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Connector December 11, 2013


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Minister’s Column by Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty


As we get ready for Yule and Christmas I feel like a race horse being brought to the gate all jitters and anticipation. Let me say right up front that I do not condone horse or dog racing, although I had an uncle who once owned and raced horses in Saratoga, and in his later years I was often enlisted to drive him, in his mint colored cadillac, to the track. I am certain that there is a sermon in there somewhere… As members of the clergy we prepare and train to be ready for this time of the year; we are in tip top shape and ready to run. The holidays are a time of lots of energy, miscommunication and an opportunity for explosive emotion.  Frankly, it can be exhilarating and yet exhausting. I have two worries during this time of year. The first is that you, dear members and friends, will have a tradition or expectation with regard to the holidays that the staff will be unaware of and you will be disappointed. The second is that someone in our community will need care and instead of reaching out when in need he or she might choose instead to suffer in silence. Regardless of the business of the season if you or someone that you know is in need please do not hesitate to reach out to myself, any other member of the staff or the pastoral associates group. We do care so much and can only know if there is something amiss if you take the time to let us know. So we need your help in this. As far as knowing and exceeding your expectations about the holidays we will do our utmost.

This holiday season you can expect to enjoy a few events. Yule will be celebrated on December 21 at 6PM with music, dance, and lots of good food. This is a tradition that is celebrated around the world, and I personally would love to see singing, merriment, dancing and costumes to chase away the dark and cold. A few days later on Christmas eve First Parish will be offering two services – the first begins at 5PM and is a family, multigenerational service. There will be carols sung, a Christmas play offered and cookies and cider directly following the worship. For the 7PM service we will begin in the parish hall at 6:15 with cookies and cider, so please arrive early so that we can start a new tradition of revelry between the two services. The 7PM service will be filled with music, readings, candles, lessons and carols. December 24th will be a fun-filled and meaning-filled evening, and we hope that you will join us in the spirit of the holiday. On Christmas morning, I will be hosting a time for reflection at 10AM in the Brackett Room. I will build the fire and make the coffee if those planning to be in attendance would be willing to bring some goodies to share. The Sunday service after Christmas, on December 29th, will be held at the First Parish in Wayland as First Parish of Sudbury will not be hosting worship that morning.

There is so much to reflect upon and look forward to as we anticipate the longest night. We have had an amazing fall together; we have created and built energy and excitement in our community. Dare I say that we might feel revitalized or renewed? Let us take this time during the holidays, albeit that can feel like a fast paced race, to slow down a bit and acknowledge just how blessed we are. January will bring us into a time of imagining our future and making exciting plans, but, for now, in the next couple of weeks, let us just relax, chill out and en-joy one another!

Peace, Love and Light of the Season to you and yours!

Rev. Dr. Marjorie J. Matty


Christmas Worship Services

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24 –  Family Service, 5:00 pm

As Sophia Lyon Fahs said, “Each night a child is born is a holy night.” Please join us for a multigenerational celebration of Christmas, worshipful for children through seniors. We will share stories and enjoy some favorite holiday carols before closing our time together with our beloved “Silent Night” ritual.  Join us for cookies and mulled cider afterwards in the Parish Hall.

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24 –  Candlelight Service, 7:00 pm

A celebration of story, readings and music to welcome the holidays into our lives.  Our service will end with a traditional carol and candle lighting.  Please join us for cookies and mulled cider in the Parish Hall at 6:15 on Christmas Eve with our service to follow at 7 pm.

Offering at Christmas Eve services to go to MetroWest Free Medical Program

With clinics on Tuesdays at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury and on Fridays (by appointment) at First Parish of Framingham UU the MetroWest Free Medical program provides free medical care to people without health insurance, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. Both are staffed by licensed volunteers. In addition to general primary care and physical exams, the program offers free prescription medicines, specialists on site, vision care and, women’s health and mental health screenings. Spanish and Portuguese interpreters are always available. See for details.

Christmas Day– gather at 10:00 for coffee and conversation

We’ll gather in the Brackett Room for an informal time of coffee and conversation.  Marjorie will lead a time for reflection.   (See also Roberta’s invitation, below, to gather for dinner as well.)

Sunday, December 29 at Wayland at 10 am

A long standing tradition of worshiping with our UU neighbors in Framingham and Wayland continues. This year First Parish in Wayland (50 Cochituate Road at the corner of Routes 20 & 27, Wayland http:/ is the host for our service at 10:00 am.

First Parish Office Closed Dec 25-Jan 1

Administrator’s email and voicemail will be checked once a day.


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

by Roberta Altamari, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Jack (my partner) recently told his 11-year-old daughter that there is no Santa Claus. She still believed, and he decided that he would rather tell her than have her find out in middle school. My younger daughter found out really young when she was five-years-old and asked her dad. He answered her matter-of-factly “no.” I was grateful that my older daughter asked me. She was eight-years-old at the time and she had been logically questioning the whole Santa Claus story for years. Some of the details just weren’t plausible to her. But this year, she asked me explicitly, “Mom, is Santa real?” I asked her if she was ready for the truth, and I gave it to her when she said yes. I told her, “Santa is not a person. Santa is inspired by a real person, St. Nicholas, who existed many years ago and gave food and presents to children who were poor. The real Santa is a ‘spirit.’ Come on, Dominique, there must be a real spirit that is pretty magical to inspire all these parents who complain about money all year long to buy all of these presents for their children.” I further elaborated that now that she knows that Santa is a spirit and not a person, she is a member of the “Santa Spirit” club and she can start enjoyed the spirit of giving too.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is giving. I love watching my daughters when they have been sparked by the spirit of generosity and they are filled with the excitement of giving a gift they carefully made or selected. I’ve tried to teach them that the act of giving does not need to cost money, but every year we admittedly get somewhat swept up in the commercialism of the holiday. As long as the focus stays on the spirit of giving more than the spirit of receiving, I will be happy. Far too many people in our world are focused on what they are getting. From people spending money they don’t have to frantically having to buy gifts for too many people, this time of year can become too stressful for everyone. I am constantly hearing stories of people stressed out shopping. That’s why I was so filled with all good emotions to hear this story from the Sarazen family. Kelly works part-time at Toys-R-Us and was telling the story about someone who came into the store and asked to pay off the layaway order for a family. Upon hearing that, their Uncle Jimmy took out his wallet and asked to do the same. Kelly spoke of how heart-warming it was to call a single mom to tell her that a kind-hearted stranger had just paid off her Christmas order. Upon hearing this story, I thought, “We need more stories like this.”

From celebrating that the birth of every child is miraculous to spreading the “Santa Spirit” through out our community, I am often encouraging Unitarian Universalists to honor the Christmas season the way they believe it should be celebrated. What old traditions might you want to bring back this season? What new tradition might you want to start? May you all discover some holiday magic that fills your heart this season!

Blessed be. Roberta


Religious Exploration NEWS

Would you like to gather with the FPS community for dinner on Christmas Day?

christmas dinnerIn the loving spirit of her grandfather who passed away on Christmas Eve and recognition that Christmas Day is not always a happy day for everyone, Roberta is offering a new tradition this year at First Parish. For any individual, couple, or family who is home alone this Christmas or would prefer to gather with friends instead of family, you are invited to gather with some members of the FPS community for dinner on Christmas Day starting at 1:00pm. Please RSVP to Roberta (at ) to sign-up to join her and let her know if you would prefer a potluck dinner at First Parish to celebrate the Christmas holiday OR if you would prefer to go out for Chinese food and maybe a movie to celebrate doing our own thing). Others will be invited to join in last minute, but she needs to know soon the type of dinner most people would be interested in so that she can plan accordingly.

Simple Gifts with our children December 22

xmas gifts 2Incorporating many Unitarian Universalist values such as caring, compassion, and taking care of our Earth (by reducing, reusing, and recycling), we are pleased to invite all First Parish children and youth on Sunday, December 22nd at 10am to our “Very Special Christmas Shop” where they can take a re-gift new or gently used gifts to give to their loved ones. We will also enjoy inspiration from our Unitarian and Universalist ancestors on celebrating the holidays with UU spirit; plus holiday cookies and cocoa. Anyone who has new or very gently used gifts and/or wrapping paper you would like to donate, please drop it off to Roberta anytime before Saturday, December 22nd.

“Becoming a Person” ~ our 2014 multigenerational theatrical performance

becoming a personStill spots in our “who do you want to be” skit and choreographed dance – Sign up TODAY!

This year’s theatrical performance will feature the theme of “becoming a person.” We have several participation options to match your interests and time availability. Adults and children alike are welcome to sign-up for any part. The “who do you want to be” skit is perfect for everyone – from our youngest actors to shy actors to really creative, flamboyant actors! Please check out the parts below and let us know what you would like to join us for (by contacting Roberta or on the sign-up genius at

Join us for a special breakfast January 5

bagel and coffeeThe R.E. committee will continue our tradition of offering breakfast opportunities for sharing feedback about Religious Exploration at First Parish and for connecting with other parents and volunteers who care about all of our children and teens. Join us for our next one on Sunday, January 5th from 9 to 9:45am. Please RSVP to Roberta by January 3rd as we need at least four people to come to host it. If you decide last minute that you can make it, call Roberta at 508-988-0750 to make sure it’s still happening as we will only host if we get at least four people signed-up.

Multi-generational Book Discussion & Dessert Potluck January 5

book discussion Everyone is invited to join us on Sunday, January 5, 2014 from 6:45 to 8:15pm and Multigenerational Book Discussion and Dessert Potluck of the book, “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. Wonder is a book about a fifth–grade boy named August Pullman who has Treacher-Collins syndrome, a rare craniofacial deformality. The book addresses such issues as identity, appearance, acceptance and bullying. The middle school students in Sudbury read this book over the summer and Roberta asked our middle schoolers to write some thought provoking questions to get our discussion started.


Dancers from our Morris Groups to perform

Revels Twelfth Night Celebration:  Join in to put Christmas to bed, Saturday, January 4 from 3-5 pm at Grace Vision Church, 80 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown.  Tickets online at or contact Michelle Roderick at or 617-972-8300 x 26



Rob Kinslow to preach December 15

darknessDon’t Be Afraid of the Dark—or Anything Else

For many of us, the dark was the first thing we were truly afraid of. But as with much of the unknown, darkness can become far less intimidating once we become more familiar with it. This Sunday, Dec. 15, First Parish of Sudbury will explore the lighter side of darkness and fear when it welcomes to the pulpit Rob Kinslow, a member of First Parish and second-year seminarian at Andover Newton Theological School. Kinslow will lead a service called “Sweet Darkness” in which he will suggest ways to overcome doubt, fear and regret. The service begins at 10 a.m. and is open to all.

“In one of my favorite poems there is a line, ‘Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you,’” Kinslow said. “Our fears and regrets can make us feel small and outmatched in the world, but I really believe we can shift our thinking, and that whatever is making us feel small can actually become a small thing we no longer fear.”

Kinslow is a senior strategist specializing in medical marketing for KHJ Brand Activation in Boston. His blog, “Brand and Beyond,” appears regularly at He is pursuing a master’s in divinity at Andover Newton in Newton.


Living Our Faith


From Your Faith In Action Team

  • Did You Miss Health Care Options for All Stages of Life?  If you were not able to attend the Palliative Care Forum you can watch it on your computer any time you wish at  The Parmenter Foundation’s website provides additional information about advance care planning.  Suggestions for starting the conversation about end of life care can be found at . Health Care Proxy and Personal Health Care Directive instructions and forms can be downloaded at no cost at
  • We are still seeking a liaison to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and another mentor for Ernest N. Benjamin (Nate) in the Norfolk Correctional Institution. Please speak to Judy D if you think you might be interested in filling one or both of these positions.
  • The Saturday Noon to One group of people who vigil for aspects of peace and justice on the Sudbury Common will heartily welcome more participants.


From UU Animal Ministry


Veganism is a moral and ethical way of living in the world.

It is the practice of non-cooperation and non-participation in anything that exploits nonhuman animals, humans, or the environment.  It is a moral baseline for our conduct and how we are revealed to the world.

Shop with your Welcoming Congregation Committee

equal sign over washington w dovesThe Welcoming Congregation Committee recommends you shop businesses/brands that have eliminated employment discrimination and that offer equal healthcare and other benefits to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) employees and their families:

AVOID – Bed, Bath & Beyond…BJ’s…Dick’s…Foot Locker…Kohl’s…Men’s Warehouse…Michaels…Regal Entertainment Group…Rite Aid…Timberland…and more

SHOP INSTEAD  AT:  Abercrombie & Fitch…AMC Entertainment…American Eagle…Barnes & Noble…Best Buy…Costco…GameStop…Gap…JC Penny…Liz Claiborne…Macy’s…Nike…Nordstrom…REI…Sears…Staples…Target…TJX …Walgreens and other businesses/brands that have the highest marks for supporting equality in the workplace and deserve your support:

For a copy of the complete list, ask at the church office.


Make this into a bookmark or favorite in your web browser so you will always have the link on hand. There is also a link at the end of this newsletter, or visit and use the link on our homepage.  If you need help, Marc K will be happy to assist you.


newsThe Trustees began this church year with a retreat with our new Minister, Rev. Marjorie. The overriding theme that emerged from our day and half together was to make First Parish more inviting to newcomers and members alike.

We developed our new mission statement – Welcome, Sustain, Communicate, Inspire, and Work for Justice. We hope these principles will guide our decision making.

We took a tour of our building and grounds and looked at it as a newcomer might. We wanted to make sure our building will Welcome our members, friends and newcomers. We asked, Is First Parish attractive on the outside? Is the building easy to navigate on the inside? Does it look well cared for – or as if things had been thrown in the corner and forgotten about? (What are the ladders doing in the hallway any way????) We made a list of ideas which we hope will make First Parish more attractive and welcome those who enter. The first such idea is to change the way we enter the sanctuary for Sunday service. Rather than going up the new staircase and entering the sanctuary through the choir’s section, we will start using the historic front stairs and enter the sanctuary through its historic doors. We will begin this practice with the Christmas Eve services.

To Sustain our congregation, we implemented a Secured Pledge policy. (see attached). It is our hope that members and friends will know that First Parish has their interests in mind and will take care of them in the event of financial emergency. We are following through with a Planned Giving program. Those of you who are interested in learning more about this program should contact Tom Arnold. We have a Stewardship Team which will work year round to engage in conversations about the financial health and needs of First Parish.

In the past month, the Trustees have given the green light to two projects to Work for Justice. Last year we passed a Policy Regarding Donating the Proceeds of Fundraisers. (see attached) The Faith in Action Committee put this policy to work by donating over $1500.00 from the plate to the UUSC to be used for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The Youth Groups implemented the policy to raise funds to construct a well in Cambodia.

The Trustees expect that the new website will aid in Communication. We are suggesting that we have a photo directory – perhaps on line in the to-be-developed members-only section. As always, we hope that you will feel free to communicate your questions and suggestions to the Trustees. We meet the first Monday of the month, and the meetings are open to all.

Happy Holidays to All from the Trustees: Sherri Cline, Chair, Alex Andrews, Tom Arnold, Susan Carboni, Erin Llewellyn, Sheila Murphy, and Bettie Rose


image020People We Care About

The Memorial service for Dean Yarborough will be at 6: 00 PM on Friday, December 13 at The Greater Framingham Community Church, 44 Franklin St., Framingham.  If you’d like the phone number for his wife, Maxine, please contact the First Parish office.


Secret Santa gifts due December 15

christmas giftThank you to all those who are buying gifts for our annual “Secret Santa” project for MetroWest and Sudbury children whose parents need our help in making Christmas a joyous day for their kids.  All presents must be brought to the parish hall no later than December 15. All presents must be newly purchased, wrapped, and delivered to First Parish in a paper bag. The slip with the child’s name should be firmly attached to the bag. Please do not leave a present unattended in the parish hall. To ensure that you are credited with the gift, it is best that you deliver the gifts to Amanda B who is organizing this effort. If you would like to participate in this holiday service project but don’t like to shop, Amanda will be accepting monetary donations to buy gift certificates for some of the older teens. Questions? Contact Amanda or the office. Thank you!


350MA begins December 19

350.0rgMAStarting December 19, 2013, Thursday, at 7PM, the MetroWest node of 350MASSACHUSETTS (350MA), will meet the third Thursday of every month in The Commons of the First Parish of Sudbury. The Commons room is on the second floor of the church next to the elevator. All are invited to attend the meetings and get involved with climate activists.

350MA coordinates closely with, but like other statewide 350 networks, 350MA is organized by local grassroots efforts, was not founded by, and is not staffed or funded by There are nine 350MA nodes and growing across Massachusetts. The 350MA MetroWest node was formed November 7th. 350 MA is a volunteer-led, campaign-focused initiative convened and staffed by Better Future Project, connecting and organizing a strong grassroots coalition to address climate change and build a just and secure future beyond fossil fuels. For more information see and its many informative web links. – Questions? Email .

Why 350? We need to get below 350ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere but we are now around 400ppm and increasing. This level and above will increasingly produce more extremes in climate, resulting in more deaths, and make it impossible to feed the all world’s growing population.  —  Submitted by Bruce Langmuir


winter solsticeWinter Solstice Ritual & Celebration December 21

Join us for a Winter Solstice celebration on Saturday, December 21, with a ritual developed at First Parish. We turn the wheel of the year and bring back the sun, a chance to leave things in the old year and gather others for the new. The ceremony is followed by a potluck feast in the Parish Hall. Child care and carpooling available if you request it by Dec 14.

The ritual is appropriate for age 12 and up (talk to us about it, if you’re not sure if your 12 year old should be there). Please arrive early to be comfortable and ready to start at 6:00 pm. The ceremony will be in the Bracket Room. Leaders and Readers, please arrive by 5:30 pm for a run-through reading of the script. For more information, contact Leslie L/Tom Y  or Jan H.


Concerned about the food you eat? Come January 9.

ethical eating 3Come join us for a discussion series on Ethical Eating. There are many positive aspects to being intentional about our food and what we eat. The group will share information, raise awareness, sample recipes and offer resources.

Together we will explore the positive aspects to ethical eating, including:

  • Becoming Healthier—by bringing more fresh and non-processed food into our diet and learning why this is better for us. From vegan and vegetarian to paleo diets, there is a wide range of ideas to share.
  • Supporting the Local Farms and Economy—by purchasing and eating foods grown and produced nearby thus supporting community supported agriculture and local businesses.
  • Reducing Global Consumption—by reducing dependence on global resources including low paid workers and limiting energy used to process, preserve, package and transport the food we eat.

Starting on January 9th, we will meet monthly on the 2nd Thursdays from 6:30-9:00. We will ‘cook’ in the kitchen starting at 6:30 (for something to share at the meeting), and the meeting starts at 7.  Feel free to email Liz Rust or the office for more information.


Sing-A-Long Potluck January 11

Put the date on your 2014 calendar now, and let’s all sing along to a showing of a movie musical for a fun evening and potluck supper on Saturday, January 11.  All ages warmly welcome.  Alex Andrews will lead the singing along with Marjorie.  Set up begins at 5:30 in the Commons.  You’ll have an opportunity to vote for your favorite musical in the Parish Hall at social hour during December and early January.  Don’t miss this enjoyable and unique evening.


In-Home Dinners add cheer to those winter doldrums!

Your choice: January 25 (Sat.), 26 (Sun.), or 31 (Fri.)

Contact Fran S. () or Nina P. () to reserve your spot!

These are potluck dinners at the homes of first parish members and friends, a fun time to get to know folks better and have delicious food too!

You may even want to host! The host can decide his/her number of guests and assign each of them to bring a part of your menu. If you wish to do this, your only responsibility is to tell your guests what to bring, set the table, and then relax and enjoy!

In any case, sign up now for an in home dinner date!


Musicians of the Old Post Road here Dec. 15 at 3 pm

The Night Before Christmas: Christmas from Olde and New England – Discover Christmas in 18th-century England and America with joyful and spirited choral works from both sides of the Atlantic. Musicians of the Old Post Road is joined by one of the region’s most revered early music choirs for rousing original arrangements of familiar seasonal tunes, sweet solo songs, and festive instrumental works.  Featuring Schola Cantorum of Boston, Frederick Jodry, Dir. A renowned early music 12-voice choir, also celebrating 25 years of music-making—joins us in this rousing collaboration in celebration of the season.  Many of the works we’ll be featuring were penned by very local musicians. The English choral pieces we are including are in the West Gallery style, such as evoked in Thomas Hardy novels.

The performance is co-presented by the Sudbury Historical Society. Reception with refreshments after concert.  Tickets are $30 General Admission / $25 Students and Seniors. $20 for Sudbury Historical Society members. Obtain tickets at the door, order tickets online at or call 781-466-6694



Our Pastoral Associates

Julia Dixon Eddy, Mary Ellen French, Heather Merrill, Fred Pryor, Paul Reising

In the event of a pastoral need,

please call any of our First Parish Pastoral Associates



Emergency Closing Information

Find out if worship at First Parish is cancelled: (NOTE: For cancellation of other gatherings, contact the committee chair/group leader)

By phone—check the recorded message at the First Parish number, 978-443-2043.

First Parish website—Go to The front page will have an update.

CBS Boston website—Go to, click on “Weather” then “School Closings” for cancellation of Sunday worship service only.

By television—Tune in to WBZ-TV and watch the crawl at the bottom of the screen for cancellation of Sunday worship service only.


Local, District, Denominational News/Events reflecting UU values

image026Please check the bulletin boards in the Parish Hall for events at other churches, the Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts of UU Congregations, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) and others who share our values.

Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence – Dec 14 – Beginning at 1:30 PM in Boston -Boston Remembers Newtown– A commemorative gathering.  Saturday December 14, 2013, is the first anniversary of the tragedy in Sandy Hook. To mark the day, the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence will sponsor a commemorative gathering entitled “Boston Remembers Newtown.” Speakers currently scheduled for this event include Mayor Thomas Menino, Rep. David Linsky, Rep. Tom Conroy, Tina Chery, Kim Odom, Cindy Diggs, John Rosenthal and Sheriff Peter Koutoujian.  Details and Schedule at

Candlelight Vigil for Immigration Rights – Dec 15 – Plymouth County Correctional Facility, 4:30 PM.   According to the ACLU and other organizations, thousands of immigrants across the US are being held indefinitely under abysmal conditions. Families are being torn apart. Show solidarity with detainees. Read all about the vigil, what organizations are participating and where to park at

All proceeds from support Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s human rights work around the world. UUSC offers ethically sourced products for sale that are sweatshop-free, union- or cooperative-made, and environmentally sustainable. has added hundreds of new food products! 

Twenty-two organizations including Unitarian church groups, gun ownership advocates, and a broad coalition of membership and political advocacy organizations filed suit against the National Security Agency for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records. The coalition is represented by EFF.  Details at



327 Concord Rd., Sudbury, MA 01776 978-443-2043


Newsletter submission deadline is 5 pm Wed., Jan. 1 for the issue of Wed., Jan. 8

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 —



Events Calendar Link

Click here to see the block calendar.