What's Happening
Newsletter at First Parish

March 4 - 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 March: Talking Faith
This month, we’ll be exploring our UU answers to some of life's big questions.

Sunday, March 1, 2020
Finding Refuge: Sanctuary
You may read the sermon here Finding Refurge - Sanctuary
Sunday March 8   
Spiritual or Religious? How ‘Bout Both?
Over a quarter of US adults say they are spiritual but not religious. What does this mean? And how do spirituality and religion fit in with what it means to be human? Pamela Barz preaching. The choir will sing Now is the Time.
Sunday March 15
Where Is God?
The Rev. Ms. Johanna Murphy will return as our guest preacher this morning. Jo writes about her sermon: “As a hospital chaplain, my patients frequently ask: 'Why is God doing this to me?' 'Why is God punishing me?' Rather than attempt a direct response, I first work to uncover what or who they actually believe is God. I often find that people do not actually believe in a God that would punish them and sometimes they do not believe in God at all! In this sermon I will explore what people seek from believing in God and what they find either in believing in God or by not believing in God. The choir will sing Simply Gregorian.

Jo Murphy is a Unitarian Universalist minister who currently works as a hospital chaplain at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and with Chaplains on the Way, a program that does accompaniment work with people experiencing homelessness in Waltham, MA. Jo is passionate about immigration and environmental justice as well as brunch foods. 
Sunday March 22  
What is Truth?
In a time of “alternative facts” and relativism, how do we know what to believe? Pamela Barz preaching.
Sunday March 29
Missing the Mark
Unitarian Universalists don’t talk much about sin. Have we lost something by letting this concept go? Pamela Barz preaching. The choir will sing Saranam.
From the Minister
You know I love etymologies! So as we begin to explore big questions this month, here’s a little unpacking of the word “theology.” It’s from theos (“god”) and “logos” (“word”) so “theology” is words about god.  But notice that “god” isn’t capitalized. Theology isn’t the study of one particular understanding of “God” but of that to which we give ultimate worth, the framework which gives us meaning, what we worship. 

As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. And a man will worship something ... That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.” As we deal with an increasingly complex world and its weighty issues, this seems like a good time to look at our foundational beliefs and how they guide our actions.

I appreciate the time many of you took on Sunday February 9 to suggest questions you’d like to explore in this series. I hope my Sunday morning thoughts will just be the start for you to continue to develop your own theological understandings.

See you in Church!
The New UU Begins Sunday March 8
Are you new to First Parish? Or have you been around a while but would like to know more about the history of Unitarian Universalism and the workings of our church? On Sundays March 8, 22, 29 and April 5, noon-1 p.m., Pamela Barz will lead discussions of UU history, theology, spirituality and governance. At the end of the series participants who are not yet members of First Parish will be invited to join. You do not have to attend all the sessions. Please email Pam if you’d like to participate or have questions.
Exploring Justice: Priorities starts Thursday March 12
Exploring Justice: Priorities uses the Ten Commandments to think about primary values and learn the history behind some of today's difficult issues: When did the Pledge of Allegiance change and why? How did Charles "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh taint the original “America First” movement? Who was the first monarch in history to grant the full freedom of religion? 

Then, with exercises that encourage dialogue rather than division, the group sessions will help us think about whether we're living by our values when engaging issues from the NFL protests and Confederate monuments to the Pledge of Allegiance, the First and Second Amendments, separation of church and state, White nationalism, flags in churches, and more.
The class will meet on Thursdays March 12 and 26, April 9, 16, 30, and May 7, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Please bring a copy of the student book to the first class. Copies are available on Amazon:  Priorities (Exploring Justice: The Ten Commandments)

The class is limited to 12 people. 
Thursday, March 19 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm
(Book Club Room at Scituate Public Library)

Open to all. Please join us to discuss the book and how its message relates to our local and global communities.

Bryan Stevenson's memoir "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" describes his work with prisoners on death row and the ways that race, class, ability, and wealth affect our system of justice. The book was made into a 2019 movie, so watching that is an option as well. The movie and the book are available through the OCLN system. There is also a young adult version of the book if you'd like to invite youth to join our reading and conversation.

The current focus of the group is nonfiction that challenges us to look at ourselves and others in a different way, and work towards more empathy in the world (previous titles in this series: White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, All About Love by bell hooks, and There There by Tommy Orange). The group first met to discuss works about race and privilege, then last year delved into the books that are studied by 6-12th grade students in the Scituate school system.
... Strong Community
The FY 2021 Financial Stewardship Campaign officially closed Feb. 29
If you’ve not yet sent in your pledge, please do it right away. If you can’t find your pledge packet please contact the office so we can send you one.
We’re hoping for 100% participation. Even if you think your contribution would be too small to matter, it does matter. Even a very modest pledge demonstrates your commitment to our UU principles and the vision of our church as a Beacon of leadership. Thank you to everyone who has already sent in their pledge. Total results will be announced later this month. 
About 40 adults and children attended the Stewardship Celebration Dinner on February 29. We thank all who came and contributed their presence to the festivities and fun. We especially thank all of you who helped set up, work in the kitchen and to clean up afterward.

-  Finance Chair
Unity/Alliance Club Dinner
Wednesday March 11, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Welcome Ladies! On March 11, 2020, at 6:30 you are invited to dinner and story telling by the Unity/Alliance club.

What could be more Fun!

Come enjoy a great dinner, the company of friends, and listen to us share a great story.

See you at 6:30 on March 11!

-Unity Alliance
Pizza and Game Night - Friday March 27, 6:00 to 9:00
Come enjoy a night of pizza, potluck and games. Bring a game or two that you enjoy or a deck of cards. We’ll order pizzas (pass the hat), or you can bring whatever you want to eat. Please bring non-alcoholic drinks.
Bottles and Cans Fundraiser

Redemption can mean pretty serious stuff for some folks but for the Bottle and Cans Fund Raising Team, it means bringing in money to support our church. March is our month at the Transfer Station, and we need people to sign up for time slots to sort bottles and cans and to transport to the Redemption Center in Cohasset.

I chose March because of the extra drop offs from St Patrick’s Day, and it should be warmer than the January and February months that we have had in the past, and it has an extra Sunday, usually a big day for us.

So please sign up for some time slots. You can pick your own teams or if you are coming for the first time, the coordinator will make sure that you are teamed up with a “veteran.”.

The Sign-Up Genius is the way that we staff and organize this fundraiser so please join our team by signing up. Our goal for this March is $4200.

-Bottle and Cans Fundraiser Committee
Prevention Tips for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
There are many concerns about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The following information has been taken directly from the CDC website to help educate all of us about the disease and to help prevent the spread of this disease 
The SYMPTOMS of Coronavirus include;
-Shortness of breath
If you experience any of the above, call your Primary Care Doctor for further advice. They will decide if testing is warranted. 
Person-to-person spread
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  1. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  2. Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
-Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Follow these five steps every time.
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
-If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 
  1. Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  2. Rub your hands together.
  3. Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
For more information, please refer to the CDC website directly at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
Transformative Service

T he Blue Boat Coffeehouse is going green for another sober St. Patrick's Day celebration!

On Saturday, March 14, 202 0 , from 6:00-9:00 pm , First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Scituate is proud to present our 15th Blue Boat Coffeehouse to highlight the incredible talent of local adults and youth while raising funds for a local non-profit organization.

This alcohol-free, substance-free, family-friendly event is open to the public and donations on this night are encouraged to benefit South Shore Peer Recovery, a local organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families in recovery from substance use disorders.  

South Shore Peer Recovery is a recovery support organization based in Scituate, which serves all communities in the area, and all pathways to recovery. This non-profit group began in 2014, when local individuals in recovery, family members, friends and allies got organized to offer education, advocacy and support opportunities to all. South Shore Peer Recovery welcomes all to their recovery community center at  51 Cole Parkway in Scituate Harbor . Free recovery support groups such as acupuncture, meditation and yoga are offered weekly, as well as discussion groups, skills workshops for family members, and social opportunities. Volunteers are welcomed to get involved in a variety of projects.

For more information, check out their website: www.southshorepeerrecovery.com  or email Volunteer and Center Coordinator, Jane Wasel at jwasel@southshorepeerrecovery.com .

For information and the latest line-up of performers for the Blue Boat Coffeehouse  on 3/14 /20, please visit “The Blue Boat Coffeehouse” Facebook page.
Men’s Ministry 
First Parish’s Men’s Ministry meets monthly on the first Saturday morning for breakfast and a service project. All who self-identify as male, children and adults, are welcome. On Saturday March 7, they’ll gather for breakfast and then do some work. Please let Chuck Jones know if you have questions, ideas, or would like to be on his email list. 
General Assembly 2020 in Providence!
General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles. Please join us Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday, June 28, 2020 in Providence, Rhode Island for this 5-day immersive experience where we participate in inspirational worship services and informative workshops, reconvene with friends and colleagues, and explore our bustling exhibit hall.
GA is an unforgettable experience for the thousands of UUs who attend. Meet us in Providence and you’ll leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas to share with your congregation and community-at-large! The theme for General Assembly in June 2020 is Rooted, Inspired, & Ready! We are in touch with our theological roots, we are engaged in transforming our faith, and we are fired up to take action in the wider world. First Parish is entitled to two delegates to the meetings but any number may attend workshops, programs, and services.  Please speak with a member of the Parish Committee if you’re interested in attending. More information:  https://www.uua.org/ga
End of Life forum
After last Sunday's service, First Parish hosted a UU Mass Action working group's public forum on the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act, now pending in the legislature. Brian Monteiro, campaign manager for Compassion & Choices, led the discussion, and he looks forward to answering questions or returning to FPUU if interest remains strong. This Act (H.1926/S.1208) would allow qualified, terminally ill adults to request and self-administer medication to end their life in a humane and dignified manner if they choose. It is modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which has been in practice for 20 years; similar legislative attempts in MA have not been successful, but advocates like Brian are optimistic this bill has a chance. He described it as somewhat restrictive, but an excellent start for offering patients a choice that the medical establishment and the palliative care community can both support. Our local reps support the bill, but phone calls to them do help them make their case, so please call in. For more information, go to https://www.uumassaction.org/medical-aid-in-dying .
Join the Work of UU Mass Action
Each month we highlight an aspect of the work of UU Mass Action. This month, you are invited to participate in: Moving into Prison Ministry Conference in Reading, MA, on Saturday, March 28 th .

This conference is for Unitarian Universalists and anyone who connects to our ministry and asserts that all are worthy of love and justice.  Religious freedom for people living in systems of mass incarceration is protected by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. Yet exploring and practicing a wide breadth of spiritual and religious views can be challenging. Prisons are dominated by largely fundamentalist teachings and resources.
This conference will provide alternative perspectives and will demonstrate to people interested in prison ministry how to support the unmet religious and spiritual needs of those who are incarcerated. Prison ministry is an expansive term that can include such activities as becoming a pen pal, making regular in-person visits, hosting classes or worship services in prison, advocating, and more. Learn more at worthynow.org/classes-events/pic101readingma/.

The Scituate Food Pantry is deeply indebted for the continued generosity of all your Congregants.
Thank you for recognizing the community’s ongoing need and your Church’s response to it.

The following is an updated list of the Food Pantry’s needs:
  • Hash
  • Spam
  • Hams (non-refrigerated)
  • Chili with meat
  • Sloppy Joe (canned)
  • Salmon/Sardines
  • Creamed soups
  • Chicken, Celery, Mushroom
  • Potatoes, Beets, Spinach (canned)
  • Cold cereal
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Jell0/Pudding
  • Hot Chocolate packets
  • Toothpaste

Thank you all for taking on the responsibility of keeping the Food Pantry news and needs "alive" in your Congregation. As has been said many times over, "it takes a village"... or in our case a Wonderful Town.

-Scituate Food Pantry Representative to Churches
Calendar for March 4 - 31, 2020
Wed. 4th
10:30  am     Fididdlers
7:00 pm Parish Committee

Sat. 7th
8:00 am Men's Ministry

Sun.  8th   
 9:00   am     Choir Practice
10:30  am     Worship and RE
12:00  pm  The New UU class
5:00 pm Youth Group - Channing Church

Mon. 9th
7:00 pm Meditation

Wed. 11th
10:30 am Fididdlers
6:30 pm Unity/Alliance Dinner

Thurs. 12th
7:00 pm Exploring Justice

Sat. 14th
6:00 pm Blue Boat Coffeehouse

Sun. 15th
9:00 am Choir Practice
10:30 am Worship and RE
Wed. 18th
10:30 am Fididdlers
7:00 pm Parish Committee

Thurs. 19th
9:00 am UU Clergy Meeting
6:30 pm Community Book Disc. - Just Mercy in the Library Book Group Room

Friday 20th
1:00 pm Scituate Council of Churches at FTCC

Sun. 22nd
10:30  am     Worship and RE
12:00  pm  The New UU class
5:00 pm Youth Group - Scituate

Mon. 23rd
7:00 pm Meditation

10:30 am Fididdlers

Thurs. 26th
7:00 pm Exploring Justice

Fri. 27th
6:00 pm Game Night

Sat. 28th
6:00 pm Choir Dinner

Sun. 29th
9:00   am     Choir Practice
10:30  am     Worship and RE
12:00  pm  The New UU class
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.