Sunday, May 31, 2020
will be delivered via email at 6:00 am
Rev. Frieda Gillespie, Interim Minister
Sam Chandler, Music Director
On Sunday June 14, we will be having a virtual blessing of the animals AND a virtual blessing of the gardens. To make this happen, we need you to:
  • send a picture of your pet(s), with or without you in the picture
  • send a picture of your gardens, with or without you in the picture
to Gwen at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com on or before Tuesday, June 9.

Please make sure you've let Gwen know your name and your pet's name. Also, please answer the question "how are you blessed by this amazing animal?" and/or "how are you blessed by your garden?" Rev. Frieda will offer a blessing and a few readings, maybe even a song.
Two of our beloved high school seniors, Abby Civiello and Anna Raley, are graduating this year. We are planning an in-person, but socially distant, bridging ceremony for them for this coming Monday, June 1st, at 4:00 pm, outside at First Universalist.

To make this celebration special for our graduating seniors we ask:
  • for you to RSVP if you plan to attend - and to please attend if you feel safe to do so! - but keep in mind that we need to limit the number of attendees and so will be accepting RSVPs on a first come/first served basis. You can RSVP to Gwen at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com.
  • for you to bring bells if you have some, so we can ring them out joyfully once our seniors have bridged.
  • that you keep in mind that we will be photographing this ceremony to share with the rest of the congregation as part of the June 7th virtual service.

To ensure safety we will be:
  • maintaining safe distances of six feet apart, as recommended by the CDC and state of Maine
  • requiring the use of masks
  • gathering outside where fresh, circulating air helps to minimize the spread of covid-19 and bright, hot sunlight helps to kill the virus
  • limiting our gathering to fewer than 50 people, the expectation of what the limit on group sizes will be in Maine beginning June 1
Since we last met as a group in January, we’ve been gathering information and ideas from the UUA, MUUSAN (Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network) and the League of Women Voters. The intervening pandemic has also made clear that November will not only likely be the most important election of our lifetimes but the most logistically challenging one as well. (And that goes for the upcoming July 14 primary as well!)

We will gather by Zoom on Tuesday, June 2 from 5:30-6:30 pm to choose among several projects calling for varying levels of time or commitment over these next several months and to organize for action. Please join us to Take a Shift For Justice!

If you are interested in Taking a Shift for Justice, please email Sue Ellen Bordwell at sebordwell@gmail.com to get the link to participate in the Zoom call.
Oh dear, how we wish we could say we'd be meeting in person again in September, in time for our traditional Ingathering! Unfortunately, it's pretty clear that will not be the case.

At this point in time, First Universalist intends to follow the UUA guidelines in this Press Release from UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray which clearly outlines the sound reasoning for keeping things virtual until May 2021. Yes, you read that right: May 2021.

As Rev. Frederick-Gray says, take a deep breath! As challenging and disappointing as this may be, we can and will continue to be a community and to take care of one another in both old ways and new. Maybe, just maybe, things will improve more quickly than expected.

In the meantime, your lay leadership, along with Rev. Frieda (and with Rev Hillary beginning in August) are exploring all the possibilities of providing meaningful virtual worship services - through the end of this church year and into the next. All will be well, and we continue to be here for you.
Sunday, June 7, 11:30 am - 12:00 pm
We are so glad you have found us, however you did. As you have probably read or heard, we are not gathering in person at this time but we are wholeheartedly connecting in every other way we can think of!

We will have a special Newcomers Welcome gathering on Sunday June 7th from 11:30 to 12:00. If you have joined or arrived at First U in the last year (or three) you are welcome to participate. We can answer almost any question about our church community, our new minister who’s coming in August, how we stay afloat, how we fulfill our mission to EXPLORE-EMBRACE-ENGAGE, what makes us care, etc. We hope you’ll join us! We’d love to know you and what you are looking for. We create this beloved community together.

Please write to Sarah Witte at sarahcoffinwitte@gmail.com and she will email you a Zoom link for the 7th. We’ll be happy to see you!
Join the fun! Send in your selfie by May 31 to Mariana via email: catalpa.girl@gmail.com.
These photos and more will be posted on the bulletin board in the Gathering Room at church. The collage will also be shared in CHANNELS. Help welcome Rev. Hillary by contributing toward this collection of informal photos! Show us what you're up to!
Another THANK YOU to everyone who supported the Congregant Relief Fund - the brainchild of our Senior Youth Group, who selflessly donated funds raised for their now-cancelled mission trip. They established the fund to help support congregants financially impacted by circumstances related to Covid-19. Many generous donors participated in the matching drive, bringing $3000 to church operations and $1500 to the relief fund itself.

Who do you know? Do you know someone in the congregation who may be in need but reluctant to ask for help? (Maybe that person is you.) Either way, please reach out to either Rev. Frieda Gillespie or Joanna Landsman. There’s no paperwork or form to fill out – just an email or phone call, to call attention to the need. All requests will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and will be co-approved by the Minister and Board President.
Time and tide wait for no UU, as we know. We’ve done a great job taking care of our beautiful old church (restored steeple, renovated chancel, replaced Gathering Room floors, etc!) and now it’s time for another project. Perfect timing? Actually it is. While we are not ’there’-there, we can get some really badly needed renovations done on the Wing. (The Wing is the 1994 addition.) The side facing Main Street and the end on the driveway below the Parsonage are in terrible condition. A lot of the paint is peeling, and some of the wood is rotting.

We’ve been keeping an eye on this, and now that we’ve finished a SUPER search for a SUPER minister, we need to do these repairs before things get worse and cost more. We have estimates in hand of $6100 for carpentry and $6500 for painting, for a total of $12,600. That includes a contingency. We’ll replace rotten wood wherever appropriate with Boral, an ash-composite that lasts much longer.

Here’s where WE all come in. We have some ‘leadership’ contributions but why stop there? Would you like to put some of your good loving energy towards this project so it can be all done by September, and — whether we’re meeting on line or in small groups there — have First Universalist looking wonderful for Reverend Hillary? So much to be grateful for. Let’s get our beloved church home shining bright.

To make a gift of ANY size from $5 to $500 (more? thanks!) please send a check to First Universalist Church and write WING in the note line. Or send via our PayPal link and use the drop down menu to indicate it is the "Wing Project." The Wing says thank you, and hopes you are all safe and well and taken care of, too.

FMI: Pete Titcomb ( petertitcomb@aol.com) or Sarah Witte ( sarahcoffinwitte@gmail.com).
First U's church calendar is in the process of being updated to reflect our new mostly virtual reality. Meetings and events will be on the calendar with information about who to contact for Zoom links. If you have something to add to the calendar, please contact Andrea at office@uuyarmouth.org. Thanks!
This year, the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly, the largest gathering of UUs each year for worship, learning, connecting, business, and more, is going to be held virtually. This year's theme is Rooted, Inspired, & Ready.

The good news about this online format:
  • GA is more affordable! Registration is $150 to attend all (or part) of the five days online, June 24 - June 28, 2020.
  • There will be free, live streamed content. If registering doesn't make sense for you, you can still attend the General Sessions (business meetings), the Service of the Living Tradition, the Synergy Bridging Service, and the Sunday Worship Service.

Want to know more?
Our virtual coffee hour happens every Sunday at 12 pm via Zoom. Join in for the discussion, the opportunity to see friendly faces, and some connection! Details to access arrive in your inbox at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings.
Both junior and senior youth groups are now meeting online. You can download the Zoom app in advance to your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Not getting the email but your youth would like to participate and/or you have other questions about youth programs? Contact Gwen Matthews at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com .

Virtual Junior Youth Group is on for 11 - 11:45 am on Sunday, May 31. Details about how to connect will be arriving in a separate email.
Our next first Tuesday to volunteer at Preble Street is June 2, 3 - 6 pm. At this time, Preble Street still really needs your support in putting together to-go meals for their clients who they serve daily. Help to feed some of Maine's most vulnerable people who continue to rely on Preble Street for food and other resources. Contact Ruth White ( rwhite7@maine.rr.com) with any questions or if you would like to sign up. Thank you!

Please note a few changes:
  1. There is now a limit of three volunteers per shift in order to ensure social distancing.
  2. Volunteers are asked to bring their own mask or face covering.
  3. The time for dinner shifts has altered slightly. It is now 3 - 6 pm (instead of 3:30 - 6:30 pm).
  4. You can view all of Preble Street's response information about COVID-19 on their website.
Rev. Galen Guengerich, author of The Way of Gratitude: A New Spirituality for Today, and Pilar Jennings, author of To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action, will be hosting a special meditation focused webinar on Monday, June 1, at 6:30 pm. To subscribe to receive email meditations or to get details to attend the webinar, please email rachel@allsoulsnyc.org.
The Church Office is Closed, But Minister and Staff Are Still Working!
Rev. Frieda, Gwen, Sam, and Andrea all continue to work from home to support the church community. You can reach them via email, call and leave a voicemail at the church office (messages are checked on Monday & Thursday), or call Rev. Frieda on her cell phone: 508-207-7566.
Pastoral Emergencies
If you have a pastoral emergency, you can contact Rev. Frieda Gillespie on her cell phone at 508-207-7566. Saturdays are typically her day off, but she will answer calls for pastoral emergencies.
Submit Your Announcement
To have your announcement included in this newsletter please email the information to Gwen Matthews at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com by Wednesday at 12 pm.
  First Universalist Church of Yarmouth | 207-846-4148 | office@uuyarmouth.org | www.uuyarmouth.org