The First Religious Society Newsletter
The Steeple Biweekly

Scroll down to find these news sections. 
  • Sunday Services
  • Rev-eries
  • Calendar of Events
  • Within Our
  • Journey of Faith

Sunday Services

Golden leaves
May 21 - Young Church Sunday - "Nothing Gold Can Stay" - Julie Parker Amery and Rev. Susan Milnor. At this very special family service, we will recognize our Young Church 8th graders and offer a blessing to our graduating high school seniors. The Young Church and Teen Choirs will sing. Please join us! The Annual Meeting of members follows the service.

May 28 - Life and Memory - Bill Heenehan. On this Memorial Day weekend, a time originally intended for somber reflection on the ultimate sacrifices made in war, we will dig a little more deeply, and personally, into what memorial means. Spurred by the question posed in Raymond Carver's poem "Late Fragment," "And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?" we'll explore the important things we hope for in life and how they could be our personal memorials. Beth Duerr Munro will share her Journey of Faith.

Collection for Cause
Half of May's unpledged cash collection plate donations will go to Community Service of Newburyport, which provides a food pantry, clothing, emergency relief, and referral services for people in need.
Susan Milnor

Members and friends,

With a Ministerial Search Committee slate before you, it seems a good time to let you know the interim minister's role in the search process. What the interim minister does not do is discuss specific candidates for the ministry with the search committee. Selection of a new minister is solely the congregation's role.

But I will be available to your MSC in these ways, as laid out in the UUA's Transitions Handbook: Read more...
Calendar of Events

Wednesday, May 17: Retired Ladies Lunch....Special. Seaglass Restaurant, 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury, noon. We invite Joan Smart's many friends to honor Joan before she moves out of town. Reserve with Peg Mays, 978-462-5025.

Wednesday, May 17: Worship Committee. Conference Room, 5:30pm. This committee invites you to its monthly meeting and welcomes new members. The Worship Committee is responsible for facilitating worship services and for running the services when the minister is not in the pulpit. See the Annual Report for a full description of its goals and duties. Contact: Merryl Maleska Wilbur.

Thursday, May 18: Friendship Table at Salvation Army. 4pm. We're serving lasagna, salad, and dessert at this free community meal. Organizer: Monique Greilich.

Saturday, May 20: FRS Service Project. 8:30am-noon. Help clean up Woodman Park as part of our thank-you to the City of Newburyport. Over 50 people are already signed up. Sign up with Jeff Bard .

Sunday, May 21: Community Human Services. Conference Room, 9:30am. Open to all. Help support programs for local people who are in need of food, shelter, or services.

Sunday, May 21: Annual Meeting of Members. Sanctuary, 11:30am. Read the Warrant and the Annual Report to prepare.

Monday, May 22: Zen Buddhist Meditation. Lower Meeting House, Rooms A&B, 6:30pm. Meets every Monday. First-timers, contact Joyce Haydock  to come early for an introduction.

Tuesday, May 23: Program Council. Lower Meeting House, 7pm. All church leaders and members of groups-in fact, everyone!--are invited to talk about the 2017-18 church year.

Saturday, June 3: "Thank You! Newburyport." 11-5pm. We're offering our best music, tours of the church and steeple, displays of art, kids' activities, and more--all to thank the City for its support of our steeple restoration. Sign up to help at this event by emailing Jay Iannini.

Sunday, June 4: Getting to Know FRS. Sanctuary, 11:45am. Newcomers, bring your questions to an informal conversation with the Rev. Susan Milnor.

Tuesday, June 6: Short Story Group. Lower Meeting House, 12:00-1:00pm. The stories for discussion will be "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid and "The Hitchhiking Game" by Milan Kundera. (Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch.)

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

Dinner for Two Anywhere in the World raffle update
Eighteen days until the raffle pull! We currently have 117 ticket sellers out of about 300 households. Won't you please take a packet of tickets to sell? There are 740 tickets (74 packets) available in the office. They are an easy sell and we need your help. Please turn in any completed packets as soon as possible. Talk it up and post information. Thank you for your participation!--Sarah Spalding , 978-270-6140

Flower arrangement
Make our church bloom on June 3
Order your Church in Bloom arrangements, to decorate the sanctuary windows as part of "Thank You! Newburyport." Deadline for orders is Sunday, May 28. Three arrangements - $20, $35, and $50 - are available. Purchase in memory or in celebration of friends or loved ones. Bring your plant home after as a lasting memory. Donors' names and messages will be on their plants as well as included in the Steeple Biweekly. Order forms are in the Sunday Order of Service and in the church office, and photos of the arrangements are on view in the church.

Declaration of Conscience unprecedented
There's been nothing before quite like it. That is a good summation of how officials of our congregation, and the UU Association of Congregations and the UU Service Committee describe the Declaration of Conscience that we will consider approving as a congregation at the FRS annual meeting, after the service on Sunday, May 21. Read more...

Julie Parker Amery completes spiritual direction program
Julie Parker Amery, our Director of Religious Education, completed the Rowe Certificate Program in Spiritual Guidance and was honored in a commissioning ceremony on May 3. Over the course of the two-year program, she's been engaged in reading, reflection, discussion, and experiential work in various aspects of spiritual guidance: deep listening, spiritual practice, metaphor and imagery, theology, sacred activism, meditation, etc. Read more...

Bake-off winners
Katherine Daignault, Anne Katsas, Sandra Johnson, Marilyn Archibald
Bake-Off winners announced
Winners of the May 7 FRS Bake-Off are Sandra Johnson for her clementine cake, 1st place; Anne Katsas and Katherine Daignault, 2nd place for "Anne and Katherine's Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles," and Marilyn Archibald, 3rd place for her cappuccino silk brownies. The Bake-Off netted over $450 for the B'Link Youth Immigration Justice Trip group. [This editor tried every entry and can attest that they were all superb.]

Thank you for your generosity to B'Link!
Thank you to all the very generous donors who have participated in the B'Link (youth immigration justice trip) envelope fund drive. Find out who our most recent donors are.
Chalice Circles Lite coming this summer
Have you been looking for a summer time activity at FRS? Traditionally our church year comes to a close in late June, but this year if there is enough interest the Chalice Circle program will continue through the summer months. Chalice Circles have become an extremely popular program at FRS. The CC Steering Committee has been listening to your comments and has decided to try a summer session that we've dubbed Chalice Circle Lite. Read more...

Collections for Cause
You donated these amounts for the January-April recipients of our Collection for Cause: Emmaus, Inc., $1,393; Unitarian Universalist Association, $1,896; Our Neighbors Table, $1,172; Pennies for Poverty, $1,459.

Young Church thank-you's
Thank you to all our spring term teachers, guides, and workshop leaders: Anna Fortier, Angela Lawler, Zoe Seese, Susan MacPhee, Joanna Fernandes, Michelle Kimball, Andrea Healy, Catherine Barkley, Marianne Snow, Ann Rose, Pat Skibbee, Elizabeth Silveira, Helia Silveira, Jennifer Rabold, Katie Mead, Christine Doherty, Ann McCrea, Julie Menin, and Nina Tanis.

Old convertible in Cuba
In the Tiny Gallery: Cuba
Visit the Tiny Gallery and step back in time to Cuba. We were lucky enough to visit Cuba in 2016, and we hope that you can see through our photos the uniqueness, creativity and survivalist spirit of the Cuban people. Photo cards are available for a donation in which all proceeds will support B'LINK, our Youth's Immigration Justice trip this June. Thank you and we hope you enjoy our photographs.--Maureen Adams and Lee McLaughlin

Donate items for Syrian refugees
Our Monday morning Chalice Circle is collecting sewing supplies and school supplies for refugee families. Look for a drop-off box in the vestibule and at the YWCA, through the end of May. Donate pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, folders, markers, scissors, rulers, staplers, tape, paper clips; fabric, needles, straight pins, thread, thimbles, yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks. This project is in conjunction with the Syrian Refugee Mission of the North Shore.
Get your questions answered
Do you have a question about our ministerial search process? Here are four simple ways to get your questions answered:
  1. Visit the Ministerial Transition FAQ page. If you don't see your question there, submit a new one via the form on the sidebar.
  2. Email your questions to 
  3. Put your questions in marked suggestion boxes around the buildings.
  4. Ask someone. If you prefer the personal approach or want to engage one of our church leaders in discussion, please approach them on Sundays or during office hours.
Wayside Pulpit with rainbow symbol
A more visible welcome for LGBTQ
We've had a longstanding welcome to LGBTQ people. Now, thanks to Alex Gramling, it's visible to everyone who walks by, as a rainbow on our Wayside Pulpit. Thanks also to those who kept asking for it and those who had ideas about how to do it.

Journey of Faith
Given by Yvonne McQuilkin on April 30.

I'd like to start with a quote that inspired my Journey of Faith:

"Mystery creates wonder, which leads to curiosity, which in turn provides the ground for our desire to understand who we and what we truly are.... So it is best to start at the beginning."

I was born in 1944 during World War II, in Breslau, Germany (now part of Poland), to parents both descended from a long line of landed aristocracy. I was baptized Yvonne Graefin Strahwitz von Gros-Zauche and Camminets, in a family tracing its Catholic roots to a 13th century Saint Hyacinth. All first-born family males were named Hyacinth, but I broke the line by being a girl. Read more...
The deadline for the May 30 Steeple Biweekly is Friday, May 26 at noon.
Send your submissions to Diane Young.
First Religious Society | | 978.465.0602 |