February Newsletter
What's Happening
at First Parish

February 1 - 29, 2020

 We aspire to be a beacon
of liberal religion, strong community,
and transformative service.

We aspire to be a Beacon of…..
 … Liberal Religion
Sundays in February: First Parish Goes to the Movies
In Oscars month, we’ll be reflecting on what some current films have to say to us and our times.

Sunday February 2  
Turning Toward Light: Just Mercy
This movie, based on Bryan Stevenson’s memoir of the same name, focuses on Stevenson’s work through the Equal Justice Initiative to reverse the sentences of men and women on death row. Pamela Barz will reflect on what the stories of these people tell us about what it means to be human. 

The choir will sing Velvet Shoes.
Sunday February 9  
Turning Toward Truth: Little Women
Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel about the March sisters and their family offers a model for growth and exploration based in Alcott’s Unitarian values. How do their stories speak to us today? Pamela Barz preaching.

The choir will sing A Peaceful Bach Canon.
Sunday February 16  
Turning Toward Love: Frozen 2
In our annual multigenerational celebration of love and community and chocolate communion service, Pamela Barz will reflect on what the sisterly love of Anna and Elsa might say to us.
Sunday February 23
"Mend and Repair: What does it take to heal what's broken between us?”
Guest preacher Mary Margaret Earl will offer us a reflection on the legacy of slavery, the ongoing challenge of racism, and how we build relationships from there.  The choir will sing When the Poor Ones.

The Rev. Ms. Mary Margaret Earl is Executive Director and Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. In this ministry, she has worked to strengthen bonds between UUs and the Roxbury neighborhood where the UUUM operates. She is on the Faith in Solidarity leadership team, which works to connect faith leaders with those impacted by poverty, and serves as co-chair of the Roxbury Cultural Network. Prior to her arrival at the UU Urban Ministry, she spent 10 years at a faith-based nonprofit in RI serving the homeless community. She is past president of the Board of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, recipient of the Heroes of Faith Award from the Rhode Island State Council of Churches for her interfaith work, and is a longtime vegan committed to standing up for nonhuman animals

Our 4th Sunday offering this morning supports the work of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. The UU Urban Ministry operates programs that provide education and enrichment programming for children and youth, emergency shelter for individuals and families fleeing from domestic violence, and job- and education-readiness training for survivors of domestic violence, bringing together people from different walks of life to work together toward justice and equality. First Parish is a member congregation of the UUUM.
From the Minister
During the service celebrating First Parish’s 386 th birthday, we played with the metaphor of our life together as a dance which has been going on for almost 4 centuries. When I talked with the children about what is necessary to have a dance, they immediately responded “Dancers!” First Parish would be nothing, we agreed, without each of us, the dancers. Without our participation in and contributions to the dance, there would be no dance, and as T.S. Eliot wrote, “there is only the dance.” 

After the service, our Synergy Sunday conversation got into the nuts and bolts of how we ensure that the dance goes on – how do we welcome newcomers, inviting them into the dance; how do we educate our children, making sure the dance continues; how do we care for the building, giving us a space both to dance and to rest sometimes from dancing. This is the work of stewardship: offering our resources of time, talent, and money to care for the institution which helps us to continue this important dance.  In our congregation, this is the season when we focus on stewardship, on how each of us can contribute to the dance. We’ll be hearing from some of our First Parish dancers each Sunday on their part in this work; I hope you’ll think about your part as well.

See you in Church!
Thinkers, Makers, Movers, Shakers Needed
Religious Services Comittee Meeting - February 9 After Church, convening in the Sanctuary around 11:45. You Are Invited!

We have several interesting items to talk about in our meeting: 

1. A concept session for the March Lenten series about theology for Unitarian Universalists.
Do you ever ask yourself the big questions--Where do we come from? What is the purpose of human existence? What do we mean when we talk about The Good? Who or what is "God"? Where do we go after death? 

Do you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder about such things?

Pam is going to offer a series of probing sermons about UU theology, in which she will explore and explain the way UU theologians/philosophers ask and answer these and other questions. But our church is all about each person finding their own spiritual position. So we want several "midnight wonderers" to each frame their most urgent spiritual question and pose it to the congregation during the first Sunday service in the series. Those same people would come back to the pulpit at the final Sunday in the series and report on the answer to the question as revealed through Pam's sermons and their own meditations.

In our February 9 meeting, let's talk about this idea and how it might work out.

2. What visuals can we create to express our philosophical/theological Lenten quest?

Maybe mind maps? Meditation mazes? Infinitely reflecting mirrors? What comes to your mind? How could we actualize meaningful visuals in the Sanctuary?

3. How shall we decorate the blank space behind the pulpit?

The old musty dark red curtains have been retired. What could we mount in that space that would be pleasing to the eye and spiritually meaningful? 

I hope you can make it to discuss these questions and more on February 9!

-Religious Services Team Leader
Community Book Discussion on Diversity - "White Fragility"
The next Scituate Diversity Book Discussion will focus on White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo. Robin DiAngelo is a sociologist who came up with the term "white fragility" to describe the defensiveness white people display when confronted with examples of racism. In her 2018 book she explores that fragility and how it helps to maintain racial inequality.

John Scopelleti will lead the discussion on Wednesday February 12th, 6:30 p.m. in the book group room of the Scituate Town Library. Copies of the book are available in the OCLN system. If you'd like to be on the mailing list for this group, please email Pam.
The New UU
Are you new to First Parish? Or have you been around a while but would like to know more about the history of Unitarian Universalism and the workings of our church? On Sundays March 8, 22, 29 and April 5, noon-1 p.m., Pamela Barz will lead discussions of UU history, theology, spirituality and governance. At the end of the series participants who are not yet members of First Parish will be invited to join. You do not have to attend all the sessions. Please email Pam if you’d like to participate or have questions.
Considering the End of Life
On Sunday March 1 at 2 p.m., we are hosting a forum on the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act, now pending in the legislature. This Act (H.1926/S.1208) would allow qualified, terminally ill adults to request and self-administer medication to end their life in a humane and dignified manner if they choose. Members of the UU Mass Action working group will speak and answer questions. This event is open to the public so please invite others who may be interested.
Exploring Justice: Priorities
How can we our values help us understand and take positions on some of the divisive issues of our time? The new curriculum “Exploring Justice: Priorities” will help us think about such issues as whether the Pledge of Allegiance truly unites us, what is freedom of religion, how do we understand the separation of church and state, should we have flags in church, and should Confederate monuments come down? Pamela Barz will be offering this 6-week study beginning in March, either on Monday or Thursday evenings. Please email her if you would like to participate.
... Strong Community
Synergy Sunday Recap

O ur second Synergy Sunday meeting of the year, after worship on January 26th, was well attended and conversation was lively. Following up on Carey's reflection from the pulpit that morning, we concentrated on the theme of "Welcome." In addition to Carey, several other newish arrivals to First Parish were able to help us assess the extent to which we are welcoming and explore ways that we can improve. Here are some of the ideas were discussed:

Carey said that her early meetings with Pam were helpful in understanding what Unitarian Universalism and First Parish are all about. Pam recommended one of Kate Braestrup's books which helped deepen Carey's understanding of Unitarian Universalism. Putting together a reading list would be helpful for newcomers and old-times alike!

Annie and Susan told us that they first decided to visit after some online research. Our website told a good story and the community that the church provides backs up the online story. This is a good reminder that it is important to keep our website current. Ways to improve our social media presence were also discussed.

Mary announced that a new model for Greeting will be set up using the model that Cathie and Vicki used for Ushering. Members and friends are invited to "opt in" to this activity. A team of Greeters will be trained and assigned dates for the year. Please contact Mary if you are willing to serve as a greeter a few times a year. Remember also that greeting is not just standing at the door and shaking peoples' hands as they arrive at church on Sunday morning. Every member of First Parish should make an effort to be welcoming to newcomers. If you see someone you don't know, please offer a handshake and introduce yourself. Find out if that person needs to know about childcare or RE, Monday night meditation, Fiddidlers, or anything else that First Parish has to offer!

Ann observed that she didn't know when she first started attending First Parish, the extent to which we are self-operating. She said it took her a while to realize how important it is to jump in and help with the ministries and activities that First Parish offers. Jean bserved that volunteering to help can be the best way to get to know people and to feel a sense of belonging. There are jobs both large and small that need volunteers. If you would like to get more involved, reach out to anyone you see doing the work and ask how you can help! If you're not sure where to even start, please don't hesitate to speak to Pam or a member of the Parish Committee.

Pam Barz will be holding a class in March on Sundays after church to help welcome potential new members. 

-Parish Committee
Sunday February 2 is the start of our Annual Church Canvass
Not Frequently Asked Questions (NFAQs) about Church Finances
(continued from last week)
[Q 8] How in tarnation do we know how much it will cost to run the church next year?
[A 8]  We study tea leaves in our mugs at coffee hour, and see which way the cookies crumble. We figure fuel and snowplowing costs by reading the weather forecast in the Farmer’s Almanac.

[Q 9] Cut that out! Stop trying to be funny!
[A 9] Okay, very seriously, we aim to draft a budget that gives life to our vision of this church as a beacon of liberal religion, strong community and transformative service.

[Q 10] And how do you draw up such a budget?
[A 10] Church leaders, staff, and committee members discuss our vision and mission: that is, what we want to accomplish in the coming year, and what it will cost. On the income side, we estimate what we can expect to receive in rents, a sustainable share of proceeds from our endowment, money from fundraising events, RE registration, non-pledge money in the collection plate* and miscellaneous gifts. The remainder or our income must come from your pledge to give during the year. The amount you pledge directly affects whether we can pay staff what they’re worth, maintain buildings and grounds to preserve them for future generations, buy supplies, keep the heat on, etc. After the Stewardship Canvass is completed, the Treasurer and Finance Committee draw up a formal draft budget balancing expected income and expenses. This must then be approved by the Parish Committee and presented to the church Annual Meeting in May for a vote of the church Membership. Members have the final word on whether to accept or change the proposed budget!

[Q11] Okay, so how much should I pledge?
[A 11] That’s a question we can’t answer for you. We will provide a variety of ways to think about our finances and let you decide.  (After all, we are Unitarian-Universalists!)

*(Fourth Sunday collections go directly to the charity for which they are collected and don’t show up in the budget)
-          To be continued   -

-Finance Committee Chair
Around the Parish
Daniel Jewell-Tyrcha
January 1, 2000 – January 26, 2020
May Light perpetual shine upon him

We offer our deep sympathy to Dani’s parents, sister and to Dani’s many friends. Dani was a member of our high school youth group, a 2017 graduate of Scituate High School, and currently a junior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Last year he spoke with our OWL class about transgender issues and with our high school students about Star Island’s Youth Empowerment and Spirituality Conference.   There will be a celebration of Dani’s life on Saturday February 1 at 10 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 465 First Parish Rd., with visiting hours on Friday evening, 4:00 to 8:00 pm, at Richardson-Gaffey Funeral Home, 382 First Parish Rd, Scituate. Donations in memory of Dani may be given to the scholarship fund of the YES Conference at Star Island……

There will be a memorial service for Donna Cogliano at First Parish on Saturday February 8 at 3 p.m. followed by a collation hosted by the members of Unity Club. 
First Parish Needs Your Help!
Here's how you can serve our church and strengthen our community this week. Please contact Pamela Barz if you can help.

We need:
  • Party Planners to plan dinner and entertainment for our annual all-church celebration supper on Leap Year Day, Saturday February 29. 
  • Greeters for our new Greeting Team
  • RE Teachers for Jan/Feb and March-May sessions
  • Representatives for the new Council of Churches
Transformative Service
General Assembly 2020 in Providence! 
General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles.

Please join us Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday, June 28, 2020 in Providence, Rhode Island for this 5-day immersive experience where we participate in inspirational worship services and informative workshops, reconvene with friends and colleagues, and explore our bustling exhibit hall. GA is an unforgettable experience for the thousands of UUs who attend. Meet us in Providence and you’ll leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas to share with your congregation and community-at-large! The theme for General Assembly in June 2020 is Rooted, Inspired, & Ready! We are in touch with our theological roots, we are engaged in transforming our faith, and we are fired up to take action in the wider world. First Parish is entitled to two delegates to the meetings but any number may attend workshops, programs, and services.  Please speak with a member of the Parish Committee if you’re interested in attending. More information:  https://www.uua.org/ga
New Scituate Council of Churches Forming
In order to increase the cooperation among the churches in town, the lay leaders of the Harbor United Methodist Church and of First Trinitarian United Church of Christ have proposed forming a group of clergy and two lay representatives from each congregation. They'll meet every other month to get to know one another, share news of what's going on in their home congregations, and perhaps plan joint events, programs, or services. The Lay Leader at Harbor Methodist, will host the first meeting on Friday February 28, 9:30-10:30 a.m. If you're interested in serving as one of our representatives, please speak with Pamela Barz
UU Mass Action
On Sunday January 19, Laura Wagner, Executive Director of UU Mass Action, spoke to us about some of the issues facing our world and how we can partner with others to help. UU Mass Action is already working on many of the issues we care about: climate change, economic justice, prison reform, immigration, and health care.

 UU Mass Action gathers around a vision of a world where all people are honored and valued with the mission to organize and mobilize UUs in Massachusetts to confront oppression. We provide pathways towards justice and identify opportunities in which we can live our values. Learn more about their work and sign up for their newsletter here: UU Mass Action

Training for Activism: How do you get people to show up?
So much of our work is getting people to show up - to our meetings, to events, and to actions. To prepare for the elections of 2020, UU Mass Action will be working out to turn out UUs to huge events this spring for climate as part of our goals, as well as for all our other work around immigration and criminal justice work. No matter what you are working on, recruitment is crucial to our work! Join Tali Smookler, program manager of JOIN for Justice, for a training and conversation about tools and skills to support your ability to turn people out! We will host this training virtually on Thursday, February 6 from 7-8:15pm. RSVP here UU Mass Action RSVP (All UUs welcome, no matter what justice or community work you are doing!)
2020 Annual Town Election Nomination Papers
First Parish has a long tradition of people from our church serving in Scituate town government. UUs have held most of the town offices in recent times -- not just in the early centuries! Think globally, act locally.

The Annual Town Election is scheduled (per bylaw) for Saturday, May 23, 2020 which fall on Memorial Day weekend. Per approval of a Special Act the election date will be changed to Saturday, June 13, 2020. In the meantime nomination papers for the town election will be available in February. If you are interested in running for election please contact the Town Clerk’s Office. Candidates need to collect 100 signatures for certification. Papers are due back to this office by 5 PM on April 3, 2020.
The positions on the ballots are as follows;
Moderator - for 1 Year; 
Board of Selectmen – one position for 3 Years;   
School Committee - two Positions for 3 years each.
Planning Board – two positions for 3 years each       
Library Trustees – one position for 3 years. 
Assessor - one position for 3 Years
Housing Authority - for 5 Years
Calendar for February 1- 29, 2020
Sat. 1st
10 am Memorial for Dani Jewell-Tyrcha @St. Luke's

Sun. 2nd
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE
11:45 am RE Meeting

Wed. 5th
10:30 am Fididdlers

Sat. 8th
3:00 pm Memorial for Donna Cogliano

Sun. 9th
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE
11:45 am Religious Services meeting

Mon. 10th
7:00 pm Meditation

Wed. 12th
10:30 am Fididdlers
6:30 pm Community Book Discussion at the Library

Thurs. 13th
7:00 pm Committee on Ministry
Sun. 16th
10:30 am Worship - Multi-gen

Wed. 19th
10:30 am Fididdlers
7:00 pm Parish Committee

Sun. 23rd
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE

Mon. 24th
7:00 pm Meditation

Wed. 26th
10:30 am Fididdlers

Fri. 28th
9:30 am Scituate Council of Churches

Sat. 29th
5:00 pm Stewardship Dinner
Our Mission
Liberal Faith: We commit to participate side-by-side across generations  in worship, religious education, social activities, environmental protection,
and social justice work—learning, sharing, and growing together. 

Strong Community : We commit to care for one another, nurture the light that shines within each of us, and support each other’s individual search for truth and meaning.
Transformative Service: We commit to pursue diversity, justice, equality, reason, and discourse;
provide inspiration through music, creativity, and the arts;
and work cooperatively to affect positive change in our community and beyond.