Where to begin? There is so much happening! First, thank you so much to the Religious Education children, youth, and volunteers for putting on such a wonderful pageant this past Sunday. It was truly a grand intergenerational effort, with much work behind the scenes. The actors were poised. The musicians rocked the house. The set was terrific. The costumes were outstanding and creative. And it has all been captured on whatever it is we call film these days by the documentary crew. Once again, the congregation received a lovely Christmas gift from our children and youth.

We also held our longest night service in the evening. I appreciate so many people coming out on a cold, December night. Everyone was treated to just such beautiful music by the Tervo family and Jessica Gist. While the morning captured the joy and fun of the season, the evening service offered the meditative and quiet side.

On the national scene, Congress repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that has prevented gays and lesbians from serving their country openly. These are not easy times—economically, politically or otherwise. I am glad that senators and representatives from both parties were brave enough to vote on the side of human rights.

Finally, I would like to share from an email conversation between our First Parish team of cooks and Pat, the head cook, for Table of Plenty. Every Tuesday, the Table of Plenty teams of volunteers come to prepare, serve, and clean up a meal for anyone who comes. We have welcomed them to use our vestry and kitchen. Together, we have had to learn to share space and equipment. I know it is not always easy.  But I have watched as we have learned to work together for the larger good of providing some hospitality and a little economic or social support through food. And I have watched as a camaraderie has developed between our cooks and Pat. I have enjoyed watching the trust develop between us as we came to recognize in one another our shared love for making food as our form of prayer or spiritual practice. And I, for one, have learned how to bake rice, create decorative florets from green onions, and whip up “emergency” bread pudding from Pat. After the last evening we cooked, Paul forwarded our feedback to Pat, who sent this email response:

“Dear Friends, I would like to send you all a BIG THANK YOU for all the help you have given to the Table of Plenty and to me. We all do what we can to help out others that are in need.  We do it from our hearts, because that's the kind of people we have become. Caring and sharing is like walking and talking. It's part of us all. God has given us each a special skill. It's how we use it that really counts.  Thank you again for all your help and I am looking forward to working with you in the coming year. Have a wonderful holiday.  PAT SCHROEDER    (GOOD FOOD FEEDS THE BODY. GOOD FRIENDS AND FAMILY FEEDS THE SOUL)”
She has defined “right relationship” as well as anyone I have heard so far. I hope that we continue to find similar ways to experience right relationship in our larger community.

Josh, Sam, Henry, and I wish you all a sane and meaningful Christmas/Solstice, and a wonderful New Year.

In faith,
Rev. Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824