A Newsletter of the First Universalist Society in Franklin,
a Member of the Unitarian Universalist Association
By Reverend Carol Rosine
I have Good News! At their February meeting, our Board of Trustees accepted the Reverend Ann Willever's proposal that she be our Affiliated Community Minister with a focus on Social Justice! Many of us have been wishing for a long time that we could extend our ministry into the larger community in a more effective way and now we'll be able to do just that, with no additional expense to our operating budget. Now that is Really Good News!
Community-based Ministers are those who working as chaplains, pastoral counselors, professors, & UUA staff as well as those engaged insocial justice work. They are strongly encouraged to affiliate with a local congregation in order to provide them with a spiritual home and keep them grounded in Unitarian Universalism. For us it means that our ministry will expand, in small ways, out into the world. In Ann's letter to the Board she wrote:
"Since leaving (the Interim Ministry in) Brattleboro, VT, I've been reflecting on what might come next and have decided that I will not be seeking another interim ministry. Social justice has always been a deep interest and a strong element in my ministries and I am now hoping to be more involved in justice initiatives in the greater Boston area. A few specific issues of concern to me are immigration, violence prevention, mass incarceration and global climate change. UU Mass Action, the UU Urban Ministry and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute are agencies that I have supported in different ways....
I considered approaching a couple of other area congregations to develop this relationship. However, in the end I realized that I felt drawn to return to the congregation that first nurtured and launched me into ministry. To give back some of what has been given to me in terms of support and to share my energy and passion."
Those of you who have recently arrived at FUSF may not know how deep Ann's roots are here at FUSF. She was our Director of Religious Education for seven years before responding to her call to the ministry. After Ann received her M.Div. from Meadville Lombard Theological School and had met the requirements of the UUA's Ministerial Fellowship Committee, our congregation ordained her. A joyous occasion indeed! Ann served the UU church in Concord before returning to FUSF for seven more years where she served as our Family Minister with a focus on Religious Education. Since then she has been serving as an Interim Minister in Providence and Brattleboro.
Ann and Jake Jacobson (her husband) will be away for a while in March and upon their return, we will have an opportunity to affirm this new relationship. Ann will be preaching on May 1st, so mark your calendars now.
There are so many great things happening at church right now!
Bryan Stevenson, described by Desmond Tutu as "America's young Nelson Mandela," founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice that defends those wrongly condemned who are sitting on death row, children serving a sentence of life imprisonment for non-homicidal crimes, and others who couldn't afford legal representation and received unjust sentences. He has written a book, Just Mercy, in which we hear their stories as well as his story of awakening to his own brokenness. He writes, "I guess I'd always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human." *Thomas Merton
Today's musicians are Phil Hall, Jon Kava, Richard Fields, & Jon Weismore.
"How the Spider Had Fish for Dinner"
Rev. Keith Kron
"A Complex & Simple Story of Dedication & Strategies"
Change. We often want everyone to do it but ourselves. But when we face change that's inevitable, how do we do it well? We'll look at this question which will lead to a church conversation afterwards about ministerial transitions. Rev. Kron is the Director of Ministerial Transitions at the UUA.
The choir will sing.
Rev. Carol Rosine
When our meetinghouse was under construction, a rain at this time of year would leave a thick layer of mud, thick enough to swallow boots, thick enough to leave us muttering, and yet something of beauty grew out of that mud. So it is with life. It is out of our stuck times that new life and even joy can emerge.
"It's Love that's at the Center"
Rev. Carol Rosine
In 1803 the Universalist preacher, Hosea Ballou said that Jesus came to save humanity by calling us to our better selves through his teachings and example. That he did not come to be tortured and to die in order to save us from our sins. Instead of a crucifix or the empty cross at the center of our faith, we UUs place an ever-expanding heart. A sermon for Easter Sunday.
Today's musicians will be Michele Kelly and Matt Zajak.
On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus went to the garden to pray. He asked his disciples to sit vigil with him, but instead they abandoned him. We, too, may have had times when we felt abandoned, left alone in our suffering and grief. On this night we remember Jesus and light candles for our own times of grief.
If someone asked you to describe "religious education," what are the first things that come to mind? Do terms like teacher, classes, or formal instruction come up? You might describe children and youth playing games or doing crafts in order to learn the language of their faith, separated out from the adults in worship. These answers aren't wrong, but they are certainly only a small portion of what religious education is and can be for a multigenerational Unitarian Universalist community.
In my recent training module on the Philosophy of Religious Education (RE), I came away with an expanded definition of What RE is, and thus, Who participates in it. We explored Where, When, Why and How we do RE.
Whether we call it religious exploration, spiritual development, or faith formation, it is a lifelong process. RE is the development of the core being of a person, the part which perceives the world and relates to others; the soul. This process can happen organically through day to day life, but risks being tainted by corrupt systems and damaging attitudes. Fortunately there are UU's congregations and formal RE programs like ours. These exist because we seek community, people with which to share our questioning journey and find affirmation of those core ideas about life and meaning.
Our UU faith is education in that we are all seeking, not definite answers, per se, but understanding, so that life can make sense especially in the most difficult of times.
So with that as the What and Why, we could begin to imagine the myriad of answers to "When does the soul unfold to become more fully itself, and How and Where... "
When a child makes a new adult friend at church,
When we welcome a baby or child into our congregation with a dedication ceremony,
When you listen to the wind blustering at night and feel grateful for your house,
When a stranger pays for your cup of coffee,
When a teenager gives up his seat in musical chairs so the three-year-old next to him can stay in the game,
When we forgive each other,
When we try new ways of being together in community,
When we stand up for environmental and social justice issues, even if they are not popular,
When you join in the spring yard clean-up outside our meeting house...
There are so many ways, within church and beyond, that all of us can grow our spirits. Our congregation is about to enter a momentous period of transition. I hope you will actively engage in this process of personal reflection, defining what FUSF means to you and your spiritual life, and what you wish to see it become in the future. Our RE program might want to evolve to reflect a lifespan view of faith formation, and if you have input, ideas or visions, I would love to hear them! (Hint: Think about joining the RE Committee)
SPRING TERM of our "Justice Year"
Our winter term wrapped up last Sunday with some beautiful labyrinth meditations, and more thoughtful discussions on stereotyping of Native Americans and how to approach this as a justice issue. (Stay tuned for the letter-writing) Many thanks to Donna Morin for all her work in planning and leading this class, and to all the adults and youth who led while learning a lot themselves.
March 6th: Classes
March 13th: Classes
March 20th: Mixed-age activity for Spring Equinox
March 27th: Mixed-age activity for Easter
Children will begin in the sanctuary unless otherwise noted.
In February's newsletter Jim Hill, Chair of the Congregational Relations Committee (CRC) wrote about the work the committee including Sue Dubinsky, Ed Geiger, Jim Kennedy, Pat Morse, and Gail Chirdonhad done around drafting a right relations covenant. He talked about the importance of covenant as a set of sacred promises that we make to one another for how we will be together in community and faith.
The UUA says, "Covenant is the silk that joins Unitarian Universalist congregations, communities, and individuals together in a web of interconnection." You are invited to help weave the web of our wonderful FUSF community by participating in a covenant-writing workshop on Sunday April 3. On this Sunday, Carol will deliver a sermon on Covenant and after service we will hold a congregation workshop to draft our covenant. The workshop will be led by a UUA consultant along with Carol and the Congregational Relations Committee. Please sign up to attend by registering on this form http://goHYPERLINK "http://goo.gl/forms/KXMuHYcIhx"
We will vote on the final covenant at our annual meeting in June.
Also, please plan to make the March 13 conversation with Keith Kron, the UUA Transitions Director on the topic of Transition Ministry. I hope everyone will participate in this important meeting.
Peace and Love as we travel this journey together,
Over the last several months, we have had 6 successful Circle Dinners! Now it is time for Round 2! What is a Circle Dinner? It is a small, informal, social gathering of 6-8 people-sort of like a small-sized potluck. A few people volunteer to host, then choose a date and provide the main dish of a meal, and then the other guests bring appetizers, side dishes, salad, bread, dessert, and what-have-you. Sound like fun? ? Let Laura Cerier know (
If you have already participated in a Circle Dinner and want to have another round with your original group, by all means go right ahead! You do not have to involve me at all! (But I'd like to know about it!)
If you have already participated in a Circle Dinner and want to be grouped in a new Circle, please sign up again.
Both new people and long-term members welcome! Circle Dinners are a great way to meet new people! Folks who have been around for a while can have an opportunity to meet new folks, and new people can meet other new folks as well as people who can show them the ropes. Join us!
In the fall of 1989, I was a first-time mom and also, suddenly, a full-time resident of the town of Franklin, which up until then was someplace I just came home to sleep after working in Boston. My husband was at work all day. My memories are of sitting by the window in the evening with the baby in my arms, watching for the headlights in the driveway. I joked about being "the prisoner of Franklin."
Um, I was a hot mess, and not at all sure about my new status.
Meanwhile, the relatives were asking about whether we were going to baptize this child, or give her some form of spiritual legitimacy, as it were. As the child of a Catholic mom and a Jewish dad from a Muslim country, I was not interested in signing up for a monolithic God experience. I had, however, heard about Unitarians, and in the spirit of keeping peace in our families, I agreed to make a phone call to this Reverend Carol Rosine person.
"I'm a Frisbyterian," I said. "I believe that when you die your soul goes up on the roof and you can't get it down." (This was my test. If she laughed, I was going to talk with her for real.)
Carol laughed. She did better than that. She came over to my house and sat on the couch with me and baby Rachel. Lord, I was dying for somebody to talk to. The following Sunday, I sidled into Marvin Chapel and sat behind Glenn Walker. I remember this because, among other things, something sad was discussed when candles were lit on that Sunday, and I noticed Glenn was listening with tears in his eyes. I was frankly amazed at the idea of candles-first of all, that people could speak so intimately about their lives, and be confident that they would be heard... and second, that this tall, lanky guy did not try to hide his emotional response.
Glenn was one of the first people I ever sang with at FUSF. At that time, my guitar was hiding in a closet in my house, and I hadn't played it for many years. True to form, Carol somehow found out that I had once been a musician of sorts. Not so long afterwards, I showed up for a choir rehearsal. Not so long afterwards, I got my guitar out again. And not so long afterwards, I agreed to sit on the FUSF board as the clerk.
In the meantime... I gained a home town. I found friends who could answer some of my parenting questions. I found a place I could go to on Sundays and just sit and be quiet for an hour, and think about things. As the years went by, FUSF uplifted my soul, and sometimes broke my heart. I found people to love, and to lose. When I became president a few years ago, one of the things that pleased me the most was that I saw myself as part of a continuum of stewards and caretakers of a community that has existed for 160 years. I am part of its history now, and this church is so very much a part of my own history as well.
I want to remind everyone who has followed the plight of those Catholic parishioners at that church in Scituate-the one that has been closed down by the Mother Church. They, too, thought of that church as theirs. The difference is that in our case, we are the only people who decide whether our church stands or falls. Our joy is that we truly own this spiritual home, and no one but us can take it away from us.
That's why a little skin in the game is important. The more you put in, the more you are going to get out. Money isn't just a way to keep FUSF alive-it's a way to guarantee that all of us care what happens here in our home, our building, our community.
As Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Our thoughts have been with Louise Johnson who is recovering at home from surgery in which her second knee was replaced.
Congratulations to Jenny Fellows and Michael Yang on the birth of Jameson Michael Yang who weighed in at 9 lbs. 13 oz. Congratulations also to his grandmother, Sandy Fellows, & big brother, Cameron.
We are pleased to report that Paris Arffa has recovered enough from surgery to return to school.
Congratulations to Patrick Smith and Michele Moore who have announced their engagement and intent to be married in our meetinghouse this summer. Michele and Patrick are our most recent FUSF members.
Elizabeth Randall's recovery from a shattered knee cap is progressing at a snail's pace. She will need lots of TLC for a while yet.
The What's Next group will meet at 7:15 PM on Tuesday, March 1 in the Cook Room. The group discusses various types of transitions as driven by the members of the group. The special topic for this month is an overview of Social Security, presented by Ken Silva. The members will also check in on transition activities or plans they have been involved in. Future meetings will also be held on the first Tuesday of each month in the Cook Room.
LET'S LAUGH TODAY in Franklin is on Wednesday, March 2nd
Let's Laugh Today in Franklin has now moved to the first Wednesday of each month (except the one in April will be on the second Wednesday). Let's experience the health benefits of joyful laughter on Wednesday, March 2nd from 7:30pm to 8:30pm in the Sanctuary! Laughter Yoga is a unique and playful practice that does not rely on humor, jokes or comedy. It will have you smiling frequently and laughing heartily. Any age and any level of physical ability can participate in this uplifting experience! New laughers are always welcomed! $5 suggested donation to the church, $10 maximum per family. Please bring your water bottle because laughing is dehydrating. Led by Certified Laughter Yoga Teachers, Linda and Bill Hamaker. If you have any questions, just call them at 508-660-2223 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in an entire weekend of laughing, networking, learning, and inspiration on March 12th and 13th? See www.letslaughtoday.com.
Home Made meeting
March 3rd at 6pm, and also the first Thursday of every month.
Trivia Night----March 20th
Please join us for our final Trivia Night for this church season on Sunday, March 20, from 5-7 pm at Mickey Cassidy's on route 109 in Medway, MA. Here is a little Q and A about the event:
What is it? A fun way to get to know other folks from church.
Do I need a team to play? You can either come with friends to form a team, or come alone and join others who are already there.
Is there a charge? It is $10 per person to play, but the money goes to the operating budget of the church.
Is there food there? Yes, you can order from Mickey Cassidy's menu and have your dinner while playing Trivia. No pressure, though. You are not obligated to buy anything.
Is there a prize? Just the glory of winning
But I've never played Trivia before! Don't worry, we are all having fun. Someone on your team is bound to know something!
I still have questions. Call Katie Nunes (508-254-7918) or email her at email@example.com
FUSF Music Service
The FUSF Music Service will take place at 10:00 AM on Sunday, April 17, 2016. This year we will explore, through song and the spoken word, the topic of Relationships. The Music Service is an annual intergenerational Service presented to the congregation by the members of Critical Mass, a group of FUSF musicians. We are Bill Atamian, Kyre Cahoon, Alec Danz, Michele Kelly, Linda Plukas, Mark Plukas, Stacey Robinson, Ed Szymanski, and Jon Weismoore. We have been working very hard putting together this year's Service, and look forward to seeing you in the Sanctuary on the 17th.
Annual FUSF Retreat in Saco, ME - May 13 to May 15, 2016
Our Ferry Beach retreat weekend will be here soon! All FUSF members & non-members are invited (and encouraged) to attend the annual FUSF Ferry Beach retreat in Saco Maine. The retreat is a time to have a weekend away in a safe summer camp setting, right on the beach with others in the FUSF community.
Registration will be held after services on April 10th and if needed April 24th. The cost this year: Adults 22 and over $145; Young Adults 18-21 $100; Teens 13-17 $90; Children 5-12 $65; and Children under 5 are free. This includes 5 meals, 2 nights at beautiful Ferry Beach and many activities!
For more information please contact your Ferry Beach Coordinators, Pam & Maddy Rivera-Bellino at Pambellino@aol.com
Mark Your Calendars!
Join FUSF at the 2016 Boston Pride Parade!
Saturday June 11th, 12-4
For many years FUSF sent a strong contingency to the Boston Pride Parade, except for 2015.
Let's make this the largest group yet!
People usually meet to take a train in together. Some like to attend the service at the UU Arlington Street Church at 11 AM.
More info to come or google Boston Pride Parade 2016.
Pledge collections are running behind. If possible, please try to catch up.If you need to adjust
your pledge amount or can not make any payments, please contact me. Our budget needs to be
Our February plate giveaway for Ecclesia Ministries raised $564.
Joyce Adams, Treasurer
Plate Offering For March:
March's plate giveaway will go to OUT MetroWest, an organization whose mission is to support the health and emotional well-being of GLBTQ teens in our area by offering youth-led and adult-supported social and educational programs.
OUT MetroWest supports WAGLY, a group for high-school youth; Umbrella, a group that ministers to transgender and gender-nonconforming youth; and Nexus, the first-in-the-state program for middle-school youth who want to discuss questions of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We'll be hearing a lot more about some of these issues when our own senior youth bring them to us later this spring, in their annual church service.
OUT MetroWest's website is at outmetrowest.org, and they are a 501(c)3 organization.
Jim and Rebecca Kennedy, Home Grown and the Hospitality Committee for the Mardi Gras Celebration.
Mark Plukas and
Chris Sternadore for repairing the exterior lights.
For the Membership Directory, thank you to
Laura Cerier for organizing,
Rosemary Taylor, for picture taking;
Dave Garrett and
Sandy Garrett for putting the directory together;
Ari Alpert for extracting our database.
Administrator: Mon 8-1, Tues, Thurs, Fri 8-2 Director of Religious Education: Tues and Thurs 10-2 and by appointment. Senior Minister: Carol is available for appointments Tuesday through Friday. Monday is her day off and Saturday is her sermon writing day. Please limit routine calls to her home from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. In case of emergency she is available any time.