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Connector September 18

Connector September 18

September 18, 2013

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Minister’s Column by Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty

revmarjorieCan it get any better than this? Last week I had and amazing week! I met with the Interfaith Clergy Group in Sudbury (ICG) and spent time with amazing colleagues, had really productive meetings with FinCom, WAG, and a couple of members who truly care about the Stewardship of First Parish. For those of you who are not in the know FinCom is the Finance Committee and WAG is the Worship Associates Group and then there is PAG, the Pastoral Associates Group and the CHC, which is the Community and Hospitality Committee. We have a few acronyms at First Parish, and as a newcomer I have been trying diligently to learn them. So many of you have been helpful over the last couple of weeks by saying things like WAG and then saying the Worship Associates Group or wearing your name tag at church and in the fellowship hour. It speaks to how welcoming that you are and how much you want to include me in your community. It takes extra effort to be that open and welcoming and I appreciate it.
Your being welcoming is an important part of being a community of hope and love. It was no surprise to me that this Friday and Saturday during the Board of Trustees (BoT) retreat the importance of being welcoming was an important message that members shared. It was also no surprise that being more welcoming was a goal that was set. Nor was it a surprise that the Board’s mission statement would be active: “Welcoming, Sustainable, Inspirational, Work for Justice!” One of the members of the Board actually tried to put the mission statement into an acronym… LOL (Laugh Out Loud)… FPS is a WC (welcoming community)…

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) if we want to be truly welcoming we need to begin with lowering the threshold to entry into our community and language is the place to begin. So let us be open to inspiration and think about the ways that we can help people to enter our community and immediately feel that they have arrived at a place that has been waiting for them. A spiritual home or a meetinghouse that is more whole for their participation. To ensure newcomers participation we need to be willing to look at our culture and uncover the ways that make people feel like an outsider. Acronyms that are not literally and figuratively spelled out are just one way… IYKWIM (If You Know What I Mean).

Language… if one uses the term God, or Allah, or Yahweh, or Spirit of Life and Love, or Universal Energy, does it really matter? I realize that so many of us get stuck on terminology, but that is where suspending our judgment comes into practice. I wonder how we can use language to build bridges instead of walls? That will be our goal in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. To learn and accept one another’s chosen language and endeavor to build bridges between our individual beliefs. Our practice will be to go beyond our own individual language “triggers” that stop us in our tracks. A trigger is something that catches us up and stalls us from moving forward in an open hearted and minded way. Our work is to go beyond our fear of what a term such as God might mean to one another and to really understand another’s intent instead of making assumptions. This suspending our judgment and openly and actively listing is no easy task, but it is a worthy one. I know, without a doubt in my heart, that we can do this together! Thank you for giving it a try!

To continue this discussion about language and love please consider attending Roberta and my book discussion group on the Language of Flowers by Venessa Diffenbaugh at 7 pm on September 25th and 12 pm on October 2nd.

Peace and Love, Marjorie

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 Content Highlights & LINKS

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Please wear your name tag…it’s the friendly thing to do.

 

R.E.flections by a chaliceD.R.E.amer

Roberta Altamariby Roberta Altamari, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

As I visited two beloved members of our congregation at Mass General last week, I was deeply reminded what is most important in life.  September is a very busy time as we adjust to saying goodbye to the warm (sometimes carefree) days of summer and welcome a cooler season in which more productivity is expected.  It is important to not get too caught up in these minute details and still take time to breath and appreciate those who are special to us.

This seems to be a theme that others are considering as well.  Just before my hospital visits, I noticed a beautiful comment on the Facebook page of one of my colleagues (who recently had a baby).  Robin Bartlett wrote, “I used to hate hospitals but now I love them.  Hospitals and churches are the two places I have experienced my most holy moments, thanks to childbirth and CPE, beautiful life and beautiful death.  And a hospital is a church because it is God’s house; there is no separation.  I feel profoundly grateful today for medical professionals and pastors and medical professionals who are pastors, even if they don’t know they are.  Especially nurses and doctors, who heal in entirely different ways, both incarnational, both profound.  This is holy work you do and I am grateful for your service to humanity.”  I remembered Robin’s words in the hospital as I watched the surgeon removing surgical bandages.  Here are these people we don’t even know giving highly specialized care to our dear friends.  How can we express our gratitude?

This spirit of loving connection is what I’ve previously heard a couple of our youth define as their understanding of God in their Coming-of-Age credos.  To them, God is a spirit of love that connects all people … It is bigger than any one individual and is what makes life so special.  The magic of community is a gift that I witnessed this summer.  One of my professional development experiences this summer was volunteering at Camp Erin, a camp for children who had lost a loved one.  The activities were a blend of fun “campy” type stuff like canoeing with memorial type activities like a luminary ceremony in which we set candles afloat in a lake.  I discovered that the most profound healing for the children came from being surrounded with other kids who had a similar experience.  These children realized that they were not alone.  There were other kids who really understood the loss they were coping with and sat with them as they bounced between joyful play and heartfelt tears.  They were a part of something incredible that empowered them to honor a sad experience in a healing and love-filled way.  The bond created between the children in one weekend changed their lives forever.  I was grateful and honored to be a part of it.

Two Sundays ago at our Water Communion, I noticed how many congregants’ stories about their water included their loved ones.  What matters more than where we go is who we go with or who we see when we get there.  May these stories remind us to take time during these busy months to come to appreciate our loved ones and how important our community is to us. They are what makes life so special!

Blessed be. Roberta

Religious Exploration NEWS 

Standing, Speaking, Singing, Acting, and Dancing on the Side of Love

Join us as we explore deeper and more committed ways to live our Unitarian Universalist faith. How might the way we describe the way we “live our faith” transform our expression and commitment to it?  What does it really mean to stand, speak, sing, act, or dance on the side of love?  What other verbs can we use to express ways of living our faith?  How do we balance our ideals with the real world where our UU principles can feel almost impossible to live by?  Come be a part of a thought-provoking exploration of our Unitarian Universalist values and get inspired to go out and “do something on the side of love” today!

On Sunday, September 29th, First Parish is honored to share the plate and our volunteer power with an awesome Interfaith Service Project to benefit our local neighbors!  Below are details about the general event, but you can also support it by giving generously to the offering on the 29th.  Our youth will be helping from noon till 2pm, so please sign up to come help when we are there or at another time.  See the article in the Living Our Faith section about Share the Plate.

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Religious Education “Meet and Greet” coming up:

Sunday, October 6th will be our annual R.E. meet and greet (after social hour while the kids are entertained in the petting zoo).  Everyone is invited to join us for lunch and to hear about what is going on in R.E. this year at First Parish.  Contact Roberta with questions and early RSVPs are much appreciated (to plan food), but still come if you forget to register.

New Book Discussion Group to Meet Sept. 25 and Oct. 2

Rev. Marjorie and Roberta are pleased to invite you to join them for one (or both) of our book discussion groups about “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh on Wednesday, September 25th at 7 pm or Wednesday, October 2nd at noon. When Marjorie and Roberta first met, they both remarked how compelling and emotional this book was and thought it would be a thought provoking first adult spiritual exploration event to kick off our new ministry together. Highlighting a year of reaching beyond our congregational walls, we will also post the most engaging discussion questions/points online. Please join us in person or on Facebook!

The Language of Flowers” is a New York Times bestseller: “The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.”

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“Want to teach us about sex?”

puppet making (1)This picture includes half of our Senior High youth in grades 10 through 12 who are looking for a fun, funny, compassionate man to assist Roberta in teaching the Our Whole Lives class.  Our Whole Lives is a comprehensive sexuality program that teaches about healthy relationships and promotes our UU values as youth make important decisions. The class meets from 11:30am to 1pm an average of two Sundays a month starting October 20th.  It is a big time commitment, but it is really entertaining for the right person.

Ask Dave A for a reference as he liked it so much that he is assisting with the Junior High version again. Contact Roberta with questions or to sign up.

Both Morris Dancing groups are welcoming new members!

Our Hop Brook Morris Dancers (kids in grades 5 through 8) and our Great Meadows Morris Dancers (kids in high school) are seeking new members. First Parish youth are encouraged to invite friends as you do not need to be a FPS member to dance. Hop Brook starts on September 29th at 11:45am and Great Meadows starts on September 15th at 4:45pm. For those of you not familiar with it, Morris dancing comes from the Cotswold region of England and is a springtime ritual dance done in the small agricultural villages around Cambridge and Oxford. The bells, sticks, and colorful costumes combine with the vigorous dancing to wake the earth and drive away the evil spirits of winter and guarantee a good crop that summer. These dances are hundreds of years old and were passed down through the generations to us today. Our Sword dance comes from Northern England from a village called Ampleforth. This dance is part of a mummer’s play, which acts out the ancient theme of death and resurrection. St. George is killed by swords which circle round his neck and then is brought back to life by the mystical magic of the “fool”. Hop Brook Morris was started in 1990 at First Parish of Sudbury by Tom Kruskal and a group of 5th – 8th graders. We perform ritual dances from England at festivals and events around the Boston area. There are many adult groups performing these dances, but we are one of the few kid’s teams. For more information contact Tom Kruskal, 978-443-8940,

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Living Our Faith

Join Rev Marjorie Sept. 22 for a conversation on Living Our Faith. 

We’ll gather in the Parish Hall immediately following the service to talk about the work of First Parish beyond the walls of our historic meetinghouse.  We’ll have an opportunity to share some of the great social justice work already being done at First Parish.  And we will spend some time talking about what is really means to live our faith in the world. Some questions we’ll ponder together include:

  • What might church as a community of moral discourse and action look like at First Parish?
  • How might we create a shared vision of living our faith?
  • What dreams do you have for the world?
  • What would a world of Beloved Community look like for you?
  • What ideas do you have for projects that we can do together?

Together we’ll plan some action steps to make Living Our Faith an integral part of First Parish during the coming year.  Snacks will be served and childcare will be provided; there’s no need to RSVP, just bring your dreams and ideas!

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Bring in Your Backpack Donations ’til September 29

gdbackpackPlease remember to include shopping for backpacks and school supplies on your “to do” list for the fall. This is such an easy way for all of us to “live our faith” by helping others while we go about our daily lives.  For ten years, First Parish and HOPEsudbury have partnered to help children living in homeless shelters and transitional housing to feel a bit more special as they go back to school by providing new backpacks, pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks, etc. for students from elementary through high school.

There is a bin in the First Parish lobby to collect the backpacks and supplies through September 29 Questions, please contact the office or Ginny D for Living our Faith.

From Your Faith In Action Team

PRESIDENT MORALES’S STATEMENT ON SYRIA — If you haven’t read it yet, you might want to do so.  It is in the center of our Faith and Action bulletin board.

VIGIL FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE  — People who want to join the Saturday Noon to 1:00 pm vigil for peace and justice on the Sudbury Common are very welcome all or part of that time every Saturday or occasionally.  You are invited to bring your own sign expressing what you feel and believe.  First Parish members who have been attending these vigils include Ernie Beer, Judy Deutsch, Peg Espinola and Tom Hollocher.

AN EVENING OF JUSTICE AND HUMOR — Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (of which we are member) invites us to attend an evening of Justice and Humor with Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, Thursday October 3, 6:30 to 9:00 pm, at Temple Beth Zion, 1566 Beacon Street, Brookline.  He is a storyteller, stand-up-comedian who is known as a “real advocate of joy.”  Admission for this fund-raiser is $45 for CMM members and $50 for non-members.

“PREPARING FOR HEALTH CARE OPTIONS — PALLIATIVE, COMFORT AND END-OF-LIFE CARE” –  a forum at Goodnow Library in Sudbury at 2:30 pm Sunday, Nov. 3.  Dr. Mark Kurkorsy, MD, Chief of the Palliative Care and Extended Care Facilities, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, will be the leading panelist among a group that will highlight the positive impact the featured options can have on our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

–  Judy D, Coordinator of out Faith In Action Team

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Share the Plate September 29 with the Interfaith Service Project

On Sunday, September 29th, First Parish is honored to share the plate and our volunteer power with an awesome Interfaith Service Project to benefit our local neighbors!   Below are the details about volunteering your time but you can also support it by giving generously to the offering on the 29th. The Share the Plate and other donated funds cover the cost of the bulk meals being packaged and delivered to local food pantries.  Our youth will be helping from noon till 2 pm, so please sign up to come help when we are there or at another time.

Middlesex County is the hungriest county in Massachusetts with over 130,000 people living in households that struggle to put food on the table. On September 29 the congregations of Sudbury have a unique opportunity to help.  Beginning at 11 am, the Sudbury Clergy Association will be sponsoring an event to package 37,500 meals in honor of Sudbury’s upcoming 375th anniversary. These nutritious meals are comprised of rice, fortified soy protein, vegetables, and essential vitamins & minerals. The nutritionally beneficial dry food packages contain six servings, have a long shelf life, and are easy to prepare at a cost of only 25 cents each. The group fundraising goal is $9375 as each meal costs only 25 cents. $37.50 will fund the costs of one person to package meals for an hour and you will feed 150 kids in the hungriest county in New England.

You can help out in several ways: Donate generously to our Share The Plate offering on the 29th.  And volunteer your time – Sign up for a 1 hour shift (or more!). Four assembly lines of 12 people each will be set up in Ames Hall at Memorial Congregational Church, 26 Concord Road, Sudbury, across from Goodnow Library. Join with volunteers from all over Sudbury to put the meal packages together.  In 1 hour, 50 volunteers can package 8,000 meals!  We anticipate completing our goal of 37,500 in 5 hours. Sign up at http://MCCsudbury.org/event/food.   This is a great opportunity to work side-by-side with your neighbors to make a real difference in our area. And it’s not just for church goers – invite your friends, everyone is welcome!

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From your Welcoming Congregation Committee

equality 2

PassEndaNow_652x315Some things change (look left) and some things stay the same (look right).

As people of faith, we UUs can raise our voices and speak out against injustice.  Please let your local, state and national leaders know how you feel about equal rights for GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people.  Our UU Principles call upon us to live our faith and to ACT.

UU Animal Ministry

Last month, the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) released a new report called Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not, in which the organization also highlighted the inherent resource wastefulness that animal agriculture entails. It said that “an increase in animal-based production” – as it expected with population rise and increasing demand from emerging markets –“will require greater land and resource requirement, as livestock farming demands extensive land use. One hectare of land can, for example, produce rice or potatoes for 19-22 people per annum. The same area will only produce enough lamb or beef for only one or two people.”

Animal agriculture also demands much more water. As the UN report said and the new report confirms, the production of beef uses around 50 times more water than vegetables. “…unfortunately one of the realities is that the more meat that we eat, and meat is becoming more popular around the world as a food, the more water we have to put on for the same number of people”, said Dr. Colin Brown, IME’s engineering director.

The wastefulness of animal food production is easy to picture when we find out that it takes 35 calories to produce every calorie of beef consumed. On the other hand, it only takes three calories of energy to produce one calorie of plant-based food.”   For more information go to www.uuam.org.

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You Are Welcome, and Thank You!

rubicsFrom your former Ministerial Search Team: (from the worship service we offered July 14)

Well, our congregation has done it! We have called a new settled minister, the Rev. Dr. Marjorie J. Matty, who began her ministry with us August 19.  The ministerial search team is so very grateful for all the words of thanks we have received.

But, in addition to your kind words, we have a few other ideas of ways you can thank us!

  1.  Come and participate! Show up…at Sunday worship, in programs, congregational activities, etc. Some will be familiar and some will be new.
  2. Plan to take part in lots of different worship experiences—Sunday morning worship, evening vespers, maybe new types of worship. Know that the worship team (minister, religious educator, music director, worship committee) will take some time get used to working together. In the meantime, please provide constructive feedback to Rev. Marjorie or a member of the worship associates group.
  3. Step up to lead. Help make the dreams come true. There will be new opportunities for you to serve. Rev. Marjorie has said that “if we’ll show up, she’ll show up.” She believes that we will be a culture of YES — engaged in those things to which we bring our passion.
  4.  Tell your friends and family about all of the things you love about our congregation and why you are here. You will be doing them a favor, and us too.
  5. Come with the attitude “I’ll give it a try!” Change can sometimes bring a little anxiety, but it’s through change that great new ideas come to fruition. Be open to new possibilities.

Here we go!

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Newcomers Welcome at the Salon September 22

image016The Religious Education Salon is a self-led group at First Parish that has been meeting monthly since September 2012. Topics for discussion are based on books we have chosen as a committee-of-the-whole. For example we’ve discussed Jonathan Haidt’s Happiness Hypothesis, followed by Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, and Elaine Pagels’ Gnostic Gospels.  Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday was our summer reading and will provide the focus for our meeting on September 22 .

We meet on the third Sunday of each month from 7:00 to 8:30 (or so) pm in the Brackett Room. We draw our list for consideration for future meetings from the fields of spirituality, science, psychology and related areas. Some of our most spirited discussions have been about what books we choose for a future meeting!  We are open to all members and friends.  Come visit us to see how we operate, then join us if you like what you see. If you are interested or would like further information, you may contact our convener Paul R or the office  or just show up.  Our next meeting is on Sunday, September 22 at 7:00 pm. We start on time.

 

4th Tuesday Lunch-Discussion September 24

soupBring your lunch at Noon to the Commons and enjoy a relaxing time with new and old friends while we discuss a different topic each month. All are welcome. On Sept. 24 Daphna C will share her interest in the colonial and agricultural history of Sudbury.

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Don’t Miss Our 112th Harvest Craft Fair October 19

Please Make Those Preserves!

craft_fair1At the Harvest Craft Fair on Saturday Oct. 19 from 10-4, we sell homemade jams, jellies, and preserves at our Fair so please make a couple or 20 extra jars for us!  All flavors are welcome.  If you have any questions regarding size, number or flavor of preserves, please speak with one of the Co-Chairs, Sherri C, Elaine J, Mary Ellen F, Carolyn L, or Sue C.

Speaking of Co-Chairs, we need one more.  This would be the Co-Chair of Facilities.  The job runs from now until the night of the Fair and includes working with the volunteers and setting up the church for the Fair, and then returning it to normalcy again.  There is no experience necessary and lots of help and support given – as this is a group effort.  Please contact one of the afore-mentioned co-chairs with any questions or to volunteer.  Please save the date for lots of fun – and, of course, volunteer opportunities!  Thank you very much.

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Stewardship

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  – Mahatma Ghandi

What is stewardship?  Webster defines it as a noun: “the way in which someone organizes and takes care of something.”  A traditional church definition might be, “Stewardship is the intentional work of managing all our resources – time, talent and treasure – to support our beloved community.”  Or, it might be about relationships: stewardship as creating a sense of belonging; to see and be seen; to know and be known; to love and be loved.  Perhaps the topic is sufficiently complex to accommodate all of these definitions, plus others.

First Parish is a place of generosity; a place of good stewardship, in all senses of the word.  And that stewardship and generosity are the foundation of our beloved community.  Thousands of hours of volunteer work; members and friends contributing their expertise and skills; financial support through gifts, inclusion of First Parish in wills, annual pledges – giving our time, talent, and treasure.

And, First Parish is a place of relational stewardship.  In the words that Rev Marjorie spoke on Ingathering Sunday, First Parish is a place where we can bring our whole selves.  It is a place where we speak our truths in love and a place where we help one another.  A place where we help one another in a myriad of ways – celebrating joys and happy events; sitting with each other on tragic and sad occasions; bringing food, listening, and caring to ease the burden of tough times; laughing together at jokes and, sometimes, even at ourselves.

Stewardship is all these things, and more.  It’s alive and well, in all its forms, at First Parish.  Generosity and good stewardship will continue to be our foundation as we begin this next part of the journey, with our 44th settled minister.

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Community & Hospitality Committee Launches a Coffee Hour Experiment

The Community and Hospitality Committee (CHC) would like people to have choices about how to support Coffee Hour and has decided to try a Coffee Hour experiment.  The sign-up sheet is now divided into three sections: coffee, sweets (pastries, etc.), healthy stuff (juice, fruits, veggies, cheese, etc.).  Individuals – singly or in pairs, as committees or interest groups – may sign up for all or one of these opportunities for Sunday mornings.  While we hope there always will be coffee & tea available, some Sundays might not include snacks.  This division obviously makes it easier for everyone to contribute to the hospitality we offer to each other on Sunday mornings.  It offers you the opportunity to participate to your best ability.  The CHC will welcome feedback in early October after we have tried this for a while.

In addition to Coffee Hour, there are many ways to contribute to hospitality at First Parish without being on a committee!

  • Sign up to provide flowers for the sanctuary one Sunday.
  • Pair with an experienced usher. Please contact Nancy Moore or the office.
  • Pair with an experienced greeter to welcome people as they enter. Please contact Ginny Steel or the office.

CHC: Sheila D, Carolyn L, Nina P, Cilla R, Ginny S

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People We Care About

We send our condolences to the Jim & Kristy G. Family.  Kristy’s mother, Helen, 92, died recently in Wisconsin, with her family nearby and present.

Michael Tyo completed a video of the beautiful memorial service held for Ginny Perkins.  To view, go to:  http://mat99.ath.cx/Ginny/GinnyPerkinsMemorialService.mov

Alorie P. fell and injured her shoulder and hip and is currently mending in rehab.

Sue C’s father, Bob C., is home from the hospital and recovering his strength.

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Feel like our church is your home and treat it like you are a guest.

listen to meListen up, please.  We will all be grateful if you are gentle with our furniture and equipment and clean up after yourself, putting things away and leaving the space better than you found it.  First Parish IS your home but we all need to care for it every time we visit.  Thank you.

Are You Missing…

…a Galaxy Graphics Card on a CD?  Contact the administrator if this belongs to you.

FPS in the movies

FPS has gone Hollywood!  Part of Tom Hank’s new movie, Captain Phillips, which premiers in October, was filmed on the grounds of our own First Parish.

District, Denominational and local UU News

Please check the bulletin boards in the Parish Hall for events at other churches, the Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts of UU Congregations, image026the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) and others who share our values.

Benefit Concert with Emma’s Revolution for UU MASS ACTION NETWORK  Friday, October 25 at 8 p.m. at the UU Church of Wakefield,  326 Main Street.  Tix & Info 617-971-8731 or www.uumassaction.org/emmasrevolution.  Also on September 25 at 2 pm at the State House, a mini-documentary will be screened.  Just Communities examines the connection between government policies and suffering of immigrant families and explores possible solutions.

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FIRST PARISH OF SUDBURY UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST

327 Concord Rd., Sudbury, MA 01776

www.fpsudbury.org 978-443-2043

WORSHIP & RELIGIOUS ED. SUNDAYS 10:00 AM

Newsletter submission deadline is 5 pm Wed., Sept. 25 for the issue of Wed., Oct. 2

Send to administrator or phone 978-443-2043

We are a diverse and welcoming community of spiritual seekers; we strive to learn together and support one another as we celebrate life’s important moments and serve the larger community. At First Parish of Sudbury we welcome all who wish to explore their own spiritual journeys in the company of others and any who are seeking a religiously liberal community of faith. Our ministry is for people of all ages: we are a religious community that combines spiritual exploration, religious education, music, caring and compassion, service, advocacy, public witness and action. Our community is not confined to Sunday worship, rather we live our faith in service and action both inside and beyond our historic meetinghouse. Please visit or call or check out our website.

Minister:  Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty —

Director of Lifespan Religious Education:  Roberta Altamari —

Director of Music:  Debra Morris-Bennett —

Congregational Administrator:  Donna Scalcione —

 

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Events Calendar

Click here to see the block calendar.