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Connector January 8, 2014


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Minister’s Column by Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty


Happy New Year FPSers!

We had an amazing Endings and Beginnings service January 5th to honor and celebrate the milestones of 2013. It was a very meaningful new tradition for me to share our grief and our joy with those in attendance. As part of my sermon on January 5th I called us all to be fully present in the here and now, bolstered but not held back by our history with an eye on the horizon of our future. In reflection about calling you to be more firmly rooted and present in the here and now I also called us to do the right thing for our progeny and the world . How can we effectively do this, you may wonder. With a solid foundation would be my response. Here is what that might look like for us as a congregation. I would begin with the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism –  they hold us accountable to our mission in the world. I am including the children’s version here because frankly it gets directly to the point:

  1. We believe that each and every person is important.
  2. We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
  3. We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
  4. We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
  5. We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
  6. We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
  7. We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.

Another cornerstone of our free and liberal faith, in my humble opinion, is the golden rule as a means to become grounded in a practice of caring compassion: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. (wikipedia) There is a movement afoot called the Charter for Compassion that would have the entire world endeavor to live by the Golden Rule and care for each other in a deeper manner. To find out more information about this movement please visit their website and please take a few moments to watch Professor Karen Armstrong’s TED talk on the topic:

The third cornerstone is the development of your personal daily practice. I would highly recommend that we all endeavor to include some practices that engage the mind, the body and the spirit. If the term spirit does not work for you how about including a practice that engages your inner child – such as a romp in the woods? I loved the hymn that we sang last Sunday, ” I Seek the Spirit of A Child,” in which we were reminded, “That children are real beyond all art, fears, and lies,” and in closing the hymn we ask “May I see Joy, Hope and Faith…a gift to our Heart, Tears, and Eyes.” (paraphrased) Embracing that child-like essence is in fact very similar to embracing the spirit.

The fourth cornerstone that I would like to reveal is keeping an eye on the horizon of our future while remaining in the here and now. How do we do this? We focus on our daily and weekly mind, body, spirit/inner child practices and at the same time plan strategically for a future in which we realize our dreams. If we imagine and visualize the life and community that we desire we will take the steps, and not always consciously, to achieve our goals. On January 11th the Board of Trustees will be meeting to begin this process of thinking strategically for the future of First Parish of Sudbury. An overall vision will be created which will help the congregation to decide on individual committee goals and tasks to achieve our overall vision. Remember the Board’s mantra: Welcome, Sustain, Inspire, Connect, Work for Justice! Let us each echo this mantra through the hallowed halls of First Parish!

Embrace our UU principles, endeavor to be mindful of the Golden Rule, participate in a daily practice that nurtures the mind, body and spirit and visualize a life and community that rivals your dreams. As we enter into the New Year may we do so with a light heart, lots of laughter and love – three of the primary ingredients to develop a happy and fulfilling life.

In Faith,

Rev. Marjorie

*** If you ever have comments, concerns, or ideas about First Parish, your life, or any little or big topic, please do not hesitate to contact me at


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

by Roberta Altamari, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Happy New Year, dear First Parish community! During a recycled yankee gift swap with the “This I Believe” class, I got the book “The Lump of Coal” by Lemony Snicket. I wanted to share this quote from the end of the story with you. “All these things are miracles. It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season – like all other seasons – is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them, and that’s the end of this particular story.”

The reading reminded me of the “sharing gratitude” ritual we offered during the Christmas Eve family service. This was what I said during the service. “In a year of abundance, I invite you to think of all the ways you feel cared for. Who takes care of you? Who are you grateful for? Who inspires you? Who empowers you? Who supports you? My favorite holiday gifts (to both give and receive) are the surprise “thank you” ones. They are unexpected and come straight from the heart. You don’t even need to spend money. The “thank you” is the gift. Magic happens when you say or hear those two little words … “thank you.” Let me start by saying “thank you” to each and every member of the First Parish community for all that you do and for the good values you spread in the world. Thank you for your kindness, your smiles, and all of the little ways you show that you care. Who might you want to say thank you to this year? Tonight, we have a little gift for you to make it easy to spread the “magic of gratitude.” Take one of these cards and send it to that special person that you are feeling particularly grateful to this time of year. May the attitude of gratitude grow and prosper throughout the season!” I still have cards and I’d be happy to give you one so that you can share your attitude of gratitude.

In the spirit of the Roman God Janus, as we take time this January to look back at 2013 and forward to 2014, may we remember to be grateful for the little and big miracles in our lives.

Blessed be. Roberta


Religious Exploration News

re column jan 8(3)Youth Sunday

Join us for one of our favorite annual worship services, Youth Sunday! This year, Youth Sunday will be on February 2nd, and will once again include affirming our growing children and being inspired by our Senior High youth as they lead us in worship. If your child is 8 or 11 and wishes to be recognized in our First Chalice or First Mentor special rite-of-passage ceremonies, please contact Roberta at by January 1st. (Children close to these ages who missed participating last year are welcome to do so this year.) For more information about these ceremonies, see our website at and/or contact Roberta. [break-wrap]?

re column jan 8(1)Save the Date and Plan Your Talent Act

On Saturday, February 8 from 6:30 to 8pm, join us for the “Diversity of Love Talent Show & Dessert Potluck” cosponsored by Youth Group & Welcoming Congregation Committee. Come one, come all and show your talent (and/or watch others share their talent). Our theme is “The Diversity of Love.” There will be a prize for the act that best matches the theme. Please bring a dessert to share. [break-wrap]?

re column jan 8 (2)Family Promise Training Opportunity

The Youth Group invites all members and friends of the congregation ages 12 and older to join us for a training to volunteer with Family Promise Metrowest on Thursday, January 23 from 7 to 8:30pm (in the Commons). Attendance at this Family Promise training will enable you to support local families who are homeless in a variety of volunteer roles. This interfaith support for families who are homeless is inspiring! To learn more about Family Promise, check out their website at


Living Our Faith

Raising Consciousness about Transgender Justice

When you are looking for a restroom, it’s may not be as simple as finding the Women’s or Men’s room. If you are transgender, you may not feel welcome in a restroom that is designated for the gender you identify with when it’s not the gender you were born as.  As UUs working for equality and social justice for everyone it’s our job to make ourselves aware of the issues and to do all we can to be inclusive.  Perhaps you’ve noticed the new signs on our First Parish restrooms on the ground and second floors that welcome anyone of any gender expression.  It may seem silly, since the restrooms are for one-person at a time anyway.  The signs are really to help raise consciousness about this issue.  We could make other small but significant changes.  For example, in our invitations to events by the Women’s Alliance and our Gathering of Men, instead of saying “open to all women or men” we could change to “anyone who identifies as a woman (or a man).”  A little change that would mean a lot to a transgender person.  A little change that would reflect our sensitivity and that we are working at being inclusive.  What other changes could we make?  Send your ideas to   and thanks for all you do!


From Your Faith In Action Team

Please help stop thousands of eligible individuals being prevented from receiving critically-needed food

Contact Governor Patrick and the Honorable John W, Palanowicz, Secretary, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, to take emergency action to undo the results of about 7500 Electronic Benefit Transfer cards that were returned to Department of Transitional Assistance and deactivated, resulting in thousands of eligible individuals being prevented from receiving critically-needed food.

Thank you for giving , mostly by sharing our Sunday morning Offerings, to these groups so far this church year:

$336 to Barakat 0n 9/8/13;

$401 to the Sudbury Interfaith Service Project on 9/29/13;

$203 to the UU Animal Ministry on 10/6/13;

$316 to the Head to Head School in Haiti on 10/20/13;

$261 to Mass-Care on 11/10/13;

$1591 to the UUA/UUSC Philippine Relief Fund on 11/24/13 (This was our full-plate Offering);

$397.12 to the Sudbury Food Pantry on December 8;

$1237 to the Metrowest Free Medical Clinic on December 24 (This was from two full-plate Offerings — one at each of the two Services).

Share the Plate with Partakers January 12

Our January 12th Offering will be shared with Partakers — the organization that supports Massachusetts prison education by coordinating teams of volunteers who mentor inmates as they prepare for and attend the Boston University Prison Education Program.  Through the College Behind Bars mentoring program, inmates build trusting relationships, enhance skills critical to completing a college degree, and increase their chances for success when returning to the community.

This program serves as a model for the importance of education as a deterrent to repeated criminal behavior. Inmates who have gone through it show a 2% recidivism rate, compared with the national recidivism rate of 63%.

Currently, Partakers has 37 mentoring teams from 18 congregations and 49 prisoner students in their program. Eight of their mentored students received Boston University degrees last June, many with honors. Two, at MCI Framingham, shared valedictorian honors. Partakers has one paid staff member and depends upon the work of many volunteers.

First Parish has been associated with Partakers since 2006 when we began to mentor Nate (Ernest N.Benjamin) through his preparation to enter the college program. Nate passed the required course work with flying colors and is now working hard to pass the entrance exams. His speech and writing skills have improved tremendously since his entrance into the Partakers program, and his interest in, and knowledge of history and world affairs remains outstanding. He has sharpened his speaking proficiency as a member of The Toastmasters Club, helps youth at risk by speaking to them about how not to follow the path he took, and is now a member of Norfolk Prison’s Education Committee.

Please give generously on January 12.  Thank you.


From Your Welcoming Congregation Committee

equal marriage new mexicoThat’s wonderful news but…

Marriage may be secure in New Mexico  but in that state and everywhere our kids are still bullied.  “That’s so gay” is still the most common slur you  hear in school hallways, and sadly, slurs can be the least of what LGBTQ kids endure when teachers and administrators fail them miserably.  HIV-positive men and women still can’t get the health care they need.  Insurance companies routinely refuse to cover the treatment of lipodystrophy, a painful and disfiguring side effect of HIV medications. Our transgender brothers and sisters still face the most basic discrimination and indignities when they are fired from jobs, denied access to public facilities including public transportation and health care facilities, and confronted with hatred and violence.  Equal justice under the law is more than a phrase on a bumper sticker…it’s a belief that UUs insist upon and act upon.  What action have you taken to further your UU beliefs about equality?

India just made it a crime to be gay – again. Four years after its anti-gay law was suspended, the Indian Supreme Court has turned back the clock. Every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person in India is now in danger of jail, blackmail or worse.  India is home to 17% of the world’s population, so huge numbers of people – millions – just had their rights stripped away. At protests across India, there’s been a message of hope and defiance: Ladenge, Jeetenge.  It means ‘We will fight, we will win’. There have been years of dedicated work by Indian groups, battling through India’s legal system, but this fight still has a long way to go. It could be appealed through the courts, or the parliament could choose to repeal the anti-gay law altogether.  The path forward isn’t certain. And in times of uncertainty, massive demonstrations of support and friendship can bring new strength and the courage to carry on.  Will you sign a message of hope and love?  All the names will be sent to LGBT groups across India.  Anyone reading the messages will know – none of us stand alone.   Sign here:


People We Care About

spirit of a childWe are keeping Denny Donaldson and her family in our thoughts and prayers.  Denny died on Dec. 24 and will be sorely missed.  The memorial service will be here at FPS on Saturday, January 11 at 2:00 pm. [break-wrap]?

Potluck & Singalong Movie Night: Saturday, January 11

We’ll gather at 5:30 to share a quick meal, then we’ll move upstairs to the Commons for a Singalong Movie — printed lyrics will be provided.

Please indicate your preference by e-mail to by Thursday the 9th at noon (for this first potluck singalong):

  1. Mamma Mia (songs from ABBA)
  2. Wizard of Oz (need we say more)
  3. Grease (remember the Big Hair era?



femclipWomen’s Alliance Invites You January 12

There will be a Women’s Alliance Meeting and Pot Luck on Sunday, January 12 at 11:45 in the Commons.

We will trying something new, a lunchtime Pot Luck Meeting. If anyone wants to bring a pot of soup, a nice loaf of bred, fruit or whatever, it will be gratefully received. Don’t have something to bring – come anyway because we always have too much to eat.

At this upcoming meeting we will do more talking about giving our money and grants. We will discuss, and if we have a quorum may vote, on a proposed grants policy.

We, also, will be talking about the Rummage Sale on Saturday, April 5 and the 2 day retreat at Rolling Ridge in North Andover Friday night, April 25 through Sunday, April 27.

All who identify as women are warmly welcome – newcomers, visitors, long-timers!


in home dinnerIn-Home Dinners – Sat. 1/25, Sun. 1/26, and Fri. 1/31

I am writing to invite you to participate in the First Parish In-Home Dinners. If you are not familiar with them, they have been a First Parish activity for many years, and for a good reason, they are fun! A great opportunity for long-term and newer members and friends to become better acquainted. All members and friends of First Parish are invited to one of these potluck dinners.

We always need people to host. It isn’t difficult – just ask anyone who did it last year, or speak to Fran Sharp (978 394-4626) or Nina Piazza (978 443-3084). Remember, we’re all looking forward to good conversation and community, not a Martha Stewart inspired house!

Please respond to Fran Sharp () with this information?

  • Do you want to attend a family dinner or one for just adults?
  • Would you like to host or guest?
  • Which are your first and second choices for dinner dates?
  • If interested in a family-type dinner, how many and how old are your children?
  • Any allergies or food issues the host should know about?
  • Would you be interested in being a host? If so, how many guests can you accommodate?

Thank you for getting back to us by January 15, so we can finish organizing these enjoyable events!

– Fran Sharp and Nina Piazza


 gathering of men 1Men to Meet February 8

Men, if you’re around on Saturday, Dec. 7 between 11:00 am -12:30 pm, drop by the Brackett Room for coffee and donuts and informal conversation with other guys from the parish. Newcomers welcome – anyone who identifies as a man – find out what other guys are thinking about sports, politics, jobs and life. Contact Tom A with questions. [break-wrap]?


Gratitudes for FPS Unsung Heroes

thankyouWe are grateful to Amanda Berman and Alison Kaplan for organizing and completing another “Secret Santa” gift program for deserving children in the Sudbury area.

We truly appreciate your contributions of time and energy to First Parish.



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.



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


Newsletter submission deadline is 5 pm Wed., January 29 for the issue of Wed., February 5

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.