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Learning from Siri

Posted by on Sep 25, 2018 in General News, Sunday Service Copies

Many know of Siri, the seemingly intelligent being of whom we ask questions on our cellphones. What can we learn from Siri? Join us for our Sunday service on Sept. 30 at 10am as we welcome Rabbi Robert Orkand back to our pulpit.

Rabbi Robert Orkand retired as a pulpit rabbi five years ago. Prior to moving to Boston with his wife, Joyce, to be near grandchildren, he served for 31 years at Temple Israel in Westport, CT. He has also served congregations in Miami, Florida, and Rockford, Illinois.

Since moving to Natick, Rabbi Orkand has been teaching adult learning classes at the Lifelong Learners: An Independent Collaborative, at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham and Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley.

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Forgiveness, Unity and Yom Kippur… (newsletter version)

Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 in Sunday Service Copies

This week our Jewish brother, sisters and others celebrate Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. During a month where our theme is Unity and Diversity, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty will engage the topics of evil, sin, forgiveness and unity in the spirit of atonement. Many Unitarian Universalists struggle with the concept of sin, but embrace the reality of evil. How do we personalize the struggle? Join us this Sunday for the journey.

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Heaven on Earth (news version)

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 in Sunday Service Copies

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How do diverse communities of people find a sense of Unity? Maybe we can “create a heaven here on earth where love and truth and justice reign. Let us welcome all at our Pearly Gates, our Freedom Table, amid singing and great rejoicing, black, white, yellow, red, and all our lovely colors, straight, gay, transgendered, bisexual, and all the ways of that exist to loving. Blind, deaf, mute, healthy, sick, variously-abled, young, old, fat, thin, gentle, cranky, joyous, sorrowing. Let no one feel excluded, let no one feel alone.”

Join us this Sunday as, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty wonders what Heaven on Earth might look like and how we can work together to imagine and build the beloved community that honors diversity.

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Celebration Sunday (newsletter)

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in General News, Sunday Service Copies

Bring your children, your cut flowers and your longing for celebration!!! This Sunday is a culmination of a year’s worth of worship, work and commitment. Our annual meeting is behind us and this Sunday will be the time when we appreciate what is laid out in front of us – summer. This Sunday is also the date for our annual picnic, bring your sweet tooth because cake will abound aplenty! We will be crossing the threshold to summer services as this will be Rev. Marjorie’s last Sunday in the First Parish pulpit until September. The summer services begin next week with a plethora of summer speakers on hand.

Flowers–please bring one stem for each person in your family. This will be part of our flower communion during the service.

Food– please bring a side dish if you can. Our Community and Hospitality Committee will be grilling meat and veggie burgers.

Come be part of this community celebration on the last Sunday before our summer services begin.

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Wisdom… (newsletter)

Posted by on May 30, 2018 in General News, Sunday Service Copies

Proverbs 4:5-7Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Throughout history wisdom was considered a female construct often referred to in Greek as Sophia. What has been our ancestors’ commitment to Wisdom and what is our commitment moving forward in our contemporary society? Join Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty in her quest for a definition and understanding of wisdom. This Sunday is the Annual Meeting at First Parish a time when members are required to attend and vote on the budget, the incoming leadership and the overall work of this community. Please plan on attending.

art: Sophia, goddess of wisdom

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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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