Nov 30 2015

2015 December Church Council

Tuesday, December 1, 7pm Alliance Parlor


    1. Chalice Lighting (5 min)
    2. Sabbatical Information  (15)
    3. Committee Budgets (5 min)
    4. Church Calendar  (5 min)
      1. Talent Show/potluck: Saturday 1/23/16 7:00pm. (Snow date 1/30)
      2. Concert 1: “Steve Zocchi in Concert”. Saturday 2/6/15 7:00 (snow date 2/27)
      3. Concert 2: Saturday 3/12/15 7:00
      4. Auction 3/19
    5. FIA Grants (5 min)
      1. $500 for the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, a job training program for at-risk youth
    6. Committee Reports (5 min)

Committee Reports


Grounds is not at rest, but closing in on it. Our Sugar Maple tree is down and the stump has been ground. If you have any suggestions for a replacement tree, please forward to the Grounds Committee Mailbox, or my email at the end of this report by March 15th 2016.

Parameters for Tree Suggestions:

Height, Width of Tree Spread, Not on Massachusetts Invasive List and Root Growth if you can find it (deep, shallow, etc). Grounds will be reviewing the suggestions during the Winter Months. The Ruts in the front lawn are behind in being filled in by one week. Please be careful walking in the vicinity of the sugar maple tree grass area and extra cautious when the grass seed has been laid down this week.

Thank you to those helpers who have made the huge projects of the fall more manageable to finish before the snow. Very much appreciated!!!! Spring should be full of color and surprises!



  • The Canvass committee met for the 1st time this new church year in November.
  • The committee is currently comprised of Dee Halzack, Cornelia Kirkpatrick, Pricilla Lévesque, and Jim C. We are looking for another 3 or 4 committee members; once of which will be chair next year.
  • Per previous discussion with Ellen, Jim noted that the Canvass Pledge kickoff Sunday will be March 20th, Palm Sunday.
  • Success Luncheon is scheduled for April 17th or 24th – TBD
  • Our theme is up for discussion, to be decided on next meeting (December)
  • Concern was expressed with how the Pledge campaign will be impacted by the Capital Campaign. This needs discussion.
  • As many of the committee members who can, will attend the Fiscal Info Session



  • Gerry Hirsh & Aaron Van Hooser both signed the book in November
  • We held a Newcomer Session; 5 newcomers attended
  • We continue to have three greeters at the morning services
  • We are planning on holding a New UU class this winter season.
  • Times and days to be determined with potential attendees and class leader
  • Theresa is working through an update of the Welcome Guide
  • Neil and Jim will update the Greeters Guide
  • Next meeting will be in December.


The Sabbatical Committee has been meeting monthly to plan for the three months that Ellen will be away on sabbatical.  In conjunction with many committees, worship services have been planned, coverage for pastoral care has been addressed and church operation details have been discussed.  The Sabbatical Guide/Brochure will be ready this week.  This will provide details of all the whats, wheres, whos and whens that our congregation will want to know during Ellen’s absence.  The Committee is looking forward to this opportunity for all of us to share our ministries as we continue to live out our covenant during the winter months.

Committee on Ministry did not meet since our last C.C. meeting.
Music Committee:  The only thing other than the concerts scheduled for early next year, is that the organ repairs are done.  It still needs to be tuned.  The pianos will be tuned by Dec 1st, so by the time of this meeting they should be complete.
The RE Council hosted another successful Family Gathering Potluck, with a cook-in, in November. The cook-in part was so successful we are planning on having another cook-in as part of our January Family Gathering. At our November meeting, we focused on gratitude and wrote cards to all of the RE volunteers so far this year. We will not have a meeting in December as a holiday present to the committee.
The Young Adults are a very vibrant bunch. We had a regular meeting in November, where we shared a meal and had a nice discussion. The Spirit of Life class will be wrapping up in December and the we are looking for other engagement activities in the Spring. Finally, we will be holding a special turning service in the middle of December to mark our change in leadership.
Women’s Alliance did not meet in November. Meetings will resume in March.
Usher committee — Things are going well.   Dave Kaffine has joined me as co-chair.  We are working with worship to purchase an insert for the chalice that will be easier to fill.   We will be reaching out to RE to find youth ushers for the Christmas Eve service and are also looking for adult ushers to help with the service.
Parish Affairs — the first open slot for coffee hour is in January, though I need to find someone to help Rose Lerer and Jessica Leonard on 12/20.  We will be purchasing equal exchange coffee through Sheila to have available for use.  There were a lot of items in the wrong places in the kitchen this Sunday including arts and crafts supplies thrown into the cupboard where serving dishes belong.  This may just be one of those things involved in sharing the kitchen, though I did speak to Joan Keane about whether one of the TOP serving groups may have done that.  The back of the kitchen is still in disarray waiting for new shelving.  Joan asks that parishioners not place donations back there without speaking to her first.  I would like to be able to access my parish affairs storage box.
There is still an unopened coffee pot with the coffee pots in the kitchen, so we are ready for the next breakdown.
TPC/Intern committee — We are meeting regularly and have a strong group.  We are thrilled with how well Justine is doing and especially how she is so at home in the congregation and the congregation is so happy with her.  Justine has just delivered her second sermon.

Worship Committee Report:

Worship Schedule:

December 20th    Morning Service:   Winter Solstice Celebration

                                         Evening Service:    Longest Night

December 24th    5:00 PM:                   First Christmas Eve Service/Pageant

                                                8:00 PM:                   Second Christmas Eve Service

Colleen Leary is looking for 6 to 8 readers for our 8:00 PM Christmas Eve Service plus at least one reserve. If you would like to participate, please contact Colleen Leary

Worship Schedule/Sabbatical:  All dates have been filled on the Worship Schedule during Rev. Ellen’s sabbatical.  The Sabbatical Committee will be providing a report, along with the Sabbatical Guide, at this evening’s meeting.

Evening Service Team:  The Evening Service Team could use one more team member to help with planning and setting up for evening services.  If you are interested, please contact our Ministerial Intern Justine Sullivan.

Chalice Lightings:  We could use some help with chalice lightings during the months of January, February and March.

Soul Matters monthly journal:  The Worship Committee has been using the Soul Matters monthly theme during “check-in” time at our meeting.


Faith in Action Grants Approved

September – none

October – $750

November – None


Recent Church Council Minutes




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.