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

MARCH 2016


BOLA 2016 will be held on Saturday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Donations Needed - Linda Winship is collecting your donations which should have a minimum value of $10 and can be a gift item, a gift card, or cash gift, whatever you would like to donate. Lots of items means lots of opportunities to win. To donate, please contact Linda Winship at 508-622-1044 or .

As the date gets closer, watch for announcements about ticket prices, the dinner menu, and opportunities to purchase and sell raffle tickets.

Please tell your friends and family members to save the date since many people make for a fun night.  We look forward to this event and hope to see you there!
Along the Way
Message from Steve Cook, Interim Minister

Dear Friends,
It is a common human yearning to wish for clarity and predictability.  There are those who thrive on the excitement of never quite knowing what comes next, as if life were one giant thrill ride at Six Flags.  I suspect they probably look at the rest of us as a bunch of boring, sticks-in-the-mud, while regarding themselves as bold, adventuring, free spirits.  (I speak as a card-carrying "stick," you understand.) The population of free spirits, I would guess, has an inverse relationship to the health of the economy; it is easier to be an economic "soldier of fortune" when there are plenty of jobs to be had.  In times of turmoil, most of us would rather trade a certain sameness of existence for the exhilaration of exploring new horizons, when that sameness guarantees we have a job, a roof, and a modest entertainment budget, while adventuring may not.

This carries over into many other aspects of life.  Anxiety about the future often leads to a hunger for simple answers, impatience with nuance and a search for someone or something external to the group to blame for all the turmoil.  Our current situation is often compared to the 1930s, a time when all of those needs were moving powerfully in the world.  The old system had torn itself to pieces in the First World War, resulting in economic and political bankruptcy.  The hunger for power and direction was filled in some nations by fascism or communism, both of which advanced simplistic answers to complex problems, both of which were ultimately sterile and destructive.  There are many dimensions to the failure of these two systems, but their major mistake in thought was to ignore the basic fact that human life is not lived in the clean, knife edged clarity of uncompromising principle and doctrine.  It is lived in the messy middle, where shades of gray and unsatisfying compromises mark every effort of actual people to get things done, since they are working with other actual people who do not share their principles or convictions.

We are faced this year with the most unpredictable presidential election season we have seen certainly since 1968.  We may be witnessing the dissolution or fatal weakening of the Republican Party, a party founded just before the Civil War in another period of great national turmoil, when existing parties seemed no longer to have answers to the questions of the time.  It's possible we may see the election of the first woman or the first Socialist to the Presidency, or we may see the election of the first television entertainer and businessman to the office.  What seems clear is that the leadership machinery of both major parties is being challenged as never before and that the temptation to the choose the simplistic answer is, in the current political argot "YUUUUUUUUGE!"  I hope we will yet be able to hold on to the "messy middle" for that is where most of us live and where long term solutions (perhaps imperfect, but workable) will be forged.

See you in church,
Rev. Steve
Worship Schedule - March 2016
Schedule of Worship Topics, Ushers, Flowers, and Social Hour Hosts

Sunday, February 28 - "Kintsukuroi"
  This is a Japanese word that means "to repair with gold." It's a way of repairing with gold lacquer broken pottery. It's a way of understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been used and broken. All of us have our own breaks and wounds; how do we repair them?
 Ushers:  Carol Russell and Hunter Sprague
Flowers:   Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:   Volunteer Needed

Sunday, March 6 - "How Super Was Super Tuesday?"
Even in a difficult season, it is our responsibility as citizens
to educate ourselves on the issues and vote.  
Ushers:   Carol Russell and Linda Stephansky
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed
Sunday, March 13 - 
"Hands to Work, Hearts to God"
On this day when we "spring forward" to give ourselves more usable daylight, let's consider a people who were all about the joy being useful, the Shakers.
Ushers:  Brenda Martin and Jill Smith
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed
Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed

Sunday, March 20 - "Touring the Quilt
This morning's service is being prepared and presented by the Worship Committee. (FYI - Rev . Cook will be preaching at First Parish in Canton  this morning while Rev. Boke is on sabbatical.)
Ushers:  Ed DiCastro and Hunter Sprague
Flowers:  Volunteer Needed
Social Hour: Volunteer Needed

Sunday, March 27 - 
Easter Sunday - "Who is This?" 
At Easter, our roots in Universalist Christianity call us to ponder the question that has been asked about Jesus for almost two thousand years.
 Ushers:  Jocelyn Hand and Mary Lynch
Flowers:   Volunteer Needed
    Social Hour:  Volunteer Needed

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

Calendar of Events - March 2016
Sunday, February 28 - Worship Service,10:30 a.m.
   Coming of Age Meeting, 10:30 a.m.

Monday, February 29 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
    Buddhist Meditation Group, 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 1   Finance Committee Meeting, 7:00 p.m.  
Wednesday, March 2 -  AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 6 -
   Worship Service , 10 :30 a.m.
      Shawl Ministr y, 12 noon
Monday, March 7 -   AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 8  Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 9    AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 11 -   Drumming Circle
7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 13  -  Worship Service, 10:30 a.m.
 Monday, March 14 -   AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
  Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday,  March 16 - AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 20 -  Worship Service, 10:30 a.m.
Soup-er Bake Sale Fundraiser (see details below)
Monday, March 21 -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Buddhist Meditation Group , 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 23 -   AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 27 -    Worship Service , 10:30 a.m. - Easter Sunday
Monday, March 28  -  AlAnon meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Buddhist Meditation Group, 7:00 p.m. 
Wednesday, March 30 -  AA meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 3 -  Worship Service, 10:30 a.m. 
MSC Update
In February, the Ministerial Search Committee began conducting in-person interviews with ministers in search whom we deemed to be a possible "good fit" for FPUC Stoughton. Pre-candidating weekends include informal meetings between the MSC and the pre-candidate, a tour of the church, a driving tour of Stoughton, and the MSC members attending a service led by the pre-candidate at a neutral location. The interview schedule allows the ministers in search to learn even more about our congregation and helps the MSC determine whether or not the pre-candidate might be a good match for us. These are busy but satisfying days!  

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

Shawl Ministry - The Shawl Ministry will gather at noon on Sunday, March 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, March 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 March issue of The  Packet  is Wednesday, March 23, at 12 noon. Please email your submission to Newsletter Editor Lisa Biederwolf at
Shawl Ministry Special Project - Please Help

The Shawl Ministry has created handmade knit and crocheted cotton washcloths to donate to Evelyn House. We would like to put together kits that will include the washcloth and other personal care items that can be kept and carried in zip lock bags.

We are asking for monetary donations that will go toward the purchase of the plastic bags and toiletries. If you would like to contribute to this project, please speak with a member of the Shawl Ministry: Jane Mooney, Jill Smith, and Patti Yule. Thank you.
March Birthdays   
These folks are celebrating birthdays  in March:
3/05  - Richard Child
3/07 - Ed Geiger
3/12 - Marjorie Bargout 
3/15 - Kevin Mooney
3/16 - Shyla Fae Norris

3/18 - Heidi Hudson

3/23 - Sandra Piche

3/25 - Patrick Hudson

3/27 - Jack Reardon

3/30 - Deborah Levering

3/31 - Douglas Weiler
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
Soup-er Bake Sale
The 2016 Coming of Age candidates will be holding a Soup-er Bake Sale on Sunday, March 20, after the worship service. There will be soups and baked goodies available for purchase with the proceeds going toward the group's service project to help the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton.  Watch for more details!
Thank You to...

...everyone who contributed chocolate goodies and/or bid on the tasty offerings at the Chocolate Auction on Sunday, February 14. The annual event was, as always, filled with laughter and lots of chocolate.
...Cesar McElaney and his family for preparing and delivering the MainSpring brown bag lunches in February.
Arts and Crafts Festival
Saturday, May 28, 2016
On the church green
Watch for more info.
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!  
Social Concern: One-Act Play Provides 
Awareness about Solitary Confinement

"Mariposa and the Saint," a one-act play of the true story of a woman locked in solitary confinement for nearly three years, will be performed at the Milford Performing Arts Center, 150 Main St., Milford, on Thursday, March 24 at 8 p.m. Admission is by donation. The performance is co-sponsored by EMIT, End Mass Incarceration Together, a task force of UU Mass Action Network.
We especially invite UUs in the Milford area to participate in this powerful informative dramatic event. Raising awareness about the cruelty of solitary confinement is part of EMIT's quest for justice and reform in Massachusetts. Please invite your state representatives and senators to attend this performance. 
Julia Steele Allen is an award-winning playwright and activist who wrote "Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play Through Letters" entirely on letters written between Allen and Sara (Mariposa) Fonseca while Mariposa was held in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of a California women's prison. The play is performed by Allen and Ray Huth and directed by Noelle Ghoussaini.