Reflections 04/04/15

Amazingly, it is Easter Week! I feel like it kind of snuck up on me. Perhaps it is the piles of snow that belie the other signs of spring. But I do hear birds in the morning (they are obviously ready!) and I have seen pictures of people's snowdrops,
blooming in the shelter of melted spots on their lawn. While the siege of winter is very slowly receding, it is receding. The Passover and Easter celebrations of liberation, new life, and resurrection seem especially apropos. We will honor this holy week with our Tenebrae Service on Thursday evening at 7 pm and an intergenerational celebration of Spring, Passover, and Easter on Sunday, with all the choirs!
A couple of notes as we enter what has become an increasingly busy season of celebrations, both at church and in our lives. First, Commit2Respond, a coalition of Unitarian Universalist organizations and congregations and other communities of faith have joined together to educate and advocate for climate justice. Commit2Respond grew out of the desire to do more from the UUs who attended the People's Climate March in September (which several folks from First Parish attended). With the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the UUA, and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers' Association, Commit2Respond has declared March 22 to April 22 "Climate Justice Month" and has asked UU congregations to raise awareness not only about climate change but about climate justice—not just focusing on environmentalism but the impact of climate change on vulnerable human and species populations and seeking to build community-based, relationship based solutions and responses that don't just change things on an individual level but contribute to real and meaningful shifts in our relationships with each other and the earth. Commit2Respond offers all kinds of resources for worship, study, and social action. Joan Coyne, chair of our Faith in Action Council, has been sending out information from Commit2Respond to those on the Faith in Action email list and posting on our Twitter account and Facebook page. Dolores and Cori Rose have been working with our children and youth to explore environmental justice in the religious education program, complete with a field trip to area wetlands this past Sunday. And you may have been asked to sign a pledge to lower your carbon footprint in
social hour by one of our RE participants. Dolores, Steve, and I are planning an intergenerational service for Climate Justice Month on April 12th where we will explore with our different senses the four elements and commit ourselves to care for the earth. The UU School of Rock will play. (By the way, this is an example of faith formation—where we as a community are learning together across different ages and groups how to live out our UU faith and principles.) For more information, you can to go or
Also, on a totally different subject, I was finally able to gather and meet the group of folks who have volunteered to serve on the Sabbatical Committee for my sabbatical next winter. At our first meeting, we discussed the purpose and work of the committee. Their primary role is communication—preparing materials and information in advance of the sabbatical to let members know who to talk with about what in my absence; to listen to concerns or questions from members of the congregation about the sabbatical; and to be the "go-to" folks for questions while I am on sabbatical. They will also be working with me, the Worship Committee, the Pastoral Care Team and our intern to figure out coverage for worship and pastoral care. I have also asked them to think about what sabbatical time can be for the congregation. Are there ways for all of us to "step back and breathe"? What roles do the sabbatical create for folks in the congregation to step up and try on? Who are other voices in our own and our larger UU communities to bring to the pulpit? Our congregation has been through two ministerial sabbaticals before, including one with me, and we have lots of experience. The Sabbatical Committee has a couple of seasoned veterans from past committees. I imagine everything will be fine. If you do have questions or concerns though, feel free to ask me, or to reach out to members of the Sabbatical Committee: Jayne Boissonneault, Carla Corey, Sandy Johnston, Sarah Manning, Donna Mitchelson, Suzanne Wilson and Leslie Yaukoes

Rumor has it will be 65 degrees on Friday.
–Rev Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824