The First Religious Society Newsletter
The Steeple Biweekly

Scroll down to find these news sections. 
  • Sunday Services
  • Calendar of Events 
  • Within Our Community
  • Beyond Our Doors

Sunday Services

Joppa landing, Plum Island, Newburyport
April 23 - World Oceans: Swimming Against the Tide.  Our Earth Day Sunday service, organized by the Climate Action Project, f eatures Conservation Law Foundation's Peter Shelley as guest in our pulpit. He will talk about the connection between greenhouse gas emissions, ocean ecology, sea level rise, his personal experiences in Kiribati, a low-lying atoll nation now going under water, ocean acidification and how current public policy interacts with these environment developments. Read more...

April 30 - "To Be Entrusted" - Rev. Susan Milnor. With the Ministerial Search Committee soon to assume its duties, it's time for us to begin to consider ministry. From what does a minister's authority emerge? I have spoken before of "daring" to take up this vocation, but the minister-congregation relationship is effective only when there is a mutual understanding of how this delicate balance between the partners works. The first woman ever ordained by a denomination can help us to understand what's needed. A Journey of Faith will be given by Yvonne McQuilken.

Collection for Cause
Half of April's unpledged cash collection plate donations will go to Pennies for Poverty, whose mission is to reduce poverty and alleviate its devastating impact on individuals and families in the Greater Newburyport Area.
Calendar of Events

Wednesday, April 19: Retired Ladies Lunch. Ithaki, Ipswich, noon. Call Peg Mays to reserve.

Saturday, April 22: Memorial service for Regan Gibson , son of John and Tina Gibson. 10am.

Sunday, April 23: Climate Café: Separating Science from Spin. Parish Hall, 2nd floor, 11:45am-1pm.The Climate Action Project hosts a Climate Café Discussion Hall. Given the proliferation of misinformation spread by political allies of large fossil fuel companies, we as UUs are called to set the record straight on global warming. We will discuss the question, "How can you separate the science from the political spin?" Read more...

Sunday, April 23: First rehearsal for Candlelight Chorale's Spring Concert. Lower Meeting House, 2:30-4:30pm. Concert is set for May 21 at 4pm. No audition necessary; a small fee is requested to cover incidental costs. Interested singers please contact Acting Music Director Dana Maiben . Click for rehearsal dates.
Tuesday, April 25: Transition workshop. Lower Meeting House, 10am-noon. Register here.

Sunday, April 30: Transition workshop. Lower Meeting House, noon-2pm. Register here.

Tuesday, May 2: Short Story Group. Lower Meeting House, 12-1pm. The story for discussion will be "A Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka. Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch.

Wednesday, May 3: Policing and Communities: An Opening Dialog. Lower Meeting Hall, 7-8pm. Hosted by Nancy Peace in collaboration with Lt. Kevin Donovan of the Amesbury Police Department. Please join us for this important discussion.

Blueberry pancakes
Saturday, May 6: Annual May Breakfast. Parish Hall, 8-11am. Bring your friends to this breakfast open to the community. $6 adult, $4 child, family maximum of $20.

Wednesday, May 10: Alliance field trip to the Cape Ann Museum. 10:30am-noon. $13, pay in advance. Self-pay lunch follows at Latitude 43. Contact Carol Kilty. Carpool leaves Hyman-Pennyworth at 9am. 

See the website calendar for a complete listing of events.

Within Our Community

Sign up for third set of Transition Workshops
Note: The Wednesday, April 19 session of this workshop has been cancelled. If you registered for it, please choose another time.
The Ministerial Transition team is conducting the final of three workshops to help us as a congregation create a shared, compelling vision of our future emanating from our current Vision and Mission Statements. This will be our most spirited discussion...scoping the financial resources, building improvements and staffing changes we need to make to achieve our vision. Members and friends of FRS: register for a session at, at Coffee Hour, or via the form in Sunday's Order of Service. 

Lend a hand to Soup Sunday
Can you help with setup, serving, or teardown on Sunday, April 23? Would you like to contribute cornbread or fruit? Contact Susan Clark.

Helix nebula
Sign up now for "God Reflections"
Only seven spaces are left for this adult exploration, to be facilitated by Rev. Susan Milnor on Thursdays, May 4, 11, 18, June 1 at 7-8:30pm. Register with Diane Young, . Explore "Reflections on and of God" in a safe and respectful small group context. Meditations, poems, and short pieces on the Ultimate will serve as touchstones for reflection of various kinds, including writing and sharing within the group. Read more...

Enter the first-ever FRS bake-off
The B'Link group is hosting the first-ever FRS bake-off on Sunday, May 7. What's your specialty? Cake? Cookies? Brownies? To enter, sign up at coffee hour over the next few weeks, or contact Julie Parker Amery
Don't bake? Plan to come to the event and cast your vote!
Annual May Breakfast seeks helpers and eaters
The May Breakfast is fast approaching! It will be held on Saturday, May 6, 8-11am in the Parish Hall. Members of the Hospitality Committee will be at coffee hour through April 30 to gratefully accept sign-ups of volunteers to help at the breakfast and also to donate food. And please do come to the breakfast and bring friends. Read more...

Take an envelope to support the youth trip
Envelopes with numbers
Thank you to those who have given so generously to our B'Link envelope fund drive. Many envelopes remain and are waiting to be filled. Look for the board in the vestibule or Parish Hall, take an envelope, and return it with the designated number of dollars to the basket (or give to Julie Parker Amery). And don't forget-each envelope contains an inspirational quote or immigration fact and one contains a $100 Newburyport gift card, Choose wisely! Read more...

Diaper Drive continues
As shocking as it is, diapers and feminine hygiene products are not covered by food stamps. These essential products for mothers and their children are an expensive, ongoing cost for low income and homeless families. During the month of April, we will be collecting diapers (size 3-6), baby wipes, and feminine hygiene products for the women and children served by Emmaus House in Haverhill.

Become a member of FRS
We will welcome new members on Sunday, May 7. Interested? Talk to Diane Young, Director of Community Engagement, X409.

Music Director signs on for another year
Rev. Susan Milnor is pleased to announce that Dana Maiben will be returning as Acting Music Director for the congregational year of 2017-18.

Alliance calls for speakers for 2017-18
Our church community overflows with talented, educated and interesting men and women. If you are one of these people, consider sharing your specialty by giving a one-hour presentation at one of the Alliance's five Wednesday morning meetings. Send a creative description of your topic and a brief biography by June 18 to Patty King, Alliance President, or to Nicole Salemi in the church office . Applications will be considered by the Alliance Committee, who will notify the chosen presenters.

Nominate a recipient for our Collection for Cause
The Community Human Service Committee schedules the  organizations that will receive one half of the loose plate collected at Sunday service each  month and the charitable contribution from our budget.  If you would like to submit a recommendation for the next church year, please complete the form online by Monday, May 8, or pick up a paper copy in the church office. 

FRS Spring Fundraiser: Dinner for Two - Anywhere in the World
Our goal is to raise $50,000. Pick up a packet of raffle tickets to sell, or buy tickets, during Coffee Hour. The winning ticket will be pulled at FRS on Saturday, June 3, 3pm, during the "Thank You, Newburyport!" event. Detailed instructions are provided in the packets and on the FRS website. Questions? Contact Sarah Spalding, 978-270-6140.  Thank you for your help!
Beyond Our Doors

How can we as UU's help protect and empower the most vulnerable among us? At the UU General Assembly in New Orleans, June 21-25, we will band together to develop strategies at the national and local level to help those most targeted by new government policies. Workshops, fantastic worship, meet UUs from congregations that are doing amazing work and finding exciting ways to do ministerial transition. Read more...
Help fight the opioid epidemic
The Pelican Intervention Fund provides funding for residential Twelve Step based sober living residency for economically challenged adult men and women struggling with opiate and other addictive substances living within the greater Newburyport area. On Sunday, April 30, 2-4:30pm, hear the testimonies of local men and women who have overcome their addictions with the help of the Pelican Intervention Fund. At the Newburyport Senior Center, 331 High Street.

Anne Frank
Newburyport Choral Society Spring Concert:  Annelies
Belleville Congregational Church, 300 High St.
Saturday. May 6 at 8pm and  Sunday, May 7 at 4pm
Adults $22; Seniors/Students $20
The 125-voice Newburyport Choral Society will perform James Whitbourn's powerful oratorio  "Annelies," based on Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl. For tickets and information visit

The deadline for the May 2 Steeple Biweekly is Friday, April 28 at noon.
Send your submissions to Diane Young.
First Religious Society | | 978.465.0602 |