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Debby Irving “Waking Up White” book event scheduled for Saturday, June 16

Posted by on May 23, 2018 in General News

The First Parish of Sudbury Racial Justice Book Group, along with St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church and Memorial Congregational Church are proud to announce that Debby Irving will speak and discuss her book “Waking Up White”.

Several congregations in Sudbury have also hosted book groups reading this important book, and will join us for this event.

All are welcome to attend. We ask that people plan to contribute what they feel comfortable with, to defray the cost of hosting the speaker.

For more information, call the First Parish office: 978/443-2043 x 3 or write Fran at

Debby writes: I’m a white woman, raised in Winchester, Massachusetts during the socially turbulent 1960s and ‘70s. After a blissfully sheltered, upper-middle-class suburban childhood, I found myself simultaneously intrigued and horrified by the racial divide I observed in Boston. From 1984 to 2009 my work in urban neighborhoods and schools left me feeling helpless. Why did people live so differently along racial lines? Why were student outcomes so divergent? Why did I get so jumpy when talking to a person of color? Where did the fear of saying something stupid or offensive come from, and why couldn’t I make it go away? The more I tried to understand racial dynamics, the more confused I became. I knew there was an elephant in the room, I just didn’t know it was me!

In 2009, a course at Wheelock College, Racial and Cultural Identity, shook me awake with the realization that I’d missed step #1: examining the way being a member of the “normal” race had interfered with my attempts to understand racism. What began as a professional endeavor became a personal journey as I shifted from trying to figure out people whom I’d been taught to see as “other” to making sense of my own socialization.

My book Waking Up White is the story of my two-steps-forward-one-step back journey away from racial ignorance. I continue to study racism and strategies for its undoing while working to educate other white people confused and frustrated by racism. I remember these feelings all too well and am passionate about transforming anxiety and inaction into empowerment and action, be it for an individual or an organization.

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A Quaker-style Meeting at FPS May 27 (for newsletter)

Posted by on May 23, 2018 in General News, Sunday Service Copies

A Quaker-style Meeting on May 27, 2018


The Worship Associates Group asks that those who wish to be part of the Meeting to enter the Parish Hall in silence and take a seat in the circle. We will sit together in silence, speaking briefly when moved to do so. Children will go directly upstairs to RE. We hope that you will enjoy being a part of this special experience. A simple coffee hour and conversation will follow. Our thanks go to Carole McNamee for her counsel and leadership.

A few Comments from Carole McNamee:

Worship begins upon entering the room and sitting down.  There is no formal announcement.  Upon taking a seat, we begin to settle our minds and bodies and look inward, seeking “that of God” in ourselves and those gathered with us.

If you are new to the silence, it may seem uncomfortable and you may find yourself distracted by your own thoughts, the noises from outside, others entering the room.  This is all normal, acknowledge the distractions, and return to your inward space seeking the still center of your being.

The communal silence is believed to provide space for us to receive messages from spirit.  If among the many thoughts that appear in your mind, there is one that seems to come from a deeper place, you are encouraged to stand and share this message aloud.  Sometimes, in the course of a Meeting for Worship, there will be many shared messages, typically referred to as vocal ministry. Following a message, it is customary to maintain silence to allow the message to enter our inner space and explore whether or not the message holds any particular meaning for us.  It may or may not.  Sometimes messages may take unusual forms, e.g. a song or a dance.  In this case it may be that others will join in the song or dance.  In all cases, the ministry comes from a deeper place within us.  It is unplanned.

Sometimes, there will be no messages and we enjoy the silence.

Worship continues in silence until a designated meeting closer shakes a hand.  Others then follow, greeting and shaking hands with neighbors.

If you resonated with a particular message, it is fine to tell the deliverer that you appreciated the message, but do not expect to have an in-depth discussion.  The speaker of the message may still be deep in thought about the message and may wish more time to consider its content before engaging in a dialogue about it.

A Quaker Meeting for Worship

(Wikipedia May 14, 2017, edited by Carole McNamee)

“Unprogrammed worship (also known as waiting worship, ‘silent worship,’ or holy communion in the manner of Friends) is based on the practices of George Fox and the Early Friends, who based their religious beliefs and practices on their interpretation of how the early Christians worshipped God, their Heavenly Father. Friends gather together in ‘expectant waiting upon God’ to experience his still small voice leading them from within. There is no plan on how the meeting will proceed, and actual practice varies widely between Meetings and individual worship services. Friends believe that God plans what will happen, with his spirit leading people to speak. When a participant feels led to speak, he or she will stand and share a spoken message of (‘vocal ministry’) in front of others. When this happens, Quakers believe that the spirit of God is speaking through the speaker. After someone has spoken, it is generally considered good etiquette to allow a few minutes to pass in silence before further vocal ministry is given. Sometimes a meeting is entirely silent, sometimes many speak. These meetings lasted for several hours in George Fox’s day. Modern meetings are often limited to an hour, ending when two people (usually elders) signal the ‘rise’ (close) by handshake. This handshake is then shared by the others. This style of worship is the norm in Great Britain, Ireland, the continent of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Canada, and parts of the United States (particularly yearly meetings associated with Friends General Conference and Beanite Quakerism).  Those who worship in this style hold each person to be equal before God and capable of knowing the light of God directly. Anyone present may speak if they feel led to do so.

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Memorial Garden–time to sign up for memorials

Posted by on May 21, 2018 in General News


It is spring planting season in the Memorial Garden.  If you would like to donate a plant in honor of a deceased family member or church member, please contact Marge Langmuir before June 10 to make arrangements for planting this spring.  We are developing a new area in the garden and would like to fill this area with suitable plants to survive deer and drought.

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Annual Meeting of Women’s Alliance Tues June 12 at 6:30pm (potluck)

Posted by on May 21, 2018 in General News

Women’s Alliance Annual Meeting will be Tuesday, June 12th, at 6:30 pm in the Commons.

The Women’s Alliance will have its last potluck meeting of the 2017-2018 church year on Tuesday June 12th at 6:30 pm in the Commons.

This is our Annual Meeting, at which we will select members of the Executive Committee for the coming year, hear the treasurer’s report, consider any new grant proposals that have come in, discuss plans for the next church year and look back at the year we have just concluded.

Please note that the date of this meeting is different from the one previously announced, and from all our other meetings of this year. The 8th fell on a Friday night, the same date as the annual Choir Potluck, with which we did not want to conflict.

We hope that many of you will want to and be able to attend this meeting and social event. As always, newcomers are VERY welcome. All members and friends of First Parish who identify as women are considered members of the Alliance.

As always, please come whether or not you have the time to make or buy something to bring—there is always more than enough food to go around. If you need a ride, please contact AnnMarie Lanza

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History, Herstory and Truth…

Posted by on May 20, 2018 in General News, Worship Services

History was once based on facts that culminated into a story albeit, Napoleon Bonaparte astutely explained that, “History is written by the winners.” Written by the winners is a fact that uncovers all sorts of biases that have become a part of our understanding of culture. During these contemporary times it is becoming more evident that the history of the early twenty-first century will not come from facts but instead be muddied and difficult to unravel. How does history evolve, does history evolve with different perspectives over time, and will history be seen differently with the advent of technology and a very long shelf life? Join Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty as she endeavors to engage the topic of evolution of history with guidance from the men as this is last years auction sermon.

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Keys to FPS–New System

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in General News

Thanks to Terry Lockhart, we now have a keyless entry system on the two exterior doors at FPS (the main door at the end of the sidewalk, and the side door that goes to the hallway near the kitchen.)

What this means is that your outside door keys will soon not work, and instead all people who need to enter will have a key fob for their keychain. This will be for times when the doors are locked. On weekday mornings and Sunday mornings and when a meeting is taking place, the doors will probably remain unlocked as they are now. This new system will improve security greatly. The fob will be signed out to one person, and so it will be clear to the office administrator, who is in the building. If a fob is lost, it will be straightforward for us to cancel that lost fob, and replace it. (There will be a lost-fob replacement charge to the user to cover the cost of the new fob.)

Key fobs will be distributed to anyone who truly needs access to First Parish in order to do their volunteer job. In theory, those are people who already have a key now.

If you have a key that gets into specific indoor areas at FPS (e.g., the workrooms), you will need to keep your key to use to enter those areas, but your key will soon NOT open the outside doors–then you will need your key and the fob.

Fran will be distributing fobs this Sunday, May 20 at social hour. If you will be getting a key fob, and will be at social hour, please pick it up then. Otherwise, Fran is in the office weekdays from 9am to noon, so stop in then or make arrangements with her. 978/443-2043×3 or


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