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Connector February 5 2014


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Minister’s Column by Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty


There is nothing like a beautiful sunset. Last week I found myself in Sedona Arizona watching the sun set against the red rock of the canyon walls. There is something in that moment when the colors blaze across the sky the pinks, reds, purples, and blues reflect in remarkable glory. There is something in that moment that compels me to hope and have faith about what will arrive, even though the sun sets and the cloak of darkness descends. The stars, they compel us to dream, to think beyond the warmth of the fire glow, to have faith that the sun will rise again and bring with it all of the opportunities that arrive with the dawn. This is what happens when I go on retreat; I wax poetically about life and how amazing it is even though at times it can feel daunting. Heraclitus, the pre-socratic Greek pioneer of wisdom, once shared that, “The only thing that is constant is change.” That is what I realized hiking in the red rock canyons, meditating, and watching the sun set…is that life is a gift and in that gift reside evolution, the stuff that makes our lives meaningful. Whether a change is minor or major the uncertainty, anxiety, and opportunities that come do, in fact, evolve our lives, expectations, and outcome.

I know that I am preaching to the choir per se. You, the friends and members of First Parish, have been through a lot of change over the last few years. You have had to think about your identity as a community, you have selected a search team and taken a year longer than expected to find a settled minister. I hope that you are able to see, at times, that not all change is difficult and, if it is challenging, that good things can come from the effort. You may be wondering why I am writing about change as an opportunity for growth so soon after returning from my time away. Because our congregation is about to face another staff change, Roberta Altamari, your Director of Religious Education, has forwarded me her resignation effective at the end of July. My initial reaction was sadness, Roberta is awesome, and it is disappointing to imagine losing her so soon after meeting her. However, as you will read in her column she feels called to seek other challenges and opportunities in her life. Change is inevitable and an important part of personal growth; thus I whole heartedly support anyone’s desire to follow his or her dreams. With that said I am still sad about Roberta’s news, and yet I am hopeful for her as she blazes a new path for herself. We all love you Roberta you can be certain of that!

The future for First Parish is bright; we have so much to look forward to as we imagine a community that is filled with energy and excitement. In February, I will work with Roberta to secure a reasonable job description and a list of her duties.  I will work with the Religious Education Committee to define the search for a new Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DRE) and I will work with the Board of Trustees to secure funding and commitment. February will be a time for us to imagine our future and then to strive to articulate our imaginings in March as we begin the process of fleshing out our strategic plan with goals and the tasks that will be required to achieve our dreams. Will it be easy? I am certain that we will face some challenges, but, as my mother always used to say, “everything worthwhile takes time and effort to realize.”

My friends, I look forward to the opportunities that will spring from the changes that are undoubtedly coming our way. This life is a guest house as Rumi, the thirteenth century Sufi poet taught. I turn to his wisdom everyday and hence I share it with you:



This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.


Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(Jelaluddin Rumi)

May we find moments of peace on this journey of discovery.

In Faith, Rev. Marjorie


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

by Roberta Altamari, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

I am both sad and hope-filled to let you know that I will be resigning from my position as your religious educator at the end of my current contract (on July 31, 2014). My formal letter is below, but I wanted to share some of the thoughts I have been having about the decision. I think it was serendipitous that the group of women who won the auction prize of choosing my sermon topic for January 26 chose “Transitioning Gracefully” and then for the following Sunday, our teens chose to reflect on “how do we know that we are choosing the right life path.” Both of these topics are important for me to process as I make this career decision and look ahead to my next steps. They might be for you as well.

As a religious educator, I have often been challenged by the expectation that I should keep professional boundaries. How can someone work for six years with so many wonderful people and not personally connect with the individual members of the congregation and with the community spirit as a whole? As I said in my letter, I am extremely grateful to all of you for the many wonderful memories that we have shared together. Tears have already been shed and will be shed many more times as I say goodbye. When I speak about seeking my next “calling,” please know that I still adore the members, children, and teens of First Parish … it is the work itself that I have lost the spark and commitment to.

I personally and professionally feel that all the stars have lined up to affirm this is the time for me to make this change. At home (for me) and in the First Parish ministry (for you), life is stable and can support this time of transition. There is plenty of time for all of us to process and make this transition gracefully. Change can be very scary, but it often leads us closer to our dreams. I am excited to start exploring my next career options. Will I start a business? Will I inquire about starting a Boston program similar to the New York program that has inspired our youth year after year? Will I find my next calling somewhere I am totally not expecting?

Once you grieve the loss some of you will feel, I hope that you can welcome this transition time as well. No religious educator is perfect, and you might want to consider what areas of my work are worth strengthening for the next chapter of religious education at First Parish of Sudbury. Do you want a religious educator who will spend more time beautifying the classrooms? Do you want a religious educator who is more talented at recruiting adults to help in the program? Do you want a religious educator who is energized and ready to go out into Sudbury and attract families with young children? These are just examples to illustrate that this time of transition can be a great opportunity to vision the religious education program of your dreams and seek out the professional that can lead the congregation there.

Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me discover and share some of my gifts! I give you my very best wishes as you continue to identify, affirm, deepen, and share widely your religious education program’s gifts!!

Blessed be. Roberta

 Dear Rev. Marjorie and the First Parish of Sudbury congregation:


I am writing to let you know that I am resigning from my position as the Director of Lifespan Religious Education as of July 31, 2014, the end of my current contract year. This decision came after much soul-searching and was not easy to make as I will sincerely miss the children, youth, and adults of First Parish.


While I will be very sad to say goodbye to you, this transition is a career change more than a job change. Religious education has been a wonderful job for me, but I am feeling ready and inspired to explore and embark on a new career. I hope that my next career strongly carries my “social justice” values into the world.


I truly appreciate the affirmation, love, and inspiring memories that I have shared with each of you over the past six years. You have all meant a great deal to me and I have loved working with the members of this community.


Peace and love,



Religious Exploration NEWS

Come Out for a Night of Awesome Fun!!

re column jan 8(1)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. All ages are welcome to come 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]?


A Spirituality Series in Children’s Religious Education this month

peacefulendeavprsWe are pleased to announce two special religious education programs in February during regular RE time. On Sunday, February 9, Valerie will teach our kids about zentangles, the newest way to meditate while creating something unique. And then on Sunday, February 16, Roberta will lead an exploration about labyrinths. [break-wrap]?


walter mittyWish list of props and costume accessories needed for the Walter Mitty multigenerational play

  • men’s tweed coats or jackets
  • a man’s fedora
  • woman’s tweed coat
  • woman’s pocketbook like ones used in the 1940-50’s
  • 1940-50’s style woman’s hat or beret
  • 2 or 3 stethoscopes
  • 2 US Naval officer caps or something similar
  • a German officer’s hat or a base hat that we can attach a German insignia to

We only need to borrow them for the dress rehearsal and performance on March 15 and 16. Everything will be returned after the performance.  Contact Leslie at or 978-443-5138.  Thanks for your interest and help.

Living Our Faith

 blue revolutionAs we find ways this year to live our faith through the topics of food and water, please join us for a discussion of Cynthia Barnett’s provocative book titled, Blue Revolution, Unmaking America’s Water Crisis.

Published by our own Beacon Press, this 250 page book is “the first book to call for a national water ethic, Blue Revolution is also a powerful meditation on water and community in America. Americans see water as abundant and cheap: we turn on the faucet and out it gushes, for less than a penny a gallon. We use more water than any other culture in the world, much to quench what’s now our largest crop—the lawn. Yet most Americans cannot name the river or aquifer that flows to our taps, irrigates our food, and produces our electricity. And most don’t realize these freshwater sources are in deep trouble.”

The Boston Globe named it one of the 10 best science books of 2011.

Publishers Weekly says: “The book provides an eye-opening overview of the complexity of our water-use problems and offers optimistic but practical solutions.”

CWater-Droplet 2ome share your ideas, your reactions, your concerns, your suggestions on Sunday April 6 at 11:45 or on Tuesday April 8 at 7:00.


From Your Faith In Action Team

Stop Mass Incarceration Workshop: Join the Jobs Not Jails Campaign

Saturday, February 8, from 10:30 to 2:30 at First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, 630 Mass Avenue (pre-register at <">>

We Submitted 32 Ballots for UUA Congregational Study/Action Issue

  • Income inequality came in first with 28 votes
  • Gun control came in second with 27 votes
  • Securing our democracy came in third with 16 votes
  • Ending the war on terror came in fourth with 15 votes
  • Empowerment age and ability and palestine/israel tied. With 10 votes each.

The four issues receiving the most votes from all UU congregations will be voted on at General Assembly, and the one receiving the most votes there will be the study/action issue that UU congregations will be asked to pursue during the next two years.


Sunday, March 2 for Forum on Family Homelessness

With a Record Number of Homeless Families in Motels and a Housing Shortage, What Can We Do?   Tenth Annual Forum on Family Homelessness, Sunday, March 2, from 3:00-5:00 PM at Trinitarian Congregational Church, 54 Walden St., Concord.

Sponsors: Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness & Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries. Co-sponsors: Episcopal City Mission, Citizens Housing & Planning Association (CHAPA), Mass Coalition for the Homeless, Promise the Children, & UU Mass Action Network

Share the Plate February 9 with Lovelane

Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program is a non-profit therapeutic horseback riding program in Lincoln, MA that has a dramatic impact on the physical and cognitive development of children with special needs through its holistic approach and unique, supportive environment.

We are sharing the plate with them in honor of Patrick Sarazen’s dedication ceremony February 9.  Patrick’s brother Truman has been riding at Lovelane for almost two years now, and in that short period of time his family has seen a huge improvement in his strength and coordination as well as his confidence.  He is greater every week with smiles and support, and the Sarazen Family  is so thankful that he has the opportunity to ride there.  Please give as much as you can on February 9.


Share the Plate February 16 with Open Table Maynard

Open Table Maynard offers weekly supper and pantry services to as many as 130 guests a week. Founded in 1989, we provide a welcoming community of support and assistance to families and individuals, including many seniors and children – no questions asked. Our recent statistics reflect that demand for our services is going up due to both cuts in the food stamps program (SNAP) and Open Table becoming more known in the community. In 2013 we serviced over 13,000 guests.

We receive 4,000 lbs of food each week from the Greater Boston Food Bank, and we rely heavily on donations from individuals and organizations to pay for those supplies. We appreciate our partnership with First Parish of Sudbury and thank you for your continued support.


From UU Animal Ministry

dog's willSpeciesism (spēshēz ́izm) n.  (1.) the irrational belief that other living beings exist solely for the pleasure and profit of Homo sapiens, and (2.)  the industrialized agricultural system that reduces conscious creatures to mere cash commodities and denies that other forms of life possess independent worth.

Prejudice takes many forms. All of them are ugly.

Every day, millions of animals are victimized in factory farms:

  • Caged and confined in overcrowded conditions,
  • Separated from their young,
  • Never seeing the sunlight,
  • Brutally slaughtered.

They’re sensitive, social, intelligent creatures. Why should they be sentenced to such suffering?

Affirming the Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Being – Unitarian Universalists for Ethical Treatment of Animals.  Visit


Welcowcc logoming Congregation Committee News

Our congregation renewed its sponsorship of WAGLY

WAGLY is the West Suburban Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Youth and allied high school youth.  With a donation of $100 for sponsorship and $30 for program supplies your Welcoming Congregation Committee fulfilled our obligations for 2013-2104.  Other UU congregations that also sponsor WAGLY include Braintree, Concord, Newton, Sharon, Sherborn, Wayland, Weston, and Wellesley Hills where WAGLY meets weekly for social and support opportunities.  For details about this great program go to

Your retired electronic devices are wanted to help provide support, education and advocacy for GLBT persons and their families.

Did you get a newlaptop, smartphone, iPad, video game console, or e-reader this holiday season? Do you wonder what to do with your old stuff?   Turn that e-Waste into charitable giving for Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning persons) and Upcycle them! Upcycling is 100% data destruction guaranteed, tax deductible, and free to ship!  It’s easy. Call 617-444-8800 or go to this link for more information:   Thank You!

U.S. to Recognize Utah Gay Marriages Despite State Stance



Book Collection for Fitchburg Kids

kids booksThe Sudbury Public Schools and Sudbury Angels are asking for your help to bring much needed books to children in the Fitchburg Public School system, where there are over 300 homeless students and 70% of children come from low income families. The books will be used to restock classroom lending libraries. They’re asking for new or gently used books for kids pre-K to 8th grade. We’re putting a box in the church lobby until Wednesday, February 12.

If you have kids, please see if there are any books on their shelves that they’re done with. Used books are just as readable as new ones!  Nothing to donate? Pick up a favorite new book just for a needy kid.


Living Abundantly ~ A message from your Stewardship Team

LOF Logo2This year at First Parish of Sudbury we have a lot to celebrate. In a few short weeks we will reaffirm our bond with our 44th minister, the Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty, with an installation ceremony. We can point with pride to our historic and beautiful meetinghouse that is home to our community. We can rejoice in our good fortune in having Roberta Altamari guiding and loving our children. Debra Morris-Bennett moves us with just the perfect accompaniment to our worship. And we are able to share our abundance and be agents for change in our community and in the wider world.

Indeed we are living abundantly.

And all of these wonderful things cost money. About $310,000 to be exact. Of which more than 70% comes from the generosity of members and friends of First Parish of Sudbury.

Over the next few weeks, the Stewardship Team will launch the 2014 Pledge Campaign which will enable our Board of Trustees and Finance Committee to plan our coming year. How successful the campaign is in part determines how big our vision can be next year. Our community needs everyone’s participation to thrive.

So please watch for more details from the Stewardship Team. We will educate you: how we spend our money, where our money comes from, how the budget choices are made. We will answer your questions and field any concerns. We will share the plans our Board hopes to fund.

And then we will ask you: how big is YOUR vision for First Parish?

– Susan Stocker, Stewardship Team


Permission to Use Your Last Name?

If you do NOT want your last name or personal contact information used in the ENEWS and/or the Connector (our newsletter), please notify Donna Scalcione, Congregational Administrator, by phone at 978-443-2043 or by email at .  You need do nothing if you agree to have your full name, home phone or email in these publications.  To have your last name removed (only the initial will be used) and personal contact data removed, you must notify the administrator by Feb. 10.

femclipWomen’s Alliance Meets Feb. 9

The next Women’s Alliance Meeting will be on the Sunday, February 9. It will be a Pot Luck in the Brackett Room at 5:30PM. Bring whatever you wish, or just come.

After the festivities we will have a brief business meeting to vote on the new By-Laws and Grant Procedure. Thanks and Congratulations to those who worked on them and made them, in my mind, so effective. Then we will have a Presentation on “ Women and Solitude” by June Hopkins.  In her talk she will discuss her personal reasons for researching this topic for her Master’s thesis and describe how solitude was necessary for other women, whom she discovered during this process. Solitude is important for many women at various times in their lives, but especially during times of transition and especially in the later years of life.  It promises to be a very enjoyable evening.

Don’t forget the Rummage Sale on April 5. I don’t know about you, but I have an eye on several things I haven’t worn for a year or more, and on other stuff which is just stuff and so should go. We will need volunteers for setup beginning Wednesday, April 2nd. Contact Peg Espinola for more information.

Please sign up for our weekend Retreat April 25th through April 27th at Rolling Ridge by sending the registration form to Carolyn L. You will find the registration form by clicking on “Registration Form” at this link:

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

Betty Wright, President of the Women’s Alliance


ethical eating 3Ethical Eating Group Continues Feb. 13

Come join us for the next Ethical Eating meeting on Thursday February 13 from 6:30-8:00 pm.

This group gets together to explore and share the positive aspects to ethical eating. From sharing local resources – where to buy locally produced foodstuffs to becoming more educated on how we can personally make a difference in the world we share together – this group is fun and lighthearted.

We start with cooking together (come at 6:30 for that part), and are committed to reading ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ by Barbara Kingsolver as a group, 70 pages per meeting.

In addition to the reading, for next meeting bring a recipe you have tried and liked and a personal goal related to food to share.

This is an open group, no previous attendance or food regimen necessary to participate.

We meet the second Thursday of the month. Feel free to email Liz Rust at for more information.


Next Religious Exploration Salon is Feb. 16

The Religious Exploration Salon (REXplo) is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics.  In the past the Salon has mainly discussed particular books but for the February meeting of the Religious Exploration Salon we are going to try a new format called Bohm Dialogue and we will consider the one word topic “Justice“. From Wikipedia:

Bohm Dialogue (also known as Bohmian Dialogue or “Dialogue in the Spirit of David Bohm”) is a freely-flowing group conversation in which participants attempt to reach a common understanding, experiencing everyone’s point of view fully, equally and nonjudgementally. This can lead to new and deeper understanding. The purpose is to solve the communication crises that face society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness. It utilizes a theoretical understanding of the way thoughts relate to universal reality. It is named after physicist David Bohm who originally proposed this form of dialogue.


Principles of Dialogue

  1. The group agrees that no group-level decisions will be made in the conversation. “…In the dialogue group we are not going to decide what to do about anything. This is crucial. Otherwise we are not free. We must have an empty space where we are not obliged to anything, nor to come to any conclusions, nor to say anything or not say anything. It’s open and free” (Bohm, “On Dialogue”, p. 18-19.)”
  2. Each individual agrees to suspend judgement in the conversation. (Specifically, if the individual hears an idea he doesn’t like, he does not attack that idea.) “…people in any group will bring to it assumptions, and as the group continues meeting, those assumptions will come up. What is called for is to suspend those assumptions, so that you neither carry them out nor suppress them. You don’t believe them, nor do you disbelieve them; you don’t judge them as good or bad…(Bohm, “On Dialogue”, p. 22.)”
  3. As these individuals “suspend judgement” they also simultaneously are as honest and transparent as possible. (Specifically, if the individual has a “good idea” that he might otherwise hold back from the group because it is too controversial, he will share that idea in this conversation.)
  4. Individuals in the conversation try to build on other individuals’ ideas in the conversation. (The group often comes up with ideas that are far beyond what any of the individuals thought possible before the conversation began.)

In practice this means that we will sit in a circle with a “talking stick” in the middle. Whoever feels moved to picks up the stick and says whatever they think or feel about the topic while everyone else listens attentively and with an open mind. When they finish they put the stick back in the middle and everyone quietly thinks about what was said for a while. After a while someone else picks up the stick and so on. It is OK to speak more than once or not at all. Unlike Chalice circles it is OK to reference what someone else has said, respectfully express contrasting thoughts/feelings, ask for clarification, etc. In fact it is great if participants can build on what was said before. At around 8:30pm we will end the Dialogue and we will group-evaluate the session on how well we stayed on topic, and adhered to the Bohm Dialogue principles.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic (“Justice”) beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/feelings/intuitions you have prepared listen, learn and contribute.  Our next meeting will be on February 16th at 7pm in the Brackett Room.


Community and Hospitality Committee (CHC)

Quiche and Tell – February 23

Anyone who has come to First Parish of Sudbury more recently – or receives this Connector and wants to know more about Unitarian Universalism (UU) and First Parish – is invited to join Rev. Marjorie and the CHC on Sunday, February 23, at 11:45 in the Library off the Parish Hall for quiche and coffee or tea. This is the “quiche.” The “tell” is the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about UU and First Parish of Sudbury’s history, covenant, organization, and outreach.

Whether you are thinking about becoming a member or just want to be more informed, please plan to attend this program. If you need childcare, please contact the office (978-443-2043 or ) at least five (5) days in advance.

In-Home Dinners

In-Home Dinners. As so often in past years, the January In-Home Dinners were a warm spot in a cold month. The sharing, community and good food were enjoyed by about 80 people (including a Service Auction Dinner). Thank you to the hosts and hostesses who opened their homes for these small-group pot luck dinners. In-Home Dinners are a yearly event. If you didn’t participate, plan to next year around the same time of year. Watch for the notices late in the fall. These dinners are a great way to renew friendships and make new connections.


Guest Preacher February 23

Catie Scudera is currently serving as the intern minister of Arlington Street Church in downtown Boston. She graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 2012, during which time she served as the student minister of the Winchester Unitarian Society in Winchester, MA. Her other Unitarian Universalist connections include the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s Prison Letter-Writing Ministry and the Partner Church Council’s work in India. Before attending seminary, Catie lived in the Khasi Hills of northeast India for a year, working with local Unitarian leaders to found the A. Margaret Barr Children’s Village.  More details about the Feb. 23 service will be in the ENEWS of Feb. 21.


4th Tuesday Lunch February 25

soupThink – Choose – Share:  A Discussion on Health Care Options throughout Life

Bring your lunch and a friend and learn about palliative, comfort, and end-of-life care and Advance Care Planning resources.  Judy D has organized our February 25 luncheon presentation – a condensed version of the Health Care Forum presented by the League of Women Voters of Sudbury and The Parmenter Foundation at the Goodnow Library this past November. Judy will kick off the discussion and representatives from Parmenter Home Care and Hospice will make a presentation. There will be a time for questions and comments.


Next Coffeehouse is March 8

dontforgetMark your calendar for the upcoming Coffee House on the Rocky Plain show on Sat March 8 at 7pm featuring Daisy Flowerchild and the Leftovers and Boomer Folk returning for a 2nd performance.  More details in the March newsletter. [break-wrap]?

English Country Dance March 22

Come Celebrate Sudbury’s 375th Year at the First Parish of Sudbury sponsored English Country Dance on Saturday, March 22nd at 7:30 PM. Tom Kruskal will teach each dance. Beginners and singles are most welcome. Tom will be accompanied by Jean Monroe on Piano and Marc Vilian, Recorder/Percussion. First Dance starts at 7:30. Last Dance starts 9:30. Our plan is to ask for a $5 suggested donation for the musicians. Light Refreshments will be offered. We are still in the planning phase and we would love a few more volunteers to help with the logistics. Please contact Jan Hardenbergh, , Tom Kruskal, , or Bettie Rose .


Save the Date: Rev. Marjorie’s Installation March 30

putthisonyourcalendarOn 3/30 at 3:30pm Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty will be installed as First Parish of Sudbury’s 44th minister. This gala event will include the ceremony in the sanctuary and a reception to follow in the Parish Hall. All members and friends of FPS are warmly invited to attend. Also attending will be area ministers and Marjorie’s friends and family. Mark your calendars and watch for more details coming soon. Contact us with any questions:  The planners: Ginny Doxsey, Liz Rust and Fran Sharp

(Interim) Committee on Ministry

This is a friendly update on the Interim Committee on Ministry (iCoM).

At the highest level, the purpose of the Committee on Ministry is to ensure a healthy and vibrant ministry at First Parish, seeking to understand, assess, support and advocate for a robust ministry throughout the context of congregational life.

And we take this mission to heart.

As is generally done, the CoM was formed from Search Committee members (Annmarie Allen, Jan Hardenbergh, Liz Rust, and Fran Sharp). Our primary goal this church year is to ensure Reverend Marjorie’s transition to First Parish of Sudbury is smooth.

The CoM meets monthly and takes up any business as required. Upcoming plans include presenting a formal charter with guidelines to the Trustees in February (you can see the draft charter on the iCoM bulletin board) and we will then perform an assessment of how the year has gone. In the spring, formation of the permanent CoM will commence in earnest. Aside from the minister, the Committee on Ministry consists of four members of the congregation, serving two-year terms, and membership is done by invitation by the Minister.

Please feel free to contact any of our members with any feedback or comments.


image020People We Care About

Someone recently inquired about Harriet Ritchie, an older and long-time member of First Parish. Her daughter, Rebecca Cutting, has let us know that Harriet, who has had Alzheimers for many years, is living in a nursing home where she is receiving excellent care. Harriet perks up when she hears the familiar voice of a care-giver or her daughter, but would not be responsive to visits from old-time friends.

Patrick Sarazen, son of Kelly and Dan,  will be be dedicated and formally welcomed into our congregation during worship on February 9 – all are welcome to celebrate at social hour with the family.

Our Gratitude to…

thankyouTerry L for constantly completing a variety of repairs and for  installing an electrical outlet – the first step in getting heating cables for the gutter in the roof over the main entry so that ice dams do not form and then drip down to make hazardous walking conditions.  Thanks to Terry and Dave A who installed the cables and to Bruce L for his research and follow through with the vendors for this project.  Thanks also to Steve G for fixing the piano bench in the Commons, the Mahogeny table in the Parish Hall and the clock in the Brackett Room.



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



New Email for Web Committee

Please update your contacts: To email the Web Committee use – their new email address.


Support First Parish on

amzn_assoc_gm-box-smile_139x33If you shop at Amazon by first using one of the links below, at least 4% of what you spend will be given to First Parish. All you have to do to start is click on the link or

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

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 phonecheck the recorded message at the First Parish number, 978-443-2043.

First Parish websiteGo to The front page will have an update.

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

By televisionTune 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.

With Valentine’s Day and Share the Love Sunday just around the corner, give gifts of gratitude and love from your UUA Bookstore!  See the variety of gifts at">

District Workshop Speaking of Class with Meck Groot, Justice Ministries Coordinator, March 22 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the UU Church of Worcester, 90 Holden Street, Worcester, MA.  Because so many believe the United States to be an egalitarian society, the subject of class tends to be confusing and disquieting. It’s often easier not to bring it up. However, class dynamics impact us at home, at work, in our congregations, and in the public square. They determine much about how we do church: from worship to administration, religious education to social justice, congregational life to buildings and grounds.

Our purpose in this workshop is not to “get a handle on the subject” – though we may learn we need to. Our goal is to explore together how to engage conversations on class in UU settings in ways that build Beloved Community. We will, therefore,  identify, together, what we need for ourselves and from each other in order to have meaningful and authentic conversations about and across class; practice creating the conditions for and engaging in such conversation; consider opportunities for facilitating conversations on class within our own UU contexts; and help each other outline personal “next steps” to prepare ourselves as congregational leaders to initiate and facilitate conversations on class. Registration deadline is March 17 or capacity.


Members’ Announcements

From Taylor Witkin (son of Michele MacDonald and Tom Witkin)

For my senior honors thesis in Environmental Studies at Colby College, I am examining the role of underutilized seafood in New England’s seafood system. For this research, I am conducting a conjoint choice experiment to investigate consumer preferences for underutilized species. Through this survey, I also hope to examine the factors that determine seafood buying decisions.  Here’s the link

This study includes pollock, silver hake, Atlantic mackerel, and spiny dogfish as they are all promoted in the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Out-of-the-Blue initiative. These species have relatively high, stable stocks in the Gulf of Maine, but have fewer landings than cod and haddock. As well, pollock, silver hake, and spiny dogfish are commonly used as substitutes for cod and haddock. In addition to studying consumer preferences, I will also examine the status of these fish stocks and the potential for over-exploitation based on past and current demand for each species, historical fishing trends, and biological characteristics of the species.  Thanks for your participation.


what's wrongFragrances and Their Effects

Many people I know have medical conditions that can be made worse by the chemicals in many lovely fragrances. You very likely know more people than you may realize for whom fragrances can be a big problem. You may have heard of multiple chemical sensitivity, but did you know that fragrances can trigger an exacerbation for people with asthma, migraine, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer/undergoing chemo, and other medical conditions?

This is not an issue of preference — this is an issue of accessibility. It doesn’t matter if the person with the sensitivity likes the smell or not if it causes them pain, breathing trouble, or other neurological difficulties. One person’s choice to wear perfume, or someone using a cleaning product, at an event with someone with a chemical sensitivity may mean that the person can’t attend the event at all, or that they have to leave. Important: it also doesn’t matter if it’s a natural fragrance. Essential oils can be just as problematic as commercial perfumes.

Something to keep in mind.


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