Reflections 10/24/10

10/24/2010


From The Shooting Star. Copyright 2010, Ellen Rowse Spero.  All rights reserved.

 

Several of you asked me to pass on the words of the Reverend Rebecca Parker, with which I ended my sermon this past Sunday. Here they are: “Let us make it our aim to move in harmony with the deep music that is always sounding. Even when we have momentarily lost our ability to hear or feel it, the music is there. Let us respond to the rhythm and harmony that pulses through life, ever refreshing our souls. And let us move in the world as singers and dancers of the spirit, composers of justice, and artists of peace.” (p. 142 in Bless the World).

 

Her words felt especially apt in several ways. First, we were graced by “deep music” at both services, in the morning by our own senior choir with Matt Bliss on violin and in the evening by members of the Temple Emanuel Choir. They shared with us three beautiful songs from different branches of Judaism.

Second, several folks shared with us during joys and sorrows how important our thoughts, prayers, cards, and phone calls during times when it was hard for them to hear or feel this deep music. Part of the way we respond faithfully to our covenant and call as a Unitarian Universalist congregation is to help keep the rhythm and harmony, to sing and dance the spirit, to keep faith with this deep music so that those in and beyond our congregation who cannot hear or feel for a time can find their way back to it.

Finally, we had a wonderful conference led by the Reverend Sue Phillips on “Leading Congregations Through Change” this past Saturday. Thirty-five of us were joined by twenty-five folks from First Parish in Groton. From the feedback I have received, people really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I am still processing it all and will communicate more about it at a later date. However, one key learning for me was the importance of paying attention to this “deep music” beneath all of our conversations, decisions, and choices. Keeping faith with it will help guide us on a wiser and truer path.

A reminder that November 7th will be our “All Souls” service. During this service, I read the names of those who have died in the last year. If there is someone who you would like remembered at this service, please send me their name, and dates of birth and death. You may email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., leave a note in the box outside my office door or leave a message at 978 256-5555.

 

In faith,

Rev. Ellen

Reflections 10/10/10

From The Shooting Star. Copyright 2010, Ellen Rowse Spero.  All rights reserved

 

For this column, I would like to offer us a couple of invitations with regard to some opportunities for our congregation. Two weeks ago, I asked you during worship to answer three questions: 1) what line of our covenant resonates for you most deeply; 2) how do you see us living out our covenant well and 3) how do you see us living out our covenant more deeply. Cindy Gist (bless her!) made two posters with your answers. Three repeated themes that emerged for the third question were a desire to see us be better stewards of our congregation, better stewards of the earth and to do more local social outreach and justice work. So here are the invitations to deepen in these ways.

The first invitation is to the “Leading Congregations Through Change” conference on Saturday, October 23rd, here at First Parish, from 9 am to 3 pm. I know that some folks who are not on committees or in leadership positions read “leading” in the title and think, “this doesn’t include me.”  Enter congregational polity. We are all stewards of our congregation. Change is something that happens in life. We cannot control change itself. But we can meet it with intentionality and thoughtfulness. We can build the foundation for talking about the changes that impact our congregation and may require major decisions before we are faced with a crisis or a conflict. It always works in our favor to have shared definitions and shared language. We are blessed to have a terrific facilitator, the Reverend Sue Philips, the new District Executive for our Clara Barton District, to lead this workshop. Both I and some members of the Standing Committee have attended this workshop and she does a fabulous job. Also, we will be joined by members from the First Parish Unitarian Universalist congregation of Groton. This should be a lot of fun! So, if you are on a committee or serve in some leadership role, I ask that you do come. If you don’t, but feel a commitment to this congregation, I ask you to consider coming as well. Please let Cindy Gist know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 978 256-5133. We would like as many RSVP’s as possible by the 12th so we can plan with our caterer for lunch. Also, if you would like child care, please let Cindy know as soon as possible, so we can ensure coverage.

Second, I invite you to consider joining the Green Committee. It needs new members in order to help us sustain and deepen this particular commitment to being good stewards of the earth. The Committee has had a table at social hour the past couple of weeks. They are featuring a presentation by the Reverend Barbara McCusick Liscord (our former ministerial intern!) and Paul Liscord on sustainability on October 29th. The chair of the Green Committee is Ami Hughes and their next meeting is Tuesday October 19th at 7 pm.

Third, I appreciate all of you bear witness through service: Community Table, Open Pantry, the WISH Project, Table of Plenty, the NOLA service trip, the Welcoming Congregation, providing needed items for the refugee families, knitting helmets for soldiers in Afghanistan…I am sure there are others I am forgetting. I would like to invite us into another opportunity. I have been contacted by GRIP, a program to provide mentors and support to young people living at Bridge House in Lowell, a group home for those aging out of foster care. This is a new program that the staff at Bridge House and we would be developing together in some ways. They would like volunteers to cook dinners with the residents and help them learn about healthy eating and family meals, to share a craft or skill, to tutor, to give birthday parties and celebrate holidays, and to generally be positive adult role models. We may partner with First Parish United in Westford. Volunteers would need to agree to a CORI, drivers record and 51A (history of domestic abuse) review. I would provide a training session to all volunteers. Cornelia Kirkpatrick, our social outreach coordinator, and I will be holding an information/interest session after church on October 24th. If you have questions or are interested please feel free to contact me or Cornelia. I can be reached at 978 256-5555, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

And last but not least, a reminder. We will be having a non-surprise baby shower for Sadie next Sunday after the fire drill and enough social hour for those who cannot stay. Lynne Cole welcomes help with food, clean up and set up. If you have questions about gifts or other things, please feel free to contact me. And I hear that we might have some fun games too!

 

In faith,

Rev. Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133