First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church

First Parish News April 2021

We aspire to be a beacon of ...
...Liberal Faith
Easter Sunday April 4     The Circle Dance
Dress warmly for our in-person Easter worship! It will be chilly but sunny as we gather at the back area of the building for a brief service. Our Easter celebration will include music of the season by Beth and the Choir, accompanied by a flutist and a story for all ages from Pam on the power of resurrection. As always, there will be flowers for the children. We may even dance! If you have a potted lily or other spring flower you would be willing to lend to decorate the area, please bring it that morning. 

Music today includes Dare to Dance Again by T. Watts and M. O’Brian, I Hope you Dance by Tia Sillers and Mark Sanders and the anthem Sing Alleluia, Allelu by Andy Beck.
Sunday April 11   Dancing Together - on-line worship
We continue to explore our worship theme “Dare to Dance Again” reflecting on what it means to dance together. We have seen in history and in recent months ways we are not “dancing together:” racism, economic disparity, and other injustices impair our steps. Our recent conversation about hanging a banner on the church brought out our desire to be part of a more inclusive dance - how might we dance on? Pamela preaching.
Sunday April 18 Dancing Sure - in-person outdoor worship
Sometimes we feel we can’t dance because we don’t know the steps to follow. That’s when it’s helpful to focus on our teachers. Who are some of the people who inspire you to dance your vision and your values? You are welcome to print out a picture of someone current or historical who inspires you to include in our clothesline display.
Earth Day Sunday April 25 Pathways to Healing & Regeneration - on-line worship
In our on-line worship this morning we will participate in a service led by members of the UU Ministry for Earth and the Rev. Yadenee, community minister for blk earth. They ask us: “When you imagine pathways to personal, social and ecological healing and regeneration, what do you see? Who is with you on your journey? What transforms and gives way to new beginnings? Who and/or what are you accountable to along the way?” On Saturday May 1 we will put out care for the Earth into practice by participating as a church in Scituate’s Ship-Shape Day.  
Easter Sunrise Service
Though it is still not safe for us to gather at the Lighthouse for the Scituate Clergy’s traditional Sunrise service, this year the clergy have recorded a video service, filmed on the beach on a recent beautiful sunrise. Our music director is one of the participants, leading singing of Morning Has Broken (from her home, not the beach). You may watch the service on YouTube at sunrise on Easter or another time.
From the Minister 
At Tea every week we are now checking in on who has received a COVID vaccine, how they are feeling, and when and how they might feel ready to engage with the larger world. We have acknowledged that it’s hard to imagine “dancing” as we used to. And so our worship over the next several weeks focuses on how we will “Dare to Dance Again.” And it’s not just when we want to dance again, but how we want to dance differently - how we want to be part of a more inclusive, intentional, healthful dance. What questions, yearnings, and ideas do you have as you think about new life after this year of isolation? How would you like our church to dance? These are the questions we’ll be exploring in our worship (along with some real dances and dancers). We are also exploring them in other ways this month - through the poetry conversations, the Burnout discussion, Men’s Ministry’s assistance, Sunday Standouts, and our religious education for children. Elsewhere in this issue, Mary and Anthony invite us all into the First Parish dance. If you’d like to talk about how you feel called to dance with and for First Parish, you are welcome to speak with them or with me.

We will be welcoming new members into First Parish on Sunday May 23. If you have been joining us for worship and/or other activities and feel like you have found your community, the people you would like to dance with, please let me know.  

See you in Church,

  April 2021 Notes from the Music Director  

Easter Sunday- We’ll sing our favorite Easter hymns and learn our new theme song Dare to Dance Again by T. Watts and M. O’Brian. The choir will sing Alleluia, Allelu by Andy Beck. Thank you to the flutist, for playing the flute with us!

The following weeks in April:

Since our new worship series is Dare to Dance, I will be playing a lot of different
dance music by various classical and popular composers.

We’ll hear I Hope You Dance, sung by Lee Ann Womack. I made a slideshow of people
dancing to go with the music. We’ll sing the chorus as our Benediction Song.

The choir will sing one of our favorite anthems Dansi Na Kuimba ( Dance and Sing) by
Dave and Jean Perry.

Choir Rehearsals will continue outside Sunday mornings 9:30-10:00.

Happy Spring!
Poetry at First Parish Scituate - An R.E.Connect Event
Wednesdays in April, 5:00 - 5:45 pm

April is national poetry month. In celebration, R.E.Connect will read and discuss a poem each Wednesday at 5 PM. And we can definitely keep going after April!

On Wednesday, April 7th 5 PM - 5:45 PM:
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman.

Other poems to be determined.
R.E.Connect is First Parish Scituate's NEW adult religious education and faith development program. Discussions and events will occur throughout the church year. Come to learn and share, to connect and grow, wherever you are on life's path.
...Strong Community

Burned Out? Stressed? You Are Not Alone
Work, parenting, home-keeping, isolation - there are many reasons why so many of us are feeling stressed right now. In their recent book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski use science and their own experiences to offer strategies not to just to deal with what is but to address the causes of stress. Pamela will be leading a discussion of their thought and how it might apply to our lives on Thursdays April 15, 29, May 13, and 27, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. over Zoom. You do not have to read the book to participate. Participation is limited to 8 people and only 3 spaces remain. 
Tea with the Minister  

Signs of Spring? Hopes and dreams? Stories? Come share what you are seeing, thinking, wondering at or sorrowing over at Pam’s weekly Tea on Thursday afternoons. You are welcome to drop in any time between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Many Hands Make Light Work
The Parish Committee is calling on all members & friends to serve in some capacity towards various projects & initiatives within the church, dependent upon skill set, subject matter interest, physical ability and available time. Let's all pitch in and make light work! Specifically, at the moment, we're asking for people to help provide input on how we'll plan to run the religious education curriculum in the upcoming year. The aim is to develop a variety of creative solutions given the uncertainty of the pandemic next September with consideration of easy-to-follow elements the Parish Committee has already devised. 

One of the current teachers recently expressed her sentiment that providing this service feeds her, personally, along with the feeling she is serving the church and making a positive impact.  If you think you can spare a bit of your time to benefit the children in our church in this small commitment, it would be most appreciated! Please reach out to Religious Education Coordinator or the Parish Committee Co-Chairs.
-The Parish Committee
A Quick Glance Back over Recent Annual Stewardship Campaigns
Reviewing results of our Annual Stewardship Campaigns over the last decade, we see a trend line that was pretty flat for the first few years, then began to climb gradually in 2014, and more steeply in recent years. Membership has also increased gradually since 2014.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the canvass was quite successful, allowing us to budget pledge revenue that was 16% more than for FY 2018. Encouraged by this, the Finance Committee laid out a four-year stewardship plan. Starting in Fiscal Year 2020, the Finance and Parish Committees have together been setting annual goals that should allow the church to maintain and grow our ministries and programs into the future. The goals have two complementary aims (1) to provide fair financial compensation for our Minister and staff; and (2) to preserve the capital in our Endowment Funds while withdrawing a sustainable portion of the proceeds to help pay for yearly operating costs.

Ideally, we will eventually be able to decrease the amount of operating income we need to take from the endowment, so that we can leave more to grow for future generations – or to use for special ministries and projects. In other words, we need to ask current members to cover more of our current expenses, and rely less on income from funds left to us by past members. With these twin goals in mind . . .

. . . in Fiscal Year 2020, we increased our actual revenue from pledges by 9% compared to the previous year.

. . . in FY 2021, ending June 30, 2021, we expect pledge income to be down by about 2%, due to COVID-19.

. . . in FY 2022, based on the Canvass just completed, we expect to budget $93,129 in pledge income for FY22 – an increase of 22% from the current year.

And last summer, members and friends of First Parish contributed $34,000 toward our Steeple and Roof Capital Campaign (in spite of the uncertainties caused by the pandemic) thus reducing the amount we needed to borrow from our Endowment for the necessary project.

We should feel really good about all these successes, and proud of our commitment to our vision. As spring comes and vaccinations begin to take hold, may our sense of hope and optimism grow.

Next year will be the fourth year of our Annual Stewardship Plan. . .

- Finance Committee
Once again, the Spring Plant Sale returns in person to the Church outdoor yard! (Masked and distanced, of course) May 8th is the day before Mother’s Day, so it would be nice to have some gift-decorated plants for sale. As usual, there will be seedlings of tomatoes and veggies, as well as flowers. And favorite old perennials from local gardens. 

If you’re planting seeds, and will have some ready to sell, or have any plants to contribute or if you’d like to help in any way, please call or text Erica.
Thank you!

-Spring Plant Sale Committee
...Transformative Service
Men’s Ministry Saturday April 3
All adults, children, and youth who identify as male are invited to join the Men’s Ministry as they resume their monthly Saturday morning service projects. On the first Saturday in April they will gather at 9 a.m. at the home of Alan and Eileen to do yard work. Please bring rakes and gloves. They will also be moving the Food Pantry donation box from outside the church since it is no longer needed with the Pantry’s move to the Old Gates School across the street.  

The Men’s Ministry is planning an all-church activity for Scituate’s Ship-Shape Day on Saturday May 1.

If you have questions or ideas or would like to be on the email list, please contact Chuck.
Update from the Parish Committee after 3/21 Community Meeting on Social Justice
Thank you to all who attended the 3/21 Community Meeting on Social Justice expression at First Parish. So many of you came to share your thoughts and listen carefully to the thoughts of your fellow members and friends of FPUU. The Parish Committee is grateful to all for the conversation, the listening and the spirit of shared understanding that permeated the discussion.
As next steps, the PC will review together what we heard from all of you and articulate recommendations and requests to move us forward in our express of social justice.

Stay tuned! More coming very soon.

-Parish Committee
Participate in General Assembly!
Every year delegates from the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association gather to hear what is happening, to deliberate on resolutions and action items, and attend workshops on many areas of church life. (The Parish Committee learned about Sarah-Elizabeth's Restorative Circles practice when Carey and Julianna attended a workshop she led at GA last year.) There are many ways to participate:  

  • Serve as one of our two lay delegates. Delegates attend workshops which might benefit our congregation, represent us in the meetings and report back to the congregation (possibly in a summer service). 

  • Design and sew a banner for our congregation for the virtual banner parade (needs to be finished and photographed by April 30).

  • Sing in the GA choir (tenors especially are needed).

  • Attend a workshop, lecture or worship service (some are open only to delegates, others to everyone)

Please let PC Co-Chairs know if you are interested in participating in some way (other than the Choir - register quickly if you want to sing!)
The Melrose UU Church is hosting Opening Doors, a concert series to promote anti-racism.

On April 25 Dan and Claudia Zanes will perform.
The final guest in this first run of shows will be Rissi Palmer on May 23.
2021 UU Mass Action Advocacy Day
Join UU Mass Action for their annual UU Advocacy Day on Tuesday April 13. Participants will advocate in virtual meetings with their Representatives and Senators for immigrant justice, climate & environmental justice, economic justice, indigenous justice and decarceration, and ending solitary confinement. The day begins with a community gathering at 11 a.m. Please register by April 6 to participate:

If you would like tips on how to talk with your reps about these issues, there are two optional training opportunities to help you prepare for UU Mass Action Advocacy Day:  Wednesday, April 7th 6:00pm - 7:30pm or Thursday, April 8th 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Love Shows Up for Justice Sunday Stand Outs
Ongoing - Sundays 1:00 to 2:00 pm
For further information, please contact Jean.
April Calendar 2021

Thurs   1st    
4:30     pm       Tea with the Minister           
7:00     pm       A World of New Friends
Sat.   3rd    
9:00    am      Men’s Ministry
Sun.    4th
9:30     am       Choir Rehearsal
10:30   am       Worship 
1:00     pm       Love Shows Up for Justice
Mon.   5th    
7:30     pm       Morality Discussion   
Tues.   6th                
7:00     pm       Picture Book World Religions
Wed.  7th 
5:00     pm       Poetry at First Parish
Thurs. 8th 
4:30     pm       Tea with the Minister           
7:00     pm       A World of New Friends
Sat. 10th 
3:00    pm       Finance Committee meeting           
Sun.     11th 
9:30     am       Choir Rehearsal
10:30    am       Worship 
1:00     pm       Love Shows Up for Justice

Mon.   12th
7:30     pm       Morality Discussion
Tues.   13th  
11:00   am     UU Mass Action Advocacy Day
7:00     pm       Picture Book World Religions
Wed.  14th
5:00     pm       Poetry at First Parish
Thurs. 15th
4:30     pm       Tea with the Minister
7:00     pm       A World of New Friends
7:30    pm      Burnout Discussion
Sun.    18th 
9:30     am       Choir Rehearsal
10:00   am       Worship 
1:00     pm       Love Shows Up for Justice
6:00     pm       SciCohRockWell YG – Zoom Meeting
Mon.   19th
7:30     pm       Morality Discussion
Wed.  21st
5:00     pm       Poetry at First Parish
7:30  pm     Parish Committee meeting
Thurs. 22nd 
4:30     pm       Tea with the Minister
Sun.   25th
9:30     am       Choir Rehearsal
10:30   am       Worship 
1:00     pm       Love Shows Up for Justice
Mon.   26th
7:30     pm       Morality Discussion
Tues.   27th    
7:00     pm       Picture Book World Religions
Wed.  28th  
5:00     pm       Poetry at First Parish
Thurs. 29th
4:30     pm       Tea with the Minister
7:00     pm       A World of New Friends
7:30  pm       Burnout Discussion