Sunday Readers Wanted: Anyone who is interested in taking a turn doing the ancient and modern readings during the Sunday morning service, please contact Ellen Ford. Thanks!
10/13 - Songs of Strength & Solace: Please join us for a slightly different format this month with “your choice” being at the center of the sing-along! You will be able to choose whatever songs you’d like us all to sing from our always-expanding songbook of folk songs, camp songs, hymns, contemporary classics, and spirituals. In the tradition of folk music everywhere, we sing about good times and bad. And 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! We’ll be meeting on Friday, October 13, in the chapel, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. For more information, or if you would like to bring an instrument, please contact Virginia Adams. ~Virginia Adams & Diane Johns
10/15 - "Feeding Our Souls" Monthly Worship Meal - Rev. Ellen and the Evening Service Team are excited to bring you our new idea for Sunday evening worship for this church year. Drawing from two sources - Simple Church and Soul Matters - we will gather at tables in the chapel from 5:30 to 6:30 on the third Sunday of each month. The centerpiece of our worship will be nourishment - hearty soup and bread for our bodies, shared discussion of spiritual questions for our souls. Blended with our traditional practices of music, meditations, and readings our time together will be one of worship and community. Our next gathering will be October 15.
Small Group Ministries – a great way to get to know people: A Small Group consists of 6-10 people that meet once each month either during the day or in the evening to discuss a variety of topics related to living our lives within the context of a Unitarian Universalist community. An experienced facilitator leads the group through a structured discussion. There are currently five active groups. Take some time for yourself. For more information, please contact Carlene Merrill.
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. The box is 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 also). When the donation boxes are full enough to warrant a trip, I make a delivery. www.theopenpantry.org.
It has been over 3 1/2 years since our son Sam died at age 22 after enduring numerous cycles of treatments for lymphoma and three clinical trials. This is our fifth year raising funds to advance the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) research to cure blood cancer. Team Grad will be walking for a fifth year in LLS’s Light the Night Walk on October 19 in Boston. We hope to raise more than ever. We need your help.
To donate and learn how LLS helps patients like Sam, please visit my page before October 19. Thank you for your support in finding a cure. Click http://pages.lightthenight.org/ma/BostonL17/DGrad. Please forward my message to anyone you know who would like this opportunity to honor Sam. We don't want other families to endure the pain of such a loss.
In love and gratitude, Debra, Bryan, Rebecca, and Team Grad - Relentless for a Cure
Racial Justice Training: Sun. Oct. 15, 3:00 pm, Central Congregational Church. The Greater Lowell UCC Churches are sponsoring a Racial Justice Workshop Sun. Oct. 15, 3:00 pm at Central Congregational Church of Chelmsford, 1 Worthen St., Chelmsford. The workshop will be given by TJ Harper, Associate Minister for Racial Justice for the Mass Conference (see TJ’s bio below). Through the use of videos, quotes, discussion and presentations, TJ’s workshops provide an indepth and personal approach to this important issue. Please mark your calendars and join us Sun. Oct. 15!
“This training, “From Tolerance to Unity,” seeks to create a common language around racism, to unmask racism in our lives, and to encourage long-term engagement in racial justice ministry. We are driven to view racism as a spiritual issue, and not a common endeavor.”
TJ Harper serves as the Massachusetts and Connecticut Conferences’ Associate for Racial Justice Ministries. Previously, TJ and his fiance, Sara, founded and operated a nonprofit organization known as the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA), with programs in Chicago and Oakland, that has worked with over 700 youth through a sponsorship by Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/Operation PUSH. Prior to SJSA, TJ worked with the StriveTogether Foundation, a network dedicated to improving educational outcomes for children, City Hall in Chicago, and U.S. Senator Richard Durbin's Office. He is also a 2014 Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow alumnus at Princeton University. Call 978-256-5931 for more information.
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.
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
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