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

    Welcome Home!  Join us for our All Ages Ingathering Service as we join together after the summer. Some of us have had time away to rest and reflect, but all of us have been affected by the tumultuous events on the national scene. It will be good to be together, and it will be good to welcome all who seek shelter in our sacred community.

    Bring some water to share, whether it be from your vacation or from your own kitchen faucet. Bring your hopes for our work together. Bring your dreams, bring your hurting hearts, and come worship together.

    The Sanctuary Choir will resume singing for First Parish’s worship services. We welcome them back! For the introit, they will sing the traditional “You are Welcome in this Place,” arranged by Rip Jackson. The anthem for Sunday will be Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker’s ethereal “Peace I Ask of Thee, O River.” They will also sing James Erb’s serene arrangement of “Shenandoah” during the offertory. Paul Greg Howlett’s Jazz piano arrangement of “Shall We Gather by the River” and Bach’s joyful “allegro” (from Concerto in F Major “L’Estro Armonico”) will be played during the centering music and postlude.


    Click here to listen to last week’s sermon by Mandy Beal, “What Connects Us.”

  • Thursday – Church Spruce Up

    Just a reminder for anyone who is available tomorrow (Thursday) morning to help clean up and spruce up the First Parish grounds. Early arrivals will show up at 7 a.m., but you’re welcome to show up at any time during the morning.  We expect to be finished by noon. Please bring gloves and, if you have one, a rake or trowel. The rain date is this Friday morning. Because the current forecast is for rain early tomorrow, I’ll send out a message at 6:30 a.m. to let you know whether the work is postponed until Friday.


    Dave Pollack, co-chair

    Buildings & Grounds

  • News from the

    On Thursday evening, Rev. Anne Mason began our first meeting of the new year by serving us all a scrumptious dinner.  We mention this only to elevate your latent urge to join the Board for next year. Talk with any Board member about this exciting opportunity to serve and be served.

    As for the meeting itself, we began with important reports and updates from ministry and committees. You can find those in the minutes of the meeting prepared by Dave Juitt. In what follows, we would like to capture one theme that dominated much of the evening’s deliberations.

    We were all excited by the early results of the Capital Campaign. To us, those results (and the heartfelt comments and enthusiasm from parishioners that went with them) are a strong indicator of the congregation’s commitment to this church and its future. The funds from that first phase will allow us to do critical repairs and restorations of the building that will help us maintain the legacy that we have been entrusted.

    The focus of the Board for this year, as a positive consequence, will be less on restoration of what we have now and more on envisioning and planning for what we want to have in the future. At this time in our history, when most mainline churches are dwindling, it is vital that we reconsider what our mission and our activities should be for the future, re-visioning how we can best serve our congregation and our larger community in a changing time.

    The proximal outcome will certainly be a proposal for “Phase Two” of the Capital Campaign. But its focus will be less on repairing the building we have than on re-imagining what we need a building to do. To do that, we must determine what our mission will be, and what role our building (and other assets) will play in serving that mission. What kind of spaces, what kind of facilities, what kinds of media, what kinds of resources, do we need to accomplish the mission we have set out for ourselves.

    Needless to say, this is not a discussion for the Board, but for our whole congregation. In the next two months, the Board will be taking steps (more later) to prepare itself to lead those discussions.  We look forward to them, and especially to having them within a building that is greatly improved already.

    David Rose, co-chair

    Katie O’Hare Gibson, co-chair

  • Fall Choir Schedule

    In September, the sanctuary choir will resume rehearsing and singing on Sunday mornings. Below is the September choir schedule. If you would like to try us out, please feel free to start coming to rehearsals or the choir retreat and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our program. Our choir rehearsals will be fun and full of music from many genres. All are welcome!

    I am always interested in learning who plays instruments in the congregation (as well as singing!). I am available by phone (781-862-8200 x4), email, or appointment if you would like to share your musical talents in worship and concerts!

    Peace and blessings,


    First Parish Sanctuary Choir Schedule September 2017

    Wednesdays, 7:30—9:30pm, September 6th through 27th, Rehearsal in sanctuary

    Saturday, September 9th, 3:00-7:00 PM – Mini Choir Retreat with potluck supper at church

    Sundays, September 10th (Ingathering Sunday) through 24th, 9:30 AM warm up and 10:30 AM service.


    Childrenʹs Choir Rehearsals begin September 17

    Beginning on Sunday, September 17, the First Parish Childrenʹs Choir will meet on Sunday mornings from 11:45 to 12:30 in the Parlor and Sanctuary. They will sing in the morning church services every 6 weeks or so. They will also sing on Christmas Eve, Easter, and in the Missa Gaia performances in mid April 2018. The music for the children will be both beautiful and fun and will include music from Broadway, folk, pop, classical and traditional genres.


    First Parish Choir Schedule— Advance Dates

    Fall Music Sunday

    Saturday, November 4, 2017,

    2-5 PM rehearsal

    Sunday, November 5, 2017, 9 AM run-through

    10:30 AM Music Sunday


    Celtic Solstice Celebration

    Saturday, December 16, 2017, No rehearsal

    Sunday, December 17, 2017, 9:30 AM run-through

    10:30 AM Celtic Solstice Celebration


    Christmas Eve – Sunday, December 24, 2017

    6 PM run-through

    7 PM Candlelight Service


    Easter, Sunday – April 1, 2018

    9:15 AM rehearsal

    10:30 AM service


    Missa Gaia

    Sunday, April 8, 2018, 2-5 PM afternoon choral rehearsal

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:30-10 PM rehearsal with orchestra

    Thursday, April 12, 2018, 6:30-10 PM full dress rehearsal

    Friday, April 13, 2018, 7:30 PM performance

    Saturday, April 14, 2018, 7:30 PM performance


    Lexington Choral Festival – Sunday April 29, 2018

    Afternoon performance (rehearsal and concert time TBA)

  • Fall Potluck Dinners

    This is the last Sunday to sign up for fall potluck dinners.

    Dinners will begin in October, following signups during social hour in September. Please visit the piano during social hour, choose which evenings are possible for you, and indicate whether or not you could host a dinner. After signups are complete, groups of 8-10 people will be formed and begin gathering in October in a group membersʹ home on a weekday or weekend evening once a month for four months. The same people remain in the same group for each dinner. There are also options for family potluck dinners where children have their own dinner together, separate from the adults.

    All are welcome! Sign up during coffee hour throughout September. Questions about fall potluck dinners? Please contact Linda Coyne.

  • Phase I Capital Campaign Update

    Phase I of the Capital Campaign has been a success thanks to the generous gifts of many at First Parish. As you have seen from the scaffolding, the contractors have been busy all summer installing new sanctuary windows and painting the church exterior.

    If you haven’t yet contributed to Phase I, it’s not too late! We welcome your contribution as there are still compelling reasons to contribute. There are many other urgent building needs in our church:  painting the interior rooms, further upgrades of the bathrooms, perhaps repaying the Steeple Loan. The Capital Campaign Committee will make recommendations to the Board about suggested uses for these additional funds which will, in turn, be brought to the congregation and voted upon at the Semi Annual Meeting in October.

    Please contact David Bovet to make a contribution to the Capital Campaign Phase One by September 10th.

    And we will thank you for your gift with an invitation to a swell party for donors at Reverend Anne’s home on Saturday, September 16th at 4 pm. There will be hors d’oeuvres and dessert, cocktails and wine and entertainment, as Simon has agreed to perform on piano just for us.

    We hope you will want to join us for what promises to be a delightful garden party for Capital Campaign Donors. Please be sure to get in touch with David Bovet before September 10th so that we can include you in our celebration.

    Thank you for all you do for First Parish.

    In Community,

    Deb Lapides

    Capital Campaign Phase I Committee

  • Religious Education for Children & Youth
    Welcome back to First Parish! We look forward to seeing you on Sunday for our All Ages Ingathering Service! All families stay up for the entire service. Our Nursery is open for babies and toddlers.

    Sunday School and Chapel start on September 17th.

    For children in PreKindergarten through 2nd Grade we offer Sunday School programming based on the Soul Matters themes and curriculum. Our new teacher, Annelie Nygren-Mitchell, brings over fifteen years of experience teaching children to her work with us and is excited to work with our young people. This group starts their morning in the worship service and then departs for class usually after the Time for All Ages.

    Children 3rd Grade and up through middle school attend the worship service to experience our rituals, traditions, prayer time, stories, and music. Chapel participants depart the service just prior to the sermon and gather for Chapel for a time of faith development that includes sharing in fellowship and engaging with the theme or topic of the service that day. Chapel is led by our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Lisa Maria Steinberg.

    Senior High Youth Group will continue to meet on Sunday evenings at 7:00-9:00. We are still in the planning stage for the Service Trip (to Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation June 2018), so stay tuned for details on a final info session for all interested youth. Along with Katie Camire, our Youth Coordinator, the chaperones on the trip are Ben Soule and Anne Khudari. A final commitment for those going on the trip will be requested of youth this fall. Youth are also encouraged to attend Sunday morning Worship.

    Junior High Youth Group (6th-8th grade) will meet four times during the church year for special activities. On a weekly basis, 6th to 8th graders are encouraged to attend Worship, Chapel and/or OWL.

    7th and 8th Grade OWL (Our Whole Lives) — Comprehensive Sexuality and Health Program. After the success of last year’s OWL program, which included 7th and 8th graders from First Parish families and families from the greater community, we will be offering OWL again this year for both. Parent Orientation is on October 3rd at 7:00pm, and OWL sessions start on Sunday evening October 15th from 4:00-6:00pm.

    If you are new to our community and have not yet enrolled your baby, toddler, child or youth, or you would like to sign up for OWL, please fill out our Family Enrollment Form or contact our Director of Lifespan Religious Education Lisa Maria Steinberg.

  • Adult Programs at First Parish

    We are excited to start a new Thursday night series focusing on Unitarian Universalist history, theology, identity, and values. This series will start on Thursday September 28th at 7:00 with a facilitated discussion for all those gathered on what would be of value in their learning about Unitarian Universalism. As the fall progresses, we will be showing the Unitarian Universalist series “Long Strange Trip”, with post-viewing discussions led by Rev. Anne Mason and Lisa Maria Steinberg. Interspersed with the viewings of the history series will be a celebration of our history at First Parish.

    In January, we invite you to reflect on the state of our democracy a year into the Trump Administration when we will discuss the UUA Common Read, Daring Democracy, by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen. Stay tuned for more programming details for Thursday evenings in the late winter and spring.

    We are also putting together a Sunday morning series from 9:00-10:15 to engage with current events, TED talks, podcasts, and other emerging ideas that speak to the spiritual paths we walk together. We are looking for facilitators. Training for facilitators will be provided.

    We are continuing Chalice Circles, our Small Group Ministry. This is a great way to develop deeper connections with the members and friends of First Parish, and dive deeper into how our monthly themes inform us as a community and support you on your personal spiritual journey.

    For information about these and other Adult Programs, including Meditation Groups, Non-Fiction Book Group, Creative Callings (Fiber Arts Group), and Affinity Groups (Over 80s Group, Unity Group), please contact Lisa Maria Steinberg.

  • UUA News Alert
    The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Thomas Andrews, President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s announcement to end the DACA program:
    “As leaders in faith and human rights, and working jointly through the Love Resists campaign to protect communities targeted by hate, we are appalled by the Trump administration’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has provided protections from deportations and the ability to work and attend school for more than 800,000 young immigrants. The United States is home to these brave people.
    Taking away DREAMers’ legal status and leaving them vulnerable to deportation is immoral and wrong. DREAMers are not bargaining chips to be used for political gain, and the further criminalization and persecution of the broader immigrant community is disgraceful. These individuals are not statistics; they are students, doctors, and veterans, they are hard-working members and leaders of communities, they are parents, friends, neighbors and loved ones. Tearing our communities apart makes no one safer.
    We raise our voices in outrage at the President’s betrayal of DREAMers so that he may receive accolades and applause from the alt-right and other white supremacist groups. This action goes against our nation’s principles and the views and wishes of the majority of the country. We are in solidarity with all DREAMers now facing a nightmare of uncertainty because of today’s announcement. We encourage Unitarian Universalists and all people of faith and conscience to rise up and resist this latest attack on our immigrant siblings.
    To all those directly affected by this decision, we recognize your humanity. You are part of the United States. We will defend your right to stay. We will continue to resist with you in the spirit of love and freedom.”
    This message is also available on UUA.org.
  • This Week at First Parish
    Wednesday, September 6
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Thursday, September 7
    Church Spruce-Up 7:00 a.m. Grounds
    Mass Bay UUMA Executive Team 10:00 a.m. Common Room
    Meditation 4:00 p.m. Parlor
    Scrabble Club 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Friday, September 8
    Organ Tuning 9:00 a.m. Sanctuary
    LYFS Meeting 3:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Saturday, September 9
    Melrose UU Church Retreat 9:00 a.m. Common Room
    Choir Retreat 3:00 p.m. Sanctuary, Parish Hall & Parker Hall
    Sunday, September 10
    Choir Rehearsal 9:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Ingathering Sunday 10:30 a.m. Parish Hall
    Monday, September 11
    Staff Meeting 11:00 a.m. Minister’s Office
    Tuesday, September 12
    325th Planning Team 1:00 p.m. Minister’s Office
    Board Meeting 7:00 p.m. Green Room
    LYFS Board Meeting 7:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Insight Meditation 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Wednesday, September 13
    History Committee 1:30 p.m. History Room
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
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