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“Four Scenarios” Task Force is Forming. Join us!

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in Stewardship

Background

There is concern about First Parish’s long-range financial position. To be clear, we are in no immediate danger, but at this year’s Annual Congregational Meeting (ACM), the congregation approved a significant deficit budget that will be covered from funds from the Stability Fund (our savings cushion) and from surpluses from previous years.

Thanks to the care shown by many people who came before us, First Parish is able to continue our current level of expenses, even with reduced revenues. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to look at our financial position in a thoughtful manner and make informed decisions for the future.

Given that we passed a budget that will draw funds from the Stability Fund for this Fiscal Year, there will be a couple of efforts to address the future finances of First Parish. One was sketched out in the Fincom Annual Report:

Please note that FinCom is comfortable with only 1 year with this level of negative cash flow and accumulated surplus usage. The Board has approved our request to provide a policy and plan for use of accumulated surplus by March 1, 2019.
 
Our suggestion would be to create a group from among the membership, BOT, and FinCom empowered to further define cash policy as the cornerstone for an updated Strategic Plan.

In addition, Rev. Marjorie’s Minister’s Report at the ACM suggested undertaking a strategic plan starting in the spring of 2019.

Jan Hardenbergh, the acting Assistance Treasurer, submitted the following motion at the ACM, which was approved, with the understanding that Jan would be Chair:

To form a congregational task force to prepare four scenarios for the financial future of First Parish. Each scenario will consist of different revenue and expenditure assumptions. These scenarios will be presented to the congregation next January.

About the Four Scenarios Task Force

The Four Scenarios Task Force will generate four possible future situations, from optimistic to pessimistic, that First Parish might find itself in, based on a range of assumptions about the driving forces of our finances. We will present our report to the congregation in January 2019. This report will help other groups generate policy for our long range Strategic Plan.

Here is a link to a short presentation about creating scenarios that gives an idea of the process: Scenario-Planning-Slides_MaryCook-LLC.pdf

If you are interested in participating please contact Jan at

More information about the financial situation of First Parish is available on the internal website (the Village). There you will find the 2018 Annual Report, the FY2019 Approved Budget, and the Funds Description. If you have trouble logging into the Village website, contact Jan Hardenbergh or Tom Yelton.

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Wisdom…

Posted by on Jun 3, 2018 in General News, Worship Services

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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Wayland UU Immigration Series June 5 at 7pm

Posted by on May 30, 2018 in General News

Immigration Justice:  Turning Values into Action, Tuesday, June 5 at 7 p.m., First Parish Wayland.  In a panel discussion format, we will consider the injustices our immigrant neighbors face and ways to mitigate them.  Panelists include Diego Low, Director of the Worker Center/Casa del Trabajador; Juliet Najjumba, CEO of African Cultural Services, Inc; Laura Wagner, Executive Director of UU Mass Action; and Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Episcopal Priest and Attorney with St. Stephen’s Youth Programs.  Sponsored by the Immigration Justice Committee at First Parish, this program is generously supported by the Lydia Maria Child Fund.  All are welcome.  For more information, contact Rachel Sideman-Kurtz at
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Appreciation Sunday June 10 Cook out and Potluck

Posted by on May 30, 2018 in General News

All ages are welcome to our Church Picnic on Sunday, June 10 with cake, thanks to Rev. Marjorie!

Community and Hospitality Committee is hosting with meat and vegetarian burgers and hot dogs. Bring a side dish to share to serve 10.  We will have a supply of plates, napkins, and utensils but we encourage you to bring your own dishes.  Rain or shine! Contact Leslie L with questions or to help.

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Spiritual Book Group Discussion postponed

Posted by on May 30, 2018 in General News

Join the Spiritual Book Group for a discussion on the book, Deep Work by Cal Newport.  We are a group of seekers who gather every two to three months to talk about our book, and other important spiritual matters.

We had scheduled this for June 9, but need to postpone the get-together. If you would like to be part of the decision about when to hold the book group, contact Leslie Lowe.

We are now opening up our reading list to fiction novels such as the following:

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman
The Four Agreements: a Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) – Don Miguel Ruiz
Breakfast with the Buddha – Roland Merullo
Siddhartha – Herman Hesse

For more information, contact Leslie Lowe or Melissa Stein.

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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

Posted by on May 27, 2018 in General News, Worship Services

Notes on Quaker-style service

Today’s service is in the spirit of Quaker services, but is not intended to be an exact replica. Elements of Quaker services were adapted for our use. This service is part of our continuing exploration of spiritual practices. When the sounding bowl is rung, it is a call that our service has begun.

Our service today is based on the idea of ‘Unprogrammed worship’. We will sit in silence, looking inward, seeking the experience of the Spirit within ourselves. As a community, we will create a communal silent space to receive messages from the Spirit. If you experience a thought or idea that seems to come from a deeper place, you are invited to stand and speak aloud this message. There may be many such shared messages, there may be few, or there may be none. Following the sharing of a message, it is customary to maintain a period of silence to allow the shared message to enter our inner selves. You may feel moved to share your message in song, or you may feel moved to join in a song started by another. It is all unplanned, spontaneous, and genuine. At the end of the hour, the sounding bowl will be rung, announcements will be read, and we will end the service by rising and shaking hands. The coffee hour and conversation will follow.

We will not have a plate collection during this morning’s meeting. Please place your offering in one of the wooden bowls near the entrance to the Parish Hall.

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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