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
The mission of the Community and Hospitality Committee is to attract, welcome and integrate visitors to FPS, help interested returning visitors find ways to be involved and engaged at FPS, help newcomers determine whether they wish to join as members, and to help all members and friends remain engaged with our congregation’s ministry in ways that “feed their spirits.”
CHC actively supports FPS community-building events and initiatives: potlucks, community groups, and other events that foster a closer feeling of community.
CHC is made up of members who attend meetings and volunteer to support the work of the CHC, and “satellite” members who fill certain specific roles—coordinating the usher and greeter schedule for the year, coordinating the Social Hour hosts, etc. There are many tasks big and small, some of which can be done along with others, some of which can be done at one’s convenience. This is a multi-faceted committee in terms of the opportunities to participate.
Meetings: Usually meets monthly; currently meeting on Sundays from 11:45-1:00 at FPS.
Commitment to Participate: Presently there are no term limits for committee membership or for the “satellite roles”. People are encouraged to try it and see what roles work for them.
Roles: The CHC has a chairperson who convenes meetings, sets the meeting agenda with the CLC, and leads meetings, as well as provides leadership of the committee’s initiatives.
Pastoral Associates 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 lends an ear, a shoulder or a hand. This outreach comes in many forms, including listening to someone in crisis, bringing meals to a family with a new baby, driving someone to a doctor’s appointment, arranging emergency childcare, visiting someone who is ill, calling someone who has recently lost a loved one and sending greeting cards of support.
The Pastoral Associates Group (PAG) consists of the Minister and trained lay members of the congregation called “Pastoral Associates.” The team collaborates for the purpose of providing on-going pastoral care to the members and friends of First Parish. We help the congregation support one another in times of need. Showing how much we care for one another, addressing small and not-so-small concerns from parishioners, their friends and family is pastoral care. When we support each other, we show our spiritual strength by caring about one another.
Pastoral Associates may perform the following services:
- Visit, phone and/or write to member(s) and/or friend(s) of First Parish for the purpose of providing one-time and/or on-going pastoral caring and concern. Pastoral visitors serve both as representatives of the minister and of the congregation as a whole.
- Provide a pastoral presence within and among our congregation, alerting the minister of pastoral concerns and needs, providing informal pastoral support in public settings such as coffee hour, meetings, events.
- Be a liaison to the minister-on-call in the absence of the settled Minister. This may include, providing immediate pastoral care, monitoring phones and forwarding pastoral emergencies to the minister-on-call and/or, in the case of urgent First Parish business, to the Trustee on call.
- Meet monthly for the purpose of identifying pastoral needs, sharing support with one another, receiving ongoing education, and of supporting and ministering to one another and the settled minister.
- Lead the Milestones segment of Sunday worship; this responsibility rotates.
- Act as liaison to volunteers who coordinate services such as meals, transportation or emergency childcare, for First Parish individuals and/or families in crisis.
What’s the Caring Call – Helping Hands Program?
When an active First Parish member or friend needs a little extra help after surgery, hospitalization, or an accident, during an illness, when a family member is ill, or during similar situations, we offer to institute our “Caring Call Program.” This is an extension of the pastoral care provided by the Pastoral Associates Group.
We have developed a database of people willing to be called when help is requested. And we have volunteers willing to coordinate the initiative. When a request comes in, the minister or a Pastoral Associate identify a coordinator to work with the person requesting services and those willing to offer them.
The coordinator sets up a calendar indicating who will be the caring callers, the frequency of calls and other details; then the designated volunteer phones on a given day at a predetermined time and asks the person how s/he is and what (if anything) s/he might need that day (often the call is enough). To the extent possible, the caller does what s/he can to fill the person’s request.
Occasionally, someone’s needs exceed our ability and we make referrals to organizations like Sudbury Angels or F.I.S.H. for additional help.
Meetings: Monthly. Presently, the Pastoral Associates meet on a Tuesday night, usually at First Parish.
Participation in PAG: Pastoral Associates serve at the invitation of the minister.
Roles: convener, pastoral associates, call-a-day coordinators, helpers
For more information contact the minister.
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.
Alliance General Information
The Women’s Alliance of First Parish of Sudbury, Unitarian Universalist has existed for over 100 years as an organization within, but separate from, First Parish, both in terms of budget and governance.
The Alliance is composed of all members and friends of the congregation who identify as women. One need not be a signed member of First Parish to be a voting member of the Alliance or to be involved with Alliance activities. The only requirement is to have participated in or supported with time or treasure either Alliance or church activities within the past two years.
We support First Parish and other non-profit organizations in the greater community by providing programs and by awarding financial grants. From fund raising and from endowments wisely invested, we have our own funds and do not seek expense money from First Parish. In fact we regularly give substantial monies to First Parish for specific purposes.
The Alliance meets on the 8th of most months for an informal potluck dinner, brief business meeting, and program or discussion topic. we usually meet at First Parish, but sometimes in the home of a member. We welcome all who identify as women at any time. Announcements of the meetings are in the newsletter, The Connector, the Sunday Order of Service, the Calendar and “News U Can Use.”
We have an annual Weekend Retreat, for our spiritual growth as well as to continue our work building a close-knit community of women, which for 2019 will be May 3-5 at Wisdom House in Litchfield CT.
We have an annual 1-day retreat, usually the first Saturday in November, at the Harvard Unitarian Church. More information is available here: Annual Retreat .
The Alliance holds a Rummage Sale each spring, which is also a way to provide a service to the general public. Our Rummage Sale is a little different. We charge a fee to get in, and each customer gets a full sized paper grocery bag to fill up with anything they choose from the piles of donated items. When we start collecting donations, we ask that each item donated be no larger than can fit into a full size paper grocery bag, and that all items are clean and in good repair. All categories are welcome: clothing, household goods, office supplies, toys & games, music (no VHS, no tapes, and books (no textbooks, magazines, manuals, or encyclopedias please).
Worship Associates Group
The Worship Associates Group (WAG) works with the Minister, the Director of Religious Exploration, and the Music Director, to assess our worship services (Sundays in the Sanctuary, Seekers Gatherings, and summer lay-led services) 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 research certain topics, distributing selected worship services to the public in print and on the website, and offering congregational feedback to the staff 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)
- assist with Village Worship services (our less formal participative worship for all ages)
- organize our lay-led summer services by filling volunteer slots for speakers, providers of music, breakfast, and childcare; and serving as worship hosts for each summer service
Meetings: Monthly at FPS, presently on a Tuesday evening.
Commitment to Participate: terms are for two years; members are welcome to recommit for an additional term
Roles: convener, members, and many “friends of WAG”—experienced helpers who step in to serve as worship hosts and help with summer service coordination.
For more information contact the minister.
Finance & Administration
The First Parish Finance Committee includes the Finance Committee chair, the Treasurer, the Assistant Treasurer, a member of and liaison to the Board of Trustees, and the chair of the Pledge Drive Committee. It may include other members who are also involved with the Human Resources Council, Buildings & Grounds committee, fundraisers, or other areas of importance to the financial welfare of First Parish.
The Finance Committee prepares the annual operating budget in coordination with the First Parish staff and Council and the other committees, and presents it to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Finance Committee meets monthly during the year and reviews the financial status presented by the Treasurer quarterly. 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 supporting the various annual fund raising events, including the Fourth of July grill, the Harvest and Holly Fairs, and the auction.
Meetings: Monthly; Currently on a Monday evening at the meetinghouse.
Commitment to Participate:
Roles: Chair, Treasurer (elected), Assistant Treasurer (elected), members, trustee liaison, ex officio.
The Stewardship Team works to strengthen a culture that embraces discussing and celebrating members’ financial support and generosity in a holistic way year-round and connecting that support to all aspects of the church’s activities and mission.
The Stewardship Team oversees the annual pledge drive, including recruiting canvassers (with input and assistance from Minister, Trustees, and Community & Hospitality Committee), establishing pledge drive goal (with input from Trustees and Finance Committee), developing communications, conducting educational sessions for all ages as needed, establishing process for asking for pledges, managing pledge-drive related events.
The Stewardship Team also coordinates planned giving program, working with Planned Giving Committee to educate members and friends of First Parish about planned giving and to direct ongoing outreach to members and friends to consider including First Parish in their estate planning.
The Stewardship Team welcomes ideas, help, and participation in its activities at any time.
Meeting Structure: As needed, the busiest time being January through mid-April.
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 time commitment before and during the pledging season.
Roles: Members, Chair, Trustee Liaison. Responsibilities can be divided among the team, with one person responsible for tracking, one for communication, one for events planning, etc., but it is an overall collaborative team effort.
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. It will also report regularly to the congregation.
Meetings: Several times each year
Commitment to Participate: No term limits presently
Buildings & Grounds
Building & Grounds Committee
The Building and Grounds Committee maintains all First Parish of Sudbury property. For the Atkinson Religious Education Building it prepares for and carries out maintenance, renovation and new construction. For the historic Meetinghouse and Carriage Shed it prepares for and carries out restoration and preservation. The Building and Grounds Committee is involved in the design of all building restoration and renovation work, as well as the hiring and overseeing of contractors and trades persons.
Some maintenance projects need to be managed as the need arises. Others are put on a to-do list. A few times during the year the Building and Grounds Committee organizes work days and greatly appreciates volunteers who help with a variety of tasks.
Types of projects managed: oiling doors and thresholds, painting, performing a sprinkler water drain inspection in the fall, resetting light timers and thermostats, managing humidity in summer, replacing light bulbs, other small repairs.
Meetings: Several times during the year, and when called
Commitment to Participate: There are no term limits, and people with skills of all kinds are welcome!
Roles: Co-chairs, regular committee members, and helpers. No matter what your skill, your involvement will be appreciated.
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.
Human Resource Council
Overall, the job of this Council is to keep the human resource side of our congregation working smoothly. The council is here to provide support and consulting to individual staff, the trustees, the committees and the whole congregation.
In this mission, the Council works with many groups in the congregation – the Finance and the other committees close to the work of our treasured staff, the Community and Hospitality Committee, the Committee on Ministry and the Religious Exploration Committee. It works with the staff on specific and individual items and goal setting. It works with the trustees on the big picture, and overall direction and guidance. Members of the council will gladly meet with anyone from the congregation who wishes to give input.
It works with the Finance Committee on staff compensation, following the existing team compensation philosophy of bringing any staff below UUA compensation guidelines toward the midpoint of the range.
Meetings: A few times per year when needed.
Roles: At present two individuals act as HR liaisons between staff and the congregation through the Board of Trustees.
Committee on Ministry
The primary purpose of the Committee on Ministry (CoM) is to ensure a healthy and vibrant ministry at First Parish. It seeks to understand, assess, support and advocate for a robust ministry throughout the context of congregational life.
The committee meets monthly with the minister and with other members of the congregation as necessary. Through discussions, this group seeks to understand, assess, support, and advocate for a strong and mutually supportive congregational ministry. The committee functions as a sounding board for both the minister and the congregation. It serves the whole congregational body. Trust, integrity, and confidentiality are essential to the work of this committee. When needed, the Committee on Ministry interprets for the congregation the nature and scope of the minister’s work, helping to clarify role expectations and realistic priorities.
To be effective, the committee invites congregants to speak with it regarding the ministry of both minister and congregation. When a congregant wishes to air a concern or a complaint, the person(s) may speak to the minister or to any member of the CoM. For the concern or complaint to be adequately addressed, however, the person must be willing to be identified and, if necessary, meet with the CoM and/or the minister for a frank and open conversation. The committee sees its function as supporting the work of the congregation and the minister in order to maintain a strong, thriving and healthy congregation.
Commitment to Participate: Members of the CoM are invited to serve a two year term by the Board of Trustees and the settled minister.
Roles: Minister, committee members
For information contact the minister.
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.