First Parish News, September 2019

First Parish Potluck Saturday, September 7th, 6 - 8pm Welcome! The Membership Committee & “RE” Faith Formation Council … and friends ask you, your family and friends to please join us! Just come on over and bring your favorite foods to share! We will be providing dishes, utensils, cups and drinks.
Clean-up volunteers are welcome too.  Allergies are everyone’s responsibility! Please remember to be aware and label and read food ingredients. If you have any questions or want to volunteer, please contact:  Dolores~ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Guide Dog Retirement - After more than seven years of loyal and loving service, my guide Dog Fave is nearing retirement. That means I am actively searching for Fave’s perfect forever home. If you would like to talk to me about the possibility of welcoming Fave into your life, please feel free to give me a call. Thank you.- Suzanne Wilson


Small Group Ministries – a great way to start the church year:  .A Small Group consists of 6-10 people that meet once a month either during the day or in the evening for about 2 hours 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. It’s a great way to connect to others. If you’re interested, please contact Carlene Merrill.


HEALING CONVERSATIONS: Once again, Rev. Ellen and the Pastoral Care Team will be offering our grief support group: “Healing Conversations." The purpose of the group is to create a sacred space to share stories, experiences and emotions around love, loss and grief in a spirit of mutual care and deep listening. Loss can take many different forms and people have participated in “Healing Conversations” for deaths recent and long ago and for other types of losses including divorce, estrangement, and illness. We use readings, ritual, meditation/prayer, video clips, journaling and small group discussion to reflect for ourselves and accompany each other across grief's difficult and unpredictable emotional and spiritual terrain. Based on feedback we received, we are offering “Healing Conversations” as an ongoing group that people can join as needed during the year while maintaining it as a confidential and supportive space. The group will meet on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, beginning September 23rd, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm upstairs in the High School Room. If you have questions or wish to attend, please contact Rev. Ellen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 978 256-5555.


Website Updates - I will be updating the website over the next couple of weeks. I have already begun updating the content, but the organization and look of the website will be changing (hopefully by our first service). Please be on the lookout for broken links, spelling/grammar mistakes, or outdated content. If you find any, please email the website team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can fix it. If you are a member of a committee, it would be very helpful for us if you would take a look at any pages that have to do with your committee and check to see if they are up to date. I am not always aware of changes that happen, so letting me know what is wrong, and what the correct content should be very helpful. Thanks! Joan Coyne


Calling for Community Table Volunteers - Community Table needs your help! To continue, we need additional volunteers to form a larger pool of participants from which to draw each month. For the past several months, we've been struggling to ensure that there were enough volunteers lined up to complete the necessary tasks. The rewards for joining us? Camaraderie, fulfilling work, gratitude of the people served, and community service hours!

What is Community Table? First Parish prepares and serves a meal on the 3rd Saturday of each month. For 25+ years, we have been one of 8 churches and organizations who take turns to feed 50-75 people each Saturday and Sunday throughout the year. This is a separate group from Table of Plenty, which First Parish also supports. A monthly commitment is not required. The time needed from each month's volunteers depends on the task, as follows:
• shopping - Friday - (1 person) (2-3 hours)
• preparing at First Parish- Sat 9 to 11 am (8 people) (1-2 hours each, partial shifts available)
• pick up desserts at Stop & Shop - Sat morning (1 person) (1 hour)
• serving/cleanup at Salvation Army - Sat noon to 2:15 pm (7 people) (2 1/4 hours each; partial shifts available)
• bring leftovers to Lowell transition center - (1 person) (half hour)

Remaining serving dates for 2019: 9/21, 10/19, 11/16, 12/14

For some time now, the meals have been served at the Salvation Army in Lowell. Not the ideal location, given the organization's history of intolerance with regard to some people. In fact, when Community Table's location was moved because the YMCA could no longer accommodate the meals, people met with the Salvation Army and expressed concern about both proselytizing at meals and the group's history of intolerance. We were assured that our concerns were understood and there have been no problems along those lines. Those who continued to serve with Community Table made the decision that feeding hungry people is the priority and that using the venue that facilitates that does not mean we endorse the views of the organization. We also expected it would provide some necessary interaction between groups with differing views that might do some good. If the opportunity to feed hungry people calls to you, we hope you will join us.

If you would like more information, have thoughts to share, or would like to be added to our volunteer distribution list, please contact Michelle Hillman.

Signups for 2019 dates are here:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0b49a4a62ca2f94-community


 WELCOMING WEEK – SOLIDARITY LOWELL - Cultural Exchange Potluck Picnic, South Common, September 15, 2-5pm.  Please bring a dish to share from your home country.  Rain Location: Eliot Presbyterian Church, 273 Summer Street, Lowell * FREE FOOD * Activities for children * Entertainment from many different cultures.  For more information:  http://facebook.com/solidaritylowell


REMINDER TO ALL COMMITTEES/GROUPS: RESERVE YOUR MEETING SPACE AT CHURCH ASAP PLEASE. Several of you have already contacted us, and THANK YOU! Everyone else …. Please contact Jess Volk (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) AND the office (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) (still getting the sexton email address routed correctly) … with your requests. Thanks!

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133