The Packet  
The Monthly Newsletter of
First Parish Universalist Church
of Stoughton
APRIL 2016
Save the Dates
 
This Spring is going to get busy and fly by very quickly. Here are some  important dates which you should mark on your calendar:
 
Saturday, April 9     Bola Dinner and Raffle
 
Sunday, May 22     Annual Meeting of the Congregation

Saturday, June 4     Spring Yard Sale

Sunday, June 5     Coming of Age Sunday

Sunday, June 19     Final Service of 2015-2016
Along the Way
Message from Steve Cook, Interim Minister

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, March 20, I preached at our sister church in Canton, filling the pulpit for my colleague Buffy Boke, on sabbatical for several months. In the Christian church calendar, it was Palm Sunday of Holy Week. Historically, Universalist churches often celebrated Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week. That was why my theme was the inspiration of that practice, the so-called "Last Supper," which is all about who gets invited to sit at the table. This is the root of our very important Universalist witness of inclusion, a message, I said, which our currently divided nation desperately needs to hear.

Because I make no secret of being a Christian, on occasions like this I sometimes find people want to share with me their own views on Christianity. Perhaps they are simply curious about how I make that work for me; sometimes after we talk, it becomes clear that they are struggling with their own relationship to Christianity. Often, these are folks brought up in one Christian faith tradition or another but who have since chosen Unitarian Universalism as their religious home.

That this is so is hardly surprising. We live in a culture in which Christianity has always been the dominant faith. (This is now changing.) Many members of the typical UU church have converted; that is, come to us from Christian denominations and usually because they were dissatisfied. Frequently, as they share with me, it becomes apparent that they are still in a state of tension with the tradition they left. There are some ongoing quarrels, some unresolved disagreements, some arguments with past teachings and past teachers still capable of stirring emotion.

I am sometimes asked how a Unitarian Universalist can be a Christian, because to be a Christian, you have to believe thus and so (whatever it was they were taught was crucial.) Right? Don't you? So how can you be a Christian if you don't believe it? "That's why I'm not a Christian," they will tell you, "because I can't believe in"--original sin, atonement, virgin birth, resurrection--whatever.

In response, I have found myself encouraging them to stop being an "ex" and embrace being a "current;" that is, stop being an ex-Catholic (let's say) and embrace being a current Unitarian Universalist. By that I mean to let go of old quarrels, old issues, old imperatives with which they cannot abide, and accept the freedom which Unitarian Universalism affords, then use that freedom to engage the Christianity as the persons they are now. Look at the whole thing afresh, without presumptions, without fighting those old battles again; use the freedom they have as UUs to decide what might be inspirational to them in 2016.

The same would apply to anyone carrying on a running skirmish with a birth tradition. I would suggest that because they are still arguing, it means that at some level they still care, still find some things inspirational and important, even though they can't accept the whole package. In Unitarian Universalism, you don't have to accept the whole package, you have the freedom and the responsibility to forge your own faith identity which may include some elements of a birth tradition but also much more (or much less) than you might have been taught years ago. I'm always happy to talk about this with anyone who might find it useful.
 
See you in church,
Steve
Worship Schedule - April 2016
Schedule of Worship Topics, Ushers, Flowers, and Social Hour Hosts

 Sunday, April 3 - "The Living Poetry of Leaves"
Henry David Thoreau was our great, early observer of the New England spring,
a season our winters bring us to appreciate more than any other.
 Ushers:  Brenda Martin and Hunter Sprague
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed 
Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed 

Sunday, April 10 - "An Inch Too Short"
We can focus so hard on details we lose the larger picture.
Ushers:  Ed DiCastro and Carol Russell
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed
 
Sunday, April 17  - Common Worship Service
Foxborough Universalist Church - 10:00 a.m.
There will be no church in Stoughton today. We will join our fellow Five 
Points Cluster friends for worship at 10:00 a.m. at the Foxborough Universalist Church, 6 Bird Street, Foxborough, just off the town common.
 
Sunday, April 24 - "Blessed be You, Universal Matter"*
The Jesuit priest, Teilhard de Chardin, blended science and religion. Some in the church and some in scientific community were not happy about it.
*This may change due to Candidating Week
Ushers:  Jocelyn Hand and Mary Lynch
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed

    Sunday, May 1 - "Prisoner 11094"*
The late Victor Frankl, who survived a Nazi concentration camp, held up for us the crucial difference between finding happiness and finding meaning.
*This may change due to Candidating Week
 Ushers:  Brenda Martin and Linda Stephansky
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:   Volunteer Needed
MSC Update

The Ministerial Search Committee has finished conducting several Pre-candidating Weekends with ministers in search. We hope to invite a minister to participate in Candidating Week in late April. If all goes well, you will be encouraged to participate in many events with the candidate, including two worship services, between April 23 and May 1. Candidating Week will conclude with a vote by the congregation to call a settled minister. Please watch for important announcements in the near future.
BOLA Raffle
At this time, we have 89 prizes to be raffled off!
Here is the list of gifts: BOLA Gift List 2016 .
Thank you to all who donated items for the Bola Raffle. Please bring in your items to church by Sunday, April 3.

If you wish to purchase raffle tickets, they need to be returned no later than Friday, April 8. Here are the ticket stubs which you can fill out: BOLA Ticket Stubs.
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Easter Flower Display
Many thanks to those who donated toward this year's
lovely Easter flower display:

 Linda F. Brookfield                               Heidi and Dave Hudson
Cristina Carandang & Tim McElaney         Mary Lynch
 Ed DiCastro                                                    B ill Sevrens
 Sue and Bruce Ferguson                               Norma Sidebottom
Richard Hess                                                   Jill Smith
Calendar of Events - April 2016

Wednesday, March 30 -  AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.
 
Sunday, April 3 -  Worship Service, 10:30 a.m.
  Shawl Ministry, 12 noon  
    
Monday, April 4 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
  Buddhist Meditation Group, 7:00 p.m.
 
Tuesday, April 5 -   Finance Committee  Meeting,  7:00 p.m.
 
Wednesday, April 6 -  AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, April 8 -   Drumming Circle, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 9 -  Bola Dinner and Raffle, 6:30 p.m.
 
Sunday,  April  10 -   Worship Service , 10 :30  a.m.
 
Monday, April 11 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
    Buddhist Meditation Group, 7:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, April 12 -  Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:00 p.m. 
   
Wednesday, April 13 -   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.
 
Sunday, April 17 -   FPUC CLOSED - Five Points Cluster  Common Worship
    Service,  Foxborough Universalist Church, 6 Bird Street

Monday, April 18 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
    Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April  20 -   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.
 
Sunday, April  24 -   Worship Service , 10 :30  a.m.
 
Monday, April 25 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
    Buddhist Meditation Group, 7:00 p.m.
 
Wednesday, April 27 -   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.
 
Sunday, May 1 -  Worship Service, 10:30 a.m.

Announcements

What's Going On This Month?

Buddhist Meditation Group - A Buddhist Meditation Group meets at the church on  Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  For more information, please contact Denise Falbo at  denise@danky.com .

Shawl Ministry  -  The Shawl Ministry is held after church on the first Sunday of the month. This month's gathering will be held on April 3 at 12 noon. For more information, call Jane Mooney at 781-344-8236.

Drumming Circle -   The Drumming Circle will meet  on Friday, April 8,  at  7:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Kelley at  781-341-1213 or KNKelley1@comcast.net.
 
"The Packet" Deadline - The deadline for the May issue of "The Packet" is Friday, April 22, at 12 noon. Email your submissions to  lbiederwolf93@gmail.com.
Arts and Crafts Festival
May 28 * 10:00 - 3:00
 
Linda Winship is chairing a new fundraiser. The Arts and Crafts Festival will be held on the church lawn with craft vendors setting up their own spaces. We will be collecting fees for spaces and donations from each vendor for a raffle. This should be a fairly easy event, but we do need to provide a snack bar for vendors and public. Linda is looking for assistance in this regard. We will be looking for sandwich fillings and desserts - also one or two people to assist on the event day serving food and selling raffle tickets. There will be no grill, making the snack bar fairly easy. Please e-mail or call Linda Winship if you are able to help.

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April Anniversaries & Birthdays

Happy Anniversary to:

Dianna and Robert Breneman on April 15

Eileen and Richard Russell on April 15
Brenda and Jared Martin on April 29
 
These folks are celebrating birthdays  in April:
4/2 - Janet Fahey
4/3 - Linda Forbes Brookfield

4/5 - Jeffrey Levering, Jane Mooney

4/7 - Virginia Field

4/8 - John Ferguson

4/10 - Julia Dubovy

4/11 - Brenda Neagle

4/13 - Sean Ramaci

4/15 - Kai Delgadillo

4/16 - Mark Empey, Tim McElaney

4/20 - Bruce Ferguson

4/25 - Mary Lynch

4/27 - Laura Biederwolf

4/28 - Aidan Delgadillo

4/30 - Lisa Biederwolf, Pamela McCarthy

We want to list the birthdays and anniversaries of  everyone in our church family. If you're not sure that we have yours, please list them on the bulletin board at church or send the information to fpucstoughton@gmail.com.
Stewardship Appeal Update

The 2016 Stewardship Appeal is winding down. A hearty thank you to those who have returned their pledge cards for Fiscal Year 2017. If you have not done so, please return your pledge card ASAP, whether or not you are making a pledge, to Treasurer Brenda Martin. Thank you!
Thank You to...


...everyone who made a purchase or donation to the Coming of Age group's Soup-er Bake Sale fundraiser on March 20. Over $250 was raised for the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton. Thanks also to all who donated specific items that were requested by the APCSM.
 
...th Carandang/McElaney family for preparing and delivering the Mainspring Lunches in March.
Sharing News Among Us

First Parish is certainly a caring congregation.  One of the ways we might want to show that care when a person or a family is challenged with illness is to share the news among us, so that those who wish may send cards, make visits or just call to check in.  If you know of someone who has had such a setback, always be sure first that they don't mind if the information is shared.  Then it might be appropriate to have someone light a candle for them during "Sharing of Joys and Concerns" or to put an item in "The Packet."  And please don't forget to tell the minister!
Ink Cartridges - Many thanks to all who continue to drop off used toner and ink cartridges at the church. Through your efforts, we have been able to purchase office supplies and many new ink cartridges for the church office. Keep saving them and putting them in the basket outside the Fellowship Hall. We appreciate it!