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From The Shooting Star. Copyright 2010, Ellen Rowse Spero. All rights reserved.

On Wednesday, a high school freshman from Lowell, Ide Eboigbe, drowned at a class party. This young man attended Innovations Academy Charter  School, and was well-known to many of our high school youth and their  parents. After talking with some of our youth, I suggested that we send a prayer shawl to Ide's family with prayers pinned to it from  them. One of youth suggested that we also send a prayer shawl to the family that was hosting the party where the drowning accident took place.

I was deeply touched by this. One question I get asked a lot is how do we, as a creedless faith, help people deal with tragedy, loss, and death? We don't talk about God's will or that he is in a better place or that God does not give us more than we can bear. After all, who can bear the loss of a child, a friend, a young life? Niamh's suggestion made me feel that our Unitarian Universalist faith has helped nurture  a wider, thoughtful compassion in our young people. I have seen it other places as well, including in New Orleans and in the COA program.  I speak of hospitality and gratitude as being the two basic religious of our faith. I know that sounds funny as a response to death, a tragic death in particular. But what I see from Niamh and the other youth struggling with the loss of their friend is that hospitality:  reaching out to the families involved, reaching out to peers and each other. I see gratitude expressed in their memories and conversations.  I know that these things do not address all the questions and all pain. But in the midst of it, I see our young people laying a path grounded in the Spirit of Love, above all else. And I say to all of Ide's friends, youth and parents, that I will be around over the summer, if you would like to talk with me further.

June 27th starts our summer services at 9 a.m. in the chapel (a much cooler location!). Most of these will be lay led and it is a wonderful opportunity to hear your fellow congregants. I will lead two during the summer: July 11 and August 29. I am thinking of a "blessing of the animals" service for August 29th and will keep you posted.

I will be on vacation August 1-15 and August 21-28. Again, I will leave pastoral emergency contact information on my answering machine. During the month of July, I keep summer office hours, being in as needed and have my study time to prepare for sermons for next year. I am around for meetings and pastoral care and counseling. I will be taking a couple of trips out to Western Massachusetts to see family but can always return for pastoral emergencies and will be available by phone.

Lynne Cole and I will be facilitating an adult RE class entitled "Spirit of Life" which explores Unitarian Universalist spirituality through that hymn. It will be Wednesday evenings beginning June 30 from 7 to 9 pm and is scheduled for nine weeks. With summer, we don’t expect everyone to attend every session but request a commitment to be able to attend six. We need a minimum of six people to hold the course.

--- Rev. Ellen

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First Parish Covenant

We, the members of First Parish of Chelmsford, covenant together to sustain and strengthen our beloved community by:
Honoring and celebrating the Spirit of Life
Nurturing all souls in our search for truth and the sacred
Caring and being present to one another in our joys and sorrows
Bearing witness through service to justice and peace
And being good stewards of our congregation, our heritage, our Unitarian Universalist Principles, and our earth.


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Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824