What's Happening at First Parish

August 2020

We aspire to be a beacon of . ..
...Liberal Faith
Summer Services  Sundays August 2 - September 6 
For the summer, we are joining with other UU Massachusetts congregations to share services. Each congregation will take a turn hosting worship - they will plan, lead, and record the service which will then be shared over YouTube. Information on each service and where to find it will be shared each week in email and on our Facebook page

  • August 2 The Rev. Mr. Edmund Robinson, Retired, UU Meeting House of Chatham
  • August 9 The Rev. Ms. Monica Jacobson-Tennessen, First Parish, Kingston
  • August 16 The Rev. Ms. Janet Newton, First Parish, Berlin
  • August 23 The Rev. Mr. Hank Peirce, UU Church of Reading
  • August 30 The Rev. Ms. Pamela Barz, First Parish Scituate
  • September 6 Ms. McKayla Hoffman and Mr. Tony Winters, First Parish Bridgewater
From the Minister 
I am writing this as my Study Leave draws to a close. I've appreciated this time to read widely without the deadline or the focus of a sermon or a class to prepare, though clearly much of the reading will provide food for sermons and discussions to come. I thought you might be interested in seeing what I've been reading. Let me know if you're interested in talking about any of these books or their topics. 

Grounded : finding God in the world--a spiritual revolution by Diana Butler Bass
How to Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going: Leading in a Liminal Season by Susan Beaumont
Full Dissidence: Notes from an Uneven Playing Field by Howard K. Bryant
Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World by Serene Jones
An Indigienous People's History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Preaching as Testimony by Anna Carter Florence
The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren
Active Hope:How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
The Soul of America : the Battle for our Better Angels by Jon Meacham
My Grandmother's Hands : Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
and with the Parish Committee, We Were Spiritual Refugees: A Story to Help You Believe in Church by Katie Hays

Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot
A House Among the Trees by Julia Glass
The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman
American Spy: A Novel by Lauren Wilkinson

Swerve by Ellery Akers
How to Love a Country by Richard Blanco
Some Glad Morning by Barbara Crooker

What have you been reading? 

See you in Church,
Religious Education for Children and Youth 2020-2021
Religious Education (RE) preparations, for pre-school - Grade 12, are in full swing for fall classes beginning the week of September 20, probably over Zoom.This year's curriculum focus is World Religion. Please visit RE Registration Form or firstparishscituate.org to register children online and to sign up to teach. All adults are welcome and encouraged to teach; you do not need a child in the program to teach a class.If you don't have a child in the program but would like to teach, please contact Eileen, Religious Education Coordinator, FirstParishScituateDRE@gmail.com .
...Strong Community
Keep Up with the Parish Committee
The Parish Committee has been considering ways that we can help all members of the First Parish family continue to feel connected to the church and one another in these times of distance. In that spirit:
Keeping up with the Committee -- Remember that the Minutes of all Parish Committee meetings are printed in the Members section of the church web site. And anyone who wishes to can attended our meetings, held the third Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9:00 pm.

Small Summer Gatherings -- Some have expressed interest in getting together in small groups (respecting safe practice and social distancing, of course) for outdoor, in-person socializing. We are in need of a small task force to make those happen (gathering hosts, preparing sign ups, etc.) If you would like to take on this task, please email PC co-chair Mary.
What about Services in the Fall? -- PC co-chair Anthony is organizing a task force of members who are healthcare professionals to discuss and make recommendations on a possible return to in-person church. We will keep all posted on those conversations and recommendations.
Playground Vandalism – Unfortunately the playground recently experienced minor vandalism, apparently at the hands of bored youth. Scituate Police filed a report, and we are working with Erdman School to ensure their needs are met. Further, a physical security assessment will be conducted in the upcoming weeks, at no cost to us, to determine if there are cost effective measures we may take to reduce the likelihood of repeat instances of loitering and vandalism. We feel this step will improve the overall safety of our church, and will help maintain an excellent relationship with Erdman School.
Stay healthy and safe.
-Parish Committee
Tea with the Minister
Join Pam for tea outside on the back deck at her home for tea on Mondays August 10 and 17 and Thursday August 27, 9:30-11:00 a.m. Masks required. Group size is limited to 5 people so please sign up for a slot.

In addition, Pam is available for individual outside visits. Contact her to set up a time to meet.
Summer Story Time in August
On Wednesday evenings, 7-7:20 a.m. people of all ages are invited to Zoom in for a story. On August 5, Brian will read I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds and on August 12 Pamela will read Ella Takes the Cake by Carmela and Steven D'Amico. 
Love Shows Up Sign
Order your "Love Shows Up" swag and benefit First Parish and UU Urban Ministry in Boston equally. Lawn signs are in, and you can pre-order t-shirts, which are due next week.

Lawn signs are $15. T-shirts are $15 for regular design, or $20 with the church name proudly added on the back. Both shirts are a medium-blue 100% cotton - you choose a traditional cut or a "women's" fitted, S/M/L/XL.

Payment by cash preferred, or by check for members. You -- or friends and neighbors -- can buy them in person at Sunday or Tuesday vigils at the church, or email Kate.
Do you think of Christmas in July? ...

The Snowflake Fair to be more precise.
While sitting and sipping a cold drink with ice!
Do you think of our Fair when it’s 90 degrees? 
In front of the Church with the wreaths and the trees?
Fresh greens in the snow are wonderful-smelling,
Our sales force is frantic, just selling and selling!
Realistically, we expect we can safely hold the outdoor aspect of the Snowflake Fair in 2020, on the traditional first Saturday of the month, December 5.  But the traditional indoor part – with crowds packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the Sloop Room, laughing, shouting, slurping chowder, greeting old friends with a hug – not so much.

Financially, the Snowflake Fair has brought in at least $10,000 in recent years, as well as providing a lot of fun. So the Parish Committee has called for a Task Force to reimagine a Snowflake Fair for Dec. 5 that is fun, safe, and profitable. It can incorporate as much of the traditional fair as is feasible, and add whatever we need to make up the difference. 

If this challenge excites you please reply to this newsletter or directly to Mary o r Alma Let’s figure out how to Save our Snowflake Fair with some great brainstorming!
-Snowflake Fair Committee
The scaffolding and tarps are in place and the steeple is prepared for the work to be done!
Thank you to everyone who has made generous donations to our campaign! We have reached $30,000 but are still just short of our goal!!! The more we can raise, the less we will have to borrow from our Endowment (as well as the amount of time it will take to repay it.) The church depends on the income from our Endowment to meet our budget so we need to replenish the funds as soon as possible ... 

We need your help  TODAY !! Just $3000 more and we have met our goal!!!

It is not too late to make a donation, but please act now! Any amount makes a difference ... we have received gifts from $25 to $5000! (You can donate on the church website or mail a check directly to the church with "Steeple Fund" in the memo line.)

Any questions should be directed to Erica, Vicki, or  Cathie.

- Save our Steeple Committee
...Transformative Service
UU Summer Series for Racial Justice Tuesday Evenings
We felt thrilled to see you at our July vigils for racial justice! During this Summer 2020 Solidarity Series, we are reading aloud words from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who have powerfully spoken across generations for racial justice. We start with a candlelight silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Last month we shared excerpts from Frederick Douglass' "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?," John Lewis' March on Washington speech as well as his Tweet regarding "good trouble,” Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “We Are All Bound Up Together,” Susette La Flesche Tibbles’ introduction to Ploughed Under: The Story of an Indian Chief, and voice recordings of Audre Lorde’s “The Black Unicorn,” Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of Morning,” and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent speech to the House of Representatives.

We are holding the vigil every Tuesday evening at 7PM on the First Parish front lawn, lasting 30-45 minutes. August vigils will explore themes of motherhood, the body, environmental justice, impacts of colonialism, and more. Bring a chair or blanket if you'd like for personal comfort. If it rains, the event is canceled (since we cannot meet inside). A livestream is recorded on the First Parish Facebook page for those who would like to attend virtually or watch the replays.

Thank you to many members of the congregation who have helped with logistics behind the scenes and delivered these heart-provoking words so beautifully. We would love volunteers to read aloud some words by a BIPOC author or ally in whatever form (brief literary passages, poems, Tweets, speeches, songs, podcasts ...) We can help you select them!

Please contact Haley for more information. BIPOC community members are very welcome to share their lived experiences. And we invite you to spread the word about the summer series on social media by sharing the  Facebook event page . We look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday evenings! - Haley
Love Shows Up for Justice Sundays, 3-4 p.m.
Sunday afternoon protests in support of Black Lives Matter continue through the summer on the lawn in front of the church. Join us on Sundays from 3 to 4 pm. Bring a sign if you have one; extra signs are usually available. Wear a mask and sunscreen and bring some water. All are welcome to join us.