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Meetinghouse closed on Tuesday, January 27

Due to the pending storm, First Parish of Sudbury will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, January 27. All scheduled events have been cancelled. They include:

Jan.27: Yoga (7:45-8:45 am – Commons))
Jan.27: Comm. Task Force (8:45 – 9:45am)
Jan.27: 4th Tues. Lunch (12-2pm Commons)
Jan.27: Quilters (7-9pm – Commons)
Jan 27: Consc. Eating (6:30-8:30pm – in-home)

We will watch Wednesday’s weather and provide you with an update on the status of tomorrow’s events at First Parish sometime tomorrow morning. E-Mail and voice mail will be checked regularly throughout the day tomorrow.

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Opportunities for Growth…

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 anyones desire to follow hit 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 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 imaginngs in March as we begin the process of fleshing out our 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:

THE GUEST HOUSE

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

 

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Contemplating Christmas…

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

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

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

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

Rev. Dr. Marjorie J. Matty

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