In addition to its professional staff and its governing body, the joyous work of First Parish of Sudbury UU is carried out by various committees and groups.
The First Parish Choir offers its musical ministry to the congregation, and to the communities-at-large in special services. Twice during each congregational year, the choir offers two major Music Sundays. Either a major choral work or a thematic set of pieces is offered, often with a chamber musical ensemble. These services are very carefully planned to be offered as worship services rather than performances.
Commitment to Participate: All interested singers are invited to join the choir. We are always happy to welcome new members, and always have a combination of singers at many different skill levels. Although we work hard at our rehearsals, we also incorporate time to socialize and deepen our friendships.
Choir members communicate with the director about their availability for Sundays and rehearsals.
The choice rehearses twice each week:
- Thursday evening choir rehearsals from 7:30-9:15pm
- Sunday morning rehearsals from 9:00-9:45am
When preparing for Music Sundays, we often have sectional rehearsals following the Sunday morning worship service at 11:30.
Community & Hospitality Committee
Meeting Structure: No regularly scheduled meetings; leaders meet as needed
Overview/Mission of Group:
The Community and Hospitality Committee (CHC) welcomes and helps interested returning visitors find ways to be involved and engaged with the FPS community, helps newcomers determine whether they wish to join as members, and helps all members and friends remain engaged with our congregation’s ministry in ways that feed their spirits.
CHC actively supports the FPS community by organizing the Sunday morning helpers who greet, usher, bring flowers, make coffee and host coffee hour. We host potluck events during the year, coordinate the In-Home potluck meals in the winter, and other events that foster a closer feeling of community. We provide Visitor Information packets and information in the pew shelves as well as a Newcomers Information Session on UUism and FPS each year.
Commitment to Participate: Presently there are no term limits for people participating in these initiatives. All FPS members and friends are encouraged to sign up to help with hospitality activities.
Roles: The CHC’s team leaders manage:
- Coffee Hour Hosts
- Visitor Packets and Pamphlets
- Visitor Communication
- In-home Dinners
- Path to Membership Support
- The CHC Budget
- Annual Report
Pastoral Associates Group
Meeting Structure: monthly. Presently the Pastoral Associates Group meets on a Tuesday afternoon, usually at First Parish.
Overview/Mission of Group: The Pastoral Associates Group (PAG) is part of a community-wide web of support that cares for people during the joys and challenges of our lives. PAG reaches out to people in need and offers support or help.
This outreach comes in many forms, including visits, meals, short-term driving to appointments, arranging emergency childcare, a phone call, or a greeting card. The Associates collaborate with the minister about the needs as they arise.
Pastoral Associates lead Milestones during Sunday services, contribute to the “People We Care About” E-news Column, and work with the minister to arrange a pastoral coverage plan for when the minister is away. This can mean simply checking the phones for urgent messages or knowing which nearby ministers are covering those concerns in a particular week. They might also sponsor workshops or speakers on topics of common concern to the congregation.
Participation in PAG: Pastoral Associates serve at the invitation of the minister.
Roles: convener, pastoral associates, assist with meals or transportation.
Religious Exploration Committee
The mission of the Religious Exploration Committee (REC) is to work with the Director of Religious Exploration (DRE) to oversee the RE program for children from birth through 8th grade and the Coming-of-Age and Our Whole Lives sexuality education programs for teens.
Recent Projects Include:
- Recruiting adult and youth guides to work with different RE age groups.
- Selecting the curriculum and programming for the year.
- Overseeing social justice projects.
- Supporting field trips, such as the New York City social justice trip for the youth.
- Collaborating with other committees on congregational endeavors.
Commitment to Participate: Presently there is a two-year term with an option for a third year. We invite you to come to a meeting to see if the REC is a good way for you to give back to the community.
Roles: The REC is made up of five to seven people, headed by one or two chairpersons. One committee member attends Program Council meetings. Another member acts as the liaison and support person to the Morris Dancing program. Roles can be combined as appropriate to the members of the REC. The REC members attend meetings to determine policies and procedures. They serve as an advisory committee to, and collaborators with, the DRE.
Meeting Structure: Most months, we gather informally either in person or on zoom for a speaker, a topic of conversation or to plan future events, such as our annual off-site holiday party. We meet for official business a few times a year to review grants, elect members of the executive committee or vote on other major items. The day of the month varies from year to year and is usually a pre-arranged date, (such as the 8th of each month), in order to make the meetings as available as possible to all women in the congregation. Exceptions to the monthly gatherings occur in those months involving special events, such as an off-site holiday party in December, and a weekend-away retreat in the spring.
Overview/Mission of Group: The Women’s Alliance of First Parish is defined as all those who identify as women who are members or friends of the church. Participation is purely voluntary and varies from activity to activity. The purpose of the group is primarily to socialize, build community, and provide some funding for grant requests, which are considered in accordance with established grant-making policies.
Roles/Commitment to Participate: Officers of the Alliance are elected each year by the members. The Alliance is run by an Executive Committee consisting of two co-chairs, a treasurer, and a secretary. In addition, there is a rummage sale chair. All women are encouraged to take on roles to support the work of the Alliance in fundraising, social planning, etc.
Rummage Sale/ Grants: The Alliance conducts a rummage sale in the spring which benefits the community and builds connections with First Parish. In addition, it enables the Women’s Alliance to help subsidize to a limited extent the spring retreat and to fund grants for special projects within First Parish that are not part of the regular operating budget of the church. The group has also made grants in the past to non-profit organizations serving women in our community.
Weekend Retreat: The weekend retreat generally focuses on a topic with a spiritual dimension; past retreats have been led by both outside facilitators and by members of our congregation. The spring retreat runs from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. In addition to the formal program there is much time for informal activities, both social and individual.
Worship Associates Group
Meeting Structure: monthly on Zoom, presently on the evening of the second Tuesday of each month.
Overview/Mission of Group: The Worship Associates Group (WAG) works with the Minister and the Minister of Music to assess our Sunday worship services (including regular services in the Sanctuary and summer lay-led services in the Commons) and to provide supportive suggestions for future services. The WAG team serves as a resource by assisting the minister in planning the annual worship calendar, supporting her efforts to craft a meaningful structure for worship services, and offering congregational feedback to the minister about all aspects of worship at First Parish.
In addition, the Worship Associates:
- Recruit and host lay leaders and guest ministers who fill the pulpit when our settled minister is away during the program year (Sept-June)
- Organize our lay-led summer services by filling volunteer slots for speakers, providers of music, snacks, and serving as worship hosts for summer services
- Provide online access to Sunday services on Zoom, edit video recordings of services, and upload edited videos to YouTube for sharing with the public
Commitment to Participate: terms are for two years; members are encouraged to recommit for additional terms
Roles: chair, committee members, and volunteer helpers who step in to serve as worship hosts and help with summer service coordination
Finance & Administration
Meeting Structure: ~ monthly
Currently, Tuesday evening at FP about 1 week before the Trustee’s meeting. Special meetings via ZOOM, phone, or email as needed
Overview/Mission of Group: The First Parish Finance Committee includes the Committee chair, the Treasurer and other members who are also involved and interested in the financial welfare of First Parish. The Committee currently has 5 members and should have a minimum of 3.
The Finance Committee prepares the annual operating budget in coordination with the First Parish staff and committees and presents it to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Finance Committee reviews the financial status presented by the Treasurer monthly. At least once each year, generally in November, the committee meets with the chair of the Investment Committee to review the status of assets under investment. The Finance Committee also takes an active role in budgets for annual fundraising events, including the Fourth of July grill and the Service Auction, as well as working with the Stewardship Committee.
Commitment to Participate: Anyone with an interest can participate. There are no elections, requirements, or term limits. However, for the smooth financial management of the congregation, it is expected that members will participate for at least two years.
Roles: Chair who is the Treasurer (elected for 2-year term), members at large (at least 1)
Meeting Structure: As needed, the busiest time being January through mid-April.
Overview/Mission of Group: The Stewardship Team organizes the annual pledge drive which is when people make their annual financial commitment to support First Parish.
A large portion of First Parish’s income to pay its operating expenses each year comes from pledges. Each year in the spring, members and friends of First Parish sign financial commitment cards that state how much they commit to give during the next July-to-June fiscal year. Gifts, as well as pledges, are an important part of our revenue, but pledges provide the primary scaffolding upon which we build a budget. It is the pledges that enable our elected leaders to plan the next year’s budget.
The Stewardship Committee strategizes about the overall philosophy and the details of the spring pledge drive. It plans the publicity, pledge drive kick-off, social events in connection with the pledge drive and, in cooperation with the Minister, Pledge Sunday. It coordinates with the Bookkeeper and the Communications Director to track pledge receipts to report to the Trustees and Finance Committee. The committee receives support from the Trustees, the Finance Committee, and the Community and Hospitality Committee.
Commitment to Participate: There is no term limit, but it is desirable for a member to commit to at least two years for continuity. Participation involves a real-time commitment before and during the pledging season.
Roles: Leaders and members. Responsibilities can be divided among the participants, but it is an overall collaborative team effort.
Meeting Structure: Several times each year
Overview/Mission of Group: The mission of the First Parish Investment Committee is to invest the church’s financial assets in a manner that will maximize long-term financial returns consistent with the preservation of capital. The Committee has written and periodically reviews the Investment Policy. It also reports annually to the congregation.
Commitment to Participate: No term limits presently.
Roles: All members are equal participants.
Buildings & Grounds
Building & Grounds Committee
Meeting Structure: B & G meets several times during the year as needed, most often for a specific purpose or project.
Overview/Mission of Group: The Building and Grounds Committee maintains all FPS property. Contracting of regular services such as trash and snowplowing is managed by other committees or staff.
The Building and Grounds Committee is involved in the design and contracting of all building restoration and renovation work. Large projects beyond the members’ skills require outside contractors. Smaller projects are often done by members with materials purchased from the annual budget. Planning and reporting is done by members, mostly the co-chairs.
Some urgent maintenance projects need to be done quickly. Others are put on a to-do list. Work days with those willing and able are periodically planned for to-do list items. Capital projects require longer-term planning.
Types of projects managed: oiling doors and thresholds, painting, assisting with several state and town-mandated annual inspections, resetting light timers and thermostats, managing humidity in summer, replacing light bulbs, minor plumbing issues, and other small repairs. Old buildings are full of surprises. Larger, contracted projects have been interior and exterior painting, kitchen renovation, re-roofing, and additions to the buildings.
Commitment to Participate: There are no term limits, and people with skills of all kinds are welcome and appreciated! Skills in electrical, carpentry, plumbing, contracting, and project management are particularly welcome. Many of us are engineers, but that is not required.
Roles: Co-chairs, regular committee members, and helpers.
This committee is responsible for maintaining and improving the FPS landscaping, including the Memorial Garden. In addition to performing landscape maintenance, it addresses drainage concerns, stonework, walls and path construction, and selecting and installing plant materials. It also contracts and oversees lawn mowing and maintenance.
The Landscape Committee has the responsibility for the “memorializing” aspects of the Memorial Garden, including interfacing with plant donors, planting and maintaining donated plants, maintaining records in the Memorial Book, supporting memorial services and weddings in the Memorial Garden, and managing the Memorial Garden Fund. With the Minister, members assist people in planning ahead for their own Memorial Service and their own Memorial Book page.
Meetings: Monthly at the meetinghouse, currently on a Sunday at 11:45am
Commitment to Participate: Presently there are no term limits. Members with a variety of skills (strong backs, good organizational skills, writing skills) play different roles to aid progress on the committee’s projects.
Roles: Chair (or co-chairs); committee members; occasional volunteers for projects such as spring/fall cleanup days, annual mum sale, and special projects.
For more information contact the office.
Leadership & Support
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is the governing body of First Parish of Sudbury. The board members are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected at the annual congregational meeting.
Members of the Board:
- attend monthly meetings to develop, review and authorize policies.
- work on project or policy development as individuals or sub-committees of the board
- act as liaisons or conveners to First Parish committees (Program Council, Finance, Nominating and Committee on Ministry)
- approve all major contracts
- approve the annual operating budget, and develop and publish the warrant for Annual Congregational Meeting
- provide security check of the First Parish building during the summer on a rotating basis.
Meetings: Monthly; Currently the Board meets on the first Wednesday evening of each month, September through June, plus a few extra meetings during the budgeting season.
Requirement and Commitment to Participate: Nominees must be official members of the congregation. A trustee typically serves for a three-year term.
Roles: Member, chair, clerk (an officer of FPS who attends board meetings)
For information contact one of the current trustees or the office.
The committee’s charge is to recommend a slate of nominees for the congregation’s elected officers, for openings on the Board of Trustees, and/or any vacated, unexpired positions. In addition, the slate includes nominations for delegates to the annual Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, candidates for Nominating Committee, and when necessary, representatives to the Ministerial Search Committee.
The members meet throughout the year and begin to discuss the open positions with congregants who might be interested to learn about and possibly fill a position.
Meetings: Occasionally as needed; much of the communication between committee members can be done by email and phone
Commitment to Participate: Members of the committee are elected for a two-year term.
Roles: The Nominating Committee comprises one liaison from the Board of Trustees and two members who are elected at the annual congregational meeting for alternating two-year terms.
For more information contact the office.