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

    This Sunday, Rev. Anne Mason, along with the History Committee, will explore the hidden history of slavery within First Parish. In her sermon, Cast Off Those Chains, Rev. Anne will talk about First Parish’s role in both continuing and abolishing the practice of slavery in Lexington. As we explore our history, we will also take a hard look at how this legacy creates continued racial oppression today.

    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.

    During the service, we will honor music written by African-American composers. The sanctuary choir, with soloist Elizabeth Walsh, will sing William Dawson’s beautiful arrangement of the spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead.” David Meharry will sing Moses Hogan’s haunting arrangement of the spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” For the centering music, Rip Jackson will play a piano arrangement of Billy Holiday’s lovely song “God Bless the Child.”

    Click here to listen to last week’s sermon by Rev. Anne Mason, “Kuan Yin: Buddhist Madonna

  • From Your Minister

    On Sunday, you are invited to join us for a challenging journey. We will be exploring the vestiges of racism in our own culture, from the time when slavery was the norm here in Lexington and at First Parish. This had created a culture which values the northern European culture more than any other, making the ‘white’ culture the normative one for us all. It has created systems of oppression throughout every avenue of our lives; in our religious life as well as our political and economic life.

    We are being asked by leaders of color within Unitarian Universalism to expose the culture of white supremacy in which we live. We will be shifting the structure of our regular worship service to make some time to explore these difficult topics together. On Sunday, we join with 680 Unitarian Universalist congregations who have committed to facing this together. I hope that you will join me as we explore this challenging situation and, hopefully, find our way clear to begin the process of transformation.

    In faith,

    Rev. Anne

  • Important Note from the Board

    Your Parish Board has just learned that the preschool that has been at First Parish the past six years (FUSE) has decided not to exercise their option to renew their lease with us for the year beginning September 1, 2017. FUSE has grown substantially and will be moving to a larger building.

    The Board will form a task force to determine what the possibilities are for renting freed up space in a way that best balances our need to fulfill our mission and our revenue needs.

    We will discuss this further with the congregation in the coming weeks and at the June 4th Semi Annual Meeting, when the congregation will vote on a budget for the coming year. In the meantime, if you know of organizations that are interested in renting our space or if you are interested in serving on the task force, please let me or our administrator Jane Foley know.

    In fellowship,

    Tom Rich

  • Building Restoration Information

    Over the next two weeks, scaffolding will be erected at the front of First Parish to the top of the spire. Once erected, restoration and repainting will begin. During these two weeks, the entrance driveway will be used as a staging area for the scaffolding, requiring the following changes in the normal traffic pattern:


    • Normal entrance driveway will be closed;
    • Normal exit driveway will be for entrance only;
    • Exit will be at the rear or the parking lot.  Maximum exit speed: 5 MPH from parking lot, over big bump, to Worthen Road.

    Sunday morning, May 21

    • Normal entrance driveway will be closed;
    • Normal exit driveway will be used for entrance only until 10:30 AM;
    • Between 10:30 and 11:30 AM, both driveways will be closed;
    • Between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM, normal exit driveway will be for exit only.
    • After 1:00 PM, the traffic pattern will revert to the Monday-Saturday traffic pattern described above.

    Barricades, cones, and signs will be employed. On Sunday morning, May 21, volunteers will direct traffic to add another level of safety.

    If you have any questions, please send an email to Dave Pollack, chair of the Building and Grounds Committee:  joananddavid3@verizon.net.

  • Newcomer Drop-In This Sunday

    New to First Parish and/or Unitarian Universalism? Please join Rev. Anne Mason and the Members and Friend Committee on Sunday, May 21st at 11:45 am for an informational session about the church, UUism, and how you can become a part of this vibrant congregation. Please come to the minister’s office after social time.

  • Among Our Own

    Barbara Hills suffered a fall last week and will be in rehab at Carleton-Willard Village for several weeks. She would love to have phone calls or visits from church members as she won’t be able to attend church events in the near future.

    100 Old Billerica Road
    Bedford, Massachusetts 01730


  • 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 Irving’s 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.

    Annual Day of Service

    This Sunday, May 21st, the Social Action Committee will begin signing up volunteers for our June 3 Day of Service. To date, we have the opportunity to participate in the following activities: Lexington Interfaith Garden (8-10), Lexington Food Pantry (6-sorry, no children), Communities Without Borders preparation of graduation gifts for Zambian children (no limit set yet), The Douglas House (improving the quality of life for residents with brain injury-no limit set yet; activities and lunch for residents), Lexington Conservation Stewards project on Wright’s Farm (stone wall clearing and invasive plant removal-no limit set yet). The day will begin at 8 AM with a blessing by Reverend Anne, organization with Team Leader, and BREAKFAST. Most activities will wrap up around 12 or 12:30. Thank you to our individual leaders: Marty Kvaal, Cherie Noe, Lynne Yansen, Al Jacobson, Brenda Prusak, and Ben Soule. Hope to see you there!!

    Political Activism

    You’ve heard about the healthcare bill that the House passed as the American Health Care Bill—just about the best bill that the billionaires could buy in order to get their tax cut on the backs of our less-fortunate citizens. Here’s a comparison chart of what the current Affordable Care Act provides versus the proposed bill from the House. Next the bill goes to the Senate. To see an ACA to AHCA comparison, click here. For more information go to minutemanindivisible.org
  • Mayfair Sets a Record!

    It takes not a village but a congregation to put on this labor of love we call Mayfair…lots of labor involved but also lots of love for First Parish.

    Amy and I thank each of you.

    To table chairs Lee Brami and Carolyn Fleiss (jewelry), Nancy Earsy (collectibles), Mary Knuth (books), Mia Roop and Beth Walsh (white elephants), Bill Pittore for all things electrical, Jennifer Aliber (baked goods/comestibles), Lydia d’Andrea and Jim Jones (plants), Len and Lucy Morse-Fortier with Maureen Bovet (coffee/espresso Bar), and John Schmitz and Jim Gross(lunch)—thank you!

    To Bike Boyz Bob Eckert and Bill McKenney, to professional photographer, Zoe Perry-Wood, to communications maven, Tish Callanan, to photographer-in-chief-of-Parish life, Lew Counts, to our treasurers David Bovet and Dick Fleiss, to security cop Russ Brami, and to our roaming barker, Bill Scott —thank you!

    To all the incredible people who signed up to be on the table teams; the generous folks who lent items necessary to our smooth operation; the many bakers; the people who grew or divided plants to sell; the people who didn’t sign up but showed up to help—thank you!

    To Rev. Anne who helped us begin the day, and the stalwart set-up and cleanup crews.  To all those who gave help and advice in the weeks and days beforehand, especially advisors-in-chief, Sarah Matthews and Ruth Rose.  To Linda and Bob Coyne, who opened their garage for storage, and to Hancock Church that lent us many long tables—thank you!

    To everyone who posted a Mayfair sign in their yard—thank you!

    Big thanks, too, to First Parish Administrator Jane Foley and Sexton Bob Coughlin, who helped enormously with many details and who greeted us with good humor no matter how many times we asked for their help.

    To all those who brought items to be sold—thank you!

    And to all those who came and bought some of the mountain of items we had for sale—thank you too!

    All of you contributed to a record-breaking “take” for Mayfair 2017: $7100!  We can all be proud of this marvelous outcome.

    Thank you!!

    Amy Breiting and Marty Kvaal

    Your grateful and happy Mayfair co-chairs

  • UUA Denominational News

    Voting Delegates at General Assembly 2017

    As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), First Parish is eligible to send up to five voting delegates to General Assembly (GA) on June 21-25 in New Orleans.  This year, Marianne DiBlasi, Ben Soule, Deb Weiner-Soule, and Elizabeth Walsh will be attending and have been approved by the board to act as voting delegate representatives. What does this mean?  It means these delegates will be voting on business agenda items — including bylaw amendments, a statement of conscience, and the UUA presidential election. It means that these delegates are representing you — the members of First Parish.

    In preparation for voting, the UUA Board of Trustees is hosting a 75-minute webinar which will provide information about the business items.  You are invited to attend one of these webinars to learn about the issues that are coming up for vote.  Let your delegates know your thoughts on these issues so we can better represent First Parish at GA. To see a list of webinar times and how-to-attend information, click here.

    Please note that this 75-minute webinar is scheduled for 5 separate dates and times. Each webinar covers the same material so you only need to attend one of them.

    Thank you in advance for being part of UU democracy in action!

    ~ Marianne DiBlasi

  • Soul Matters “Matters”: A Spiritual Exercise to Try

    For the month of May, chalice circles/covenant groups are exploring the question “What does it mean to be a community of embodiment?” The dictionary defines embody as “to be the best possible example of a particular idea, quality, or principle, especially a good one” and also “to include as a constituent part”—for example, the values embodied in the Constitution.

    One of the Soul Matters spiritual exercises for this month asks us to think about a question or questions that we embody, like it or not, or that we have been trying to embody, a question that perhaps we have been asking all our lives. From the materials: “Spend the month figuring out and articulating your ‘first big question’ and identify one way it has shaped you and one way it is calling you to change or deepen.”

    Writer Courtney Martin’s essay (and readers’ responses) may provide inspiration, which you can find by clicking here.

    What is your first big question or one of your first?

  • In other news…

    The Cary Memorial Library is looking to hire a Development Director. Please see the attached job description for more information.

    Development Director JD- Cary Memorial Library Foundation.05.17.17


  • 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 17    
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Thursday, May 18    
    Meditation Group 4:00 p.m. Parlor
    Friday, May 19    
    Saturday, May 20    
    Sunday, May 21    
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Newcomer Drop-In 11:45 a.m. Minister’s Office
    JHYG 3:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Waking Up White Book Discussion 4:00 p.m. Common Room
    SHYG 7:00 p.m. Common Room & Parish Hall
    Monday, May 22    
    Staff Meetings 11:00 a.m. Minister’s Office
    LYFS Board Meeting 7:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Members & Friends Committee 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Tuesday, May 23    
    Insight Meditation 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Wednesday, May 24    
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
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