Weekly Update

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  • Sunday Service

    Join us at 10:30 on Sunday morning when Rev. Anne Mason will preach about Kuan Yin: Buddhist Madonna. “Kuan Yin is the Bodhisattva of compassion for most of the Eastern Buddhist world. What inspires reverence in her? What would it mean to be like Kwan Yin in the modern world? And what have our mothers taught us about responding to the cries of the world with wisdom and love?”

    Rev. Anne Mason, worship leader

    There will be Sunday School for Pre-K through Grade 8. The nursery will be open for babies and toddlers.

    Guest pianist Hannah Shields and sanctuary choir soloists Julia Jaffe and Elizabeth Walsh will provide music for worship. Julia will sing Antonín Dvořák’s beautiful aria “Song to the Moon” (from Rusalka, Op.114). For the centering music, offertory and postlude, Hannah Shields will play Robert Schumann’s “Traumerei” (from Scenes from Childhood, Op. 15), Grieg Lyric’s “To Spring” and Franz Schubert’s “Moment Musicaux, No. 1.”


    Click below to listen to the credo statements presented by the Coming of Age ninth and tenth grade youth on Sunday, May 7th.

    Credo Statements #1

    Credo Statement #2

    Credo Statement #3

  • From Your Minister

    This week Simon and I have moved into our new house in Westford! We found a house that is even older than First Parish… it was built in 1656 and lovingly restored by Phil Gilbert, the woodworker who purchased the house when it was occupied only by raccoons a number of years ago. We are surrounded by forest and even have a babbling brook running alongside the house, and we are really looking forward to settling in and living amidst the centuries of history evident in each floor board and fireplace (there are 6!). I made it to church this weekend in about 20 minutes, so it seems like the perfect place for us to be close to you all and yet have some space for sanctuary in our own little slice of paradise. Even if we have to share this with raccoons occasionally…

    This past Sunday had two fantastic events. The youth who participated in the Coming of Age service were inspiring for all of us, as they brought their questions and their perspectives to the snapshot of their beliefs which they were courageous enough to share with all of us. Thank you to Katie Camire and Lisa Maria Steinberg for all of your work in accompanying our youth, and thank you to David Pollack and Anne Khudari for your volunteer leadership.

    I also want to say thank you to all of the musicians who made the Broadway concert such a rousing success. The joy on your faces was contagious, and the ensemble of instruments and voices was incredible. Thank you for lifting us all up with the power of your music. And again I want to thank Rip Jackson for his strong leadership and skillful preparation. This program was well attended by both members of First Parish and by visitors who now know what a fantastic music program we have!

    This was indeed a day when I was able to simply attend both worship and concert, and be spiritually fed by both. What a blessing this was for me.

    In gratitude,

    Rev. Anne

  • Mayfair is Saturday!

    Here is what you can do over the next three days:

    1. Sign up to have a portrait taken.

    Professional photographer and First Parishioner Zoe Perry-Wood will be taking photographs in the Parlor. Email Amy Breiting.

    1. Donate items!

    Jewelry – drop off by Thursday evening.  Costume jewelry, forgotten and unloved gems, and accessories (purses, silk and silk-like scarves). Ask your sisters, mothers, friends, and neighbors for their long neglected jewels and invite them to refresh their own collections by coming to the sale.

    Books – drop off on Friday.  All Books (except textbooks), CDs, and DVDs. Good condition only.

    Collectibles – china, glassware, artworks, silver

    White elephants – Toys, games, puzzles, kitchenware, holiday decorations, craft materials, pictures and frames, small appliances, tools, gift items.  (PLEASE no clothing, shoes, broken items, worn or outdated sporting equipment, no exercise equipment or large furniture.)

    Electronics – See Bill Pittore’s email to FPCHAT of April 25th for a list of desired items.

    Plants – Bring perennials, annuals and vegetables you may have started from seed, along with garden ornaments, guidebooks, and even new or barely-used garden tools.

    Plastic and paper bags for folks to carry home their purchases.

    3. Donate time!

    Bake some delicious goodies or other comestibles

    Plant seedlings or re-pot plants

    Make espresso at the coffee bar or serve delicious lunch to our shoppers

    Sell on Saturday or sort and price on Friday day and evening?

    Set up before or clean up after


    Drop-off for donations will be Thursday, 6:30 – 9:00 pm and on Friday beginning at 9:00 am.

    Sign up at the piano on Sunday, contact Amy Breiting or Marty Kvaal, or click here to go to the Signup Genius online account for Mayfair.

  • Creative Callings this Thursday

    yarnAll 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.

  • Empty Nester Program

    Since the fall, a group has been meeting to explore what it means to have an empty nest. Our group includes those who still have some of their kids at home. Initially we focused on the kids and how they were doing. Subsequently, we have looked more at what does this mean for parents who are now entering a new stage of their lives. Jan Graham, PhD, a retired child and family therapist, wrote her dissertation on the process that people go through in this stage of life. She will explore some of the issues with the group at our meeting on Thursday, May 11 at 7 pm in the Common Room. Please join us even if you have not come to the group before.  Contact Jane Eckert, facilitator.

  • Soul Matters “Matters”

    First Parish currently has four chalice circles/covenant groups—part of First Parish’s small-group ministry—designed to foster trust and deep listening among their members. These small discussion groups of six to twelve members follow the Soul Matters “curriculum,” which is a companion piece to each month’s worship theme (printed at the top of the first page of each Sunday’s order of service). Rev. Anne explores aspects of the worship theme—a spiritual value that our UU faith promotes as a way of being in the world—in most or all of her sermons in given month.

    The Soul Matters curriculum gives chalice circles/covenant groups opportunities to explore the worship themes in more depth through questions and spiritual exercises for individual exploration.

    As noted on the Soul Matters website, group members are asked to read all of the month’s questions to find the one “speaks to and challenges them personally” and then to “live with . . . that question for a couple weeks leading up to the group, coming to their meeting, not with an answer to each of the questions on the list, but with a story about how this one particular question lead them to deeper, personal learning. This technique leads us away from abstraction and intellectualizing and challenges us to think about how the topic (and question) apply to our daily living.”

    The spiritual exercises are another way for members to apply the worship topic to their daily lives. For example, one exercise on the worship theme of what it means to be a community of grace involved finding “a way to bring grace (a gift one doesn’t expect, earn or even deserve) into another person’s life.”

    If you would like to be part of an established group or a new group, please talk to Rev. Anne. If you cannot join a group for one reason or another, please look to this column, which will publish questions and spiritual exercises for the month’s worship theme. Then engage in the topic with someone at coffee hour!

  • 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.”

    Waking Up White Book Discussion

    First Parish is co-sponsoring with Temple Isaiah and other congregations in Lexington a presentation by Debby Irving on June 8 entitled “I’m a Good Person – Isn’t that Enough?”

    In anticipation of that, John Oberteuffer will be leading a discussion of her book, Waking up White. Please borrow, or buy a copy now and join together on Sunday, May 21st at 4 pm in the Common Room for an interesting discussion.

    Save the Date – Day of Service

    All members of First Parish and their families are asked to keep Saturday, June 3rd, open so you can participate in our Annual Day of Service. A wide spectrum of activities will be available to all ages. We will highlight the day’s activities in the coming weeks.

    UU Urban Ministry Opportunities

    The UU Urban Ministry is launching Believe in Success, a new job-readiness program for survivors of domestic violence, and YOU can be a part of it!
    Join us for one of our upcoming Believe in Success volunteer training sessions:
    ► Tuesday, May 9 ~ 6:00 pm pm – 9:00 pm
         with a community dinner
    ► Saturday, May 13 ~ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

         with coffee and snacks

    Opportunities include:

    • Career Panel Participant
    • Classroom Teacher Assistant
    • Gardener
    • Mentor
    • Wellness Leader
    • Practice Interviewer
    …and more!
    Both training sessions will be led by Associate Director Rev. Susan Chorley with staff from our Renewal House domestic violence shelter, along with three former Renewal House residents who are participating in our Believe in Success planning committee.
    These training session will focus on working with and supporting survivors of domestic violence/intimate partner abuse.
    For more information, please email Associate Director Rev. Susan Chorley at schorley@uuum.org
    Training sessions will take place at the UU Urban Ministry:
    10 Putnam St., Roxbury, MA 02119


  • UU Denominational News

    Toward the Beloved Community: Updates from the Interim Co-Presidents

    On May 4, The Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Interim Co-Presidents, the Revs. Sofía Betancourt and William Sinkford and Dr. Leon Spencer, shared a message following their recent time together in Boston. Included in their message was the following:

    “For many who longed for the spiritual home they finally found in our congregations, the fear that we might lose one another in these times is devastating. Some have already lived the experience of losing their home in UUism over the realities of racial injustice, and they fear losing this community of hope and love once again. Whether the language of white supremacy seems unimaginable in connection with Unitarian Universalism, or raising questions of racial injustice in our hiring practices is far out of keeping with our perception of this faith that we love, realizing that we too can be disconnected from our central values is deeply troubling to many.”

    The entire “Toward the Beloved Community” message is available at http://www.uua.org/pressroom/press-releases/toward-beloved-community-updates-interim-co-presidents-may-4-2017

    ~Marianne DiBlasi

  • Seeking Donations for Zambia Trip

    Meg Jackson, Lynn Perry, and Toni Tasker will be traveling to Zambia in June, representing First Parish in Lexington with Communities Without Borders. CWB’s mission is to improve the education and health of AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children, and to nourish hope for a better future. CWB’s approach is to build ongoing community to community relationships at the grassroots level, by working with local school and health educators. To help meet that goal, supplies are critically needed.

    First Parish is collecting donations from May 1 until June 3. Many specific items are needed, as requested by our hosts in Zambia. The use of many items commonly used in the US is not sustainable in Africa, so please contribute only the items listed below. Please, no more bedding! Thank you!

    New School Supplies

    Pencils, pencil sharpeners, mini-erasers, crayons, chalk, colored pencils, pens, markers, chart paper, small notepads, masking tape, coloring books, computer paper, lined paper, construction paper, and stickers.


    Legos, blocks, Duplos, Lincoln Logs, Matchbox cars, K’Nex, playdough, small decks of playing cards, as well as soccer balls and pumps, jump ropes, and tennis balls. Lightly used items are gladly accepted!


    Children’s outerwear (winter jackets, sweatshirts, and fleeces) and black dress shoes for school-aged children (ages 5+)

    Monetary Donations

    For more information or to make a donation go to www.communitieswithoutborders.org.

  • This Week at First Parish
    Wednesday, May 10    
    History Committee 1:30 p.m. History Room
    No Choir Rehearsal    
    Thursday, May 11    
    Creative Callings 2:00 p.m. Parlor
    Meditation Group 4:00 p.m. Parlor
    Empty Nesters 7:00 p.m. Common Room
    Mayfair Setup Begins 6:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Friday, May 12    
    Mayfair Setup 9:00 a.m. Parker Hall, Parish Hall, Common Room
    Saturday, May 13    
    Mayfair 9:00 a.m. All church event
    Munroe Saturday Night 7:00 p.m. Sanctuary
    Sunday, May 14    
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Monday, May 15    
    Staff Meetings 11:00 a.m. Minister’s Office
    Tuesday, May 16    
    B&G Meeting 7:00 p.m. Parlor
    Lexington Ski Club 7:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Insight Meditation 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Wednesday, May 17    
    80+ Luncheon 12:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
  • In Other News…

    First Parish Member and playwright Don Cohen’s new play to be read at Munroe Saturday Nights’ next performance

    Perhaps you’ve been reading the news about the Cassini spacecraft recently – how its mission is nearing an end after decades of work, featuring interviews with the scientists who birthed and cultivated the program?  Maybe you’ve seen the remarkable images coming back to earth as the mission explores the rings of Saturn.

    The subject of space exploration plays a major role in Celestial Mechanics,” playwright Don Cohen’s new work which will be featured for the upcoming May 13, 2017 Munroe Saturday Nights performance. The reading, directed by award-winning director, actor and playwright Melinda Lopez, will feature actors Will Lyman and Deb Martin. The event will be held at First Parish in Lexington, 7 Harrington Road, at the head of the Lexington Battle Green. The performance begins at 7:30 PM.

    Don Cohen is the author of a book of short stories; other stories have appeared in The South Carolina Review, The Fiddlehead and Jewish Fiction.net. He has been awarded a Massachusetts Artists Foundation playwriting fellowship for Bella Vista Lodge. Previous plays by Cohen presented in readings for Munroe Saturday Nights include Length of Stay.

    Melinda Lopez, acclaimed as “one of Boston’s most important writers” by WBUR (NPR in Boston) is a playwright, actress, and educator. She is currently the inaugural Mellon playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre Company, and teaches theatre and performance at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University. Ms. Lopez is active in the Cuban American community and co-produced Munroe Saturday Nights’ opening production for this season focusing on Cuban arts and culture.

    Reservations are strongly recommended for this event. A suggested donation of $10/person is invited. First Parish is handicapped accessible, and free parking is available at the rear of the church. Reservations are strongly encouraged.  Visit http://www.munroecenter.org/reserve-your-seat.html to reserve your seat.

    The Reclaim Our Democracy group at First Parish in Concord is inviting members of our neighboring congregations to attend the following movie event.

    “Requiem for the American Dream”

    Monday, May 15, 7-9 pm

    First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, Concord, MA

    How did we become a nation that is so far removed from our core beliefs? In this extraordinary 2016 documentary Noam Chomsky discusses how the concentration of wealth and power among a small elite has polarized American society and brought about the decline of the middle class. Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality.

    “Regarded by many as America’s most influential intellectual, Noam Chomsky is also a great story teller. Without overwhelming the viewer or the material, he marshals data, example and anecdote, cutting through 250 years of history to distill ten basic principles of wealth and power which have conspired against the American Dream.  More than anything, the film is a well-organized, thoughtful look at these forces and their consequences moderated by Sen. Mike Barrett with . Home-made refreshments included. Free and open to the public.

    For more information about our group, please visit ReclaimOurDemocracy.org.

  • Broadway Cabaret in Pictures

    Thanks to Lew Counts for taking such great photos of the Broadway Cabaret. Enjoy!

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