- Sunday Service
Join us for an All Ages service on Sunday, January 15th at 10:30am which will engage us with the lessons we can learn from the prophetic voice of Martin Luther King Jr. and how we can all live our way into the Beloved Community.This is an All Ages service. Pre-K through 8th grade will stay in the sanctuary. The nursery will be open for babies and toddlers.
As part of our celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the sanctuary choir, soloists and jazz instrumentalists (Ben Green, string bass; Rip Jackson, piano; Chris Morse, tenor saxophone; Jay Sager, percussion) will sing and play uplifting jazz and gospel music. The sanctuary choir will sing Mark Hayes’ joyful gospel arrangement of “This Little Light of Mine” and Andre Thomas’ serene “I Dream a World.” Elizabeth Walsh, joined by the jazz musicians, will sing George Weiss and Bob Thiele’s iconic “What a Wonderful World.” For the centering music and postlude, the jazz musicians (piano, string bass, drums and sax) will play “God Bless the Child” and Van Morrison’s energetic “Moondance.”
Click here to listen to Rev. Anne Mason’s sermon from Jan 8, 2017, “Let the Hills Hear Your Voice.”
- From Your Minister
Next week brings many changes to our country, and it will be good to be together as we continue to process what this will mean for us and for our collective ministry. In speaking with many of you, I know that some of us wake up every morning with a sense of dread. What will the unknown be bringing? What can we do? How can we be an active force for love and justice in this world? Here are two suggestions:
On Jan. 21st, many folks from First Parish will be joining the Women’s March – some in Washington D.C, some in Boston. If you would like to join the Boston group, we will be meeting at First Parish at 9:45 to carpool to the T and join forces with others on the Boston Common. I will be joining you but cannot meet you at the church, as I will be officiating at a sudden and tragic memorial service that morning. I will find you, hopefully with our banner, our voices, and our great energy, standing in solidarity on the Common.
On Jan 28th we will be hosting a Bystander Intervention Training from 9 – 12. Please come and join this first step of resistance. We will not sit idly by while our brothers and sisters continue to be marginalized. We will find our voice to speak up for love and justice.
In faith, Rev. Anne
- Sunday’s Special Plate Collection – Lex Eat Together
This Sunday, January 22nd, the plate collection will be donated to Lex Eat Together, a new grassroots volunteer organization that serves free weekly community meals year round at the Episcopal Church of Our Redeemer. Harriet Kaufman, one of the founders, will be joining us during the service.
Over 70 guests a week come not just for a nutritious hot meal but for companionship and good conversation. Friendships are being made and people look forward to coming each Wednesday. The food is donated and picked up by volunteers. Volunteers help to cook, set up, serve and clean up. There is great need in Lexington and the surrounding communities to reach out and help alleviate the current hunger situation. We are always looking for ways to expand our outreach further. For some volunteers the real draw is the feeling of making lasting and personal impact in people’s lives.
Your donations will be gratefully received on Sunday, January 22nd. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the website at lexeattogether.org or visit Harriet and other volunteers during social hour.
- Creative Callings this Thursday
All are welcome to participate in an informal group of members and friends who enjoy fiber arts. On Thursday, bring your knitting, crocheting, beading or other fiber work and meet in the church parlor from 2:00 pm to 3:45 pm for a low-key time of fellowship, creativity, and sharing of ideas.
Just drop by or email Karolyn Eisenstein to join the email list.
- Memorial Service for Hester SperdutoThere will be a celebration of the life of Hester Sperduto at First Parish on Saturday, January 14th at 11:00am. Please come and support her three sons – Dan, David, and Richard – as we mourn her passing and recognize the gifts that Hester brought to this world. You may remember her for her involvement at First Parish many years ago, and her support of Sister Cities Lexington and Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico. Notes of condolence may be sent to the family at 8 Diana Lane, Lexington, MA 02421.
- Bystander Intervention Training – only a few spots left!
There 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.
- Spring Potluck Dinners Sign-up Ends on Sunday
Sunday 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MLK Community Day of Service
Please 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.
- The Ties That Bind: An MLK Celebration to be held at First Parish
Opera unMet brings their critically acclaimed performance The Ties That Bind to First Parish in Lexington on Monday, January 16th at 5:00 pm. Through beautiful music, readings, and interactive participation, this celebration has drawn diverse audiences together in Boston for over 20 years to reflect on the great works and words of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Music ranges from Spirituals to American Folk, and the audience is invited to read some of Dr. King’s great words. Featuring Alan Rias, Marta Rymer, Taiko Drummer Mark Rooney, Cliff Blake, Ellen Polansky and Marshall Hughes.The performance is family-friendly, thought provoking and inspiring. It has been called “one of the brightest lights to shine on MLK Day.”Admission: $15, $10 for students and seniors. Please call 617-445-7669 for more information.Please join us!
- 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.
- This Week in Social Action Ministry
The 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.”
Last week we mentioned a new SAM thrust in political advocacy. This is in keeping with advancing justice in this new political era where many of our UU values are under assault. As we approach the celebration of Martin Luther King’s life next Monday, it is important to recall that he himself realized that justice for African Americans really needed to be justice for all of those in or bordering on poverty: whether they be black, white, or other people of color. Justice turns out to require addressing a wide range of economic issues from stimulating the creation of new jobs, providing for adequate housing, changing the tax structure to distribute some of the bounty of productivity back to the disenfranchised, and yes, even advocating for peace so that some of the funding spent on our war-fighting arsenal can be made available for these social justice needs. A variety of organizations from our own UU Mass Action network to the Moral Revival of Rev. William Barber, to Massachusetts Peace Action, to the American Friends Service Committee and others are planning events and advocacy this year that touch on Economic Justice. In future issues of this section of the Weekly Update, we will try to advise you of upcoming opportunities to make your voices heard in support of Economic Justice.
Don’t forget to participate in Monday’s Lexington MLK activities described elsewhere in this Weekly Update.
- Save the Date: Social Action Film ScreeningThe Social Action Committee invites all to a free screening of Beyond the Wall, on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at 10 am at the Lexington Venue Theater, 1794 Mass Ave.Beyond the Wall follows the lives and stories of a small community of men released from prison and attempting to rebuild their lives with little support from the criminal justice system. Through this compelling and personal account, the film vividly shows their struggles to survive beyond the walls of prison. A conversation with the Director, Jenny Phillips, will follow.Sponsored by First Parish in Bedford, First Parish in Lexington, and the Follen Community Church. Please contact Jane Beswick if you have questions.
- Volunteers Needed for The Engagement Project
Part of the mission of The Committee on Leadership and Service (COLS) is to help members and friends connect meaningfully with the working life of the church and support them in that goal. To help in that effort, we have started 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.
Over the course of the coming months, our team will be reaching out to you for a meaningful dialog. These interviews will be relatively brief (about 30 minutes) and should be quite engaging. When members of our team contact 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 are looking for volunteers to have their interviews recorded on video for publication on our church’s website and for general sharing with the congregation. Please let us know if you’d be willing to participate.
We’re looking forward to connecting with you!
Yours in Leadership and Service,
Erik Svenson & Elisabeth Jas
Committee on Leadership & Service Chairs
- Social Hour Host List – February through June
In 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