The First Religious Society Newsletter
The Steeple Biweekly

Scroll down to find these news sections. 
  • Sunday Services
  • Rev-eries
  • Calendar of Events
  • Within Our
  • Beyond Our Doors
  • Journey of Faith
Sunday Services
Palm trees whipped by wind

June 18 - Finding Your Pando - Rev. Susan Milnor.  It's obvious to most of us how important resilience is for individuals in being able to survive and thrive, but what about congregations? And how strong is a community's resilience, and what is its source? Spiritual food for reflection at the end of a first interim year. Time to exhale and perhaps even celebrate a bit. Also today: Rob Burnham gives his Journey of Faith. Our traditional end-of-year picnic follows the service.

Collection for Cause
Half of June's unpledged cash collection plate donations will go to the Kelleher Park Camp Program, to help send resident kids to summer camp. For May, FRS donated $952.75 to Community Service of Newburyport. 
On Wednesday afternoon, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. It seemed that summer was finally fast approaching. Certainly, the summer of the congregational year is nearly upon us. I will spend time working this summer - planning for next year, mostly, and seeing to things that come up. I will also take some weeks of vacation in July and the first part of August. Read more...
Calendar of Events

Wednesday, June 14: Alliance meeting and picnic. Noon, at the home of Cecilia and Paul Healy. Potluck--bring a dish to share. RSVP to Patty King. Please come and say goodbye to Joan Smart.
Wednesday, June 14: Parish Board meeting. 7pm.
Saturday, June 17: Community yard sale to benefit B'Link. In front of the church. Drop off: 7-8:30 am. Sale: 9am-noon. As our (hopefully) final fundraiser of the year, the B'Link (youth immigration justice trip) group is holding a community yard sale. So as you're doing your spring cleaning, put your sellable stuff aside and bring it to the church early on the morning of June 17. Then come back a little later and purchase new treasures! (No clothes or books, please-save those for the FRS rummage and book sales!) Contact Julie Parker Amery  with questions.
Picnic on FRS patio
Photo by Jay McCarthy
Sunday, June 18: Church picnic. The Hospitality Committee hosts the annual year-end picnic after the service. Please bring a dish to share; salads and sides especially welcomed. Drop off dishes in the Lower Meeting House before the service. Volunteers to help also welcomed, especially for clean-up.  
Sunday, June 18: Deadline to send a proposal for an Alliance program. Send your topic and a brief biography to Patty King, Alliance President or to Nicole Salemi, Office Administrator . Applications will be considered by the Alliance Committee, who will notify the chosen presenters.
Tuesday June 20: Short Story Group.  Lower Meeting House, 12-1pm. The story for discussion will be "Odour of Chrysanthemums" by D.H. Lawrence.
Wednesday, June 21: Retired Ladies Lunch. The Boathouse in Essex at noon. Call Peg Mays to reserve.
Saturday, June 24: B'Link group leaves for its service learning trip to Arizona and Mexico.
Tuesday July 4: Short Story Group.  Lower Meeting House, 12-1pm. The story for discussion will be "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence.
August 3-5: Book sale. Parish Hall. Donate, volunteer, buy. See details in the "Within Our Community" section.

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

Ringing the bell
Photo by Lynn Kettleson
Our "Thank You! Newburyport" event on Saturday, June 3 was loads of fun. A hundred FRS neighbors toured the steeple to see the restoration work that was done and get the magnificent view of Newburyport from the top. In the photo at right, people pull a rope to ring the bell during the re-dedication of the steeple. The event was covered by the Newburyport Daily News and the Boston Globe.
Raffle winner announced
Congratulations to Kary Robertson, winner of "Dinner for Two Anywhere in the World." And to Nancy Peace, who sold the winning raffle ticket. A special thanks to raffle organizer Sarah Spalding who was tireless in selling tickets. Over 1,900 tickets were sold. The raffle raised a total of $33,500, after prize money and taxes.
Summer office hours
The office will be open Tuesday-Thursday, 9-noon, through Labor Day.
Thank you from the B'Link group
The youth immigration justice trip to Tucson and Mexico is just two weeks away! Thank you to all who have financially supported us. We're still chipping away at our fundraising goal, and are getting close. We have about $1200 to go. Thank you to our most recent donors to the envelope fund drive: Michaela and Brad Gile, Mimi Brile, Karen and Chris Young, Maurine Peterson, Christine Doherty and Lisa Mead, Steve and Eileen Costello.
Mindfulness based emotional intelligence: join a summer program
An eight-week program to build practical skills for managing emotions. We will meet once a week on Sunday, 6:30-8:30pm, for eight weeks starting on June 25. You are expected to meet for at least six of the eight sessions. This course is suitable for students and adults, and all are welcome to attend. Sign up with facilitator David Turner (617-669-1950).  Read more...
Landscape by Kelly Cook
In the Tiny Gallery: Kelly Cook
Kelly Cook's love of nature and the ocean began as a child growing up on the shores of Beverly. With a camera never far, she first fell in love with capturing memories as an adolescent and quickly became the family photographer. Kelly graduated Salem State University with a minor in photography. The series of images in the gallery were captured on her first trip to Star Island, summer 2016. The Tiny Gallery is open during office hours.
The Short Story Group  will meet throughout the summer; meetings are the 1st and the 3rd Tuesdays of each month, 12-1pm in the Lower Meeting House. Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch. For meeting details and/or to be added to the email list, contact Tom Himmel.  
Can you take a turn at watering the little garden behind the church? It needs watering 7 days a week. Contact Patty King.
Timeline for FRS ministerial transition
June-November 2017
Search Committee prepares Self Study, gathering information through cottage meetings, survey and interviews; prepares information packet for candidates
Parish Board prepares compensation packet and draft agreement

August book sale: Donate and volunteer
Donations of books are welcome beginning Tuesday, July 25 (the week before the book sale). Drop off books Tuesday- Thursday, 9-noon. Please store boxes/bags of books in the corner of the church vestibule. If help is needed to transport books, call/text/email Tom Pagel (978-790-0853 ). Read more...
Be a Jazz Vespers reader
Jazz Vespers invites you to consider being a reader at one of our musical services. Vespers is held the first Wednesday evening of the month from October through June (save for a winter break in January) at 8pm in the sanctuary. The service consists of Jazz and Pop music with 3 or 4 minutes of readings and a few minutes for silent reflection. Read more...

Important pledge payment reminder
We are nearly at the end of the church year and need everyone's pledge payments in by June 30. Thanks you for helping us end the year on a strong financial note!
Get your questions answered
Do you have a question about our ministerial search process?  Visit the Ministerial Transition FAQ page. If you don't see your question there, submit a new one via the form on the page, or email your question to  
Beyond Our Doors

Join the parade
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will march in the North Shore Pride Parade on Saturday, June 24 in Salem, MA.  he parade starts at noontime, and we'll be gathering in front of the Post Office on Margin Street prior to the start. It's a short parade that ends at Salem Common. Contact Ann Haaser at  if you'd like to join us.
Volunteer opportunities with Constellation Hospice in Newburyport
Constellation Hospice is seeking volunteers for patient/family visits or office work. An in-depth orientation program, on-going training and supervision will be provided. Volunteer assignments will be made to best match volunteer's and patient/family needs, schedules, interests and personalities. Volunteer service time can be an hour a week or more. To arrange for an interview, contact Mary Ellen E, Groves, Volunteer Coordinator/Bereavement Coordinator, 978-202-4306.
Journey of Faith

Beth Duerr Munro
Given by Beth Duerr Munro on May 28, 2017
My family was very involved in church and then it vanished from my life as quickly as my mother who died at age 36. I was eleven and learned families stop going to church when they blame God for loss. I missed assisting at Sunday School, seeing our church friends, and the stained-glass storytelling windows. I was confused: Was it, or wasn't it a sin to stop attending? Read more...

A summer Steeple Biweekly will be published in August.
Send your submissions to Diane Young .
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