May 12, 2021
Annual Ministry Theme: Imagine

May Ministry Theme: Praise

“In today's sharp sparkle. . . any thing can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, praise song for walking forward in that light.”

― Elizabeth Alexander

Photo: Hand-painted birds crafted by parishioners as part of the FRS Community Art Project, which goes on display Saturday, May 15th in front of the FRS.
Sunday Worship
"Joyous Attention"
Join us for a praise-filled outdoor service. Rev. Rebecca and Julie Parker Amery will offer reflections and Greg Garnache will play the guitar. We will also bless the beautiful wooden birds made by parishioners that will then be displayed on a tree in our church yard.
Young Church will take place outside in a space adjacent to the service.  
It is good to be together! 

Service will take place at Atkinson Common (in-person) and will also be live streamed on YouTube:

Sign up to participate in Sunday's Service at Atkinson Common here!
Sign up to participate in Young Church service here!

Immediately following the service we will host a virtual coffee hour on Zoom:
Meeting ID: 817 2180 1499  /  Passcode: 668856
One tap mobile:
+19292056099,,81721801499# US (New York)
Dial by phone:
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
We Reached Our Goal!
FRS Dinner for 2 Anywhere in the World Raffle!
This one-of-a-kind annual FRS Raffle is a fun way to make a dream come true for a lucky winner! Tickets are $25.00 and we have a limited amount, with only 2500 being sold! All proceeds go to supporting the FRS ministry. Purchase tickets here and please share the link widely on your FaceBook page, with family and friends, co-workers, neighbors, and more!

Drawing will take place on June 20th!
"What We Do Matters"
What you need to know about this year's FRS Annual Meeting by Lea Pearson, Annual Meeting Moderator
Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, May 23 from 10:30am-12:00pm
Please register and help us make quorum.
To access the 2021 Warrant click here!
Highlights from the 2021 FRS Mother's Day Walk
The FRS' Justice Action Ministry (JAM) is happy to report that online donations and raffle sales to benefit the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute's Mother's Day Walk for Peace totaled $2,250, exceeding our fundraising goal of $1,500...a huge thank you to all who donated!
The FRS online donation page will be open until Father's Day, so if you haven't had a chance to donate yet you can do so here.
How one family made it through a devastating diagnosis
A Primer for Dealing with Cancer by FRS parishioner Wendy Chapin Ford
To access this resource please click here!
FRS Community Art Project Installation and Gift: "Hope Is the Thing with Feathers"
When: Saturday, May 15, starting at noon

Members and friends of the FRSUU have been decorating wooden bird shapes for the past couple of weeks. We will install the colorful flock in the trees in front of the Parish Hall. Come, bring your bird if you made one, and marvel at this community expression of joy and hope! Bring your camera, too!

The birds will be out there for several days. Everyone walking by is invited to look and also to take a bird home. If you want to see them all, be there on Saturday before they start disappearing! 
Indigenous Peoples' Day Initiative
When: Saturday, May 15, 9-10am
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 968 8589 4302
Passcode: 558953

Join the FRS campaign initiative advocating for the City of Newburyport to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.

For more information contact
Short Story Group
When: Tuesday, May 18, noon via Zoom

The short story group focuses on reading and discussing anthologies. For the next meeting we will be reading “Birthmates” by Gish Jen.

Contact Tom Himmel for more information at

All welcome to join!
Exploring Elderhood Together Upcoming Program
When: Thursday, May 20, noon-1pm 
Join Zoom Meeting

Death with Dignity: End of Life Options
Presented by the Massachusetts Death with Dignity Organization

Come join us for an informational forum on Massachusetts' proposed End of Life Options Act to allow certain terminally ill people to voluntarily and legally request and receive a prescription for end-of-life medication. 

In this live Zoom event, John Berkowitz, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Death with Dignity Organization, will present and explain the current bill before our state legislature including its requirements and safeguards.  Nancy Kidd, LICSW, will share her experience working as a hospice social worker. There will also be time for questions and answers.

The Massachusetts bill is modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the first U.S. state to officially legalize medical aid in dying. Since that time similar laws have been enacted in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and New Mexico.

This is important legislation to understand not only for ourselves but for friends and family.
Ordination of Sophia Lyons
When: Sunday, May 23 at 3pm
Meeting ID: 962 1577 7937 

Our very own Sophia Lyons will be ordained here at FRSUU. This will be a virtual service, albeit one filled with great love and joy. Sophia Lyons has been a member of FRSUU since 2013. This church has not only been her and her family’s spiritual home, but also serves as her endorsing congregation–an honor that is the beginning step on a UU minister’s path toward ordination. It has been one of her greatest joys to move through the process of ministerial formation, and all of its incredible milestones, with this her church family. 

The rite of passage that is an ordination is both a culminating moment and a hopeful, covenanting blessing between a Unitarian Universalist congregation and a minister. In the words of Rev. Erika Hewitt: “Ordination is one of the most important traditions of our faith. A congregation’s decision to ordain someone represents the congregation’s faith in, and support for, the ordinand’s ministry. This recognition of a person's calling forth is also a recognition of their setting apart, functioning as 'a rite of initiation, taking an ordinand from their status as layperson and initiating them into the community of clergy.' In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, the ritual of ordination also allows the minister to use the title of Reverend."

We hope you will mark your calendars and join us in recognizing, celebrating, and ordaining Sophia Lyons.
Monday Night Meditation on Zoom
When: Mondays, 6:30pm

These weekly sessions are led by Joyce Haydock, Senior Dharma Teacher with the International Kwan Um School of Zen. She has been with the school since 1989. This FRS UU Monday group was established over ten years ago. Our sessions consist of two or three chants, two readings/teachings and 30 minutes of sitting meditation. Beginners are welcome.

Contact Joyce at 978-363-5457 or email to be added to our list and receive access information.
Spiritual Practice with Julie Parker Amery
When: Tuesdays, 11am

This is a drop-in program, so come as often as you'd like. Each week, we dive into a poem, reading, photograph, painting, or wisdom tale and notice what it's saying to us in that particular moment. This is not interpretation—it's not about trying to figure out what the writer or artist is trying to convey—but what it stirs within you. Questions? Contact Julie Parker Amery at

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 944 4098 2749
Passcode: 867415
Dial by phone: +1 646 558 8656
Guided Relaxation with Susan Cooper
When: Wednesdays, 10am

Join FRS member and LICSW Susan Cooper on Wednesdays at 10am for a brief period of mid-week relaxation and renewal. Each 30-minute session will include a guided visualization and reflection on questions around where we hold stress and how we can release it. You'll also learn some relaxation techniques to use on your own. This is a drop-in program; come one time or many.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 873 4945 8812
Passcode: 884416  
Dial by your location: +1 646 558 8656
Online Friday Book Group
When: Fridays, 10-11:30am

Join us on Friday, May 14 as we begin our next book. We will be reading the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This stunning work of fiction follows a blind French girl and a German orphan boy whose fates intertwine in the siege of Saint-Malo during WW II. Despite the war setting Doerr captures the goodness of people under dire circumstances.

We encourage group members to purchase the book from our local bookstore Jabberwocky if at all possible. Library copies should also be readily available. If members get the book in time we will try reading through the chapter “Sea of Flames."

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 870 4388 5100  
Dial by your location: +1 646 558 8656
closed captioning is available
The deadline for the next Steeple newsletter is Sunday, May 16, 2021. 
Send your questions, ideas, and submissions to
Minister–The Reverend Rebecca Bryan; Affiliate MinisterStan Barrett; Affiliate MinisterHelen Murgida; Minister EmeritusThe Reverend Harold Babcock. Staff: Multimedia Specialist-Andrew Bakhit; Religious Education Assistant–Sharon Broll; Office AdministratorDiane Carroll; Youth Group CoordinatorBecky Dill; Director of Children's MinistryMara Flynn; Director of Church Music–Justin Murphy-Mancini; Director of Faith Formation and Spiritual ExplorationJulie Parker Amery; Business Administrator-Pam Sharrio; Director of Congregational and Community Engagement–Cynthia Walsh. Parish Board: Chair–Rebecca Brodish; Vice ChairJudy Fayre; Clerk–Holly Cashman; Treasurer-Endowment—Kim Kenly; Treasurer–Finance-Rich Johnson; Finance ChairTom Himmel; Maureen Adams, Juliana Beauvais, Micah Donahue, Vern Ellis, Michelle Kimball, Jennifer Rabold, Forrest Speck, Renee Wolf-Foster.
First Religious Society, Unitarian Universalist | 26 Pleasant St., Newburyport MA 01950
978-465-0602 |