First Parish News, September 2017

9/5 – Womens Discussion Group - The September meeting will be held on Tuesday, the 5th, at 7pm at the home of Uta Musgray, 80 Elene Street, Lowell. The topic will be: what funny or interesting experience did you have during your school years or what is the funniest or craziest thing you did or said during a job interview? Call Uta at 978 441-2060 or email to RSVP.


9/9- JOIN WCC FOR WORCESTER PRIDE SATURDAY SEPT 9 The Welcoming Congregation Committee is once again organizing First Parish's participation in the Worcester Pride Parade. With incidents of homophobia and transphobia on the rise in this country, it is important that we live up to our mandate as a Welcoming Congregation by showing support for the LGBTQ community. This is one way we can do it.  Meet at church by 8:45am to carpool or meet the group in Worcester at Humboldt Avenue next to Institute Park by 10 am. Wear a First Parish T-shirt if you can. There is a parking garage (Commercial Street Garage) at 100 Front Street across from the Common. The Committee regrets that it cannot be responsible for unaccompanied minors. Youth (under 18) are more than welcome to march as long as they bring an adult who will be looking out for them.  Line-up for the parade is scheduled for 10 am. The Parade itself starts at 11am and proceeds for 1.1miles (estimated 30 minute walk) to Worcester Common. A festival is held at the end of the parade, with food, craft vendors, and some very interesting LGBTQ groups tabling. There are also a number of restaurants in the area.  If you have any questions about the Parade, please contact Warren Flewellen. If you want to carpool, please let Warren or Dee Halzacknow so that the group knows to wait for you.


9/9 - Calling all current and past Fundraising Chairs! The Standing Committee is interested in learning from past and present chairs of the four major church fundraisers. Please join us on Saturday, September 9th from 9:30-11:30 for a nostalgic and creative conversation about the May Breakfast, Fourth of July Breakfast, Auction and Holiday Fair. We want to learn how these traditional fundraisers have raised money and built community at First Parish. At the meeting we will have a structured discussion about what has worked and what could change. This information will go to the Standing Comm. for their consideration. If you cannot make it to the meeting but are interested in providing feedback, please complete this survey. Questions? Please contact Ruth Whalen Crockett or Carlene Merrill.


9/16 - Songs of Strength & Solace Update!  Our next sing-along will be on Saturday, September 16th, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. in the chapel.  This summer we sang patriotic songs, and lamentations of when it has all gone astray; summer bandstand tunes from simpler times; and of course our regular stirring and uplifting (and growing!) repertoire of folk songs, camp songs, hymns, contemporary classics, and spirituals. In this sing-along, as in all of them, we reaffirm our sense of giving energy to the creation of a better world together through song. And in that good enterprise this time, we will also be honoring workers and work! So get ready to bid farewell to summer and welcome this new season in with song! For more information, contact Virginia Adams ~Virginia Adams & Diane Johns


IT’S COMING!! Open Pantry of Greater Lowell provides food once a month for those in need in the Greater Lowell Area. First Parish UU has been supporting Open Pantry for many years by collecting food and cash donations (in the form of checks) around once a month and delivering them to the Open Pantry distribution center. Delivery starts in September.  While we typically deliver donations once a month during the church year, you can leave donations in the Open Pantry box at the church at any time during the month. The box is usually in the room with the copier across from Cindy's office. If you are leaving a check, you can make it out to "Open Pantry". In the memo line, please write First Parish UU Chelmsford or just FPUU, so they know it's from us. (There is a mailbox for Open Pantry in the copier room). When the donations boxes are full enough to warrant a trip, I make a delivery. www.theopenpantry.org

Examples of Donations: (but not limited to): peanut butter, instant coffee, tuna, powdered or evaporated milk (not condensed), single serving cans and bags of whatever (add water only), Ivory soap bars (this brand because it is ‘multi-purpose’) , Asian and Hispanic foods (non-perishable), baby food, diapers, formula, men’s and women’s toiletries, shampoo, deodorant, etc. No clothes. CAVEAT: Any items that have an expired date on them cannot be used per state health laws, even though sometimes they may still be good. Please check before you donate. Thanks. When in doubt, throw it
out. No donation is too small. Thank you.

Questions or comments? Please contact Gail Pickering


From the Collector and Bookeeper (aka Erica and Cindy) When you send/give checks to church - please remember to use the memo line on your check, as well as to indicate on the envelope if you use one, FY 17/18 Pledge or Capital Campaign. These are literally 2 separate accounts at the bank. Erica opens, records and deposits the Pledge monies and Cindy opens, records and deposits the Capital Campaign monies.  Another huge help to both of us (and Neil, Treasurer) would be to promptly read –before it is buried - the regular pledge statements that Erica sends out letting you know the status of your church pledge and your capital campaign pledge. If those numbers don’t look right – please let us know ASAP. And remember, you can ask Erica for a statement at any time. Thank you! –Cindy and Erica


ANTI-RACISM TRAINING FOR RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF CHELMSFORD, WESTFORD,TYNGSBORO (Sponsored by the Anti-racism Task Force of the West Chelmsford United Methodist Church) We are excited to invite you to a workshop for the study of racism and how to combat it in our towns, lives, workplaces, religious communities. The title for this event is Exploring Systemic Racism and Its Implications for Our Lives and Our Work. During the workshop we will look at the history of racism and how it has become a destructive force in our country, both overtly and subtly, how white privilege became a benefit to white people even when not realized, and how our government strategically employed it to gain and maintain power. We will begin to learn how to identify and address racist actions in our own lives, communities, and work, as well as in the media, entertainment, and governmental arenas. We will be led by the experienced trainers, Donna Bivens and Paul Marcus from Community Change. They have led workshops all over the country. Time will be allotted for individual religious communities to discuss ways in which we might address these issues in our own lives and in the lives of our institutions and how we can unite to combat this and share.  We hope that our religious leaders and laity will be able to attend. Everyone is invited. While the West Chelmsford United Methodist Church will pay for the trainers, attendees will be asked to contribute to the cost of lunch.  We need to know the number of attendees to plan for food and materials by Tuesday, September 12th. Please reply to the church.

SCHEDULE: Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017 Time: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Place: West Chelmsford United Methodist Church, 242 Main Street, N Chelmsford, MA
Rev. Mack Hagins,  Rev. Wendell D. Luke

EVENING SERVICES: we will be holding evening services once a month on the third Sundays. Our first evening service will be September 17 at 5:30 pm in the chapel.

SOUL MATTERS: We will once again be subscribing to Soul Matters, a monthly UU journal exploring spiritual themes.  September’s theme asks, “What Does It Mean to be a Community of Welcome?”. If you are interested in learning more about Soul Matters or participating in a monthly discussion, please join me after the morning service on Sunday, September 17 in the Alliance Room and/or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so I can send you the September journal.  - Rev. Ellen



Standing Committee Notes:

Hello Everybody! Welcome to the new church year!  After scattering for the summer, I hope to see everybody come back rested and invigorated for the new year. Thank you so much to all who kept our community available with summer services. I attended a few and it was great to have this essential function continue in a minimalist style.  Services restart in the sanctuary on September 10th. Even before then, groups are getting back to active ministry. The Standing Committee is endorsing a discussion on Sept 9th from 9:30-11:30 to consider the future of First Parish fund raisers. We will be talking about what works and what could change. If you have thoughts on the fundraisers, including canvass, I encourage you to join us or send your thoughts in the survey at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=LISKazDqWkO2FCnbArh3HdaHP0F4GQxAr3n8Mezk
Z_JURU9ZTlJJNUE4V0RYV1k5RjVIT0tQNkRYNC4u.

We don't yet have chairs for the canvass or the Holiday Fair so adapting those positions to be within the capability and capacity of assorted candidates is important. That adaptation will be more effective if we know what you have to offer, either as individuals or teams, so please reflect on this and share your ideas.  As we move into fall, we will also be having discussions about the Accessibility Building Project (ABP), and what to do with higher than anticipated bids, even with higher than anticipated pledges.

Your Standing Committee Chair, Sarah Manning

Shooting Star 7/1/2017

Summer Office Hours:

Rev Ellen: email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her private line – 978 256-5555, for her updated message which will include information about how to reach her, or, during her vacation time, who is on call for pastoral emergencies.

Cindy: After June 30, I will be on summer hours and working only 10 hours per week.  I plan to be here Tues/Wed/Thr mornings, (5:30/6ish-7:30/8ish) but since the heat in here rapidly becomes unbearable, anything I CAN do from my airconditioned home, I will do.  If you need to have me present here for office reasons, on a different day or time (before 3pm), just ask.

I will read email a few times daily during the week wherever I am, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and check phone messages when I am in the office. Other than during vacation, I promise I will respond promptly.

Please Remember – I’m not the ‘door opener’ and I don’t have extra keys.  Leila deals with building access/use needs. Her contact info is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 978 256 6923.

REIMBURSEMENT REMINDER!  The books close June 30. Please have all reimbursement requests from FY 16/17 turned in by July 1. Beyond that point, any reimbursement will have to come out of the FY 17/18 budget line. Reimbursement forms can be found in the folder on the wall next to the church office, or email the office and request an e-version.  And ….. for those who HAVE reimbursement checks … CASH them? Please??

From the Collector: Please remember, the current fiscal year ends June 30, 2017. Checks received until July 1 will be applied to the 2016/17 fiscal year pledge and those received after applied to 2017/18 - unless otherwise indicated. Please remember to use the memo line on your check, or indicate on the envelope, which fiscal year it applies to! (Pledge or Capital Campaign, would be helpful also.) Thank you! ~Erica Boucher, Collector

The July 4th Breakfast has changed to the July 4th Breakfast & Lunch Cafe

We will be serving breakfast and lunch sandwiches, as well as donuts. We will serve from 7am to 2pm on Tuesday, July 4th.

The dining room will have a smaller seating area as well. The reasons for this change was a lack of volunteers and trying to
eliminate burnout for the people that consistently volunteer for this event.

We will still need people to help set-up the dining room the night before. Positions for July 4th include window person, donut assistant, coffee pourers, and dining room assistant. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer please speak to Rosemary or Caroline McMullin at coffee hour. Email and phone calls work as well.

7/11 - The July meeting of the Women's Discussion Group will be held on Tuesday, July 11, at 6pm at the home of Sue Sheedy in Chelmsford. It is our annual pot luck/pool party so bring a dish to share and your bathing suit! Please call to rsvp and for any further information, 256-5068.

7/21 - Songs of Strength & Solace After some of the hard-hitting anti-war songs we sang last month, this month, in addition to our regular uplifting fare of folks songs, camp songs, spirituals, contemporary classics, and hymns, we’re looking at songs that might be sung at small-town summer evening bandstands. So join us on Friday, July 21, in the vestry (or the chapel -- look for signs!) from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for a splash of old-time Americana favorites! We’ll be taking August off, so bring your voices and bright hearts for some sweet summer singing! For more information, contact Virginia Adams at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  ~Virginia Adams & Diane Johns

Is a Small Group Ministry a good idea for you for next fall?

What is it?  A Small Group Ministry consists of groups of 6-10 people within the church community that meet to discuss a variety of topics related to spirituality, values, and living one’s life within the context of a Unitarian Universalist community.  There are five active groups.

How does it work?  Each group is led by a trained facilitator and includes a chalice lighting, a time for check-in, readings on the topic and discussion. There are all men’s groups; all women’s groups and mixed groups.

When do they meet?  Typically once a month for about 2 hours; some meet during the day and some in the evenings.  What do people say about small groups?  ”I've always felt that small group is a great way for newer members to integrate into the congregation. Also, coming to that meeting feels like taking a deep breath in our busy lives. A pause to recharge.”

How do I get more information?  Call or email either Carlene Merrill.

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133