A Newsletter of the First Universalist Society in Franklin,
a Member of the Unitarian Universalist Association
By Reverend Carol Rosine
Thomas Lynch begins his book, The Undertaking, with these words, "Every year I bury a couple hundred of my townspeople." He is the only funeral director in a small Michigan town and shares what it is like to be in relationship with fellow townspeople, knowing that at some point he will be the one to prepare their bodies for burial or cremation. He has the observant eye of the poet and says this about "the reverend clergy who have come to the enlightenment that, better than baptisms or marriages, funerals press the noses of the faithful against the windows of their faith.... I count among the great blessings of my calling that I have known men and women of such bold faith, such powerful witness, that they stand upright between the dead and the living and say, 'Behold I tell you a mystery...'"
When I was new to the ministry and falling in love with the elders in our congregation, I decided that I would have to leave Franklin before any of them died because I couldn't imagine "standing upright between the dead & the living" as I officiated at their funerals. And yet I stayed and one by one they died followed by a steady stream of others I have loved. Sometimes I have felt the weight of grief so heavy that I've thought I could not bear one more.
Ministry is such a tricky thing. We are among you as religious professionals educated in how to provide pastoral care, deliver intellectually solid but spiritually moving sermons, and understand how committees & boards function and systems operate. We are teachers, preachers, counselors, advisors, scholars, politicians, spiritual leaders, and social activists. As we fill all of these roles, we develop relationships with our parishioners in a way that professionals in other fields don't. You don't invite your doctor, attorney, or therapist to your home for dinner in the way you might invite your minister. And so our relationships start getting blurry. Am I your friend or am I just your friendly minister?
Early in my ministry it was easier to keep appropriate boundaries in place. But then life started to happen to me and I found that during my own tough times many of you were ministering to me. Some of you helped me pack up and move from one rental to another and then another and then another, wondering, I know, how I could have accumulated so much stuff. Paula and Jack welcomed me into their home and took care of me for weeks as I recuperated from my first knee replacement. Claire spent the night with me when I returned home after a spinal fusion. Many of you brought meals and provided rides and didn't turn away when tears started to flow. Those boundaries between minister and parishioner faded away with so many of you.
Now as I get ready to leave you, I know that there is some confusion about what our relationship is going to be as we move forward. I think that you are all aware that I will not be attending worship or any FUSF events or programs for the foreseeable future. Neither will I be available to officiate at weddings or funerals or child dedications. Your new minister needs to find his or her place within the congregation without my hanging around. My footprints are pretty big in our meetinghouse without my physical presence to deal with as well.
It is the socializing after my retirement that's confusing. I will continue living in Franklin and my daughter, Kathleen, and her family will continue being active at FUSF, so socializing is not as clear-cut as if I were moving cross-country. During the period of transition, as you are working with the Interim Minister and welcoming your new settled minister, it will be best if we not socialize. This doesn't mean that if you see me at the end of the grocery aisle you have to hide. We can still chat and check in with each other. But invitations to dinners or parties or movies, I will not be accepting until your new ministers are well-established. I need the space to figure out what retirement is going to bring, just as you need the space to grow into your next stage as a congregation. Your new ministers and I will be developing covenants of understanding in which we will be clear about any future role I may have at FUSF.
My last Sunday will be on June 12th and I will then take off for General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio. I will continue to be on call through the month of July, until your new minister is in place. So between now and then, if you'd like to talk (or invite me out for lunch!) please give me a call.
Unitarian Universalist minister Richard S. Gilbert writes, "I rise in the morning torn between the desire to save the world or to savor it, to serve life or to enjoy it..." Over the years FUSF has been engaged in many different social justice initiatives. This morning the Rev. Ann Willever will preach about what role a Community Minister might play in supporting congregational steps toward justice. The Universal Singers will provide special music and Phil will be our pianist.
"Is this Heaven?"
Rev. Carol Rosine
On this Sunday, Brent Selby (cello) and Patrick Callahan will provide special music and Phil Hall will be our pianist.
Ferry Beach Retreat in Saco, Maine
Rev. Carol will be leading worship in the Grove at Ferry Beach
Please note that there will be
No Worship or Religious Education at our Meetinghouse
Rev. Carol Rosine
On this Sunday we welcome Emma Newton who will be joining the pianist rotation with Michele Kelly and Phil Hall. Emma is a Junior at Franklin High School. Richard Fields & Company will provide special music.
Rev. Carol Rosine
Musical treats this Sunday as William Cerier plays his trumpet, Dan Feerick plays his guitar, and Michele Kelly will be at the piano.
Imagine you are standing in the middle of the RE hallway on a recent Sunday morning. You would witness magic happening in every direction. The nursery might have a toddler pounding playdough with Felicia, allowing the parents to enjoy some much-needed tranquility in the sanctuary.
Next door in Spirit Play, some preschoolers are entranced as Claire slowly and deliberately takes the handcrafted pieces from the story basket, laying them on a golden-yellow circle.
Across the hallway, an energetic group of 1-3rd graders enjoy seeing their guests' beautiful wedding pictures, and learning how Unitarian Universalists played a big part in the fight for marriage equality.
Look out the door; the 4-6th graders are on the grass testing whether Cathy's rubber duckies will go down a water shoot. They are reflecting on the power of water to be flexible, yet strong enough to create great change.
Bouncing gently on the Cook Room couches, some 7-8th graders share what they know, and what they would like to learn, about Islam and Sikhism in anticipation of their upcoming visits to a mosque and an ashram.
Now imagine yourself being a part of this magic, of planning with your co-teacher to make that brief golden hour on Sunday morning one that will resonate for years in the formation of a child's faith. Picture getting to build a special bond with the children and youth of our congregation. There is nothing like being appreciated by a child.
In his book The Courage to Teach, author Parker Palmer writes about creating a community of learning, of gathering together around that "Great Thing" you wish to examine with your students. This is so accurate to the goal of UU religious education in our multigenerational community. Some people may feel intimidated when asked to teach RE, especially if they have never taught anything before. But the most important part of teaching is being a caring presence, and making space for questions. In our RE program we create an environment where every child is valued and welcomed, and where hopefully every teacher feels appreciated for their gifts.
If you are interested in becoming more involved in the shaping of FUSF's RE experiences, you are welcome to join in for our Visioning Retreat. This will be a workshop of "focused fun" aimed at creating a Vision Statement to guide our work for the next two years.
Coming up in RE:
Meeting for Coming of Age participants and families
RE Visioning Retreat, 12-2pm, Cook Room
5/8Mixed-age Activity for Mothers' Day
5/29Memorial Day- All age activity
6/5Last day of RE/ Bridging service
*TBD This month we plan to have an informational gathering on the two OWL classes (for grades 7-9 and 5-6) being offered next year. Watch your email!
"Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation."Rumi
We end this year by saying goodbye to our Reverend Carol, celebrating her years of ministry to FUSF and facing new beginnings. It is so hard to say goodbye. How do we do it? One way is by resolving ourselves to maintain Carol's legacy. We must move forward in a positive way so that we continue to grow and thrive for today and future generations.
How do we do that? How do we plot our next course?
On August 1, we will have a new Interim Minister. Together with this new Minister we will move forward with our shared vision.
What will this new minister be like?
First, our Interim Minister will not be Carol. This minister will be different. This minister may be a male or may be female. This minister will have a different preaching style and will focus on different aspects of FUSF. Perhaps shockingly, this minister may not fit the picture we have of the "ideal" minister. After nearly three decades with a most beloved minister, this interim will have a high bar to meet.
So how do we prepare for this new presence in the pulpit? The first way may be to examine our personal expectations and discard those that might get in the way of honest engagement with the Interim. We must be open to and embrace change. That way, together we can articulate a vision for our future; how we want to be together, how we want to grow and continue Carol's wonderful legacy.
Let each of us do what we do best. Let each of us spend our time and energy on what we are most passionate about. Let's step up, engage and be involved. This is our community. Together we are FUSF. Instead of looking back let's look forward to an emerging vision of this wonderful community. That vision and a shared ministry will continue to inspire us as we move forward.
Peace and Love as we travel this journey together,
About 4 or 5 years ago I had 3 unplanned casual conversations with 3 different people on 3 different occasions, about a missing piece in my spiritual life. They each suggested to me that I might want to, "check out the UU church in Franklin." I've learned over time that when something is presented to me in 3's, I need to pay attention. So I eventually made my way here one Sunday to see what it was that nudging voice, inside and out, was trying to tell me.
I'm not someone who jumps in with both feet...I kind of dip my toes in the water and take it slow. So I came and went, came and went, and came and went. But there was something about the sermons, and the service, and the music, that made me sit up and listen and want to come back and listen some more.
But while waiting to hear about the fire and brimstone, the guilt and damnation, the judgment, the "thou shalt nots", I heard instead about a love that comes from respect and acceptance... I heard about the connection of every living being and creature, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral, making this quote from John Muir become ever more real for me :
"When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe" ....
And I heard about traveling through that universe in "a blue boat" (one of my favorites hymns).
Slowly over the next few years, I found myself baking cakes for coffee house, attending concerts on town commons where people from FUSF were playing in rock bands, helping at the community supper in Milford, raking leaves in the fall, shoveling snow in the winter, doing spring cleanup, walking the labyrinth on New Year's Eve, manning the 4th of July booth on the Franklin Common, driving members to appointments, cooking and delivering supper for the Meal Train, being a greeter, washing dishes, cleaning the church when everyone had take a turn each week, setting up for things, taking down and cleaning up after things, going to Trivia, attending the Passover Supper and the Thanksgiving pot luck, golfing in the UU tournament, walking in the Pride Parade, feasting at Bella Noche, attending Carol's seminars, the Pathways to Peace Sangha, and Elder Support Group. And retreating at Ferry Beach.
I mention this partial list of opportunities we all have to be involved to highlight to you where I saw spirituality and sacredness.... each and every time in every person either participating or facilitating....commitment, dedication, and responsibility.....love and care expressed through action, shown to all involved and to this building and its grounds.
And whether or not you've ever lit a candle for joy or sorrow, you may have sensed the spirituality and sacredness I believe comes from that sharing and from the support that follows from this community by word, by touch, by cards or e-mails.
The missing piece in my spiritual life was found in a place like this - where what is spoken about, and sung about, and preached about in a Sunday service, is actually lived out on all the other days of the week. Where over these last few years I've seen the tragedies and far-reaching heartaches of several of us, become the reason for a deeper connection between all of us.
I'd like to thank my 3 messengers: Karen Grant, Susan Dubinsky, and Pam McIntyre. And also Carol, for coaxing and encouraging me along the way. I mentioned that the sermons were initially what kept me coming back when I first attended. They touched me, resonated with me, gave me pause. I know I will be going through a bit of a withdrawal as Carol's sermons become a whisper... but the seeds that she planted with those sermons since long before me, have taken root in this congregation and will continue to feed what makes FUSF a place that maybe you can say to someone else someday, "You should check out the UU Church in Franklin."
Blessed Be. Sandy Fellows
Seeking New Graduates If you have recently earned a degree or completed a course of study,
please let the office know so that we can acknowledge your
accomplishment in our order of service during our annual Graduation
Service on June 5th.
Boston Pride Parade sign-up
Join the FUSF team as we proudly display our banner at the 2016 Boston Pride Parade, Saturday June 11th, 12 pm, from Boylston St. to City Hall Plaza. Too much fun to miss 2 years in a row! Sign-up on the side table. For more info contact Claire Mallette at
Drum Circle - May 12 in the Sanctuary from 7 - 8:30 PM
Jon Weismoore and Richard Fields will facilitate and provide a supportive atmosphere. All are welcome, regardless of ability, and this includes children. If you have a drum, bring it; if not, come anyway - we have extra drums, and sharing is part of the experience. We also encourage your bringing other instruments, such as shakers, flutes and other soft-sounding "instruments". Voice and dance also go hand-in-hand with these rhythms. And, of course, tell your friends!
LET'S LAUGH TODAY in Franklin is on Wednesday, May 4th ! Experience the health benefits of joyful laughter on Wednesday, May 4th (and every first Wednesday of the month) 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. Laughter Yoga 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 can be 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. See more information and other opportunities to laugh at www.letslaughtoday.com
Circle of Friends Coffeehouse, Franklin, MA
DALA with The Young Novelists May 7th, $20 Photo credit: Jake Jacobson
Canadian duo DALA returns to the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse on Saturday, May 7th at 8PM. Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine of DALA have come a long way in a short time. The two best friends, who met in their high school music class and wrote their first song together in 2002, have since become darlings of the Canadian music scene and are now poised to bring their fresh brand of acoustic pop music to the world. DALA has become one of the hottest selling acts in the folk-pop world, selling out concerts wherever they are booked. They won the coveted Canadian Folk Music Award for "Best Vocal Group", were nominated for a Juno, Canada's Grammy, and they were featured in a PBS special "Girls from the North Country".
According to Exclaim they are "...the angels of folk music. Ethereal, eloquent and downright beautiful, the music they create is faultlessly performed." Drawing upon influences like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Dala write songs that are both catchy and insightful. Amanda's ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Sheila's velvety alto, creating the lush harmonies that have become their trademark. The sheer joy with which they perform is infectious, turning first-time listeners into instant fans.
Toronto based roots duo The Young Novelists have had a busy year. Husband and wife duo Graydon James and Laura Spink are known for their beautiful harmonies and songs culled from their small-town roots. They won the 2015 Grassy Hill Songwriting Competition at the Connecticut Folk Festival and the band recently returned from Edmonton where they won the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist of the Year.
Jim Kweskin and Samoa Wilson May 14th, $25
Folk icon Jim Kweskin will appear at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse on Saturday, May 14th, at 8PM. Jim Kweskin was the founder of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, the legendary group that started in Boston in the 1960s and played Club 47. With Fritz Richmond, Geoff and Maria Muldaur, Bob Siggins and Bruno Wolfe the jugband successfully modernized the sounds of pre-World War II rural music. On National Public Radio's Fresh Air, rock historian Ed Ward listed, among the most important bands of the early 60's, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Byrds, "and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band." Ward added: "I'm not kidding." They toured America, headlining concerts with artists like Janis Joplin, Peter Paul & Mary, Linda Ronstadt and The Doors as opening acts. They appeared often on national television and were, by some accounts, "the coolest band of a cool decade."
Jim Kweskin is probably best known as a singer and bandleader, but he also created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Blind Boy Fuller to the more complex chords of pop and jazz. He has maintained a remarkably consistent musical vision since his jug band days, continuing to explore traditional folk and blues with the sophisticated sensibility of a jazz musician and jazz with the communal simplicity of a folk artist.
Jim continues to perform his vast repertoire of folk, blues, swing, jug band and early standards with his own brand of infectious personal interpretations. His guitar finger picking of songs like Some of These Days and Exactly Like You is recognized by his peers and fans as some of the best there is. His selection of songs is vividly evocative of his many diverse influences such as Louis Jordan, Clancy Hayes, Fats Wallter, Milton Brown, Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby and Pete Seeger.
The Circle of Friends Coffeehouse is a non-profit organization affiliated with Franklin's First Universalist Society. Concerts are presented in a smoke free and alcohol free environment at the Society's handicapped accessible Meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St. in Franklin, and begin at 8:00 PM; doors open at 7:30 PM. Beverages and gourmet desserts will be available. Please call (508)528-2541 or visit
http://www.circlefolk.org/ to purchase tickets or for more information.
A warm welcome to Esai Guy Weismoore who was born on April 20th and weighed in at 8 lb 8 oz. Big brother, Christopher, and his parents, Julie and Jon, are all doing well.
The sympathy of the congregation is with Pam and Maddie Rivera-Bellino as the mourn the death of Pam's mother, Joyce, on April 10th. Joyce Bellino had been in declining health for a long time.
Our sympathy is also with the Sutherland family as they mourn the unexpected death of Michael's sister, Brenda on April 20th.
Alec Danz is recuperating at home following a recent shoulder replacement.
Gail Chirdon is also recuperating following surgery on her hand.
First Universalist Society in Franklin
INTEREST & DIVIDENDS
CARRYOVER FROM PREVIOUS YEAR
INCOME MINUS EXPENSES:
Our March plate giveaway for UU Rise raised $412.
It's time to get caught up on your current pledge. Our fiscal year ends on 6/30/2016
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.