January Newsletter
What's Happening
at First Parish

January 8 - 31, 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 January
Sunday January 12 A House Built with a Stolen Beam: An Ethical Dilemma for our Time
David Bernat, a former colleague of Pam’s at Wellesley College where he was the Jewish Chaplain and she the UU Chaplain, will join Pam in leading this service. David currently serves as the Executive Director of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. He has a PhD in Biblical Interpretation from Brandeis, and has published in the areas of Jewish ritual, and violence in sacred texts. David has held faculty positions at UMass Amherst and Wellesley College.

 David writes about his sermon:   In Rabbinic norms of Jurisprudence, found in the Mishnah and Talmud, there is the idea that a thief who is apprehended must return the stolen item (along with a penalty, typically 1/5 of the items value). If the stolen object has been changed irrevocably, lost unrecoverably, or consumed totally, the thief is responsible for compensation equal to the value of the stolen property (plus the standard penalty). They propose a scenario- what if the the stolen object is a large beam which the thief uses as a foundation for a house-- do you destroy the house and return the beam, or does the thief compensate the original owner for the value of the wooden beam. We will explore what this scenario and its resolution might say to some contemporary hot-button ethical issues, such as slavery and reparations, repatriation of land to Native Americans, or ill-gotten gains received as charitable donations.   

The choir will sing The Sound of Winter .

Sunday January 19  Creating Justice
On this Martin Luther King, Jr., Sunday, Laura Wagner, the Executive Director of UU Mass Action, will join us in reflecting on how we can join with others on creating justice.  Pamela Barz will lead the service with Laura. 

The choir will sing We Have a Dream.
Sunday January 26  A Legacy of Inclusion
On January 18 the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Scituate turned the grand old age of 386! In our annual birthday celebration we’ll reflect on how our practice of including those whom other churches might exclude has contributed to our life together. Carey Borkoski will join Pam in leading this service, offering us the reflection she shared at the Seaside Stories event last fall. We will also celebrate membership anniversaries.

The choir will sing Jazz Alleluia.
From the Minister
You may have noticed that I’m not preaching much in January. The confluence of guest preachers this month wasn’t planned – it was serendipity – my favorite word. I’ve been wanting to have my former colleague David Bernat join us for a service since I came to Scituate but only now has it worked out. David is brilliant, funny, and learned. He functioned as the rabbi during his time at Wellesley (though he is not a rabbi in the sense of ordination, he is one in the traditional meaning of the word as “teacher”.) I hope you’ll make an effort to come to the service that he and I will be leading on January 12 as he uses the ancient traditions of the Talmud and Mishnah to get us thinking about modern day dilemmas. 

Laura Wagner’s visit was also serendipitous. Again, for a while, I’ve wanted Laura to come to speak with us about the work of UU Mass Action and how we can participate in that work. Laura and I were talking about something else when I asked her if she happened to have any time in her schedule and she suggested Martin Luther King, Jr., Sunday, an appropriate time for us to reflect on how we can be part of the arc of justice.
And when Carey came to talk with me about sharing her moving story of the welcome she found at First Parish, I knew that our birthday celebration was just the place for that story. 

So this is serendipitous for us as a community but it’s also serendipitous for me as a minister. Having this time of not preparing sermons this month will enable me to attend the regional UU ministers’ gathering January 13-15, prepare the sessions for the Gratitude Groups, plan out the social justice curriculum for our RE program this spring, and read up on UU theology for a sermon series I’m planning for March. If there are theological concepts you’d like me to focus on (like God, sin, salvation, human nature…) please let me know. Other than the ministers’ gathering, I’ll be around this month if you’d like to talk about the state of the world, the state of your life, your hopes, your fears, your dreams. 

See you in Church!

Gratitude Groups Starting Soon
Now is the time if you have been thinking about signing up for one of the small groups exploring Diana Butler Bass' book Grateful: The Transforming Power of Giving Thanks . There are only one or two spaces left in each group. There will be three groups – on Monday evenings, Thursday evenings, and Friday afternoons. Please email Pamela Barz if you would like to be included. The groups will meet over six sessions. Each session will include a brief video based on the book, time for journaling, for reflecting in silence and aloud with others. 
... Strong Community
Bill Ketchum's Ordination
Bill Ketchum, our former Director of Religious Education, will be ordained to ministry among the churches of the United Church of Christ on Sunday January 12 at 3:00 p.m. at the Hingham Congregational Church, UCC, 378 Main Street in Hingham. We are all invited to celebrate this important milestone with Bill and Debi. Pamela Barz will be participating. 
Around the Parish

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. Please let us know if you can help with the collation by baking, making finger sandwiches, setting up, serving, or cleaning up.
Financial Update
The Finance Committee met in December and will meet next on January 19 after church. This Committee is responsible for raising enough money to support the church every year. It makes sure there are volunteer leaders on board to run all the fund raising events. These include:
[1] Snowflake Fair, always the first Saturday of December, but we make things for sale any time during the year at your convenience. We need a new leader for 2020. Please let us know if you’re interested or would like to get involved in any way.
[2] “Dump Duty” -Working in teams at the Transfer Station for one month, it’s scheduled this year for March. This important effort is organized by an experienced crew who always need many people in the congregation to sign up for a shift or two. It’s surprisingly fun and companionable to do.
[3] Spring Sale, scheduled for May 16, 2020. The main focus is on selling plants of all kinds, but we also have a bake sale, and occasionally when enough people are interested and have valuable items to sell, we hold a yard sale. Plants are organized by Vicki and Erica, but we will need leaders for food and a possible yard sale.
[4] Stewardship Canvass, coming up soon in the month of February. This is the only fundraising project run directly by the Finance Committee and is the single biggest source of money for our church. See the income comparison below of how we plan to fund church operations for 2020.

Income figures from the Operating Budget, First Parish Church, 2019
Money raised by the efforts of individuals, families and friends of the church
  Pledge Income                                $72,300
  Snowflake Fair                                 11,000
  Bottles & Cans                                    4,000          
  Spring Sale                                        2,000
  Donations & gifts (misc.)                   4,000
  RE registration                                    2,000
Other sources of income
Proceeds from Endowment fund         45,700
Rental Income                                     36,500

TOTAL OPERATING INCOME                $181,500
- Finance Committee Chair
Transformative Service
The Blue Boat Coffeehouse is back ... and dreaming of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
This Saturday January 11, 2020
This Saturday, January 11, from 6:00-9:00 pm, we are proud to present our 14th Blue Boat Coffeehouse highlighting the incredible talent of local adults and youth - and providing a fun, safe, sober evening out for the whole community - while raising funds for a local non-profit organization ... the Scituate Appalachian Service Project!

Scituate ASP has been in operation for 15 years. It is open to teens and adults from the Scituate area, no matter the church affiliation or faith. Every summer, a group of teens and adults travels to the poorest counties in Appalachia to work on repairing the homes of the neediest, helping to make these homes “safer, drier, and warmer” and perhaps having their lives change in the process. "Because when you change the lives of others, they have a way of changing you." This year First Parish youth Liam Glennon, Marina Glennon, and Willie Todd are part of the group.

For more information, check out their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ASPScituate/

Suggested donation is $5. Baked goods and other refreshments will be available for purchase, with all proceeds going to Scituate ASP.

Hello Everyone!

Happy New Year to you all! May this next decade bring only good things into all of your lives.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas response by all of Scituate's Church Congregants to the Food Pantry's request for the makings of the Holiday meals was way, way beyond all expectations. The bags and baskets of foodstuffs kept being delivered week after week. Because of the extraordinary response to the request every client was given a proverbial bounty of foodstuffs for both of their Holiday feasts. Clients were also given the items they needed for other meals - frozen meats, fruits and vegetables as well as many wonderful fresh fruits and veggies, canned and boxed foods along with personal care products. Truly, there just isn't a superlative adjective that can describe the generosity of our Townspeople. Thank you, thank, you, thank you...

Now that we are beginning a New Year the items that are needed to re-stock our shelves are the following:

Canned Hams
Sloppy Joe
Canned fish (assorted)
Canned white potatoes
Canned spinach
Personal Care Products

Again, thank you for all that you do to assist the Food Pantry in it's mission to eliminate food insecurity in our Town of Scituate.

Scituate Food Pantry Rep to the Churches
Soup + Song Postponed
Because of several conflicts on our church calendar, the Parish Committee has decided to postpone the start-up of our community supper, music, and conversation program until next fall. If you would like to be involved in making these suppers happen, please speak with Pamela Barz, or members of the Parish Committee.
Serve with the Men’s Ministry
Our Men’s Ministry met on Saturday January 4 for breakfast and to plan for projects for the next few months. Plans include working on a shed for the Rolling Wave Foundation and building shelves for the minister’s office. If you would like to be on the mailing list for the Men’s Ministry or have ideas to share, contact us . Their next meeting will be on Saturday February 1. First Parish’s Men’s Ministry welcomes all, adults and youth, who identify as male. 
Join STRIDE to Work for a More Inclusive Scituate
STRIDE (Scituate Together for Representation, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity) held their first meeting in December and heard from students at Scituate High School about issues of exclusion there. (You can see a video of a conversation some of the students had with the school paper here: Student Views Their next meeting will be in the lower level meeting room at the Scituate Town Library on Wednesday January 29, 7-8:30 p.m. with an optional casual pizza dinner at 6:30 ($5 per person). At that meeting participants will discuss the STRIDE mission statement and then break into one of three working groups to get started with action steps. Please bring a laptop if you have one. Lean more about STRIDE and sign up for their mailing list here: STRIDE Form
Calendar for January 8 - 31, 2020

Wed. 8th
10:30 am Fididdlers

Sat. 11th
6:00 pm Blue Boat Coffeehouse

Sun. 12th
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE
3:00 pm Bill Ketchum's Ordination

Mon. 13th
7:00 pm Meditation

Wed. 15th
10:30 am Fididdlers
7:00 pm Parish Committee

Sun. 19th
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE
11:45 am Finance Committee

Wed. 22nd
10:30 am Fididdlers

Sun. 26th
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE
11:45 am Synergy Sunday

Mon. 27th
7:00 pm Meditation

Wed. 29th
10:30 am Fididdlers

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.