During these isolating times, community outreach in all forms becomes a sustaining imperative. A historical and significant component of fulfilling one of the covenants of First Parish has been through Faith-In-Action grants, presented to and approved by Church Council, comprised of the chairs of all congregational committees. Seven proposals have been funded this church year:

1. St. Mark’s church, Westford – sponsored presenters of seminar “Dementia From The Inside Out” (presented by Bill Newhard);
2. All Souls UU Church, Greenfield-MA – donation to lay-led congregation’s campaign to remove asbestos, mitigate mold and water damage, and re-open church (presented by Diana Keohane);
3. Chelmsford Military Community Covenant Task Force – donation to purchase holiday grocery gift cards, supporting veterans and the families of deployed service personnel (presented by Jim Curley);
4. Purchase of online training curriculum for course, “Trans Inclusion in Congregations” (presented and taught by Jennifer Johnson);
5. Wish Project Foundation – emergency bins for fire victims (presented by Dolores G. Heredia-Wood and Reverend Ellen as part of their Advent Series Outreach Projects);
6. Donation to Table of Plenty to honor the passing of founder, Maureen McKeon (presented by Reverend Ellen);
7. Reimbursement to the Safety Committee for the purchase of ten SWAT tourniquet kits for emergencies (presented by Jim Curley).

As scheduled efforts have changed or stopped during these last months, Church Council and Community Table propose to use their remaining budgets to grant three additional Faith-In-Action grants of $1,000 each to three important organizations presented by Reverend Ellen:

1. Lowell Transitional Living Center – provides beds and services to the homeless;
2. The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell Food Bank;
3. UU Mass Action Networks - UU COVID 19 Partners.

May we, in faith, continue to connect with, care for, and make a difference in our communities.  - Joan T. Keane, Church Council Chair

A few notes from your Collector: Please remember, the current fiscal year ends June 30, 2020. Checks received until July 1 will be applied to the 2019/2020 fiscal year pledge and those received after shall be applied to 2020/21 - unless otherwise indicated.  Also a clarification on online donations - all monies received through the online donation button are applied to pledges (again, up to June 30 will go towards FY20 pledges, July 1st and beyond to FY21) for those who have made pledges. The rest of the donations are recorded under Known Donors. If you wish for your donation to be handled differently you need to let me know by separate email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are trying to keep things as simple as possible while still honoring the intentions of our donors.  It is humbling and uplifting to witness the generosity of the friends and members of our beloved community. Thank you all for supporting the work that we do together.  -  Carla Corey, Collector

By-Laws Changes Cottage Meeting - The Policies and Procedures Subcommittee is presenting the proposed changes to our By-Laws at cottage meeting being held on Zoom on Wednesday, June 3, at 7 pm.  Information on joining the Zoom meeting appears below in the church newsletter.  - Caroline Snow



Our first UU principle affirms and promotes "the inherent worth and dignity of every person" and our seventh "the interdependent web of life of which we all are a part." We value the health and safety of every person and taking care of one another. Your Standing Committee is concerned with the health and safety of our staff members and lay leaders, the members, friends, families and visitors in our congregation and 3rd parties who use our facilities.


There are conflicting messages out there. Many states have already "opened up" and are at different stages compared to each other. This past week, Governor Baker announced Massachusetts' plan for a phased "re-opening." In this plan, there are also guidelines for religious institutions (Houses of Worship) to re-open as early as May 18th. Religious denominations are also moving at different speeds with some planning in person worship this week. In their May 14th letter to congregational leaders, the UUA wrote: "Based on advice from experts, we continue to recommend that congregations not gather in person. We also recommend that congregations begin planning for virtual operations for the next year (through May 2021)." We agree with the UUA's recommendation against rushing to "re-open."

With health & safety as our primary concern, we will continue to keep our building closed to any on-site worship, programming and events until we have safety protocols in place with the resources and people to implement them. We plan to continue with:
• Remote Congregational Meeting (June 14th)
• Remote Worship and programming through the end of the current church year (June 30th)
• Remote Worship and programming through the summer (July and August)
• Remote Worship and programming at the start of our next church year (September)
We are recommending that remote worship & programs continue to be available into the future, even after the building is opened. Our commitment to accessibility, especially for our most vulnerable, remains strong.

Re-opening safely, including determining when to re-open, requires careful planning above and beyond all the work that our staff and many committees already do. To help manage this, the Standing Committee has created a new task force, the COVID Crisis Management Task Force, as a subcommittee to the Standing Committee.

The Task Force objectives are to:
• Keep the Staff, the Congregation and all who enter our church as safe as possible from contracting or spreading the virus
• Provide a central place for discussion and planning across First Parish with relevant committees and for input from the congregation
• Establish policies and procedures for when and how we might re-open our church for worship, programming and building usage by the congregation and 3rd parties
• Create generic policies and procedures for crisis management

This new task force is your point of contact for any ideas or questions you might have related to COVID and crisis management at First Parish. We welcome your suggestions, questions and concerns on how best to honor our covenant during this pandemic. Please use the email address below:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The members of the task force are: Dolores Heredia-Wood, Rev. Ellen Spero, Gail Burati, Jim Curley, Michelle Hillman, Steve Zocchi and Tom Coffey.

In faith together, the Standing Committee

Our ZOOM Annual Meeting will be held on June 14, 2020. Nominating Committee has provided the following slate of candidates to the Standing Committee for next FY positions:

Standing Committee proposes the following slate of candidates for the 2020/2021 year.
These nominations will be voted on at the June 14th Annual Meeting of the church.
Slate 2020-21
Standing Committee, 3 year ~ Joan Coyne (2020-2023)
Standing Committee, 3 year ~ Brian Snow (2020-2023)
Standing Committee, 1 year ~ Stephanie Owen (2020-2021)
Standing Committee, 1 year ~ Tom Coffey (2020-2021, replacement for Joan Keane)
Clerk, 1 year ~ Aggie Brennan (renewable, 2020-2023)
Treasurer, 1 year ~ Diana Keohane (renewable, 1 extra year, 2018-2023)
Assistant Treasurer, 1 year ~ Neil Harmon (1 extra year, 2020-2021)
Collector, 1 year ~ Carla Corey (renewable, 2019-2021)
Board of Investments, 4 year ~ Doug Snow (2020-2024)
Nominating Committee, 3 year ~ Jayne Boissoneault (2020-2023)
Nominating Committee, 1 year ~ Brenda Rogers (2020-2021)

Continuing Elected Terms 2020-21
Standing Committee, 3 year ~ Gail Burati (2018-2021)
Standing Committee, 3 year ~ Chris Sweetnam (2019-2022)
Standing Committee, 3 year ~ Michelle Hillman (2019-2022)
Board of Investments, 4 year ~ Ami Hughes (2018-2022)
Board of Investments, 4 year ~ Bill Newhard (2019-2023)
Board of Investments, 4 year ~ Susan Woodmansee (2017-2021)
Nominating Committee, 3 year ~ Theresa Popoloski (2018-2021)
Nominating Committee, 3 year ~ Leslie Yauckoes (2 year replacement, 2019-2021)
Nominating Committee, 3 year ~ Jim Curley (2019-2022)

 There will be a July E-newsletter (minus staff columns, as usual) and then we skip August entirely and resume paper and E, come August.

Announcements regarding church information throughout July and August will continue to be shared on the events list, which you may sign up for by going to and choosing the lists you wish to be on.  Once you have submitted your request you will receive, and need to respond to, a confirmation request FROM EACH LIST THAT YOU SIGNED UP FOR. Note that sometimes these emails are considered junk by your email provider so be sure to look in that folder too!

I do continue to work (all but my vacation time in August) – but have significantly reduced hours. Messages will be read or heard, but not immediately, so if its an emergency, don’t just leave a message on the office answering machine and sit there waiting.  - Cindy