February 6-19, 2018
February 11 – “The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith” – Family Service – Rev. Susan Milnor, Racial Justice Task Force, Youth Choir, Teen Choir, Adult Choir. What would our faith would look like “if we upheld and centered the history , the perspectives , the voices , and the leadership of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalists...?” This is the question the Unitarian Universalist Association called for every congregation to address in a worship service by mid-February. We will put our own people’s stories of living with racial diversity at the center of a worship service that will depart from the usual format. This will be our “Association Sunday” of the year, and the entire unpledged cash collection will go to support the ministry of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism .
Logo of Black Lives of UU
Theme: Theological reflection

February 18 - The Deep Down Moments – Rev. Susan Milnor. Beloved writer Madeleine L’Engle wrote, “ There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred…. “ I’ve had some experience of this truth, and so, likely have you. When or where is the sacred found, and how do we know it if we experience it? These experiences provide important touchstones in our living.

February 25 – “…where angels fear to tread”: Shall We Risk More Talk about God? – Rev. Stan Barrett. Our congregational study last year revealed that some of us want to talk more about God, and others distinctly do not. Undoubtedly many of us feel mixed, or think “it depends.” We are a faith community which not only respects different theologies (or non-theologies), but has what I consider a lovely carefulness about our use of God-language and God-concepts (or anti-God language/concepts): careful lest we alienate each other.  Read more...

Collection for a Cause
Half of February’s unpledged cash collection will go to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism . BLUU provides information, resources and support for Black UUs and works to expand their role and visibility within our faith.

Wednesday, February 7: Fixing Our Broken Democracy. Lower Meeting House, 7pm. Are we losing our democracy? Increasingly the influence of corporate money in our elections and governance, encouraged by court rulings that give corporations the rights of citizens, have raised concerns that our very democracy is imperiled. The UUA has taken this on as a Congregational Study/Action Issue. Read more...

Wednesday, February 7: Jazz Vespers. Sanctuary, 8-8:45pm. February Jazz Vespers features some special guests--reader Brent Mitchell and on saxophone 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.

Friday, February 9: Friday Book Discussion. Lower Meeting House, 10am. First meeting to discuss Waking Up White by Debby Irving. The discussion will last for several Fridays. All are welcome to take part. [This is separate from the February 21 and 25 stand-alone discussions of the same book.]

Saturday, February 10: Mid-Winter Party. Home of Cynthia and Manfred Raschke, 207 High Street, Newburyport, 6-9pm. Hosted by the FRS Hospitality Committee. Space is limited, so please sign up by emailing Nancy Peace.

Sunday, February 11: Racial Justice Taskforce Racism Workshop 2. Parish Hall, 1-2:30pm. This workshop provides an opportunity to reflect on and become aware of our perspective as people growing up white, and the institutional and social structures that foster the inequality and divided communities we live with. Reading the book Waking up White addresses structural groundwork for these discussions. Sign up for by emailing Sandra Thaxter .
Sunday, February 11: Wilson Concert: Del Sol String Quartet. Sanctuary, 4pm. Hailed by  Gramophone  magazine as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.

Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based ensemble is a leading force in 21 st  century chamber music. The program will include music by Samuel Barber, Frederick Rzewski, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Lou Harrison. Read more...

Tuesday, February 13: ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out). CR Moulton’s, 17 State Street, Newburyport, noon. RSVP to Ed Budelmann.
Del Sol concert flyer
Tuesday, February 20: Short Story Group. Lower Meeting House, 12-1 pm. The story for discussion will be "House Opposite" by R.K. Narayan. Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch. (This group meets regularly the first and third Tuesdays of every month.) 

Wednesday, February 21: FRS Common Read. Discuss the book Waking Up White . Lower Meeting House, 7pm. See details below.

Sunday, February 25: FRS Common Read. Discuss the book Waking Up White . Lower Meeting House, 11:45am. See details below.
Cover of Waking Up White
Tuesday, March 6: Membership series begins. Only members of FRS (those who have signed a membership application) can vote when the congregation calls its next minister. Want to know what becoming a member of FRS is all about? Read more...

Thursday, March 15: Adult Programming: 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.

See the website calendar for a complete listing of events.
FRS Connect screenshot
If we have your email, you should have gotten an email on Friday with your 2017 giving statement. Those without an email will get a paper copy in this week's mail. To print the statement yourself, just log in to FRS Connect and follow the steps in this video from Realm , the company that supports FRS Connect. FRS Connect lets you check your giving at any time. For help signing up, see Ed Meagher with his laptop at coffee hour.

Down to the final four!
At the beginning of January, we had 23 candidates for our new minister, then there were ten, then seven, and now we are down to the final four. Last weekend the Search Committee had a chance to speak directly to seven candidates and then, after much discussion, chose our pre-candidates. In February we will spend a weekend getting to know our pre-candidates and we will have the opportunity to hear each one preach. After that comes the very difficult process of choosing the candidate who we believe will be the best fit for our Beloved Community as we move forward into the future. Read more...

Pettengill House food drive
During the month of February, the Community Human Services Committee will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items, or donations of money if you’d prefer us to do the shopping. Food items can be dropped off at the table in the vestibule. We will accept donations of money after the service. Pettengill House is located in Salisbury and is always appreciative of our generosity in providing needed items for their food pantry.
Join our Common Read
They sold like hotcakes — all 40 copies of  Waking Up White , the FRS’s 2018 Common Read book, were snapped up in eight days. But it’s not too late to join in our Common Read. If your local bookstores don’t have copies in stock, they often can often get you one in a couple of days. Or you can order online. Kindle versions ($8.69) save you money and are available immediately. Audible.com versions are also available immediately, and work well for people who spend lots of time in their cars. Read more...

Act against gun violence
The MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is asking GVP advocates to take the following two actions in support of H.3081 (Extreme Risk Protective Order), life-saving legislation for the temporary removal guns from people who pose an extreme threat to themselves or others. Please help us move this bill through the legislative process by taking the following actions:
1. Call your State Representative to urge them to support H3081. Read more...

Have a question about our ministerial search process?
There 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 page.
  2. Email your question to transitionFAQ@frsuu.org
  3. Drop your question in the suggestion boxes in the vestibule and near the Conference Room.
  4. Ask someone. Find one of our church leaders on Sunday morning or during office hours.
Armor of Light poster
Guns and faith film screening
On February 10 from 6pm to 8:30pm the Newburyport Clergy Association will be hosting a showing of the movie Armor of Light at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newburyport with a discussion to follow. The film is a documentary about the role of guns and faith in the United States. The goal of this time is not that a unified position will develop from these conversations, but that those who think differently from one another will have an opportunity to interact with others who may think differently.
Addressing Whiteness for Collective Liberation. Saturday, March 10, 9:30am-3:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport, 4 Cleaves St, Rockport, MA. A workshop for anyone who seeks to move from head to heart and from idea to behavior to address whiteness. Presenter: Meck Groot , New England Region UUA. Registration fee of $10 includes lunch. Childcare available on request. Register by March 2 at EventBrite .
Bettina Turner
Given by Bettina Turner on January 21.

This is my second journey of faith.

Yes, you heard that correctly. About ten years ago, before we had regular “Journeys of Faith,” I was asked to speak on a Sunday morning about my background and why I come to this church. My talk then was titled “A Sense Of Belonging” and I spoke about being German, an immigrant, and an atheist.

Like many of us, I started by defining myself by what I am not: I am not a traditional Christian believer. My parents were culturally Lutheran, but not church goers. Nevertheless, I grew up steeped in good Protestant work ethic and a sense that all pleasures have to be earned before they can be enjoyed! Although I at times question it, this has actually served me rather well. Read more...
The deadline for the February 20 Steeple Biweekly is Friday, February 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 | frsuu.org