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

    In a follow-up sermon to her MLK sermon, Rev. Anne continues her exploration of the difficulties inherent for African American voices to be heard and valued within our denomination. Today we lift up the Black Lives Unitarian Universalist movement and will have a special collection to support our colleagues of color who have been marginalized through years of white supremacy.

    Click here to listen to Rev. Anne’s MLK sermon, “From Selma to the Biltmore.”

    This Sunday, guest pianist Sarah Hager and First Parish tenor soloist Austin Burns will provide inspirational music for worship. Austin will sing 2 African-American spirituals:  a rousing arrangement of “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” and a lyrical rendition of “Deep River.” Sarah will play Ludwig van Beethoven’s energetic “Allegro” (from Piano Sonata in C, Op. 2, No. 3), Frederic Mompou’s contemporary piano piece “Trois Variations (1926)” and Barbara Smith’s serene “Woods Walk.”

    There will be Sunday School classes for grades Pre-K through eighth. The nursery will be open for infants and toddlers.

  • Special Collection on Sunday
    On February 18th we will have a special collection called:  The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith.

    Imagine what our faith would look like if we upheld and centered the history, the perspectives, the voices, and the leadership of Black Unitarian Universalists…

    The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith campaign is our opportunity to take the lead as a faith denomination in addressing our history of upholding white supremacy. 

    The UUA launched The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith following the General Assembly in New Orleans in June 2017.  It is a historic commitment to address our denomination’s history of upholding white supremacy, and all Unitarian Universalists are invited to be part of it through:

    1. Holding at least one worship service around the campaign’s themes, and
    2. Financial support (each congregation is asked to pledge the equivalent of $10 per member), and
    3. Making a long-term commitment to dismantling white supremacy, racism and oppression within our congregations, our Association, and beyond.

    Background:  In October 2016 the UUA Board of Trustees made a bold $5.3 million commitment to black leaders in Unitarian Universalism to support ministry to black-identified Unitarian Universalists. The Board’s decision reflects an understanding that Unitarian Universalism has benefited from the system of white supremacy that advantages white people and white institutions. In the late 1960s, Unitarian Universalism was asked to take steps to address the silencing and marginalization of Black Unitarian Universalists. Though there was an initial affirmation of this commitment at the time, the commitment went unfulfilled and the promise was broken.  (More about that broken promise here:  www.uuworld.org/articles/empowerment-tragedy )

    Rev. Anne preached about this history in her sermon, “From Selma to the Biltmore” (click here).  On February 18th, she will tell the rest of the story in her sermon “From Biltmore to the BLUU.”  Please come prepared to participate in this historic moment of our denomination. If you cannot attend on February 18th, please consider making a contribution to support the voice of Black Unitarian Universalists by sending a check in to the office.
  • From Your Minister

    Image result for valentineThere is a wonderful confluence of events today.  It is Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate love in all of the ways it shows up in our lives. It is also the beginning of the season of Lent, when our Christian neighbors will begin a 40-day period of reflection and preparation for Easter. When I was a child, all of us kids were asked to give something up – which generally meant giving up sweets. There was something brave about choosing to give up something we loved for the sake of a higher purpose. It was less about denial and more about taking control, but it was also good for us to realize the privilege that comes with the ability to eat sweets, and to be able to deny ourselves that pleasure felt like a positive step in living our values.

    As Unitarian Universalists, we no longer follow the traditional Christian calendar, so I doubt that any of you are choosing to fast during Lent. There are many other health related reasons that might make this a good idea, but as a spiritual practice there are many other life-affirming things we could choose to do. One of the things I seek in my life is more humor, and so I share this poem with you in the spirit of the day:

    Roses are Red
    Violets are Blue
    Lent is upon us:
    No chocolate for you!
  • Saturday – Sound Journey with Nirmal Chandraratna

    Sound Journey

    with Nirmal Chandraratna

    Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 PM

    Free Will Offering

    First Parish welcomes Nirmal Chandraratna, a New York City-based Kirtan artist and composer with a passion for nurturing connection – to spirit, to community, and to one’s deeper self – through music. Using the voice, the harmonium, and the cello, he creates music for Kirtan and meditation, and works for communal performance. He will collaborate with our director of music Rip Jackson. In this evening experience, set in a dynamic, meditative environment, you are invited to connect with your intentions, both for yourself and for the world, and to let them take flight using the transformative power of sound. At the beginning of the evening, we’ll come together as a community, singing together and sharing our intentions. We’ll raise the intensity, and then you’ll be invited to settle into a comfortable position to meditate in a darkened, candle-lit environment as a concert of expansive music and textures unfolds.

  • News from the Office

    Image result for mickey mouseThe office will be closed for President’s Day on Monday, February 19th.

    Image result for mickey mouseThe office will be closed, Tuesday & Wednesday, February 20th & 21st, while Jane is on vacation.

    Image result for mickey mouse

    Next week’s Weekly Update will be published on Thursday afternoon, February 22nd.

    Image result for mickey mouseThe deadline for the March edition of the Focalpoint is Friday, February 23rd at 5pm.

  • Invitation from Roaring Jelly Contra Dancing

    We, Roaring Jelly, would like to extend a special invitation to all members of First Parish to come to our February contra dance as our guests this Friday, February 16th. There is an informal beginners’ teaching session at about 7:45. The dance starts at 8:00. Each dance is taught during a walk-through and called during the dance itself. Clean shoes should be used to protect the floor. One doesn’t need to come with a partner. It’s friendly, lively, and fun!

    Contra dancing is a New England folk tradition. Dances are done in long lines with your partner and your neighbors while moving up and down the line so you dance with everyone in the hall. Just as in square dancing, there is a repeated pattern of moves.

  • Sol y Canto Concert

    Sol y Canto Trio with Cecilia Zabala 

    (Benefit for Puerto Rico)

    Sunday, February 18th at 4PM

    Join us on Sunday, February 18th at 4pm for an afternoon of traditional and original Latin American Music featuring Sol y Canto and Cecilia Zabala. Cambridge-based Sol y Canto play “Latin roots music to change the world: Passionate, poetic, playful and honest.” The Sol y Canto trio featuring Rosi Amador, Brian Amador, and Paul Lieberman. They will be joined by Cecilia Zabala from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a virtuoso guitarist and singer whose original music draws on a rich mixture of Argentine folklore, jazz, tango, and Brazilian popular music. Tickets are $20 – click here to purchase. Proceeds to benefit victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico through the MA United for Puerto Rico Fund. Visit the Boston Foundation at www.tbf.org/puertorico

  • The End of Coffee Hour/The Future of First Parish

    Lately, there has been more than the usual to chew on after church. Almost 170 parishioners came to one of the two Imagination Cafés held in the last few weeks. No doubt the free lunch was a draw, but there was clear enthusiasm for the opportunity to dine together over a nice meal and to converse about the future directions of our church. The next step is less tasty but very nourishing: collating and interpreting the results of those conversations so that the Board can be guided in what the congregation wants us to be accountable for.

    That process has already begun: Marty Kvaal, Mary Brinton, Debbie Armstrong, and Tony Seisfeld have collected all the formal and informal results of the conversations and begun digesting them for the rest of the Board. (If you have more you would like to add, or were unable to join us for lunch, please contact one of them to share your thoughts). Soon we will communicate what we have learned so far, but we will also begin immediately to be guided by what we have learned as we plan ahead for the rest of this year and beyond. Specifically, we are looking at such questions as: “What kind of mission should drive the future plans and activities of this church? How should our building and other facilities be designed to accomplish that mission? How should we optimize our professional staff and volunteers? How should our budget and capital campaign reflect our mission?

    The Cafés were a great start, and thanks for your involvement in them. More opportunities to engage are coming soon. But first, a warm and hearty thanks to the wonderful people who made the Cafés a reality. Thanks especially to the Imagination Café Team:  Marty Kvaal, Stacey Buetel, Sara Mannix, Rita Bourne, Amy Jamision, Nancy Cowen, John Obertueffer, David Rose, Katie O’Hare-Gibson, Lisa Maria Steinberg, Rev. Anne Mason, and Dave Pollack.  Thanks also to others who served as table hosts and recorders and to those, including both adults and youth group members, who helped with set-up and clean-up. And thanks to Bob Coughlin and Jane Foley for their behind-the-scenes help. Great job by all!

  • The Green Corner

    News & Action from First Parish Climate Action Team

    Thank you One—to all who make calls to help get the Carbon Pricing Legislation out of the Joint Committee on Telecommunica-tions, Utilities and Energy.  The legislation is now part of an Omnibus bill in a Senate Committee chaired by Senator March Pacheco. Our UU Climate Collaborative members from the UU church in Middleborough spend over an hour with Sen. Pacheco and report  “the bill if passed, would require a “market-based compliance mechanism” for carbon–but would leave it to the current state administration to implement. Our group was very happy with what we heard–no new fossil-fuel infrastructure, gas leaks must be fixed, higher target for storage, 3% RPS (renewable portfolio standard)

    increases, eliminate net metering caps, more offshore wind, language from other House-originated bills regarding environmental justice, anti-fracking, clean fuel.  Next will be getting it through Senate Ways & Means, then the Senate, then–where we’ll really be needed–the House.” More later.

    Thank you Two—to the Rev. Anne and the Worship Committee for inviting Rev. Fred Small to lead Worship Sunday February 11.  Rev. Small was one of the founders of the UU Green Sanctuary Movement and most recently the minister at First Parish in Cambridge. He left the parish ministry in 2015 to working full -time on Climate Change issues. He challenged us to view these dark times not as a tomb of defeats, but a womb of hope and new spiritually centered activism.

    Thank you Three is an anticipatory thank you to all who will join the FP Climate Action Team (CAT) at our meeting on Sunday February 25 after worship at 11:45 in the Parlor. The agenda will include:  Update on the new Omnibus Climate Bill and next steps to pass it, FP Green Sanctuary Actions including divestment, and other new congregation wide actions. (For more information Contacts:  Stephen Shick, stephenshick04@gmail.com  Bob Kvaal, bkvaal@gmail.com  David Pollack,  joananddavid3@verizon.net

  • A Community-Wide Discussion About the Immigrant Experience

  • Project Joy is Coming Your Way

    Project Joy is about finding, experiencing, and sharing more joy in our personal lives and in our church community. The official launch date for Project Joy will occur as part of the Easter Sunday service on April 1. All members of the church will be invited to participate in building a collage and hanging pendants in the Parish Hall and Sanctuary that will represent moments of joy and happiness they have experienced. For more information or to express your interest in helping, please contact Al Jacobson or Don Cohen.

  • Voices on the Green Draws Huge Crowd

       Our popular community outreach series, Voices on the Green, drew 212 people to First Parish on Friday night, the biggest audience for the series so far. The evening included personal storytelling, art, music, and a neuroscience talk all about “Modern Love.” Among the highlights were two contrasting stories about getting to yes: one that took 18 years (by Katherine Rose), and one that took only a minute (by Marshall Wilensky). Another highlight was the dual (duel?) re-tellings of their first date by Katie and Regie O’Hare Gibson. Chris Hess hooked the crowd with a surprising love story from the Margaree River in Nova Scotia. And the show-stopper featured Al Jacobson’s love story to all of us, including a new scale for measuring that love. Love songs by Don White, and a lively explanation of love from a neuroscientist filled the evening to the brim with our best Voices yet.

    Next Voices coming in April: But tempt us with your story now!  If you have a great story to tell, or a theme we should explore, catch Deb Lapides, Helen Cohen, Regie O’Hare Gibson, Anne Khudari, Lee Brami, Laura Juitt, or David Rose.






























  • Soul Matters

    February’s Soul Matters theme is “What does it mean to be a people of perseverance?” Perseverance doesn’t have to be a solo activity; in fact, it can be more successful with occasional support, which can sometimes come from unanticipated sources.  What enables you to carry on? Try to think of the unexpected thing that propped or props you up. For instance, maybe it was the relative you least expected who stepped forward in your time of need. Or maybe it was the person who gave you gifts of beauty when everyone else was telling you how they got through so you can too. What surprising person, song, book, quote, insight, spiritual practice, or experience has propped up your perseverance?

  • Stewardship Pledge Drive 2018

    The Pledge Drive this year will be a continuation of celebrating the heritage of our congregation and recognizing the role we all have in building toward an inspiring future. The Imagination Café events led by the Board are an opportunity for everyone to embrace the potential of our community and provide guidance in making plans for the years ahead. In the upcoming weeks, information about the pledge drive will be distributed and will show how important it is for us all to feel that we are united in supporting the financial needs of the church. Support through your annual pledge is a vitally important way to demonstrate your commitment to First Parish.

    What is the Pledge Drive?

    The time of year when we make our financial pledges to the church to support the programs and mission of First Parish.

    Why it’s important.

    Did you know that over 65% of our budget comes from our annual Pledge Drive? Our pledges enable us to build the church we want.

    Who Participates?

    You do! All members and friends contribute.

    When is it?

    There will be several events promoting and discussing the Stewardship goals and engaging with you in conversation. On Sunday, March 18th, we will have our annual Celebration Sunday, and in April we will end the Pledge Drive with an event.

    How do I pledge?

    Pledge cards will be mailed to you in early February. On Celebration Sunday, March 18th, bring your card to church or pledge online <see Fplex.org>

    Who is driving the Stewardship Pledge Drive this year?

    The Stewardship Planning Team members are:  Bob Coyne, Marsha Fox, Katie O’Hare Gibson, Elisabeth Jas, Erik Svenson, and Tom Rich.  Send Questions or Comments to stewardship@fplex.org.

  • This Week at First Parish
    Wednesday, February 14    
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Thursday, February 15    
    New England LREDA Meeting 11:00 a.m. Common Room
    Meditation Group 4:00 p.m. Parlor
    Scrabble Club 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Friday, February 16    
    Roaring Jelly Contra Dancing 8:00 p.m. Parish Hall
    Sunday, February 18    
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Sol y Canto Concert to Benefit Puerto Rico 4:00 p.m. Sanctuary
    OWL 4:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    SHYG 7:00 p.m. Robinson Hall
    Monday, February 19
    President’s Day – church closed    
    Tuesday, February 20
    Office closed    
    Empty Sky Sangha 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Wednesday, February 21
    Office closed    
    Creative Callings 1:30 p.m. Parlor
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
  • Click this button to benefit First Parish when you shop at Amazon.