As Earth Day approaches, we are reminded to honor the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
This is our earth.
There are no other earths.
Before its wonder, philosophers fall silent.
Before its mystery,
poets admit their words are shadow, not light.
And all the great names religious teachers have left to us—
Ishtar, Shekinah, Terra Mater, Suchness, Wakan
suddenly refuse to announce themselves.
And so we too fall silent,
entering the time where words end
and reality begins.
(Mark Belletini, from Sonata for Voice and Silence)
SUNDAY April 19, 2015 at 11am
Sermon: What to do about Evil – David Dorney
Young Church: Preschool-Kindergarden: Is being taught by Minda Jariwala and Alisa McGann. This week the children will be learning about empathy.They will talk about how to be a good neighbor.
First-Fifth grade: Taught by Kimberly Wootan with assistance by Olivia. This class will be about Hope as we share the story of Hopedale a Unitarian Universalist Utopian community in western Massachusetts.
Coffee Hour: A time of fellowship will follow the worship services in the Dining Room. Our hosts this week will be: George Smith, Jody West, Kassie Howard
Sunday April 26, 2015 at 11am
Sermon: Birthdays mark our time on earth. In the beginning they don’t seem to come fast enough. As we move into middle age the time between them can seem to go by in the blink of an eye. Come Sunday April 26th for this multigenerational service and explore how birthdays can be joyous throughout our lives by remembering that each day we are alive is a good reason to celebrate. Kimberly Wootan and Tracey Robinson-Harris lead the service.
Young Church: The Children will be in the sanctuary for an intergenerational service. It is Kimberly’s Birthday. The service will have a chance to celebrate the day everyone was born!
Coffee Hour: A time of fellowship will follow the worship services in the Dining Room. Our hosts this week will be: Sarah and Marshall Hawkins
Congregational Meeting on Sunday, April 19th at 12:30 pm to vote on a proposal from the Standing Committee
Our contract with the Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris is for two years. The Interim Ministry program is designed to prepare a congregation in a transition. Our interim period has coincided with the roll out of our capital campaign determined during our strategic planning and a transition in Religious Education. This first year we have needed to stabilize and consolidate what we have been doing. The interim preparation work has been started, but we have more to do, and after over thirty years, we are learning the process of transitions.
After much thought, evaluation, and discussion with Tracey, we have chosen to propose to the congregation that we have a third year of interim ministry with Tracey. The proposal would extend the contract one year. We need three years of continuity. We would not want a third year of interim ministry with an entirely new person as is sometimes done.
After having stabilized, we will be more focused on the interim experience and preparing for a new minister. This proposal would also postpone the timeline for the creation of the Search Committee to spring of 2016.
If you have concerns, suggestions, or ideas, please discuss them with any of the members of the Standing Committee: George Wardle, Sarah Hawkins, Lina Fox, Margaret Suby, Catherine MacAlpine, Alice Hawley, Chuck Collins, Andrea Fleck Clardy, or the Rev. Tracey Robinson Harris.
Embrace Our Future: The First Church Capital Campaign
Over 55 First Church members and friends attended the kick-off for Embrace Our Future: The First Church Capital Campaign on Sunday April 12. Along with hors d’oeuvres and beverages, and original theater and songs, the exciting announcement of the evening was that $235,000.00 toward the campaign goal of $350,000.00 has been raised in early pledges, representing 67% of our campaign goal. This pledged amount represents strong commitments from about 20 First Church members, all of whom have held leadership positions in the church over their many years of service and believe in the urgency of this campaign. Other members and friends were urged to keep up this momentum so we can reach our full goal. Speakers during the evening included Betsy McDowell and Penny Wells, campaign co-chairs; George Wardle, Standing Committee Chairperson and First Church Historian, Jom Michel, lead gifts chair, and Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris (who also showed off her dancing talent in an impromptu waltz with Robert Amelio to “The Rainbow Connection”). Margaret Suby wrote an original skit, “Sesame Street,” in which Church members and friends Patrick Simpson, Anna Lawrence, Jane Ichord, David Dorney, Jom Michel, and Tim Williamson portrayed the familiar Sesame Street characters transposed to First Church for the occasion. Jane Ichord as Miss Piggy displayed notable acting skill, and David Dorney was a remarkably convincing Oscar the Grouch. The evening closed with the song “Imagine” with words specially written for the campaign by Betsy McDowell. Thalia McMillion coordinated the kick-off event, and, with her usual energy and creativity, produced a fantastic event. Thank you, Thalia!
Now that we have officially opened the Capital Campaign, stewards will be contacting members and friends for visits during the weeks of April 13-May 11to discuss First Church, the campaign, and their interest in pledging over a three year period. If you are not contacted by a steward in the next few days and would like to arrange a visit, please contact Margaret Suby at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the church office.
Your contribution is very important to us. We have reached 2/3 of our goal, but without the participation of as many people as possible, we will not reach our goal of $350,000.
Capital Campaign Profile of the Week!
Andrea and Jon Clardy
My first visit to First Church seven years ago felt a little like a homecoming. Unlike most members of the congregation, I was raised as a Unitarian Universalist. More than any neighborhood or extended family, the Plainfield, New Jersey, church in which I grew up felt like my community. My father was active in the denomination and – after retiring from a career in business – became a UU minister. So I knew the hymns long before I got to First Church. I cherished the traditions of social activism and intellectual inquiry and spiritual engagement.
Still, I did not foresee how warmly we would be welcomed and how quickly I would become involved. I came looking for a community and I love what I found. I’m proud of the JP Forum and our Food Pantry. I’m moved by our music, by our forms of worship, and by our ability to support each other in times of crisis.
I’ve gradually realized that my allegiance goes beyond recognition of my heritage and affection for the current congregation. My commitment is to the church itself – this particular building in this particular community – and to its positive, affirming potential. That commitment to something more than our church-of-the-moment is what motivates Jon and me to contribute to the capital campaign. This campaign is not only to fix things up and make them nicer, but also – as the slogan says – to embrace our future. The capital campaign gives us a way to personally invest in all that First Church may yet become. –Andrea and Jon Clardy
Our Denomination News: Annual General Assembly
The annual General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association is June 24-28, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. See: www.uua.org/ga At GA, there are important discussions of denominational policy as well as useful and inspirational workshops and worship. We presently do not have any delegates, nor do we have any budgeted resources to cover travel expenses and registration. In the past, members have attended GA at their own expense or with fundraising help from the congregation. Are you interested? Do you have any reason to be in the Pacific Northwest at the end of June? We will elect delegates at the Church annual meeting in May. Please contact Chuck Collins from the Standing Committee if you are interested: email@example.com
CALENDAR (details on many of these events elsewhere in the newsletter)
April 23, 7-8:30pm JP Forum: It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised Radical and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood with Frida Berrigan
April 24, 1:00-4:00 pm Massachusetts Bay District of UU Congregations Annual Meeting, First Parish UU of Weston, 349 Boston Post Rd.
April 24, 7:30pm Eliot Street Soirée presents Deborah Galiga and Friends. Click here for more information.
June 6, 2015 11am – 4pm: First Church Spring Fair. Crafts and more. More details to come.
June 24-28, The annual General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Portland, Oregon. See: www.uua.org/ga
Young Adult Group
For the young or young at heart, please join in our conversation! As a group, we will create a closer young adult community by providing a space to discuss how we fit in with religion, faith, social issues, and more at this transitional stage of life. We will also assist in regular congregational functions, host inter-generational dialogue, be a part of community outreach, and more! Meetings will be held after Sunday services, part way through social hour; look for Anna Lawrence or Alicen Roberts. Contact Anna with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAYS TO CONNECT OR CONTRIBUTE
Who: The Jamaica Plain Forum
What: JP Forum: It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised Radical and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood with Frida Berrigan
When: April 23rd, 7-8:30pm
Where: First Church JP (Unitarian Universalist), 6 Eliot St
Why: Parenting is hard. So is being a peacemaker in a violent world. It Runs in the Family is a book about how parents can create lasting and meaningful bulwarks between their kids and the violence endemic in our culture. Join us for a book discussion with Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late Phil Berrigan.
More info at: www.jamaicaplainforum.org
April 24, 7:30pm Eliot Street Soirée presents Deborah Galiga and Friends
Food Pantry: We are still asking for donations of shampoo, soap, dish soap, toothpaste, etc. Small containers are best, so our friends can carry them! If you visit hotels for a vacation, and collect any soaps, we would love to hand them out.
Yoga at First Church: We will continue yoga on Wednesday evenings through May, from 6:30pm to 7:45pm, for $10. Please email Margaret: email@example.com or Carol: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating. Please join us!
Spring Gathering of Womensphere: Saturday May 2, 2015 9:30am – 3pm
You are invited to join the in this Sacred Circle Gathering for Women through the New England region of The Unitarian Universalist Association. This year’s event is Live Happy ~ Igniting Your Passion
We are more effective, more successful and happier when we are doing things that ignite our passions. Discover what makes you joyful and how to put the things you love into your life and work.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County
27 North Road, Peace Dale, RI 02879
For details and registration go to www.uuwomensphere.com
SongBeat Circle: Thursday, May 21 at 7:30pm
Please pass the word along to anyone you know who might be interested. Happy Spring! Janna
Greeters Needed: Whether an “old-timer” or new to our community, we all can appreciate the simple act of being greeted. If you’ve enjoyed this yourself, then pay it forward! It’s easy, there’s no long-term commitment, and it means a lot to the church. Please see Paul Miller or email him at email@example.com to sign up, learn more, or have your questions answered.
Interim Ministers’ Office Hours: Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris Tracey will be in the church office on Tuesdays from Noon – 4 pm, Wednesdays from 2:00 – 6:00 pm, and Thursdays from 3:00 – 7:00 pm. If you’d like to meet with Tracey during these please call or email in advance if possible. She is also available to meet at other times by appointment.
Thinking about Terry Burke: If you’d like to know how Terry is doing, please join the Caring Bridge site he has set up. You can find it at www.caringbridge.org/visit/terryburke. Terry posts reflections and information. You can leave messages for him there as well.
Newsletter Information: Items for the weekly newsletter must be received by noon Wednesday. You may contact the Office Administrator by emailing Chris Toppin, Office Administrator at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Church Contact Information:
First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist 6 Eliot Street P.O. Box 300186 Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 617-524-1634
Office Hours Monday through Thursday 10am to 2:30pm.