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

    Mid-winter muck getting you down? Need some color in your life? Come and celebrate Holi – the ancient Hindu festival of color. Rev. Anne will offer readings and teachings from the Hindu sacred tradition as Rip Jackson and the choir collaborate with our NYC-based guest musician, Nirmal Chandraratna, to provide us all with an interactive musical and spiritual worship service. This morning we invite you to participate in the ecstatic ancient singing tradition of Kirtan led by Nirmal. Singing chant offers us the experience of deeper connection with music, each other, and ourselves.

    Rev. Anne Mason, Worship Leader

    There will be Sunday school classes from grades Pre-K through eight. The nursery will be open for infants and toddlers.

    Guest musician Nirmal Chandraratna was born to Sri Lankan parents in Rochester, New York. Nirmal found his passion in music composition and received his Masters in Music in 1998 from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2010, Nirmal discovered Kirtan, a call-and-response practice of singing mantra, and fell in love with Kirtan’s intentionality and immersive nature. He began studying Sanskrit, Eastern philosophy and mantra, and has been leading Kirtan ever since. Kirtan and mantra have influenced his other compositions in his desire to continue to include the audience into a musical experience in an intentional manner, and he also offers guided meditations on the chakras, Sound Journeys, live music for yoga classes, and other creative offerings.

  • Focalpoint Deadline

    The deadline for submissions to the March issue of The Focalpoint is Friday, February 23rd at 12:00pm. Please send news and events to admin@fplex.org.


  • 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.

  • Sarasa Ensemble Concert

    The next Sarasa Ensemble Concert being held at First Parish will be on Sunday, March 4th at 3:30pm.

    “Les délices de la solitude” – Introducing the exemplary musician and gambist, Reiko Ichise, to our Sarasa family, this intimate program provides clear evidence why the bass viol was so revered by the Sun King, Louis XIV. As well as a celebration of the 350th anniversary of François Couperin’s birth, this will be a rare chance to hear re-discovered works by two of the finest players of Georgian England, who were also great friends, Carl Friedrich Abel and Giacobbe Cervetto.

    Click here to purchase tickets. Students $10, Seniors $20, General $25

  • News from the Board

    At our February meeting, the Board took action on two different fronts, both of which are intended to strengthen the church’s capacity for future success in achieving the congregation’s mission.

    The first front focused on governance – how can we become more effective in making decisions, in managing our resources? The Board heard recommendations from our Governance Task Force and voted to implement them immediately.

    The second front focused on mission: What are the priorities that we will hold ourselves accountable for and that will guide and energize our engagement with the congregation and the larger community. To prepare us for making decisions about priorities, the Board planned and initiated the “Imagination Cafés” that were held during the last few weeks. Those cafés proved to be a notable success – over 170 of the church’s members and friends participated, a huge representation of the congregation. (For comparison, only about 50 people typically attend our semi-annual meetings.)

    From those 170 people, we gathered a vast amount of information about our individual hopes (and fears) for the future of First Parish, important information for guiding the Board. To make that information “actionable”, the Board formed an unusually qualified team (Mary Brinton, Harvard sociologist; Tony Seisfeld, organizational consultant; Marty Kvaal, social services administrator; and Deb Armstrong, clinical therapist) to organize, analyze, interpret, and summarize that data so that we can begin to act on it.

    We will soon distribute a full report, but we asked the group to share some first impressions now. As an example, they reported on the kinds of activities that seem to be the highest priorities for the congregation:

    • Intergenerational activities (including social action/social justice activities that span generations); activities that bring people together to have fun; activities that bring people together to do social action as a way of deepening spiritual practice; making our congregation more heterogeneous by age, ethnicity, and economic status.
    • Additionally: People crave more opportunities to come together for spiritual growth, whether it be in church-sponsored book groups focused on a theme, crafts, story-telling (classes or actual story-telling by participants), or for educational purposes (classes taught by parishioners with particular expertise or skills).

    Their full report will address other topics from the Cafés, and will flesh out the full recommendations. But we recognize (and the voice of Dan Fenn echoes in our minds) that the desired outcome of the Cafés is not in the recommendations they generated, or even in the final report of the recommendations, but in the actions we take on behalf of them. What we have learned from the Cafés should be evident in our plans for next year’s programs and activities, staffing priorities and patterns, annual budget, and in Phase Two of the Capital Campaign.

    But we hope to begin to “re-imagine” our activities for this spring and summer as well. To that end, the Board agreed to hold a special meeting in two weeks that will be devoted entirely to examining the recommendations of the congregation more closely and identifying how they can begin to be realized in upcoming activities like Mayfair, Voices on the Green, the Stewardship Campaign, perhaps even our summer services.

    We look forward to sharing our progress and especially to your continued participation as we begin to re-imagine First Parish not only for the people in our congregation but also for the people not yet in our congregation.

  • The Green Corner

    News & Action

    from the

    First Parish Climate Action Team

    Climate Action Team Meeting this Sunday, February 25th after worship at 11:45 in the Parlor. The agenda will include:  Update on the new Omnibus Climate Bill; next steps FP Green Sanctuary Renewal Actions; FP Earth Day Plans. For more information and new agenda items, contact Stephen Shick, stephenshick04@gmail.com or Bob Kvaal, bkvaal@gmail.com  or David Pollack,  joananddavid3@verizon.net.

    This Week’s Action Item: As a result of the citizen action there is a new and surprisingly good Clean Energy Omnibus Bill https://cabaus.org/2018/02/12/senate-clean-energy-omnibus-bill/

    The first step is to get it out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Lexington Senators Mike Barrett and Cindy Friedman support this legislation and should be thanked:

    Cindy Friedman: Cindy.Friedman@masenate.gov     617) 722-1432

    Mike Barrett:  Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov  617-722-1572

    Please call the following Senators to tell them that you support the Senate Clean Energy Omnibus Bill and that you have called your own senator:

    Senator Karen Spilka: 617-722-1640, Chair, Ways and Means Committee

    Senator Hariette Chandler: 617-722-1544, Senate President


    New UU Ministry for Earth Website (https://www.uumfe.org/, with new resources, a blog that foregrounds action alerts and cutting-edge tools and stories to further your connection with the larger environmental justice movement. The website launch also corresponds with the release of UUMFE’s 2018 Earth Day & Climate Justice Month resources. Check it out and bring your ideas to our February 25th meeting.

  • Coat Racks and Lost & Found

    Dress clothes clipartNew coat racks have been added and old ones relocated. They can now be found in Parish Hall, the Common Room, the lower level vestibule by the restroom, and the lower level rear vestibule by the entrance to Parker Hall. No more need to pile coats on top of a full rack!

    Also, Lost and Found items have been piling up! Please visit the table in Parish Hall this Sunday and next Sunday to reclaim your things: coats, jackets, gloves, and water bottles galore!

  • New UU Workshop

    New to Unitarian Universalist thought? New to First Parish? Want a chance to get to know our minister and like-minded people? Please come to the New UU Workshop!

    Reverend Anne Mason and the Members and Friends Committee invite you to join them on Saturday, March 3rd from 9 am to 12 noon at the church. We will spend the morning by sharing our spiritual paths, our questions, and our hopes for religious community. Reverend Anne will share some highlights of Unitarian and Universalist history and theology, leaving space for questions and shared exploration. If you decide you are interested in membership in this congregation, you will have an opportunity to learn about that as well.

    Kindly RSVP yes or no by emailing Dave Horton or by calling the church office and leaving your name with Jane Foley (781-862-8200).  If a family member or friends who may not have received an invitation would like to participate, have them sign up as well!

  • Collection for Lexington Food Pantry

    Every year during March, First Parish has a month-long collection for the Lexington Interfaith Food Pantry. There are two ways you can help during the month. First, please donate personal care products, which are not covered by the Federal food stamp programs. These include shampoos, lotions, dental care products, and other toiletries. Products containing alcohol or hotel-sized items will not be accepted. There will be baskets at both entrances to the church marked Food Pantry donations. We will also continue to accept non-perishable food items as we have been doing on an ongoing basis.

    The second way you can help is by making a monetary donation during the special plate collection on Sunday, March 4th. Carolyn Wortman, Director, will speak at the service. All non-pledge contributions will be donated.

    Thank you as always for your generosity of spirit and gifts to others in need. If you have any questions or want more information about the Lexington Food Pantry, please contact Lynne Yansen.


  • Soul Matters

    February’s Soul Matters theme is “What does it mean to be a people of perseverance?” Here are a few questions from the Soul Matters materials for you to ponder and discuss, by yourself or with others.

    • It is said that people who persevere don’t just struggle through their pain; they share and tell stories of their pain. Others then respond with their own stories of pain and struggle, leading to the discovery that we are not as alone as we thought. So is it time for you to be a storyteller, not just a survivor?
    • Have you made friends with defeat? Have you figured out the hidden gift, lesson, or blessing of your defeat?
    • It is important to gratefully acknowledge the shoulders of those you stand on. But how are you doing with the equally important work of offering your shoulders to others?
  • This Week at First Parish
    Thursday, February 22
    Meditation Group 4:00 p.m. Parlor
    Scrabble Club 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    UU Climate Collaborative 7:30 p.m. Common Room
    Saturday, February 24
    Sound Journey with Nirmal Chandraratna 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
    Sunday, February 25
    Choir Warm-Up 9:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Worship Service 10:30 a.m. Sanctuary
    Climate Action Team 11:45 a.m. Parlor
    Children’s Choir Rehearsal 11:45 a.m. Yellow Room
    SHYG 7:00 p.m. Robinson Hall
    Monday, February 26
    Staff Meeting 11:00 a.m. Minister’s Office
    LYFS Board Meeting 6:00 p.m. Parker Hall
    Tuesday, February 27
    Empty Sky Sangha 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Wednesday, February 28
    Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Parker Hall
    Master Singers Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary
  • Click this button to benefit First Parish when you shop at Amazon.