and will feature performances by Jeff Leonard, teacher, musician, and mentor extraordinaire to Lexington High School students for nearly 25 years; a scholarly talk by neuroscientist Todd Rose, Director of the Mind, Brain and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and personal stories from Don Cohen, Cammy Thomas and Zoe Perry-Wood. Regie O’Hare Gibson will be our host, and our community service partner will be Lexington Council for the Arts.

    Voices on the Green was developed to celebrate First Parish’s 325th anniversary by providing a public service to the community through exploration of important social issues. The series will showcase the many experts in Lexington and surrounding communities who illuminate the joys and challenges of the human condition in the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Suggestions for participants in all these aspects of the program are welcome. Please contact David Rose with questions or suggestions at VoicesOnTheGreen@fplex.org.

    Our theme for March will be “Living in the Hyphen,” an exploration of the challenges and opportunities inherent in growing up in a bi-cultural family in this area. Our community service partner for that evening will be Lexington Youth and Family Services. In May our theme will be “I Protest!,” an exploration of the effects of protest in all avenues of life, whether political, cultural or personal.

    Suggested donations are $10 for open theater seating, $20 for open table seating, or $100 to reserve a table for five. To reserve your seats, go to VoicesOnTheGreen.Eventbrite.com. Contact any of the committee members if you have questions: David Rose, Deb Lapides, Regie O’Hare-Gibson and Laura Juitt.

  • Buildings & Grounds Update

    first_parish_winter_croppedOur historic church building and its grounds need lots of ongoing care, and a goodly share of that care is provided by cheerful volunteers.  Here are some of their recent accomplishments:

    * Lighting improvements to front portico and rear parking lot, and repair of broken ceiling fixture in Common Room. Thanks especially to Lew Counts.

    * Repair of hidden, metal roof adjacent to but higher than porte-cochère using a painted on rubber compound. Leak from that ancient part of the roof caused some damage in the stairwell near the porte-cochère. Thanks especially to Jim Gross.

    * Two Saturday work parties that cleaned and organized the boiler room and closets, washed windows, cleaned woodwork, assembled new 14-gauge stainless steel work table in kitchen, removed old wax, and polished two large, standing candelabras, raked leaves, etc. An impressive total of 23 individuals contributed their time and effort during the work parties. Thanks especially to Toni Tasker for organizing these efforts.

    On the horizon is a third work party.  This time volunteers will be helping to paint Parker Hall, the stairwell adjacent to the porte-cochère, and adjoining hallways.

    Thanks to all B&G volunteers for joining in, contributing to the safety, cleanliness, and beauty of First Parish, and helping save the congregation lots of money in a tight budget environment.

    Submitted by Dave Pollack on behalf of the B&G Committee.

  • This Week at First Parish
    Wednesday, January 4
    Choir rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Thursday, January 5
    Meditation 4:00 p.m. Parlor
    Saturday, January 7
    Painting Party 8:00 a.m. Parker Hall
    Pieter Svenson’s Eagle Scout Ceremony 3:00 p.m. Sanctuary
    Sunday, January 8
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Children’s Choir Rehearsal 11:45 a.m. Sanctuary & Parlor
    Coming of Age 5:45 p.m. Common Room
    OWL 6:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    SHYG 7:00 p.m. Common Room
    Monday, January 9
    Staff Meetings 11:00 a.m. Minister’s Office
    Unity Group 12:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Tuesday, January 10
    “Where Do We Go From Here?” Discussion Group 12:00 p.m. Parish Hall
    Board Meeting 7:00 p.m. Common Room
    Insight Meditation 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
  • Social Hour Host List – February through June

    coffee urnIn case you missed it last week:

    First Parish invites each of you to participate in hospitality by hosting our Sunday morning social hour one time each year. The lead host brings milk for coffee or tea and coordinates with the team, and the other team members each bring refreshments for 30 to 40 (cut up fruit or veggies, crackers & cheese, or sweets). Full instructions are available on our website fplex.org (or posted in the kitchenette). The table below lists the invitations for this winter and spring. Please find your name, make any necessary switches if you need to, mark your calendar, and save this list for future reference. Please contact Jane Beswick with questions. Thank you!



    2/5 Brinton, M, Chapman, C & Chapman, A, Cartwright, V & Cartwright, W,
    2/12 Clark, J Cannon, D. & Chu, L, Clark, S
    2/19 Cole J, Counts C & Counts L, Coutu, D, D’Andrea, L
    2/26 Counts-Klebe M, Cowen, N,  & Mark Theriault, Dahlbom, D
    3/5 Earsy N Myerberg, A, Drew, B, Earsy, B
    3/12 Erickson, P Erickson, B Howell, J & Howell, A
    3/19 Coyne L Coyne B, Deily, D, Egan, I,
    3/26 Fleiss, R Eisenstein, K & Eisenstein, R, Fleiss C
    4/2 Flentje, A, Fox, M, French, J, Dove, B, Demarest, M
    4/9 Callanan,T Goodell, T. Heghinian-Walzer S & Boutaud, F
    4/16 Gibbons, M Gibbons, B, Goodell, N and Goodell, K
    4/23 Herrick, K Herrick, B, Griffiths T,  & Trudeau, J,
    4/30 Aliber, J Hess C, Eckert B & Eckert J
    5/7 Lapides D Gross, J. & Matthews, S, Giauque, A
    5/14 Jackson, M Hylek, E, Hirtle, P, Hopkinson, R,
    5/21 Jacobson, T Jameson, M Jamison, A, Johnson, M
    5/28 Juitt, L Juitt, D, Kahn-Greene, S & Kahn-Greene,W,Keenan, C
    6/4 Khudari, O Khudari, A Kvaal, B & Kvaal , M
    6/11 Lai Becker, M. Becker, S, Carver, B & Millichamp, S Knuth M


    6/18 TBA


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