Updated January 14, 2022
Contact information for individuals is omitted from this page unless requested by that individual, but can be found in the emailed newsletters and announcements.
Cards for Health Care Workers: Thank you to everyone who sent in cards for us to distribute to area hospitals to thank the health care and support staffs who are on the frontlines of this latest COVID surge. I would like to continue to collect them as I am aware of other hospitals that could use a friendly thank you and reminders that we care. Please mail them or drop them off at the church by Thursday, January 20th. A special thanks if you are willing to do a second round! Rev. Ellen
Healing Circle: Ever need a prayer or a good thought for you or a loved one? First Parish has a group that delivers just that. If you are interested in being part of the circle that sends healing vibes and/or you need some healing energy please reach out to Kathy Deschenes of the Pastoral Care Team.
First Parish members and friends are cordially invited to join a Virtual Seminary for a Day on Saturday, January 29, at First Unitarian Portland. This year's spiritual theme is entitled, "Doing the Inner Work of Racial Justice."
Our keynote speaker is Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, who serves as the Senior Minister of the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland. He describes himself as a Hindu-Unitarian Universalist and says that his Unitarian Universalism makes him a better Hindu.
If you are engaged in the work of racial justice and long for spiritual connection in this work, join us for this year's virtual Seminary For A Day. This is an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how racism has shaped our UU faith and our congregations; how structural racism still operates today, often unnoticed; and what is involved in cultivating Beloved Community and working against racism and oppression in all of its forms.
We will practice mindfulness meditation, conversation, and experiential exercises that get to the heart of healing internalized racism and being anti-racist. We will seek to create brave space, engage in courageous conversations on what is healing and what is harming racial justice, and rest in restorative meditation and embodied practices.
Date and Time: Saturday, January 29, 2022, 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Registration is open until 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Friday, January 29th. You will receive a Zoom link via email before the event.
Rev. Bill Sinkford | He/Him/His | Senior Minister
First Unitarian Church
1034 S.W. 13th Ave. | Portland, OR 97205 | 503.228.6389 x272
12/31/2021 Update from the COVID Task Force
Please read the latest update regarding in-person and online attendance: COVID-19 Task Force Update 12/31/2021
COVID Survey Results
The COVID Task Force reviewed the feedback from the survey about our multi-platform worship services. We received 56
responses. The Standing Committee, the COVID Task Force, Rev Ellen, the Worship Tech Team and the
Worship Committee wish to thank the congregation for your feedback.
Overall, the feedback was very positive. People expressed appreciation that we are offering multi-platform
worship services. There is approximately a 50/ 50 split from the survey respondents attending in the sanctuary
vs from home. Some are comfortable attending in the sanctuary and grateful to experience worship there. Others
are grateful for the opportunity to attend from home for a couple of different reasons, including concern with
COVID and underlying medical conditions, convenience in the face of busy schedules and living far away. A
large majority of those attending from home said they would be comfortable coming back to the sanctuary at
some point in the future.
All of the respondents who have attended in the sanctuary said they felt safe. A few folks attending from home
expressed hesitation regarding feeling safe in the sanctuary due to underlying medical conditions. A couple of
people think we are being too conservative requiring both masking and social distancing/ limited seating. While
we understand and appreciate this feedback, the COVID Task Force believes that we need to continue with the
current protocols for those who attend in the sanctuary, especially given this latest surge of COVID cases.
There was feedback from people attending from home to add opportunities to connect to worship beyond
watching the livestream. About half watching from home requested a return to the on-line chat. We will begin
reinstating the online chat via Youtube on December 19. Several respondents also mentioned missing prerecorded
content (chalice lightings, the church covenant, music pieces) so those attending from home could
participate in the services. While we are able to do this via audio recordings, we currently do not have the
staffing or equipment to prepare pre-recorded video content that can be simultaneously viewed at home and in
the sanctuary. Pursuing this will need congregational discussion about the commitment of resources. Many
people said that they miss the choir and live singing. Unfortunately, we are not yet sure when it will be safe
Thank you to everyone who responded. We hope that sharing this feedback will give all of us a sense of where
we are as a community and what next steps we can take. This continues to be a work in progress. We will
evaluate further modifications to worship and will communicate our plans with the congregation.
The COVID Task Force,
Tom Coffey (Chair), Joan Coyne (Standing Committee Chair), Rev. Ellen Spero, Dolores Heredia-wood, Steve
Zocchi and Jess Volk
From Rev. Ellen:
Our Soul Matters Worship Theme for January is “Living with Intention.” Given the current surge in the COVID cases, I will offer a reflection about how we live with intention during this pandemic. Steve will provide wonderful music. Brenda Rogers will be our worship tech person, Dave Kaffine will host the online chat on our YouTube link and Edith Murphy will host our online social hour via Zoom. (Given that we have moved worship to online attendance only, there obviously will be no in person social hour either). I wish everyone a healthy New Year!
Do you sometimes feel like you’ve lost your way?
Come join Joan Coyne In an exploration about the meaning of the verses of… “The Tao”
Saturday’s at 7 to 9pm- January 8; 15; 22; 29; February 5; 12
Link to Standing Committee Updates: http://www.uuchelmsford.org/sc/
Full Moon Reflective Labyrinth Walks: Re~energize!
7 pm on February 16, March 18, April 16, and May 15, 2022. Supermoon-June 14
The January 17 walk is cancelled due to weather and the COVID surge.
Snow Brigade 2021 - 2022:
Winter is with us now, and we are looking for volunteers to come to church early on Sunday IF it snowed
Saturday night or Sunday morning. We have contracted with a company to plow the parking lot and
shovel the walks. The company may come early, so there is a chance of more snow on the walks and steps
before church. We need at least 6 people to sign up. This means each person will have 3 Sundays to
cover during the winter. More is Less!
Please contact Walter Cole if you are willing and able to be a member of the Snow Brigade.
Your Building Committee - Ron Cook, Tom Coffey, and Walter Cole
Afghan Support Team - We have an interfaith IINE Afghan Support team! Four congregations are coming together to form one large team to help the International Institute of New England as they welcome Afghan Humanitarian Parolees to the Lowell area over the next several months. There is much to do to find housing, furnish apartments, bring groceries, and acclimate these families as they are sent here from military bases across the country, where they have been housed on an emergency basis. The team name has been changing as we embrace congregations asking to join us. We are now thinking of calling ourselves "Chelmsford Faith in Action" or something like that. If you'd like to know more about the program or to join the team, please contact Diana Keohane.
The International Institute of New England in Lowell is working to resettle families from Afghanistan in our area.
They are in need of the following items: Gift cards (especially Market Basket, Target, Walmart, and
Amazon); Bedding (queen, full and twin bed sheets, pillows, blankets); Paper products (toilet paper, paper
towels - unopened packages only);Cleaning supplies (Wash cloths, Clorox wipes, laundry detergent, buckets,
mops, toilet plungers, toilet bowl brushes, brooms, dust pans and brushes); Kitchen supplies (pots, pans, knives,
silverware sets, dish sets, drinking glasses, tea cups/with saucers - gently used condition is fine); Rice cookers,
toasters, tea pot or Electric tea kettle, crock pots; Umbrellas (all sizes and colors - new or in like-new
condition); Power strips;Bath supplies (towels, rugs, shower curtain and hooks, shower curtain liners); Sewing
machines; Trash barrels; Lamps;Diapers; Furniture as needed.
Contact Sarah Benson at (978) 459-9031 to arrange a time to drop off at the IINE office:
101 Jackson Street, Suite 2 in Lowell (or to arrange for them to pick up if you cannot drop off your donations).
Emma Houseman is looking for someone to shovel her walkway this winter (driveway is plowed). Contact Emma for more details.
Online Chat Hosts Needed: Many thanks to the Worship Tech Team and Website Committee for getting the online chat back. If you are interested in being an online chat host, please let me know:
Calling Men into Connection
A monthly gathering of men for reflection and sharing led by Tom Coffey
Are you a member of the silent majority of men who Are you looking for a place to talk about what it
means to be masculine without the misogyny or tough-guy tropes? Or how about simply a space to share
the highs and lows that men feel in our diverse roles as parents, sons, co-workers and partners and single
This group will meet with same FPCC covenantal confidentiality as other FPCC Small Group Ministry
When: 7-9pm; January through June-2nd Wednesday of every month in the
Where: Hybrid via Zoom; Chapel/upstairs-High School Room #207
Who: All male-identified folks are encouraged to attend and FPCC membership/participation isn't
Here is a quick look upcoming this years topics following themes from the Soul Matter monthly themes materials- January: Living with Intention; February: Widening the Circle; March: Renewing Faith; April: Awakening; May: Nurturing Beauty; June: Celebrating Blessings
Opportunity to Share Soul Matters Reflections in Worship:
Soul Matters is a UU Theme based resource for worship and faith formation. Each month, we are sent a collection
of materials on that month's theme for sharing in worship, small group ministry discussions, and faith formation
groups of all ages. I would like to invite interested First Parishers to share their reflections on one of the monthly
themes that has caught your interest or speaks to you in some way. This is a bit of an experiment (as so
many things are this year) but I am looking to January 30th for three or four people to share 5 minute
reflections on the theme of "Living with Intention." If you are interested, reach out to me
Thanks so much, Rev. Ellen
“Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.” -Bell Hooks
Star Island is looking for summer staff applicants!
If you are not already familiar with Star Island, we run a seasonal religious and educational conference
center off the New Hampshire coast and hire approximately 100 people (18 or older) to work from midJune to mid-September. As our roots are linked to the UU and UCC faiths, working on Star offers a unique employment opportunity in a beautiful location, with a vibrant and welcoming community.
The deadline to apply is January 24.
For more information about working on Star Island, please visit our website
(www.starisland.org/working) or feel free to contact us with questions.
The First Parish UU of Chelmsford Great Recipe Book Project:
Let’s share our recipes…, create a legacy of sorts of Who we Were, Are and Will be. This will be an ongoing project. More information is in the announcements, website and flyers .
General Assembly is happening again this year - both online and in person in Portland, Oregon (as of right now). General Assembly is the annual gathering of the Unitarian Universalist Association and gathers Unitarian Universalists from around the world - learn more at https://www.uua.org/ga.
The Council in Faith in Action Ministries (CFAM) invites you to dive a bit deeper into Unitarian Universalism to get ready. Beyond our Seven Principles, there is something called the 8th Principle Project - https://www.8thprincipleuu.org/. CFAM invites you to explore this Principle; if you feel called to put this into practice, let me know - Caroline Snow