Pages Navigation Menu

Days of Awe…

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Minister's Column

This upcoming week is an especially important one in the Jewish religious calendar it is considered to be a time to reach out to those whom we may have slighted or afflicted in some way to make amends. The practice begins on Rosh Hashana (October 2 at sundown), which is known as the Jewish New Year, one has ten days to atone until Yom Kippur (October 11-12). On Yom Kippur, Yahweh (God) writes, in very permanent ink, in either the book of life or death how we have done this year. The ten days before Yom Kippur is a time when one can make a difference in their life and in the lives of others.

Being Unitarian Universalists we do not have a specific time where we intentionally review our year to see if there have been times and ways that we have faltered, or hurt others, on our path. I have often shared that in each moment we have the opportunity to begin again in love but I am interested in this time known as the “Days of Awe.” What can and should we atone for? In many ways it feels like a healthy practice to do a yearly review and ask/receive forgivenesses allowing us to really begin again on Yom Kippur with a lighter and atoned for heart.

The word atone is a special one if dissected it means “at one.” So just maybe if we take the time to review and atone we might find that we can be at one with our spiritual understanding of Self, which I often shorthand as Spiritual Self.

Here is an important note about this time of the year, if Jews repent during the Days of Awe and are found worthy by Yahweh their name will be written in the Book of Life and they will be granted another year of life. If one does not repent satisfactorily then on Yom Kippur their name will be written in the Book of Death, which as you might imagine would have dire consequences in the upcoming year. Therefore, during the Days of Awe what one does and how one atones is literally a matter of Life or Death. These days that we are about to enter are considered the most high holy days in the Jewish calendar.

One has to wonder why the early Christian community left this practice behind? I believe that it was because Christianity is based on an eschatology of the end times, Christians were and are are expecting the end and believe that people are sinners by nature so atonement is through confession to an intermediary. Thus no need for an annual atonement.

Early Christian Unitarians believed that humankind could work, atone and make oneself more Jesus-like; whom our forebearers and we consider was a human prophet. Christian Universalists on the other hand believed that God was so loving that (S)he would never damn their creation. As a denomination, spiritual community, we have come a long way from our Christian roots. Some of us still define ourselves as Christian while others self define as Buddhist, Humanist, Aetheists, Muslim, Sufi, Agnostic, Pagan-nature centered, Mystic, Zoroastrian, Transcendentalist, the list goes on and is long. Personally, I “Self-identify” as Unitarian Universalist (UU), I do not claim an identity beyond this because my journey is ever evolving and UUism allows me to follow wherever my heart and mind might lead me without boundaries to hold me back. This enables me to seek in the sacred practices of Judaism and to find a practice that holds meaning for me such as the Days of Awe and to embrace this time and make them a part of my own practice.

As with every part of my journey I invite you to join me in thinking about the year that we have each had and to ask and offer forgiveness to those whom we have friction or conflict with and then to heal as we become at one once again on the path of discovery and meaning making.

Peace to you my dearest ones,

Rev. Marjorie

Read More

Minister’s Meditation…

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in General News, Minister's Column

image

Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30pm in the Brackett Room
Join the Minister’s Meditation group if you want to start a practice and you need a place to seek. Join the Minister’s meditation if you have been practicing for a long time but would like to share your practice with others. Each Tuesday night is a bit different as we share readings, thoughts and practices from sitting to qigong. All are welcome.

 

Read More

First Parish Moves Into Strategic Action!

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in General News, Minister's Column

MattyAfter a year of Strategic thinking and planning Rev. Marjorie helps the revived Council Team to celebrate the transition to Strategic Action!
On Saturday, March 14th Rev. Marjorie and Della Hughes led the Council Team to share their plans for the 2015-2016 year. “We are ready to take it to the next level!” explains Rev. Marjorie as she shares the plan and budget for the Communications Task Team with the Council Team and members of the congregation. As part of her presentation, she expanded on her thoughts with the following statement and the question: “What sets First Parish apart from other communities religious and secular?”
We are an engaged congregation of individuals who want to change the world. We believe that in order to change the world that change begins in our own hearts and minds. We hold and affirm values that are welcoming of all people and we do our utmost to walk the talk and do this best in a diverse community of thought and practice. We are inspired to share our values in the world to help frame a possible solution to the challenges that humankind faces. We do not believe that we hold the truth but we have a commitment to working in community with all people to uncover our collective wisdom and expansive truth. We are Unitarian Universalists…

The meeting turned into a celebration when lunch replete with a strategic action cake was served!

On other news from the Communications Task Team a mailing went out to new residents in Sudbury and Maynard last week which converted into three new visitors this week. We welcome those newcomers to spend some time and to get involved with our community through ushering, greeting or many of our social action events!

Photo by Tom Arnold
Read More

Stewardship and Communications

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 in General News, Minister's Column

Marjorie MattyFrom Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty

When I wrote my Connector article for January I never imagined that the light snow that was falling that day would turn into a month of record snowfall, worship and meeting cancellations and sharing a discussion between clergy about the Golden Rule on Google+. It is incredible to think that we can never really know what the future will bring albeit those weatherpersons have been pretty accurate so far this winter. So you might imagine that I write this March Connector article with some trepidation as I think about the month ahead.

The worship theme for this month is “Stewardship” which makes sense considering that this month historically is the time of year when your congregational leaders encourage us, dear member/friend, to recommit to our Unitarian Universalist values, recommit to being an agent for change, to sharing your emotional currency, volunteer time and to share generously as a mean to sustain abundance at First Parish. You can expect to hear from the stewardship team in the coming weeks and I ask you to please consider increasing your pledge this year. You will hear more about this from the stewardship team, however, I want to let you know about and thank the incredible generosity of one of our members. This member believes in First Parish and considers this community their home. They believe in our commitment to do the right thing, they believe in our place in history and our impact on the world so much that they have committed to match any increase that any member or friend makes in their pledge.Talk about walking the talk…This has the potential to be huge for our congregation, enabling us to secure our future and to engage in some amazing initiatives to better represent First Parish and our UU values to the larger Metrowest community. Please consider being and supporting the change as well! Also, remember that there is a policy in place to secure your pledge so if you decide to be radically generous and your financial circumstances change you are covered.

As part of my administrative work this year I have committed myself and the congregation to becoming better communicators. To help me to do this I have called on Fran Sharp, Lois Schiappa and Jan Hardenbergh, as the webmaster, to work with me to address communication issues internally and externally. This team of individuals I have affectionately begun to call the Communications Task Team (“CTT”). Our work together began with making some significant changes to our website and to the First Parish Village – a HUGE thank you to Tom Yelton who helped us to make this happen. Tom Yelton spoke to me in September and shared that he wanted to transition out of the position of webmaster. I am not even sure how long Tom has been our webmaster extraordinaire, but it has been a long time and he has really set the standard for our external presence. Thank you so much, Tom! Being of the mindset that no one should serve more than six years in one volunteer position, I did not beg Tom to continue on as the webmaster although I did debate it in my mind for a bit. Seeing a volunteer need, Jan Hardenbergh decided to step up and take the reins of webmaster, thus I say to him “may we live long and prosper, Jan!” Jan, in the role of webmaster, is now participating as a member of CTT.

We have high hopes and lots of plans for CTT and our internal communication as well as our outreach into the Metrowest community. If you are interested in hearing more about CTT’s project plan and strategic action feel free to attend the “council” meeting on March 14th from 10-1. We will begin our time together discussing what we have learned in the last year and a half about First Parish and where we might consider expending some energy and resources in the short and long term, questions will be welcome. I could go on and on with all of the amazing news, but instead I will save it for when I see you next, which will hopefully be soon!

Peace and Love Rev. Marjorie

Read More

A New Year’s Message from Rev. Marjorie

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Minister's Column

revmarjorieIn thinking about my New Year’s resolution, “build core strength and maintain balance in mind, body and spirit” I turned to an article in Lifehack, an online news source that offered three steps to help one develop a strategy to follow through on one’s resolution. The first step begins with making attainable and specific goals, maybe even break each goal up into stages for easier completion. Secondly, share the resolution and goals with others which may be a bit more motivational knowing that a friend or loved one is watching and helping us toward success. And my favorite step, reward one’s self when she or he reach a specific stage en route to the goal. Well, I got the “sharing my resolution” part done. Is it time for a reward yet?

I have several goals with regard to First Parish. One is two-fold: First, engage members in sharing their “spiritual” journeys with one another.

Read More

A Message From Rev. Marjorie

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in Minister's Column

revmarjorieIn an article I recently read these words rang true, “Our liberation is completely entwined with everyone else’s liberation. Everybody needs to be in the room for all of us to wake up together. It’s not about helping anybody. It’s about us waking up together…” Why do we need to wake up to one another’s presence, humanity, need, hurt, and joy? I believe that waking up to a world of compassion rather than disrespect and violence should be our primary commitment. You may wonder if it isn’t much easier to remain insulated and isolated from the needs of the world? Many would say “yes” and so the epidemic of silo-ism rages on. This is my concern: If we do not care for one another the discontent and incivility of the world/community/neighborhood will make its way to our doorstep, and by that point it will have gained such momentum that we, as individuals, and as a community, will be unable to have significant impact.

Last Friday, at the high school several teens stood up in solidarity, as an act of defiance, over the decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson. The action in the high school got heated

Read More