First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
July 2021 Newsletter

Our Vision:
We aspire to be a beacon of
liberal religion, strong community,
and transformative service,
rooted in Love.
Liberal Religion
From the Minister
I was able to spend time with extended family as this summer began. We hadn’t all been together in one place at the same time since Thanksgiving 2018 so it’s an understatement to say that it was wonderful to be with them. But when people ask me what we did on vacation, I didn’t at first have much of an answer. We walked and hiked; we shared meals; we sat by the ocean and swam in a lake; some teamed up for basketball; after dinners we got silly with “Celebrity,” a charades-like game. Nothing, as they say, to write home about. But by the end of the week, we felt rested and connected. Coming home and thinking about our summer worship series, I realized that the vacation was so good, because we spent our time playing.  

The authors of Spiritual Literacy, Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat, wrote, “Play is the exuberant expression of our being. It is at the heart of our creativity, our sexuality, and our most carefree moments of devotion. It helps us to live with absurdity, paradox, and mystery. It feeds our joy and wonder. It keeps our search for meaning down to earth.” And June Maffin, author of Soulistry, reflected, “When we play, we leave behind the daily stressors and allow our spirit to breathe and re-create.”

After 15 months of grief and worry, of isolation and anger, we need to play. So this summer our worship offers different ways to play. Our summer worship team offers this focus not to turn us away from the suffering around us, but to help us replenish ourselves in body, mind, and spirit, so that we can continue to engage with the needs around us.  

So this summer, renew yourself. Let play re-connect you to your self, to others, and to the natural world. Join us Sundays at 9 a.m. to walk, to create, to sing, to dance, to draw. To be silly comes from a Greek word meaning “blessed” - let’s find the sacred in silliness together.

See you in Church - or on the playground!
Summer Worship - Playful Spirits
Sundays July 11-September September 5 at 9 a.m.
Summer services will be outdoors at the church except for the July 25 service which will meet on Egypt Beach. They will involve movement and art, so children are very welcome.   
Sunday July 11 Wandering/Wondering
Brian will offer a mindfulness practice for mind-wanderers that emphasizes wandering and spaciousness over concentration and focus.  
Sunday July 18 Drumming Circle
Elizabeth will lead the congregation in a drumming/instrument circle. People of all ages are invited to experience the power of making rhythm together and create a collective voice as we get in tune with each other and ourselves. There will be instruments provided but feel free to bring your own drum or rhythm instrument.  
Sunday July 25 Heart Rocks - Meet at Egypt Beach
Lin and Melissa will lead a meditative beach walk focusing on the beauty of the stones.
Sunday August 1   TBD
Sunday August 8   Meet You on the Playground
Bring your favorite outside game or join in on those provided at the church.   
Sunday August 15   Art and Play
Color your spirit with sidewalk chalk and other art supplies.
Sunday August 22   Fireside Stories
Gather around the "campfire" for a morning of storytelling and toasting marshmallows.
Sunday August 29   Sing Along With Howard
In tune with our summer theme, guitarist and singer Howard says, "Music is always play for me." In fact, the quote on his big song playbook reads "What Would Life Be Without Music to Make Our Souls Dance?" Howard will accompany and lead a circle sing-along with familiar songs (Enter, Rejoice, and Come In, This Land Is Your Land, Country Roads, etc.) Please email suggestions and requests for songs ahead of time so we can compile photocopies of the words for the day. Howard knows a lot of songs! (email requests to Lin).
Sunday September 5   Plant Your Hopes - Backpack Blessing
Pamela and Eileen will lead our annual blessing of the backpacks just before school begins, inviting participants to plant literally and metaphorically what they hope to bloom in their lives in the coming year. Backpacks, computer bags, totes, briefcases, diaper bags all welcome!
Here All Belong
On Sunday June 6, we celebrated our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each person and the way that belief led us to become a Welcoming Congregation and live out that radical welcome. Jen, Claire, Brian, and Susan shared their thoughts on why it’s important to them to be part of a Welcoming Congregation.
Religious Education 2021-2022 for our Children and Youth
After a year of RE on Zoom, we’re coming back with a fresh approach to our religious education program. In the coming year, we are planning a multi-age outdoor program for children K-6; Our Whole Lives sexuality program for youth grades 7-9, and Coming of Age for youth in grade 10 (or anyone older who hasn’t completed Coming of Age). There will also be nursery care for younger children and our shared SciCohRockWell youth group for high school students. 

In order to plan for the year, we need families to register for the program:
Virtual General Assembly 2021 Update
I was grateful to serve as your delegate! General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) where participants worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process.

I have attended workshops and presentations on a variety of topics I believe could enrich our congregational life at First Parish - authentic leadership, building community, social justice, trauma-work, peace practices, antiracist principles, and more. I am struck most by how much I didn't know, particularly about the umbrella groups under the UUA and the partnering/support of other nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and around the world. We are part of a powerful, engaged tradition. I invite you to spend some summer reading time looking at the UUA website, General Assembly materials when it is all available, and pick up a summer book at Beacon Press. I am so excited to work with you on what you want to see as programs offered as adult religious education, R.E. Connect.

With love,
Strong Community
Read Aloud Short Stories
Enjoy short stories? Brian and Katherine are interested in a lunch hour (45 minute) reading aloud short stories this summer. Please email Brian if you are interested, and what days and times work best for you. We'll start with stories by Kate Atkinson, and distribute the stories in advance.
...Transformative Service
Scituate Pride Walk
Over 30 members of the congregation participated in the Scituate Pride Walk on Saturday, June 26. Many wore First Parish “Love Shows Up” t-shirts, and several arrived at the church early to decorate the front lawn with small Pride flags celebrating different groups in the LGBTQIA+ community to complement the 60-foot rainbow banner already on the church. There was a good turnout for the walk, which started at

Gates Middle School, proceeded down First Parish Road past the church, and ended at Lawson Common where organizers gave brief comments. The co-chairperson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, who led the legislative battle for Marriage Equality in Massachusetts, was the Grand Marshal for the walk and featured speaker.
Updates from the Social Justice Signage Team
We are making plans to remove the rainbow banner that has adorned the front of the sanctuary for the past month. The response to the banner from the wider community was overwhelmingly positive, and it was a joy to walk past the church during the Pride Walk.
Many thanks to members of the Social Justice Signage Team: Mary, Kate, Lin, Anthony, Annie, Charlie, Claire, Jean , and Susan, for planning and implantation; to Frank, who also helped install the rainbow banner; and to Pam, Caroline, and Rodney, who all offered moral support as we installed the rainbow banner in the middle of a nor’easter.
Over the summer, we will attach a sign holder to the front facade of the church, between the windows, that will hold rotating signage. The first two signs, chosen by a congregational poll, will be “Black Lives Matter,” and “Hate Has No Home Here.” We can eventually create other social justice messages and might also use the space for signs for church events like the Blue Boat Coffee House and the Snowflake Fair.
Reparations: A Congregational Opportunity to Engage Repair Sunday, August 8th from 3:00-4:15pm ET

Join the UUA New England Region for a rich and comprehensive webinar on Reparations and how UUA New England Region congregations are engaging in this important work. Inspired by the recommendations of the Commission on Institutional Change in the Widening the Circle of Concern report, this webinar will highlight Reparations within Unitarian Universalism as a theological imperative. It will also invite congregations into examining implications for accounting and redress of injustices as well as opportunities to engage the labor of repair together.

In the Fall, the New England Regional staff will be convening congregations with Reparations Task Forces or Teams for an in-depth Reparations Praxis Community to support and challenge each other in their efforts.

This program will be offered in webinar format and be less interactive than you may be used to from our other offerings. The UUA encourages all to plan ahead for post-processing and integration into congregations or communities.
All registrants will receive the recording.

$10 per person
Each person who wishes to attend should register individually. There are no team or group registrations for this event.

If these fees are prohibitive even to the congregation, please contact us.

REGISTRATION CLOSES: Monday, August 2 or maximum capacity (300).
Love Shows Up for Justice Sunday Standouts on Hiatus
For the past 13 months, since the murder of George Floyd, members and friends of the congregation have stood out on the lawn of First Parish every weekend urging justice for members of historically excluded and oppressed communities. There is so much work to be done, but we decided last week to suspend our standouts for the time being. What can we as a community do next to take action in support of social justice? The UU Mass Action South Shore Regional Team is meeting monthly by Zoom; these provide an excellent forum for discussion issues and action. If you have ideas about action or activities that you would like to see take place at First Parish in Scituate, please reach out to the Parish Committee (Mary or Cary) or to Jean , Alma, or Carol.

July Calendar 2021

Sun.    4th
No Service

Sun.    11th
9:00     am       Worship

Sun.    18th
9:00     am       Worship

Sun.    25th
9:00     am       Worship - Egypt Beach