Weekly Update

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  • Sunday Service

    In this all ages worship service, we will observe All Souls’ Day acknowledging the gifts we receive in life from our parents, teachers, spouses, friends, heroes, and what gifts we have to give. What gifts have you received? What do you hope to share?

    Lisa Maria Steinberg, Director of Religious Education, and Cammy Thomas, Worship Leaders

    This Sunday, the First Parish Children’s choir will join the sanctuary choir in singing Bette Midler’s iconic “Wind Beneath my Wings” arranged by Rip Jackson. The choir will also sing Ysaye M. Barnwell’s mystical anthem “Breaths” with soloists Austin Burns and Elizabeth Walsh. High School senior Chelsea Cannon will sing Josh Groban’s beautiful song “The Mystery of your Gift.” For the centering music and postlude, Erik Svensen will play Marin Marais’ “Le Basque” and Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Romance, Op.37” for horn and piano.

  • Voices on the Green – This Saturday!

    Please come to the season opening of Voices on the Green this Saturday, October 28, from 7:00-9:00 pm, when we present, I Protest! Doors open at 6:30 for refreshments and conversation.

    First Parish member Nancy Earsy will tell the story of her arrest in 1971 (along with 400 others) protesting the Viet Nam War right here on the Green. Bestor Cram, prominent PBS film-maker, who was also there on the Green that day, will show archival film from that nationally famous protest that involved many Lexington and First Parish community members. Sam Berman, a long-time active and productive Lexington citizen, will recount the history of his role in the writing and first singing of “Charlie and the MTA,” a protest song later made famous by the Kingston Trio.

    First Parish member Suzanne Adams will tell us about leading her first (successful!) protest and changing school policy when she was in middle school, and Michelle Olsen will share the story of her transformation from Wall Street analyst to Minuteman Indivisible founder here in Lexington. And the executive director of Communities for Restorative Justice, Erin Freeborn, will talk about her decision to work there, where criminals and victims are brought together to provide some recompense for the victims. CRJ, made up of 18 communities including Lexington, is our partner for this evening’s event, and donations for the program will be shared between it and the church.

    Music for “I Protest!” will be provided and led by Nick Page, the nationally-known UU musician, choral director, composer, and author who grew up here at First Parish and is currently director of the Mystic Choral. Welcome, Nick! The inimitable Regie O’Hare Gibson will host the evening.

    You can direct questions about the event to  voicesonthegreen@fplex.org. Donations are $20 for sponsors, $10 for general admission, and $5 for students,  and are available at VoicesOnTheGreen.BrownPaperTickets.com.

  • 325th Celebration Almost Here!

    We’re 325!—Important Dates Reminder

    As announced in this month’s Focalpoint, preparations for the celebration of First Parish’s 325th birthday are well underway. The UU adult education course with the film series “Long Strange Trip,” the story of Unitarian Universalism, began on Thursday, October 5, but you can still join in on Thursday evenings, popcorn provided.

    Three major events:

    Thursday, November 9, 5-9 p.m.: Reception for “Historical Exhibition: First Parish Turns 325.” Lexington historian Sam Doran will lead a Question and Answer session at 6:00, and will give a lecture on the history of First Parish and the town at 7:30, both in the sanctuary. Colonial-style refreshments will be available. No tickets required.

    Thursday, November 16, 7:30-9:00 p.m.: George Washington and James Madison Dialogue on the Issues of Church and State. Featuring nationally known experts on these two past presidents. The event is free but seating is limited, so please make a reservation at the church office. You can also pick up tickets at Wales Copy Center.

    Sunday, December 3, 12:00: Colonial Lunch. Catered by Chris Bateman of Lexx.

           2:00 Bell-Ringing at the old Belfry and Procession to the Church.

           3:00:  “325 and Counting: A First Parish Historical Drama” Written by First Parish member and playwright Don Cohen. With colonial-era music, and a flying overview of significant events in our history since then. Tickets for lunch-and-program package, for members and friends of First Parish, are $20 for adults and $10 for children and youth, and will be available at the church office. Tickets for just the program will be $10 for adults and $5 for children.

    Congregants can participate in these activities in various ways, such as bringing refreshments for the exhibition reception, bell-ringing, ushering, serving lunch, costume-making, acting, taking tickets. Please think about how you would like to take part. Specific volunteer requests and sign-up sheets will be available on-line soon.

    Costume-makers: Anyone who would like to help make a few very simple costumes for the dramatic presentation on December 3 should contact Don Cohen <doncohen@rcn.com> or 863-1729.

  • A Note from the Board

    Feels more like a Charge than a Retreat

    I don’t know why they call them retreats, but the full board is traveling out to rural Massachusetts (actually to Rev. Mason’s house) for a “retreat” this weekend. We are taking the time together to plan ahead in two areas. First, we are laying the groundwork for the next phase in our capital campaign. The upcoming phase builds on the first phase, but is quite different from it. The first phase was focused on restoring and repairing our precious building so that it is a safe, hardy and beautiful foundation for our future. And that phase was highly successful.  Now, the second phase is focused more on what we want our buildings and facilities to do: what kinds of programs, services, events, media productions, sacraments, investments, are critical for our future role in our community and in the larger world. Once we have a clearer picture of that, then we will be able to begin phase two in earnest. Our process along the way is to raise a few open questions which we will bring to the whole congregation, questions which guide our mission ahead, and the people, programs, and buildings we will need to fulfill that mission.

    Second, we will also spend some time on “governance.”  In our present structure, there is some “creakiness” in how decisions are made, how priorities are set, how people are encouraged to work together and to be held accountable, and so forth. So, we will spend some time on trying to set a path toward more effective governance so that our ministers and volunteers have the least “friction” possible in their important work.

    Leading us in these efforts will be Dan Hotchkiss, author of Governance and Ministry. He is an extraordinarily experienced guide for churches and congregations like us. He helped us launch Phase One of the campaign and we are returning to him now to help us develop Phase Two. At the end of our day we will race back to relax at Voices on the Green – hope to see you there.


    David & Katie

  • Communities Without Borders Presentation on Sunday
    Come hear Al Jacobson, Meg Jackson, Toni Tasker, and Lynn Perry share their experiences in Zambia.

    When? This Sunday, October 29 at noon in Parker Hall after the Sunday Service.

    First Parish has a longstanding connection with CWB: 18 years ago Dick Bail (FUSN), our own Al Jacobson (First Parish Lexington), and others traveled to Zambia and saw the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis on orphaned and vulnerable children and families. Thanks to CWB, these children now receive an education, medical screening, food and psycho-social support.

    Three FP members — Meg Jackson, Toni Tasker and Lynn Perry — all traveled to Zambia this past summer with Communities Without Borders. Come hear about their involvement with teacher training, health screening, CWB’s opportunities for future travelers, and other experiences.

    Considering a CWB service trip this summer of 2018? Come hear about the Al Jacobson/CWB Traveling Fellowship offered to two FP members and friends, teens through adults.

    Please join us and hear how First Parish extends its Social Action work to the children of Zambia.

    Questions? Please contact Margie Gibbons.

  • The Great Fall Auction – Donation Deadline Extended

    This year’s Great Fall Auction is on Saturday, November 18th at the church. Doors open at 6 PM; the silent auction is from 6 – 7:30 PM; the live auction starts at 7:30 PM.

    We still need a few more items to auction off, so we have extended the deadline for donations to October 31st.  We will gratefully accept smaller items (like gift cards to local establishments) as well as large items (like hosted dinners, vacation home stays).

    To donate an item, email the details to fallauction@fplex.org or fill out the on-line donation form by clicking here.

    We also need volunteers. The auction team needs folks to coordinate food and beverages and to help set up and clean up on November 18th.

    Thank you for supporting this important fundraiser for the church.


    on behalf of the Auction Team — Margie and Bob Gibbons, Toni and Pete Tasker, and Tom Rich

  • Phone and Tablet Recycling

    Image result for medic mobile

    Effective immediately, the phone and tablet recycling program at First Parish is going to support Medic Mobile, a nonprofit agency that “safely recycles your phone or tablet to fund healthcare programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Each smart phone donated and recycled funds up to 10 new phones for health workers in 21 countries around the world. Health workers use the phones to register pregnancies, track disease outbreaks faster, monitor essential medicine stock, and communicate about emergencies.” Visit their website here.


    This program is for smart phones and tablets only, which should be cleared of contact info before depositing in bin.

    Please do not leave laptops, Ipods, or other electronic devices in the bin. If you have a laptop to donate, please contact LexRAP.

    We are no longer accepting donations of used ink cartridges. Please dispose of them at the local Staples store.

    Thank you!

  • 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.”


    A Story Slam is like the NPR show, “The Moth”

    When: Sat Nov 4, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

    Where: First Church Unitarian, Littleton 19 Foster St., Littleton

    This year we another fabulous line up of 6 storytellers!  Our emcee is 2015 storyteller finalist, Rev. Robin Bartlett, Senior Pastor, at First Church in Sterling, MA, a multi-denominational church affiliated with the UUA and the UCC. Light refreshments will be served.

    Please support the work of UU Mass Action by having a great time at our annual Story Slam!  Don’t miss out – get your tickets today!!  You need a fun night out!

    Get your tickets today!  $30 for one ticket  –  Invite a friend!  2 or more tickets, $25 each – Early bird until 10/26

    Starting 10/27 all on-line tickets and tickets at the door are $40

    If you want to purchase tickets by mail, send your check to PO Box 224, Greenbush, MA 02040  – Please write Story Slam in the memo line

  • In Other News

    Elizabeth Lerner Maclay, Assistant Minister at First Parish from 1995 to 1997, was installed as the eighteenth minister at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday, October 22nd. Our Minister Emerita, Helen Cohen, and her husband Don attended the service, and Helen and the Rev. Jane Rzepka conducted a litany of blessing by Liz’s family and colleagues. It was a great celebration for Liz and for the congregation.

  • THE COMMON GOOD IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: A Reflection on Faith and Foreign Policy

    Image result for andrew bacevich

    All are welcome to a presentation on Monday evening, October 30th at 7:00pm in Keilty Hall, the lower level of St. Brigid Church. Dr. Andrew Bacevich (Col. US Army Ret.), a graduate of West Point and Princeton, will read from his book, THE COMMON GOOD IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: A Reflection on Faith and Foreign Policy. He is the author many books and articles on foreign policy and the limits of military power today. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Foreign Affairs, New Left Review, The Nation, The New Republic, and The London Review of Books among other publications. All are invited to what promises to be a very interesting evening!

    Monday, October 30, 2017, 7:00 pm

    Keilty Hall: St. Brigid Parish

    1981 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington

  • Local Talk and Book Signing
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    David Billings on White Supremacy and Undoing Racism
    First Parish Concord and the Phillips House (a historic house that was originally owned by a former slave) are co-sponsoring this free talk and book signing by David Billings, the author of Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy. 
    David Billings has been an anti-racist organizer and trainer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond since 1983.  He is an ordained United Methodist minister and a historian, and he has worked with hundreds of educational, human service, criminal justice, and faith-based groups around the country. He will speak about the pervasiveness of white supremacy throughout our culture and institutions, and how it can be undone.
  • This Week at First Parish
    Wednesday, October 25
    Deb Abel Dance Class 1:30 p.m. Parish Hall
    Children’s Choir Rehearsal 4:00 p.m. Sanctuary
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Thursday, October 26
    Meditation 4:00 p.m. Robinson Hall
    Deb Abel Dance Class 4:00 p.m. Parish Hall
    Thursday Evening Adult Program 7:00 p.m. Parish Hall
    Scrabble Club 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Friday, October 27
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:00 p.m. Sanctuary
    Saturday, October 28
    Parish Board Retreat 8:30 a.m. Offsite
    Voices on the Green 7:00 p.m. Sanctuary & Parish Hall
    Sunday, October 29    
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Children’s Choir Rehearsal 11:45 a.m. Yellow Room
    Communities Without Borders 12:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Master Singers Concert 3:00 p.m. Sanctuary
    OWL 4:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    SHYG 7:00 p.m. Robinson Hall
    Monday, October 30
    Staff Meeting 11:00 a.m. Minister’s Office
    Deb Abel Dance Class 4:00 p.m. Parish Hall
    Tuesday, October 31
    Deb Abel Dance Class 4:00 p.m. Parish Hall
    Empty Sky Sangha 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Wednesday, November 1
    Deb Abel Dance Class 1:30 p.m. Parish Hall
    Creative Callings 1:30 p.m. Parlor
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
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