- Sunday Service
The great Chinese sage Lao Tsu taught us that “he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” Rev. Anne will explore the timeless teaching of the Tao Te Ching as we seek a new way of being through the study of ancient wisdom. Service begins at 10:30am.There will be Sunday School for Pre-K through 8th grade. The nursery will be open for babies and toddlers.
This Sunday our tenor soloist Austin Burns will sing Leonard Bernstein’s serenely beautiful “Simple Song” (from Mass). Austin Burns, Rip Jackson, Dave Meharry, and Ben Soule will sing Peter Amidon’s male a cappella arrangement of “Simple Gifts.” Elisabeth Jas will join them in singing Ysaye Barnwell’s deeply moving “Breaths,” which was made famous by Sweet Honey in the Rock. For the centering music and postlude, Rip Jackson will play Bach’s lyrical organ arrangement of the slow movement from one of Vivaldi’s concertos for violin (from L’Estro Armonico) and John Stanley’s lively “Voluntary in C Major.”
- 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.
- Boston Women’s March for America
First Parish will be participating in the Women’s March for America this Saturday, January 21st. Please come with signs and your desire to make our voices heard! If you wish to carpool to Alewife station, we will gather at 8:30am in the Stop & Shop parking lot and leave for Alewife promptly at 8:45am
Please do not park in the church lot as all spaces are needed for a large memorial service on Saturday morning.
In Boston, we will be meeting at the Arlington Street UU Church, on the corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets. Their doors will be open to marchers for a meetup space. If we become separated you can text or call Carolyn Fleiss at 781-910-1535 or Gabriella Moscolo at 781-910-8710.
- Empty Nesters Program
The next meeting of the program, “Are You a New Empty Nester?” takes place on Thursday, January 19th at 7:00pm in the Common Room. This program offers a place to talk about the changes, challenges, and joys of having either one child or your youngest leave the nest this year. Your family structure is different now; how is the change affecting you? The discussion will be facilitated by Cindy Anderson and Jane Eckert.
LRE Committee/Adult Programs
- 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.
- Newcomer Drop-In Session this Sunday
New to First Parish and/or Unitarian Universalism? Please join Rev. Anne Mason and the Members and Friend Committee on Sunday, January 22nd at 11:45 am for an informational session about the church, UUism, and how you can become a part of this vibrant congregation.
- 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.
- Note from the Board
At the beginning of last summer the Parish Board began talking about creating something “new” that would increase First Parish’s visibility in the community and commemorate the church’s 325th anniversary. This clearly struck a chord with Board member David Rose, as he started work on an idea that became our “Voices on the Green” series, which debuts on January 27th at 7 PM at the church. Go the church website for more information. Tickets are available at EventBrite. I want to thank the Voices planning team for their extraordinary work: David Rose, Regie O-Hare Gibson, Deb Lapides, Laura Juitt, and Lisa Maria Steinberg. A second Voices event is planned for March. My hope is that Voices becomes an on-going event series at First Parish over the years.
- 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.”
The newly formed Economic Justice Task Force met for the first time this week, prompted by calls to action from Lisa Maria Steinberg and Erik Svenson. If you are interested in the issue of economic justice, there are two events you won’t want to miss.
Tonight at the Cary Memorial Library, the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition (GWAC) will be screening the movie Before the Flood, which addresses global warming and environmental issues. Refreshments at 6:00pm, movie at 6:30pm, and discussion at 8:00pm. And Thursday night at the Depot from 7:00-8:00pm, Rep. Jay Kaufman will be holding his first forum to discuss upcoming legislative issues. We are hoping that the issue of mandatory minimum sentencing will be addressed. Please support those who will be raising this issue.
Do you have any thoughts or ideas about any of this? If so, feel free to contact Pete Tasker.
- 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.
- Al Jacobson/Communities Without Borders Traveling Fellowship Named
First Parish’s Social Action Committee is excited to announce that Meg Jackson and Toni Tasker have been chosen as the first recipients of the Al Jacobson/Communities Without Borders (CWB) Traveling Fellowship. Established this past year through a generous gift from Margie and Bob Gibbon, this award seeks to encourage young and older adult members and friends of First Parish to participate in a two-week summer travel/educational trip to Zambia.
The Zambian Program has been the international centerpiece of FP’s Social Action Committee’s work and is especially critical given today’s global issues. Communities Without Borders is a Boston-based organization and over the years First Parish has supported the education of hundreds of primary and secondary aged boys and girls left orphaned or vulnerable as a result of the AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.
To learn more about the program please contact Margie Gibbons, Al Jacobson, or Cherie Noe.
- LexRAP Seeking Foster Parents
Looking for a way to help refugees and asylum seekers?
Lexington Refugee Assistance program (http://www.lexrap.org) is looking for people who have an extra room in their homes, and space in their hearts, to be foster parents to Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. These are refugee children who have fled their homes and lost their families; they are now in the US seeking safety, shelter, education, and the hope of a life free of violence. Will you consider this, or do you know someone who might?
Children are most often in their teen years and come from a number of countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central America. They receive financial support and social services until the age of 22. While they have been through a lot, these kids are survivors, and it is a joy to see them blossom in a safe and stable environment.
LexRAP is working with Ascentria Care Alliance, to find homes for unaccompanied minors. While Ascentria provides oversight of the program, LexRAP volunteers are ready to help with a variety of needs, for families in the Lexington area who are ready and willing to take on this rewarding work.
LexRAP is hosting an information session for anyone who might be interested on January 25, at 7:00 PM at the Community Center. If you have questions, feel free to contact Omar Khudari or Jane Eckert.
- 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