Category: Reports

Jun 13 2017

Committee Reports June

Welcoming Committee:

May has been a busy month for the Welcoming Congregation Committee. On May 19 the Committee held its annual LGBTQ-themed Movie Night. The Committee has chosen to hold this event on the Friday or Saturday closest to May 17/May 22 because May 17 is the anniversary of Marriage Equality becoming legal in the state and is also International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. This year we showed the movie Pride, highly recommended by one of our youth. The story of an unlikely alliance between a group of LGBTQ activists in the UK who decided to support a miners’ strike. It was a very good movie. The Committee found the movie particularly appropriate since it was also an early example of the worldview that sees the benefits of people from separate communities organized around narrow concerns coming together in support of mutual interests, much as Black Lives Matter, the Occupy movement, the Women’s March, and some environmentalists have advocated in recent times. It also exemplifies the inclusive approach that’s consistent with being a Welcoming Congregation. On May 21, the Committee hosted Social Hour in honor of Harvey Milk, whose birthday was May 22. Harvey Milk was the first nationally recognized openly gay politician, one who was early to see the benefits of cooperation among various diverse interest groups; he too created an alliance between unions and the gay community. The Committee is grateful to the R E Council for switching Social Hour dates with us so that we could continue this annual commitment. The Committee has been tabling to sign people up to participate in the Boston Pride Parade. The Parade is always held on the second Saturday of June, which this year falls on June 10. June 10 just happens to be the tenth anniversary of the vote that made First Parish a Welcoming Congregation, so the Committee thinks it’s a great way to celebrate that anniversary. Warren Flewellen is again one of our two required Marshals. Warren Flewellen has worked hard to pull together a float after we lost access to the trailer we used to use; the float is an important part of our participation because it allows us to share some of our musical talent with the community and it allows the mobility-challenged in our congregation to participate with the marchers. We are grateful to Cheryl Wilson, who has stepped forward as our second Marshal, replacing Tim O’Hara, for whose several years’ service as Marshal we are also grateful. Finally, the Committee has been actively talking to people to pull together a team to work on renewing the church’s Welcoming Congregation designation. The UUA recommends that churches that have been recognized as Welcoming for more than five years apply for renewal of the designation. They recommend this partly because the LGBTQ world is constantly changing. When this church became Welcoming, the label for the community it was learning to be welcoming to LGBT. Since then, the label has changed to LGBTQ or LGBTQIA+. The UUA also makes the recommendation as a way to make people who have joined the congregation since the Welcoming Congregation vote can be made aware of what the church’s commitment to being Welcoming means. The intention is to pull together six to eight people who represent a cross section of the congregation, from among new members, long-time members, seniors, youth, families, LGBTQ and heterosexual, Committee members and other interested members. Over a span of six to eight meetings, the Team will examine what the church committed to when it became Welcoming, consider how it could be more welcoming, and make recommendations to the Standing Committee. Our last piece of news is that our leadership, and therefore the organization of the Committee, is changing. Warren Flewellen is stepping down as Chair of the Committee after several years of service. We are grateful to Warren for his leadership but recognize that it is time for him to step back from such intense involvement. He promises that he will continue to be involved with the Committee, with the renewal of our Welcoming Congregation designation, and with our Pride activities. Since none of our members is able to serve as sole chair, we have discussed possible co-chairs (still to be confirmed) to fulfill church chair administrative functions (budget, signing off on expenses, Church Council, calendar, etc.) and encourage different members to take responsibility for specific events and Committee meetings related to those events. The Committee has functioned this way in the past at times. Dee Halzack will continue to be involved with organizing our TDOR vigil and our advocacy efforts. Frances Killam has volunteered to organize our annual Book Discussion.   Respectfully submitted, Dee Halzack

May 13 2017

Committee Reports May

Committee Reports

May 2, 2017

The Welcoming Congregation Committee has reviewed and consolidated our “stuff” in storage. We are donating extra copies of books from past book discussions, recycled obsolete papers, and moved stuff out of the closet that will no longer be used. At least we THINK we got it all. If you run across anything you think might belong to us that isn’t in the closet in the chapel in a bin labeled WCC or at least labeled WCC, please let us know. We do have a lot of stuff, but one whole bin, plus two boxes, are supplies for our annual TDOR vigil.

On Friday May 19, at 7 pm, we will be hosting our annual Movie Night. We hold Movie Night this weekend because May 17 is the anniversary of Marriage Equality being legal in Massachusetts. It is also International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.  The movie is PRIDE, a true story about an unusual gay-straight alliance formed when U.K. gay activists worked to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

We continue with plans to participate in the Boston Pride Parade, which will be on Saturday June 10, Our two marshals are Warren Flewellen  and Cheryl Wilson. We plan  to carpool from the church to the T.

The Standing Committee approved our suggestion that we apply for renewal of our recognition as a Welcoming Congregation. We did this because we’re coming up to the 10th anniversary of being recognized as a Welcoming Congregation and the UUA recommends that churches that have been Welcoming for more than 5 years apply for renewal. They recommend this because there are constant changes in the LGBT+ world and because people who joined the church after the Welcoming recognition need to be brought into the church’s commitment to being Welcoming. In fact, the acronym itself has changed significantly since the church went through the process of becoming Welcoming. The process of applying for renewal consists of forming a Team to review how the Church’s original commitments have been met, what has changed that needs to be addressed, and what the Church could do to be even more Welcoming. The Standing Committee empowered the Welcoming Congregation Committee to form the Team, which should be composed of a cross-section representing young, old, new, and long-time, gay, and heterosexual congregational members. It is expected to take 6 to 8 meetings to complete the work of the Team, which will probably begin in the fall. The  WCC has already reached out to former members of the Welcoming Congregation Committee, who guided the church through the process. If any of you would be interested in participating, please talk to Warren Flewellen ([email protected])or Dee Halzack ([email protected])

Respectfully submitted,

Dee Halzak

The Grounds Committee is in full swing. Thank you personally, Nancy and Linda Horn for helping me to prepare Westford St for May Breakfast. There are still quite a few projects to go: some weeding designing the bed around our newly planted Fringe Tree, which blooms in June. It is our replacement for the Maple. The donation was made by Samantha Sager. We need a little more help for mowing season.   Martha

Parish Affairs: Coffee hour is going well.  We replaced the leaking coffee pot on Sunday and I’ll be interested to hear what people think of the new taller one we have.   I will probably buy another one if it gets a good response, so that we have a backup. Thanks, Edith

The Nominating Committee completed our list of officers for the 2017-2018 church year and submitted it to the Standing Committee.

Women’s Alliance is waiting on information from the Archives to proceed with cleaning the Alliance Parlor. Additionally, we have set-up a meeting with the Accessibility Building Project Design team leader, to figure out who is moving first and what is going where.

The Young Adult group hosted a successful Canvass Success luncheon this past Sunday. The YA’s teamed up with the High School youth Sunday morning during class to prepare. We had a great time listening to the service while we worked.

RE Council is starting to wind down this year and plan for next year. This Sunday we will be helping Dolores with the Milestone service. The RE Council is hosting Social Hour after the service. We will be having our May meeting after Social Hour where we will be discussing the last few events of the church year as well as starting to brainstorm for next year.

May Breakfast: I with help purchased a new fryer that will be debuted at this year’s May Breakfast. I am hoping that the increased capacity will lead to more sales. If all goes well, we will be using it for the July 4th Breakfast as well. We have not determined if we will need the old fryer as well; this depends on volume. We sold May Baskets at two coffee hours already with success and plan on selling them at May Breakfast. We have had many people donate fudge which is a huge help and this year we started selling flowers as an alternative with success as well.



Mar 12 2017

Committee Reports March 7, 2017

Committee Reports

March 7, 2017


The HR committee had their monthly meeting on 3/2. Items to report out on included:

– Assigned DaveK to write a brief summary for Church Council 🙂 – We discussed the next steps in our efforts to reconcile the “Joint Recommendations on Ministerial Agreements” (from the UUMA and UUA Transitions Office) with our Letter of Call for Ellen. This may eventually require a congregational vote, but not until after more HR work.

– Invited Dolores to give us a report, to make sure things were proceeding smoothly with the new RE Coordinator

– Although not directly an HR issue except to the extent it affects staff, had a brief discussion on whether Church Council should play some role in communicating/coordinating/planning for disruptions that will occur during the construction project.

The music committee met on February 26th. We discussed the details of the March 25th concert. There will be performances by Janice Tervo, Henry Tervo, Mark Tervo, SteveZocchi, David Siegel, Bryce Denney and others. The proceeds will go to the UUSC. I will be out of town on the 25th and have sent an email to the Social Action Committee requesting volunteers to help with the set up and clean up for the reception following the concert. We are also in need of someone to run the elevator. A 3rd concert has been scheduled for May 20th. The sanctuary piano will be tuned on March 21st for the concert.

Nominating will be meeting on March 21. We have had great success putting together the Slate of Officers for next year, with only two more positions to fill. We did a Chalice Lighting the first Sunday of February as well as the Welcome and Announcements in February. We also had a descriptive blurb in the Shooting Star and in the Sunday’s Announcements throughout February to bring a higher profile and understanding of the work in which the Nominating Committee engages.

The Women’s Alliance will be meeting on March 19th to discuss the Building project and to brainstorm ideas about the impact of the project.

The Young Adults have not meet yet but are hoping to meet at the end of March. We are currently focused on actively conversing during coffee hour. We will be hosting the Canvass Success Luncheon on April 30th. We are planning to run a class starting at the end of August as well.

The RE Council hosted a Meet and Greet for New Families this past Sunday. We had three new families with children of various ages attend. Reverend Ellen, Dolores, and the RE Council welcomed them to the program and answered questions. It was well received for every one. The Ice Cream Social went well and we are looking forward to the rest of the year.The May Basket making has started with the wonderful help of Ellen Mellen and Rebecca Gore. I will be making fudge in the middle of April; please let anyone know they are welcome to help. I will send out an announcement after the Auction. Sincerely,Caroline McMullin


Membership Committee met Feb. 21, 2017. General consensus that many more new people have been coming in past few months. No actual data, as few sign the guest book, or give us contact info in other ways. Need for greeters to encourage guest book signing and temporary name tags. Need to make sure questions get answered and people feel welcome

Black Lives Matter speaker event: circulated and handed out UU World newcomer magazine to several community members. Discussed having presence at such events in future, in case people new to UU are interested.

New UU class will be Saturday mornings from 4/1 – 5/6 from 9-11am. People are being invited by Justine personally.

Last Newcomer Session of the year will be 4/2 after service in the parlor

Grounds Mini Meeting Report – Parking lot to be cleaned this week and next. We are working to replace Maple tree this Spring. Checking with Tom Coffey to coordinate preparing/deleting garden beds before construction begins. Martha






Mar 12 2017

Committee Reports: February 7, 2017

Committee Reports

February 2017

Committee on Ministry: I heard from Ellen about our budget. She said that having $50 in for next fiscal year is fine. Our last meeting was a discussion about the retreat in the fall. She asked that we work on the details to put it all together. We also discussed doing her evaluation this year since that’s not outside of the realm of our mission. Carlene sent along some info that we will review before our next meeting. That was basically it!   Kathy

CFAM Report: Sheila Carman and I organized a bus to take people to the Women’s March on January 21st.  We easily filled a 36 person bus.  There as a lot of interest, we had to turn people away once we reached out limit. Our common read this spring is The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by Rev. William J Barber and Jonanthan Wilson Hartgrove. We will have books out in early March, with a book discussion in May.  I’ve attached our budget. Joan

Worship Committee Report:  In addition to being a peaceful presence as a faith community at several recent protests, the worship committee has also been discussing the importance of focusing on who we are as a faith community locally. Thank you to Jane Collins for the time she gave to the Worship Committee over the past two years.  Jane will be stepping off of the Committee as of February.  If you are interested in joining the Worship Committee, please contact Jayne Boissonneault at [email protected]  Jayne   Please sign up for a chalice lighting soon!

The Young Adults did not meet in January. We are planning on having conversations around the new president and our UU values. More than likely, Sam and I will be leading this. We are not sure what this will look like as of right now. We do have one new active member and have started to have a consistent group show up on Sundays again. The Young Adults have had some great conversations at coffee hour which is helped to maintain a strong group.

The Women’s Alliance did not meet. Hopefully, we will meet in late February. The Alliance Parlor kitchen does not have water right now due to a problem with the hot water heater. Ellen, Leila, Cindy, Sarah, and Walter and Ron (as building improvement representatives) know about the issue. It is not a huge priority to fix as the hot water heater will not be used after construction. We want to wait to make sure we are not replacing something needlessly.

The REC has had two productive meetings since we last meet. We have a table at coffee hour near the elevator every week. We discussed having a conversation with new parents, as Ellen mentioned that there have been many new families in 2017. We will be hosting an event in early March. Dolores is talking to Leila about scheduling. Finally, the REC will be hosting the annual Ice Cream Social next Sunday, February 12th.   Sincerely, Caroline McMullin

Grounds Committee: Our Winter Slumber is still upon us. We will be reawakening our team and see where we need new members. So far cleanup appears to be minor this Spring. We keep our fingers crossed that when there is not much snow we will have rain.   Martha


The Music Committee is planning the March 25th concert.  Janice and Henry Tervo will be performing as well as a few other people who will be confirmed soon.  Steve Zocchi will perform some solo piano pieces.  We sought Rev. Ellen’s input into whom would best be served by the funds.  She suggested the proceeds go to the UUA service Committee:  “UUSC advances human rights through grassroots collaboration. In more than a dozen countries throughout the world, UUSC fosters social justice and works toward a world free from oppression. UUSC’s innovative approaches and measurable impact — in promoting economic justice, bolstering environmental justice, and protecting rights at risk — are grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights”.  The music committee has agreed.  All the pianos and the organ are in good shape. Aggie

Membership Committee Report:   Membership Committee did not meet in December due to a number of schedule complications.  A scheduled Newcomer Session was held and attended by several people.  A supply of a new introductory UU magazine was purchased which contains a variety of reprint articles from past UU World.  These are less “dense” and business oriented than the back issues of UU World that we have been previously handing out to newcomers.

The Committee did meet in January, with a small contingent.  Several people were ill or had other commitments, and I was unable to lead due to my father’s death.  Ellen took the lead and most of the discussion focused on the larger than normal number of newcomers, possibly related to the current political climate.  Many of these newcomers have returned several times and seem likely to join, including several families with children.

There are two more Newcomer Sessions scheduled for this year, and the New UU class is being planned to start in March with Peggy Stephens-North and Justine Sullivan co-running it.









Standing Committee

The Standing Committee is the Church's governing board. The Standing Committee works to ensure the vitality of our community of faith. There are 10 members of the Standing Committee – nine voting members elected by the congregation and the minister, who is a non-voting member of the Committee. Standing Committee members serve a 3 year term.

The Standing Committee meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm. Time is set aside at the beginning of every SC meeting as an open forum for members to bring forward any issues they would like to discuss.

The Standing Committee is responsible for the health and well being of First Parish. This includes maintaining communication among members and committees, managing Church property, and planning for the Church's short and long-term future. And of course members of the Standing Committee develop and manage the budget approved by the Congregation at the annual meeting.
The Human Resources Committee is a sub-committee of the Standing Committee.