Reflections 6/19/11


Last Sunday, June 12th, I was invited to speak by the Chelmsford Conservation Land Trust at the anniversary event for Bartlett Park. Ms. Harriet Bartlett, who donated the land to the town of Chelmsford, was a member of First Parish. When trying to decide what to do about this piece of land, she consulted with the Reverend Roland Morin, who advised her about land trusts. And so, the lovely piece of green in the middle of the confusion of Chelmsford center has this connection to First Parish.

At this event, I had the privilege of meeting retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter. He also has a connection to Bartlett Park, and was the keynote speaker at this event. He shared with me his affection for our steeple. When he was commuting home from Washington, D.C., he could see our steeple from 495 and knew that he was almost home. It was a “welcome home to New England” sign for him. Just something to keep in mind as we go through this restoration project.

We are now shifting to a summer schedule. Worship services will be held at 9 am and will meet in the chapel. Most will be lay-led. I will lead one summer service, on August 28th. By popular request, it will be a PET BLESSING. You can bring your actual pet or a favorite stuffed animal or a picture of your pet, if your pet does not social events. Also, we will have a time to remember pets who have passed away. More on this closer to the day.

I will be attending General Assembly this year in Charlotte, NC, along with several members of the church, as well as Sadie and Jill. I leave Tuesday, June 21, and return Saturday, June 25th. The Reverend Cindy Worthington-Berry from First Parish United in Westford will be on call for me. I will also be available by email and cell phone.

I will be around most July, available as needed for pastoral care, committee meetings, planning sessions, washing dishes, and other church related things.  I will not be keeping regular office hours, but you can reach at home or by email. I will be on vacation July 31 through August 21. I will give out emergency coverage information closer to that time.

Thank you, thank you for another wonderful church year. Eight, nine or whatever number of years it is, my heart still lifts when I stand up at the beginning of a service and see you all in the congregation. You are a blessing to me. And thank you for your generous contributions of time, talent, and treasure of the year. Special thanks for yet another generous special collection. We raised over $1350 to send for tornado relief to our sisters and brothers in the Springfield area. I look forward to the next church in September with all it brings. By then, we will have (at least partially) a restored steeple. We will be welcoming Russ Menck as our ministerial intern. Meanwhile, have a wonderful, restful summer.

-Rev. Ellen

Reflections 6/5/11


First, our thoughts and prayers go to our fellow Massachusetts residents in Springfield and Western Massachusetts, who were hit by terrible tornados. I had been in Springfield for a UUMA meeting the day of the storm and left about a half-hour before the storms started. I know that several of you have family and friends in that part of the state, and I hope that they are all safe and sound. The Unitarian Universalist Church in Monson did lose its steeple. I hope through various UU contacts to see if there are ways we can help with the rebuilding efforts down the road. Meanwhile, if you go to the Clara Barton/Mass Bay UUA website, you can find a link to make a donation for disaster relief.

The end of the regular church year always feels compressed, as we try to get everything in place before summer. The Canvass Committee is winding up and the Standing Committee will be preparing the proposal for next year's budget. We will have our annual meeting on June 19th, after our last regular morning service of the year. At that service, we will honor our high school seniors with a bridging ceremony, and we will have our flower communion. Please bring a flower to add to our common bouquet. Our last evening service will be this coming Sunday, June 12th. The Tervos will provide their usual, wonderful music for this service.

Beginning June 26th, worship will be at 9 am in the chapel. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide religious education classes or nursery care for these services at this time. Most of the services are lay-led, and offer quite a variety of perspectives and voices. I encourage you to attend. Lynne Cole of the Worship Committee is coordinating the summer services. If you are interested in leading one, I can help you get in touch with Lynne.

Although I will not be leading worship over the summer, I will not be gone. I will be attending committee meetings and the like, and will be available to talk or listen, if you need an ear or a shoulder.

In the next newsletter, I will relate all that everyone needs to know in terms of vacation coverage. My colleagues and I are still working on it. Meanwhile, know that I will be attending General Assembly from June 21-25 in Charlotte, N.C. and will be on vacation July 31-August 21.

Of course, I will be there for the Fourth of July Breakfast. I hope you will join in volunteering or stopping by to eat, if you are around. Caroline and Rosemary McMullin are once again chairing this important fundraiser and long-standing tradition.

As we enjoy this early summer time, with its special events and warm, sunny weather, keep in mind the words of Mary Oliver, from her poem, "Messenger":

Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be

-Rev. Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824