The Packet  
The Monthly Newsletter of
First Parish Universalist Church
of Stoughton


Your Ministerial Search Committee invites you to
Beyond Categorical Thinking
Sunday, December 6, 2015 
Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.
Congregation Lunch at 11:30 a.m.
BCT Workshop at 12:00 p.m. (not 12:30 as previously announced)

Everyone in the congregation is invited and strongly urged to attend a Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) Workshop on Sunday, December 6. This event is sponsored by your Ministerial Search Committee.

Facilitator Donna Dolham from the UUA will be here to lead the worship service and facilitate a conversation during which we will have a chance to examine how we can avoid letting prejudice become part of our search process. This is another way for us to put our faith into lived experience and improve the odds that, regardless of identity, we will find the minister who is the best match for us and will serve us well.

Click here to view the flyer with more complete details about the BCT Workshop.

Please make every effort to attend this important event!
Along the Way
Message from Steve Cook, Interim Minister

Dear Friends,

As you know, we are in the final and most intensive year of the search process for your new minister. The Ministerial Search Committee (MSC) that you have selected to lead and serve you in this crucial work has gathered a tremendous amount of information about First Parish, your needs, your wants and your hopes for the future in partnership with the minister who will co-create with you the next chapter in your history.  Soon the MSC will begin reviewing the records and profiles of ministers who may be interested in serving First Parish, getting to know them, their experience, what they have to offer you and, in turn, what those ministers will be looking for in the church they wish to serve, perhaps for many years.   This will be a time that calls for great openness, honesty and integrity on the part of the minister, and a corresponding integrity from the church you so that good match can be made.
Since 1744, you have always been served by male ministers.  In part this just reflects the make-up of the larger UU church and ministerium over this time.  In the last 37 years you have had, (including me) only three ministers and all of them happen to have been male and White.  Many changes have occurred in society and in the UU world in those 37 years. What would it be like to consider now being served and led by a woman, or a person of color, or a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person, or a person with a physical handicap?  There are very good ministers in our movement who fit in one or more of those categories who could serve you well.  If your MSC, after the fullest consideration of all the prospective ministers interested in serving First Parish, were to select for your final vote a minister from one of those categories, how would that be? Some might feel elated and excited, some might be disquieted, and some might not know what to think at first.  All of those responses would be expected if you were, in fact, presented with a candidate who was "beyond" the traditional category.
The Beyond Categorical Thinking service and workshop to which you are invited on December 6 will be a way to think and talk and feel frankly with one another about this possibility.  I fully support this important aspect of our Unitarian Universalist movement and I hope you will be able to attend.  If you have any questions about this, please feel free to be in touch with me, or any member of the Ministerial Search Committee.

See you in church,
Worship Schedule - December 2015
Schedule of Worship Topics, Ushers, Flowers, and Social Hour Hosts

Sunday, November 29 - 
  A  Five Points Cluster Common Worship Service
will be held at the Unitarian Church of Sharon, 4 Main Street, Sharon.
All are welcome to attend!

Sunday, December 6 - "Beyond Categorical Thinking"
As an important part of our search for a new minister, we will be led
by UUA facilitator Donna Dolham and members of our search committee
as we consider how ministers of different life experiences may be fine matches for First Parish.
Ushers:  Jocelyn Hand and Mary Lynch
Flowers:   Volunteer Needed
Luncheon:  Ministerial Search Committee
Sunday, December 13 - "Do Not Quench the Spirit"
C enturies ago, the Apostle Paul wrote in part these words to the struggling young church in Thessalonica: "Do not quench the spirit-test everything, hold fast to what is good."  In an uncertain time, he speaks to us also.
  Ushers:  Ed DiCastro and Linda Stephansky
Flowers:   Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed
Sunday, December 20 - "There Was No Room"
   Have you every tried to run a hospitality business during the busy season?  Everybody wants something and sometimes you just have to say no-don't you ?
Ushers:  Laura Biederwolf and Hunter Sprague
Flowers:   Special Christmas Display
Social Hour:  Holiday  Luncheon by R.E. Committee

Thursday, December 24 - 9:00 p.m. -  Christmas Eve Service
  Mr. Cook will be joined by Jared Martin and Brenda Martin in telling the story of "The Star Mother's Youngest Child." Interspersed with many holiday favorite musical pieces and carols, they will share a surprising story
of the true meaning of Christmas.
    Ushers:  Ann and Pat Toomey
Flowers:   Special Christmas Display

Sunday, December 27 -  FPUC is CLOSED
  A  Five Points Cluster Holiday Music Service
will be held at Unity Church, 13 Main Street, North Easton.
All are welcome to attend!

Sunday, January 3 -  FPUC is CLOSED
  A  Five Points Cluster Common Worship Service
will be held at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church,
1508 Washington Street, Canton.
All are welcome to attend!  

Christmas Flower Display 2015

Jocelyn Hand and Jane Moon ey will once again lend us their expertise in arranging the holiday altar flowers. Donations
are welcome and may be sent to the church office of given
to Jocelyn or Jane
after a Sunday church service.


Members of the Five Points Cluster UU churches will be sharing with one another their energy, resources and people on several Sundays that, because of vacations and other holiday demands, are often very sparsely attended. These Sunday are November 29
December 27
January 3
The details and locations for each of these services can be found on the Worship Schedule above. We hope you will join Mr. Cook and other friends from First Parish  to share these special worship opportunities.
Calendar of Events - December 2015

Sunday, November 29 -   FPUC CLOSED -  Worship Service in Sharon

Monday, Novem
ber 30 -   AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.

December 1 -   Finance Committee Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday,  December 2 -   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 6 -   Worship Service , 10 :30  a.m
    Beyond Categorical Thinking Lunch, 11:30 a.m.
       and BCT Workshop, 12 noon
    Shawl Ministry, 12 noon
Monday, December 7 -   AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
      Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 8 -   Board of Trustees  Meeting,  7:00 p.m

Wednesday, December 9 -  AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 10 -  Wellness with Wanda, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, December 11 -  Drumming Circle, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 13 -    Worship Service , 10 :30  a.m.
Coming of Age meeting, 10:30 a.m.

Monday, December 14 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 16-   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 20  -  Family Christmas Celebration, 10:30 a.m
Congregation Christmas Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.

Monday, December 21 -   AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 24 -   Christmas Eve Service, 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 27  -  FPUC CLOSED -  Worship Service in North Easton
Monday, December 28 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 30  -   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 3 -  FPUC CLOSED - Worship Service in Canton
Holiday Fair Thank You
The Finance Committee would like to thank everyone for making this year's fundraising event so successful. Thanks go to those who volunteered, donated items, and came to give their support.  Special thanks to Brenda Martin
who coordinated this year's Fair.  It was a true team effort! 
Parlor Potpourri

For the next several weeks, some holiday items, knit goods, and  homemade jams are available  for purchase in the Parlor after church.  Please have a look and get a head start  on your holiday gift purchases!

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 (Please note that this group will not meet on November 30.)

Shawl Ministry - Th e Shawl Ministry will gather at noon on Sunday, December 6 , at the church to k nit with prayerful intention. We are knitting prayer shawls, blankets, etc. to be given away to those in need of comfort and healing as well as for celebrating joyous times. For more information, please call Jane Mooney at 781-344-8236.

Drumming Circle -   The Drumming Circle will meet  on Friday, December 11,  at  7:00 p.m. at the church. There is no charge to participate, but we will take a collection to be donated to the church with gratitude. Bring a drum if you have one, but if you don't, several of us will bring more than one to share. For more information, please contact Kelley Nelma at  781-341-1213 or
"The Packet" Deadline - The deadline for the January issue of The  Packet  is Wednesday, December 23, at 12 noon. Please email your submission to Newsletter Editor Lisa Biederwolf at
C hurch Directory 2015-2016

An updated Church Directory is available for you to use at home. Pick one up at church the next time you're there or request a copy from Carol Peck in the church office at
781-344-6800 or  Please inform Carol of any changes to your contact information throughout the year.
December Birthdays
and Anniversaries
These folks are celebrating birthdays  in December:
12/01 - Kathleen Ramaci
12/10 - Luke Johnson
12/13 - Katelyn Ramaci
12/16 - John Hudson
12/17 - Patrick Toomey
12/18 - Sue Ferguson                                           12/26 - Norma Sidebottom
12/20 - Jeff Heberling, Tricia Whiffen                    12/27 - Andrew Hudson
12/22 - David Hudson                                           12/29 - Rebecca Hess
12/25 - Carol Russell                                              12/30 - Timothy Hansen
   And Happy Anniversary to:
Paula and Mark Empey on December 18

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
Introducing Carol Peck, Church Secretary

In November, Carol Peck joined the staff as our new Church Secretary. Her office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Carol is a longtime resident of this area and has lived in Sharon and Avon. She has held administrative and marketing positions in high tech firms and Internet start-ups in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Burlington, and Westborough. Now she is pleased to be working closer to home. In her personal time, Carol volunteers for Alaskan Malamute Rescue of New England and works cooperatively with other dog rescuers in the Northeast. She is learning about organic gardening and enjoys music, theatre, travel, and long walks with her dog.

Carol says, "FPUC has a reputation as a warm and welcoming church so when I learned that there was an opening for a Church Secretary, I was interested in learning more about the opportunity. I am happy to be working for such a wonderful organization, and I hope that my experience and enthusiasm will make a contribution to the church."

We bid Carol a hearty welcome to First Parish Stoughton!
Thank You to...

...the individuals and families who  hosted coffee hour in November. Thanks to Bruce and Sue Ferguson, Mark and Susan Stewart-Racicot, and Patti Yule, for the tasty treats and your commitment to this wonderful tradition.

...Coming of Age candidates  Laura Biederwolf  and  Cesar McElaney  along with their mentors Sandra Farnham and Julia Dubovy for  preparing and delivering 50 brown bag lunches to Mainspring House in Brockton on November 22.