The First Religious Society Newsletter
The Steeple Biweekly

Scroll down to find these news sections. 
  • Sunday Services
  • Rev-eries
  • From the Parish Board Chair
  • Calendar of Events
  • Within Our
  • Beyond Our Doors

Sunday Services

September's worship theme: Past and Future

September 10 - "To Heal, Transform, and Bless Life" Multigenerational Opening Service -   Rev Susan Milnor and Julie Parker Amery. In the wake of a summer that has brought forces of hate and love to the streets and the forces of nature to land, these words of Unitarian Universalist theologian Rebecca Parker remind us of the importance of responding as people of faith: "There must be communities of people on the strength of soul-force to heal, transform, and bless life." Read more...

September 17 -The Congregation's "Journey of Faith" - Rev. Susan Milnor. A famous painting by Gauguin asks three questions fundamental to human existence and, on a more local level, to a congregation: "Where Did We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?" We spent time in the first year of the interim looking at variations on these questions, but now that the time has come to identify and call a new minister, what greater insight do we need, especially from a spiritual perspective? Read more...

Two teen girls at church
Please note that beginning September 17, we will begin our new practice of the entire community worshipping together for the first fifteen minutes before our children and youth leave for Young Church classes and activities. This will happen every Sunday except the Sundays that are multigenerational services, when everyone stays in the sanctuary for the entire service.

September 24 - Monuments to the Future - Rev. Susan Milnor. Recent events have brought much debate over monuments - which are good, which are not; which should be kept; which should not. For people of faith, is there a more meaningful way to think about monuments and what to create them for? Read more...

Collection for a Cause
Half of September's unpledged cash collection plate donations will go to the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, which serves victims of domestic violence. 
Susan Milnor

"We want our children to be part of our worship." "We want to be with the children of the congregation on Sunday." "We want to be a true multi-generational congregation." "We want to integrate our young families." And from newcomers, "Where are your children?"

From the time I interviewed with your Interim Minister Search Task Force, to multiple conversations in my first year here, including with newcomers, through last year's transition workshops, the feedback on integrating our young people more has been strong. And so we are making a change this fall. All of our children and youth will spend the first fifteen minutes on Sunday in our weekly community worship service ("Big Church"). Read more...
Barbara Garnis
From the Parish Board Chair

The long days of summer are getting a bit shorter and some mornings there is a nip in the air that reminds me fall is coming closer. While I will miss these long, warm days, I do miss our FRS community and look forward to seeing everyone at our first service on September 10.

Summers here on the Parish Board are usually quiet. We typically have a meeting to wrap up the year in June, then start the new parish year with a meeting in September. This summer was very different. In early June, Susan and I learned that Bill Heenehan, our Business Administrator, was resigning. Read more...
Calendar of Events

Thursday, September 7: Adult Choir resumes rehearsals. Choir Room, 7:30pm.

Sunday, September 10. Opening Sunday picnic. Parish Hall, 11:30am. Indoor and outdoor seating. Sandwiches and drinks are provided by the Hospitality Committee. Bring a salad, side dish, or dessert as you are able. Please note any high-hitting allergens in your dish. Read more...

Tuesday, September 12: ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out). CR Moulton's, 17 State Street, Newburyport, noon. The Officer of the Day is Bob Hooker . First-timers are welcome.

Muslim boy praying in mosque
Wednesday, September 13: The Alliance presents "Facts versus Fiction about Islam." Lower Meeting House, 1pm. Afroz Khan, a resident of Newburyport and member of the Islamic Center of Boston Wayland, will present a general overview of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim. The program is preceded by a brown bag lunch and business meeting at noon. Drinks and desserts are provided.
Wednesday, September 13: Newburyport Affordable Housing: What you can do!  Parish Hall, second floor, 7-8:30pm. Judy Tymon, chair of the Housing Authority Trust, presents the needs for affordable housing in the greater Newburyport community. Learn what projects are underway and what meetings and commission plans are coming up that will need our advocacy. Presented by JAM (Justice Action Ministry).

Friday, September 15: Deadline to complete Search Committee survey.

Sunday, September 17: Congregational forum  organized by the Ministerial Search Committee. Lower Meeting House, following the service.

Tuesday, September 19: Short Story Group.  Lower Meeting House, 12-1pm. The story for discussion will be "Disorder and Early Sorrow" by Thomas Mann. Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch.

Wednesday, September 20: Retired Ladies Lunch. Boat House, Essex, MA, noon. Call Peg Mays to reserve.

Tuesday, September 26: Program Council. Lower Meeting House, 7pm. Leaders and members of FRS groups, come to collaboratively plan the 2017-18 church year.

Sunday, October 1: Jeanne Geiger Center Walk. Please join the FRS team as we walk in support of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in its work to put an end to domestic violence. Click here to sponsor the team or join as a walker. The walk starts at 9am, and is short enough to complete and still get to church by 10:30!--Ann Haaser, Community Human Services

Tuesday, October 10: Membership series, session 1. Want to know what becoming a member of FRS is all about? Sign up for this program of three consecutive Tuesdays with Diane Young, Director of Community Engagement.

Wednesday, October 11: Jazz Vespers. Sanctuary, 8pm.

See the website calendar for a complete listing of events.
Within Our Community

Have you completed the Congregational Survey yet?
Time is running out! The survey is an important component in our search for a new minister and all friends and members of our community are encouraged to complete it. You have until September 15 to either fill it out online or pick up and complete a paper copy available in the church office. On Sunday, September 17 we will meet after church to look at the survey, talk about the search process, and discuss our thoughts about the role of a minister in our church. Please complete the survey as soon as you can if you haven't already and join us after church on September 17. --Ministerial Search Committee

Help create our new membership directory
Over the summer, we launched a new database that will serve as an online membership directory for FRS. It's called Realm. Check your email for an invitation with the subject line "Join your church family." Need help setting up your account or using Realm? Come to help sessions during Coffee Hour or contact Diane Young, 978-465-0602.

The FRS Adult Choir will resume Thursday evening rehearsals on September 7 at 7:30 pm, and we will rehearse at 9am on Sunday and sing in the Sunday Service on September 10. If you are interested in participating, please email Dana Maiben, our Acting Music Director.  Read more...

Chalice Circles to start up again in October
The Chalice Circle Program begins its third year the first week of October. Many FRS members have participated in this small group ministry program. If you have not yet experienced Chalice Circles, consider signing up this year. Look for information about how to sign up for a group in an upcoming Order of Service. Registration opens the week of September 17. Read more...
Help those affected by Hurricane Harvey
I know you have watched with deep concern the tragic effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. If you would like to donate to a relief effort, this joint effort of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is a worthy recipient. Read more...

Annual Book Sale nets $1,200
Our major summer fund-raiser, the Yankee Homecoming book sale, was again a success. The Parish Hall location continues to provide a much easier access and more visitor-friendly venue. We sold just under $1,200.00 worth of "pre-owned" books and donated the remainder to "More Than Words," a Boston non-profit that helps disadvantaged teens to learn business skills and earn wages in their two book stores, pass their GED's, and even get into college. Read more...

Be a Jazz Vespers reader
Jazz Vespers invites you to consider being a reader at one of our Wednesday evening services. Readers choose their own selections which can range from humorous pieces to traditional literature to modern poetry or original works you have written. read more...

Fall Rummage Sale November 3 & 4
Save your old clothes, shoes, hats, gloves, coats, and accessories and deliver them to the church sanctuary starting October 30. All proceeds go to FRS.

Wilson concerts preview
The first Wilson Music Series concert will be January 7, 2018 featuring Vox Lucens, directed by Jay Lane. Stay tuned for more concert news.
Beyond Our Doors

Thursday, September 7: Theater Workshop Informational Open House. Newbury Elementary School Auditorium, 6:30pm. Join the cast for Fall 2017. No auditions. RSVP at Fix, Artistic Director
The deadline for the September 19 Steeple Biweekly is Friday, September 15 at noon.
Send your submissions to Diane Young.
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