Weekly Update

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

    There is an old saying that says “if you have forgotten the language of gratitude, you will never be on speaking terms with happiness.” What is it about practicing the habit of gratitude that actually makes us happier? In the troubled world in which we live, it is important to spend some time reflecting on that for which we are truly grateful. Join Rev. Anne this Sunday at 10:30am.

    This Sunday, guest concert pianist Yukino Sekino joins First Parish soprano soloist Elizabeth Walsh in sharing their music gifts during the morning worship service. Elizabeth will sing Richard Farina’s serene “Where Gentle Tides Go Rolling By” and Irving Berlin’s energetic “I’ve got the Sun in the Morning” (from Annie Get Your Gun). Yukino will also play W. A. Mozart’s playful “Allegro Moderato” (from Sonata in C major, K. 330), Maurice Ravel’s lyrical “Mouvement de Menuet” (from Sonatine), and J. S. Bach’s noble “Allemande” (from French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV 816).


    Click here to listen to last week’s homily, “What We Need is Here” by Rev. Anne Mason

  • Transgender Day of Remembrance

    At noon on Sunday, please join Rev. Anne and members of UCC Hancock on the front steps of the church for a Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.



  • News from the Office

    The Office will be closed from noon on Wednesday, November 22nd through Friday, November 24th in observance of Thanksgiving. The lights will be on again at 8:30am on Monday.

    The deadline for December’s Focalpoint is today! However, if you get information to the office over the long weekend, it will be included in the issue.

    Thanksgiving blessings to all!

  • Nonfiction Book Group

    Image result for the hidden life of treesThe next meeting of the Nonfiction Book Group is Monday, November 27th at 7:30pm in the Parlor. The group will be discussing The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Please come if you have read it, partially read it, or are interested! Contact John Oberteuffer for more information.




  • 325th Celebration: Sunday, December 3

    Please join us for the final 325th Celebration event!

    12:00 COLONIAL LUNCH – Sold out!

    A feast fit for revolutionaries, omnivores, vegetarians, vegans; gluten-free and nut-free dishes finishing with Apple Knobby Cake and Gingerbread catered by Chris Bateman, owner/chef of Lexx.

    2:00 BELL-RINGING AT THE OLD BELFRY (at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Clarke Street) with a LITANY OF CELEBRATION by The Reverend Anne Mason and the Congregation followed by a PROCESSION TO THE CHURCH visiting sites on the Town Green.

    3:00  “325 AND COUNTING: A FIRST PARISH HISTORICAL DRAMA” in the Sanctuary, written and directed by Don Cohen. Featuring Elisabeth Jas, Suzanne Adams, David Bovet, Chris Hess, Rip Jackson, and David Meharry, with harpsichord and other musical interludes. All you have ever wanted to know about 1692, how far it is between Lexington and Cambridge, and public confessions.

    Tickets for the presentation are $10 for adults, $5 for children and youth, and can be purchased this Sunday during social hour or in the church office during the week, or at the door.

  • Poinsettias for the Sanctuary

    It’s time to plan for a festive sanctuary this holiday season! First Parish will be accepting orders for poinsettias from Wilson Farm through Sunday, December 3rd.

    The cost is $10.00 for a 6 1/2″ pot, with proceeds going towards the purchase of greens and other items for holiday decorating of the church. If you’d like your plant to be in honor or in memory of someone special, please include a message.

    Please fill out an order form by clicking here, or fill out a form at the piano during social hour or contact the church office with any questions. Thank you!

  • Winter Outerwear Clothing Drive

    Thank you for all of the donations of gently used or new fall and winter outerwear for children, women and men. The box has been overflowing!

    The clothing will be donated to immigrants supported by WATCH in Waltham, which serves families with limited resources. (See http://watchcdc.org/index.php.)  Families particularly need winter jackets, coats, snowsuits, snow pants, hats, gloves or mittens, and boots. Rugged outdoor coats for men are especially appreciated (most of these guys have outdoor construction jobs).  Men’s sizes tend to be smaller (M and L, not XL usually), but WATCH can find a home for everything. Stylish coats for women are also a hit.

    The outerwear needs to be clean and in good condition, so it can be distributed without delay.

    Donations will continue through Sunday, December 3rd. Items may be brought to the Collection Center outside Jane’s office.

    Questions? Contact Marty Kvaal…and thanks!

  • An Enlightening Dialogue

    George Washington [Dean Malissa] and James Madison [John Douglas Hall] informed and entertained a large, attentive audience at a Dialogue on Church and State at First Parish on Thursday, November 16, the second event in the church’s 325th birthday celebration. Welcomed by the Rev. Anne Mason, proceeded by a brief presentation on the nature of church and town in 1692 by Lexington historian Sam Doran, introduced by moderator Dan Fenn, and accompanied into the sanctuary by four current Lexington Minutemen, our two past presidents settled into a warm conversational setting complete with candles and tankards to relate their experiences in and understandings of the founding of our nation.

    Washington, with a commanding and sometimes challenging presence, and Madison, with a quiet penetrating erudition and analysis, portrayed the complexities of the colonies, each of which was at the time considered “a country,” with its own history, occupations, and religion. They told the story of how, with a determination to gain their freedom from the tyranny of the British, these separate “countries” won a war together, wrote a Constitution, and adopted the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” “out of many, one,” words that sounded to many in the audience to be very Unitarian Universalist.

    And they left us with a fine story of Benjamin Franklin, who challenged his contemporaries to interpret the carving of a sun on the horizon as either the dawn of a new day or the coming of night, and to act accordingly. The audience expressed a wide variety of emotions during the presidents’ accounts, including awe, consternation, laughter, and gratitude.

    The congregation is deeply grateful to General Washington, Mr. Madison, Mr. Fenn, Mr. Doran, and the Minuteman for their presentations. We also heartily thank Bill Pittore for the admirable sound system, Amy Jamison for the printed programs, Lew Counts for photography, greeters Debbie Armstrong, Margaret Brooke, Tish Callanan, Marja Meharry, Meg Newhouse, and Beth Walsh, and staff members Jane Foley and Bob Coughlin for all their help.

    And we extend a very special thank you to Elisabeth Garland, whose sponsorship made the event possible.

    It takes a congregation to create an important conversation.

  • SHYG is Selling Equal Exchange

    Image result for equal exchangeAlong with soup sales every Sunday, the Senior High Youth Group will be selling Equal Exchange products! Tea, chocolate, and coffee can now be purchased at the youth group sales table. Come and help us raise money for our service trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation this summer by buying organic and fair trade products grown by small farmers. They make great gifts! Please visit our table during coffee hour.

  • A Successful Great Fall Auction

    Last Saturday night’s Great Fall Auction was a rousing success, with lots of laughs and good company, plus we raised $24,000 for the church. I want to thank the many people who made this evening possible:

    – Auctioneers: Chris Hess, Deb Weiner, David Rose
    – Silent auction team: Toni Tasker (Lead), Liz Hartmann, Mary Knuth, Barry Kingsbury, Sarah Matthews
    – Bid recorders: Margie Gibbons (Lead), Mary Brinton, Paul Brouillette
    – Check in/out and bid entry: Pete Tasker (Lead), Bob Kvaal, Dick Fleiss, Richard Jobling, Bob Gibbons, Tom Wanderer
    – Proxy bidders: Marianne DiBlasi, Anne Khudari
    – Runners: Deb Lapides, Dave Pollack
    – Food and beverage: Marty Kvaal, Jane Eckert, Judy Cole, Brenda Prusak, Larry Prusak
    – People who donated items — lots of you! Thank you!
    – Everybody who attended and purchased items! Thank you!

    Finally, I want to thank the Katie Camire and the Senior High Youth Group, who donated several items to the auction. Half of the proceeds from these items went toward funding their service trip to South Dakota.

    Tom Rich (Auction Chair)

  • Soul Matters: Abundance

    “What does it mean to be a people of ABUNDANCE?”

    Here’s another option that some of the Soul Matters group members chose to reflect on this month of Thanksgiving.  Try it out:

    Abundance On a Scale of 1-10

    This exercise invites us not only to recognize the abundance in our lives, but also recalibrate it. Sometimes abundance is a blessing; other times, too much of it is suffocating. Same with scarcity. Much of the time, scarcity feels like a desert, but other times it is the key to freedom. With this in mind, look over the below list and rate how abundant or scarce each is in your life, on a scale of 1 (scarce) to 10 (abundant). Then make time to reflect on the results. What surprised you? What insight came from placing all the rankings side by side?

    What clearly needs recalibration?

    1. Access to food
    2. Freedom to make decisions about what you wear
    3. Friends
    4. Moments of beauty
    5. Moments of micro-aggression
    6. Freedom to make decisions about how you use your time
    7. Exercise
    8. Financial independence
    9. Regret
    10. A sense of purpose
    11. Access to health care
    12. Time to volunteer
    13. Access to reliable shelter
    14. Worry
    15. Entertainment devices and activities
    16. Novels read
    17. Dinners where your loved ones sit and talk
    18. Play
    19. Passion
    20. Respect of your peers
    21. Envy
    22. People to talk to when tough times come
    23. Fond memories
    24. Family obligations
    25. Work/professional obligations
    26. Time for meditation/prayer
    27. Self care
    28. Self love

    (note: this exercise is an adaptation of the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith )

  • 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.”


    Special Plate Collection – Thanks to your generous donations during last Sunday’s special plate collection, $3,046 will be donated to the Special Needs Arts Program, Inc. (SNAP) of Lexington.

    WATCH Coat Drive – We will continue to collect new or nearly new winter coats for all ages through Sunday, December 3rd. Please see more detailed announcement.

    Amnesty International – Sunday, December 10th is HUMAN RIGHTS DAY to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Idil Eser, the Director of Amnesty International Turkey, has been jailed along with nine others. They have been charged with terrorism-related crimes. Letters of support are direly needed for their release. Please send a letter to the following:

    Ambassador Serdar Kilic

    Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

    2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW

    Washington, DC 20008

    Environmental Justice – Several First Parish members have been very active in the “Stand Up Charlie Campaign” including the sit-in in Governor Baker’s office. A monthly meeting is also convened among several UU congregations to discuss these issues and concerted action, including the fee on carbon. To join the effort, please contact Bob Kvaal, Stephen Shick, or Dave Pollack.

    Good Samaritan Fund – The first round of applications will soon be announced. Anticipated deadline for receipt of applications will be January 30. Stay tuned.

    UU Urban Ministry – Please join us for the next Fair Foods drive on Saturday, December 9. Please email Elaine Hylek if you are able to help. We will meet in the church parking lot at 9:50am and expect to wrap up around 1:30pm. Here are some great pictures from the last Fair Foods event with Elaine Hylek, Tom Wanderer, John Schmitz, and Rita Bourne.








  • Voices on the Green

    Voices on the Green, the community outreach program for First Parish that was created last fall, has now completed its first year with three programs: “Breakthrough” and “Balancing-on-the-Hyphen” last spring, and “I Protest!” on October 28.

    We are pleased to be able to give a $1000 donation to the church for this year, in addition to the donations we have given our community partners for each event: Lexington Council for the Arts, Lexington Youth and Family Services, and Communities for Restorative Justice.

    We are grateful to the board and the congregation for their enthusiastic support of the program, to all the speakers and musicians who participated, to Bill Pittore for sound and Ben Juitt for stage management, to Ben Soule and Munroe Saturday Nights for the loan of stage and lighting equipment, and to our audience.

    VOG Committee: David Rose, chair, Laura Juitt, Anne Khudari, Deb Lapides, Regie O’Hare Gibson, Helen Cohen. <voicesonthegreen@fplex.org>

  • This Week at First Parish
    Wednesday, November 22


    Saturday, November 25

    No events Happy Thanksgiving!
    Sunday, November 26
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Transgender Day of Remembrance 12:00 p.m. Front Steps
    Monday, November 27    
    Nonfiction Book Group 7:30 p.m. Parlor
    Tuesday, November 28    
    Buildings & Grounds 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Empty Sky Sangha 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Wednesday, November 29    
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
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