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


While I was on sabbatical, I took a course at Andover Newton Theological Seminary with Dr. Margaret Benefiel on the soul of leadership. We began each class with a time of “Appreciations”: sharing with our classmates anything that they had said or done that we found valuable, supportive or helpful. We were instructed to make the appreciations specific. “You are a nice person” was not enough.

Following Margaret’s example, I have been asking the Standing Committee to share what they appreciate about their fellow committee members. I know that Sadie has done this with the Religious Education Council as well. It brings a nice energy to the meeting to begin this way.

And as November is a month celebrating gratitude and appreciations, I have some to share. I am aware of at least some of the folks who contribute time and talent to make sure that many of the important if overlooked tasks get done around the church. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start.

-     I appreciate Ron Cook finding and installing the new handicap parking signs in the parking lot and hanging hooks in the chapel to hold quilts.

-     I appreciate Jun-ichi and Akiko Sano coming in every Wednesday to fold and address newsletters (and the Cooks for stepping in when the Sanos cannot). Jane and Bill Drury used to do this before Jane became too ill.

-     I appreciate Martha Sherburne keeping our grounds beautiful, and all those who mowed the grass over the long, hot summer.

-     I appreciate Lynne Cole and the “Kitchen Dwellers” for organizing the set-up, food, and clean-up for Sadie’s baby shower.

-     I appreciate Judith Taylor, and Lynne and Walter Cole getting the quilts hung up in the chapel to help warm the room and control the sound. And Ellen Mellen for lending us some of her beautiful quilts to hang.

-     I appreciate Cornelia Kirkpatrick,  and Jeanne Thompson for cleaning out and organizing closets in the heat of the summer.

-     I appreciate the choirs and Cyndi Bliss for rescheduling rehearsals so that we can open the sanctuary at 10:15. It has contributed greatly to a more worshipful atmosphere.

-     I appreciate the Tervo Family, Will Reiter, Alicia Page, and Dave Merullo for providing music at the evening services. And Carla for organizing the important part of worship.


As I said, this list is in no way complete. If you have appreciations to share, please send them to me. I would like to make room for us to appreciate what we give one another to keep this church going!


In faith,

Rev. Ellen


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