March 6-19, 2018
Collage of women's faces
March 11 – She Persisted Family Service Rev. Susan Milnor and Julie Parker-Amery. March is Women’s History Month and the perfect time to take note of stories that usually remains invisible. The story of a remarkable woman with a very global perspective buried in the history of First Religious Society – plus a story written by her – give us the chance to lift up a piece of the whole.

March 18 – Remaking the Future Rev. Susan Milnor. Now is the time to reflect on an important topic that has come up during the interim: how congregants can connect enough to create that special relationship most want to feel with their religious community. What do we need more of? Committees? Social events? Spiritual depth? Most of all, how can you think about this with open minds and hearts as you approach meeting with the ministerial candidate for FRS just several weeks from now? Some reflections from what I’ve learned about you in this interim period.
March 25 – On the Possibility of Interfaith Dialogue Rabbi Benjamin Resnick. From the perspective of world religious history, “interfaith dialogue,” as we currently understand it, is a relatively recent phenomenon. In this sermon, Rabbi Resnick will examine some of the assumptions that undergird ecumenical conversation, paying special attention to Jewish-Christian dynamics. He will explore not only the potential value of the ecumenical encounter, but also, on a very basic level, he will ask whether or not interfaith dialogue is possible given imbalances of power. Read more...

Collection for a Cause
Half of March’s collection will go to Our Neighbor’s Table, providing food assistance to individuals and families.

POSTPONED: A Conversation on the Traumatic Effect of Racism. Speaker: Doug Lomax from the Roxbury Presbyterian Church. Originally scheduled for March 7. New date to be announced.

Wednesday, March 7: Jazz Vespers. Sanctuary, 8-8:45pm. Featuring reader Brent Mitchell and saxophonist Danny Harrington. Danny joins the house band of Lark Madden, Tomas Havrda, Susan Creamer and Michael Gruen. Jazz Vespers celebrates the inspiration of Jazz, Blues and Pop music, and includes readings and time for reflection.

Thursday, March 8: Visiting Stewards Orientation. Lower Meeting House, 7pm.

Sunday, March 11: Daylight Savings Time begins. Set your clocks one hour ahead.

Sunday, March 11: Soup Sunday. Parish Hall, 11:30-12:30. Suggested donation $5. Help is welcome and needed. Simply come early or stay late to set up or clean up.

Sunday, March 11: Corruption of Our Democracy Discussion.  Upper Parish Hall, 12-1pm. What can we, as members of FRS, do to protect our democracy from the damage caused by corporate personhood and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision? Join us for a short review of the ideas covered in the Saving Our Democracy Program last month and share your ideas about what actions we can take as a congregation.

Wednesday, March 14: Alliance presents A Haiku Workshop. Lower Meeting House. Business meeting begins at noon. Susan Ricker will give us more information about the Combined Campaign for FRS. At 1pm, guest speakers Tom Stites and Ann McCrea will present their Haiku Workshop. All are welcome. Read more...

Thursday, March 15: Planning a Memorial Service. Lower Meeting House A&B, 10:30am. Leave a gift to your family and friends: clear information about how you would like your life honored after your death. Learn what goes into planning a memorial service. File information about your own wishes for the next minister. Even if you’re not ready to plan for yourself, the session can be helpful when it comes to other family members. Facilitator: Rev. Susan Milnor.

Sunday, March 18: African Art Event. Lower Meeting House, 12:30-4pm. Featuring African food--ginger juice, African donuts, sweet potato stew. Bring your children to watch videos made by Kenyan students, one dramatization of family life, students talking and testimonies of teachers. A drumming circle starts at 3pm.

Tuesday, March 20: Short Story Group. Discuss “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates. Lower Meeting House, 12-1 pm. This group meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Attendees are invited to bring a lunch if they wish.

Sunday, March 25: Wilson Series Concert: Concerto Incognito. Sanctuary, 4pm. Concerto Incognito will perform rarely heard 17th century works by some of the earliest masters of the violin accompanied by harpsichord or organ and viola da gamba. The program will include contemporaneous works for solo harpsichord as well as works for solo voice with harpsichord.

Wednesday, April 4: Come Learn about Alternatives to Violence. Lower Meeting House, 7pm. As part of our Justice Action Ministry’s First Wednesdays, the Alternatives to Violence (AVP) Project will share their work. The Alternatives to Violence project conducts programs for community groups and for those in prison, helping inmates learn new skills and attitudes that lead to fulfilling and crime-free lives. Read more...

Sunday, April 8: Celebrating Ourselves as We Age. Lower Meeting House, 2-4pm. Women of all ages are invited to participate in a Croning Ceremony, a revival of an ancient ritual to honor women who are entering older age. At this intergenerational event, participants will be invited to share stories about their lives, and to celebrate the wisdom, resilience and leadership of older women. Read more...

Friday, April 13 & Saturday April 14: LAST Rummage Sale. Parish Hall, Friday 6-7:30, Saturday 9-11:30. Clothes and accessories only. Bring donations to the church vestibule starting Monday, April 9. Volunteers needed. Contact Anne Verret-Speck or Florence Mercer.

Sunday, April 29-May 6: Ministerial Candidating Week. Save the dates! Candidating week is bearing down on us (pending confirmation by candidate), and there’s no more important time to come to church. This is the week when the person our Search Committee selects as the candidate for FRS’s next settled ministry comes to Newburyport so we can get to know them. Formal and informal time together during the week culminates with a May 6 vote by FRS members on whether to call the candidate.
Community pulls rope of steeple bell
Pulling Together for FRS: the campaign is under way!
Opening Sunday, March 4, greeted us with an inspiring experience of why FRS matters, and good news on the campaign:
Personal campaign visits are rewarding both visitors and the visited alike with heartfelt experiences of personal connection.
In response to the visit experience, and in hopes for a strong foundation to the first year of a new ministry, many annual pledges are increasing generously.
From early returns to the Next Century Campaign, nearly half the goal of $1,100,000 has been raised, including a generous lead gift of $100,000 by the Hale Foundation.

We’ve met our pre-candidates. What’s next?
The Search Committee has met our pre-candidates and heard them preach. Now the hard part begins. For the next three weeks, we will be comparing notes, re-reading Ministerial Records and references, listening once again to their sermons online, and thinking carefully about which of our pre-candidates will be the best fit for our congregation. On March 26 we will send the name of our preferred candidate to the UUA. Read more...

Racial justice work to continue
Our Waking Up White common read proved to be a great success. Sixty-six people—more than 15 percent of our membership—plunked down the money to buy the book, took the time to read at least part of it, took more time to take part in at least one of the three discussion groups, or otherwise expressed interest in taking part. Read more...
Wildlife art notecard
In the Tiny Gallery: Colors of Africa
An African roadside is a celebration of color. The rust-colored dirt, and women wrapped in bright fabrics around their hips, their heads and their infants. The Tiny Gallery is again hosting the Small Solutions Big Ideas colorful prints from Kenyan and Ugandan youth, picturing wildlife drawing and photos of people in their courtyards, schools and roadsides. The proceeds from purchases of these art pieces and wildlife art cards go to the children themselves and their needs. Read more...
Circle Dinners – Dinners at Home
Save the date – Saturday, April 28. Circle Dinners are a wonderful way for all of the adults in our community to gather in small informal groups in the homes of other members of the church. New members and adults new to the community are particularly welcome to this strictly social event! Read more...
Rev. John M. Lowell
Talk on The Lowells of Massachusetts
The Museum of Old Newbury presents  The Lowells of Massachusetts with author Nina Sankovitch on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 2pm in the sanctuary. Sankovitch’s book offers an epic and compelling biography of one of America's preeminent families, including the first minister of our church.

This rich tapestry of generations begins with Percival Lowle, who was among Newbury's 17th century settlers, and ending with 20th century poet Amy Lowell. Read more...
Volunteer opportunity Small Solutions Thrift Store Africa Charity Project
If you like clothing and fashion this job is for you. Small Solutions Big Ideas Thrift store has been gifted with some high quality, very fashionable clothing and items in good condition. The store managers, Edo Kombana and Lilliane Mandungu, aren't familiar with pricing or promotion of many of the store items. Someone with expertise once a week, or just help at the desk from 12-2pm during the week would make a big difference. Contact Lilliane at 978-876-4360 or stop by the store at 190 State Street in the newly constructed building next to Minuteman Press.
Journey of Faith
Mary Sortal shared her Journey of Faith on February 18.

I grew up in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, but spent many summers with my grandparents on the family farm in Central Illinois. My earliest memories are of going to the Methodist church with my grandmother. Gathered together were neighbors who farmed together and helped each other in hard times. I felt a sense of belonging and of being totally embraced by these kind, warm, humble, people; it’s a feeling I’ve never forgotten. While I was always a bit skeptical of the “miracles,” I must say, I loved learning Bible stories and really liked Jesus!

I was active in the Methodist church in Skokie, where there was also a large Jewish community. My best friend was Jewish, and she was the first person to cast doubt upon my religion and the Christian church in general. Where was the church during WWII, she would ask. And could Jews get into heaven? I could not answer, nor could I reconcile her questions. Though I still found comfort in going to church, skepticism set in.   Read more...
The deadline for the March 20 Steeple Biweekly is Friday, March 16 at noon.
Send your submissions to Diane Young .
Interim Minister –The Rev. Susan Milnor, Director of Religious Education –Julie Parker Amery, Religious Education Assistant –Sharon Broll, Interim Music Director –Dana Maiben, Youth Choirs Director –Kristen Miller, Director of Community Engagement –Diane Young, Director of Finance and Administration –Kristen Fehlhaber, Office Administrator –Nicole Salemi, Sexton –Ed Mair. Parish Board: Chair –Barbara Garnis, Vice Chair –Art Henshaw, Clerk –Ann Haaser, Treasurers –Alex Gramling and Rich Johnson, John Billington, Jay Iannini, Lisa Johnson, Lynn Kettleson, Julie Menin, Ann Power, Karen Young, Finance Chair –Lark Madden, Governance Chair –Frances McLaughlin.
First Religious Society, Unitarian Universalist | 26 Pleasant St., Newburyport MA 01950
978-465-0602 |