Easter Food Baskets

On Sunday, March 24th, the Social Action Group at First Church Jamaica Plain UU will be delivering Easter Food Baskets to Sojourner House, the family shelter that the congregation has partnered with.

Up to 9 homeless families live at Sojourner House as they transition into permanent housing.  Sojourner house also operates a food pantry which serves the resident families, “graduate” families in the  neighborhood around them.   See www.sojournerhouseboston.org  for more information.

The Social Action Group asks members and friends to help by bringing food to the church for the Easter Baskets (canned goods any time,  perishables to be brought in the morning of the 24th-  leave food in the marked rear pews).

Suggested items include: Hams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, packaged mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, canned fruit or vegetables, packaged dinner rolls, applesauce, cake mixes, fruit juices, Easter candy, coffee, tea, hot Chocolate. Please do not feel confined to these items.


Writing Workshop: Sunday, March 24, 1 to 4:30p – The Story of Your Life

Find friends, fellow writers, and a new perspective on your life journey.

This fun and creative writing workshop inspires you with writing prompts and exercises to remind you of who are and who you’ve been. Write a few chapters of your spiritual memoir. In this workshop, you are invited to write and share. Jump in right where you are.

Chat, write, and share your work in this safe, supportive, and confidential space. Take the time to stretch yourself. Have a spa day for the soul!

MaryBeth-Coudal-Boot-Camp-4-WritersJoin blogger Mary Beth Coudal, co-founder of www.bootcamp4writers.com, on this afternoon retreat. Perfect for the hesitant, occasional, and experienced writer.

Writers, please bring a notebook and pen or laptop to write on.

Registration fee of $25 goes to the food pantry. Send an email to firstchjp@aol.com to secure your spot in the workshop!


Unitarian Universalist Association Appeal on Hurricane Sandy

Earlier this week, Hurricane Sandy struck the Mid Atlantic coast, causing wide spread destruction in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and as far as eastern Ohio. A week later, many people are still without basic necessities. Several of our Central East Regional Group (CERG) congregations are still without power. And we still don’t know the full extent of the damage.

To aid our congregations who have been affected by this tragedy, the CERG leadership has set up the CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund to collect donations to assist with storm damage clean up, meet immediate needs, and support rebuilding efforts.

The needs are mounting and the effort to help will take a long time.

I hope congregations may wish to take up a collection earmarked for the CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund. Checks can be made to “CERG” with “Disaster Relief Fund” in the memo line. Please send all contributions to:
100 W. 10th Street
Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801



On Sunday, November 20, the Social Action Group will be delivering Thanksgiving baskets to Sojourner House, the family shelter that we, as a congregation, have partnered with. Sojourner House serves up to nine resident families as well as families who have transitioned into permanent housing. They also serve the neighborhood through their Sojourner House Food Pantry.

The Social Action Group invites members and friends to help by bringing food to the church for the Thanksgiving baskets.

Non-perishables can be brought in any time; turkeys and other perishables on the morning of the 18th. There will be specially marked bins in the rear pews for Thanksgiving donations, separate from our own food pantry bins. Continue reading


The Food Project – Rain or Shine

On Saturday, September 29 we’ll travel to Dudley Square to harvest crops (while learning about the food system) at the Food Project’s Boston Farm from 9:30 till 12:30 and then enjoy a picnic at the farm.  Everyone 12 years old and older who can pull weeds, hoe, plant, etc. is welcome and should bring a bag lunch and bottled water – and gloves, if you have them!

The Food Project farms provide free or low-cost food to homeless shelters and low-income buyers and also provide training in urban agriculture and leadership skills to inner-city and suburban youth. See www.thefoodproject.org/volunteer-faq to learn more.

We will meet at the church at 8:45am on September 29 and carpool to the farm – rain or shine!  All of us who have done this in the past have enjoyed the experience and learned a lot, so please join us!    Please let Carol L Bell or Heather Carito know that you can attend.  The Food Project also requires that each attendee register at:http://thefoodproject.org/participant-registration


Opportunities from the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice

UU College of Social Justice

Last month at the 2012 Justice General Assembly in Phoenix, Ariz., we officially launched the UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ). A joint program of the UUA and UUSC, this collaboration offers us a bold new way to live our faith in the world. Linking resources, people, programs, and creativity under one umbrella, UUCSJ is one of the most exciting initiatives I’ve seen in my 25 years as a parish minister, and I am honored to serve as its inaugural director!

In the coming year alone, the college is offering service-learning trips to New Orleans, Haiti, India, Mexico, and Guatemala — sign up today! As you look ahead to the coming congregational year, please consider how UUCSJ can help you — and your congregation, too — live more deeply into our faith:

Immigration justice: Travel to the southwest United States and the borderlands of Mexico to learn firsthand about the complex struggles of the immigrant community. This journey will help you engage your congregation in immigration justice in your own community. Trips: February and May 2013. View the brochure (PDF).

Beyond the earthquake in Haiti: Thousands of UUs supported Haiti after the earthquake, and rebuilding continues today. Work with our Haitian partners to build innovative eco-villages and learn how you and your congregation can continue this important work. Trips: January, March, and May 2013. View the brochure (PDF).

Economic justice in India: The UU Holdeen India Program works with Indian partners on economic justice, focusing on women and girls. Explore this vital work and how it can inspire new congregational initiatives for economic justice here at home. Trip: November 26–December 5, 2012. View the brochure (PDF).

Education in Guatemala: UUCSJ is partnering with the Sienna Project in building schools in rural Guatemala and supporting the rights of Mayan people to education — join us for a week of hands-on work! Trip: February 15–23, 2013. View the brochure (PDF).

New Orleans equitable recovery: Six years after Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of New Orleans continues. UUCSJ offers you several opportunities to live, work, and learn in New Orleans for an unforgettable week. Trips: February, April, and July 2013. View the brochure (PDF).

Please visit our website for details on these and other UUCSJ programs — and register for a trip today. Contact us with questions, ideas, or requests for congregational delegations. We look forward to working with you and your congregation in the coming year!


Rev. Kathleen McTigue


Potential New Affiliate Minister at First Church

Good news! My friend and UU colleague Jason Lydon is interested in becoming an affiliate minister of our church.

An affiliate minister is an unpaid position which supports the ministry of the church – Rev. Marshall Hawkins is currently an affiliate minister of our church.  I have worked closely with Jason on justice issues for several years, and have learned much from him.  I am delighted that he wants to work with us!  He brings a truly inspiring passion for justice.

Also, as Nancy Ahmadifar who has done prison work with Jason for seven years, recently said to me, “Jason is the person who provides pastoral care for the people doing justice work.”  Our Standing Committee recently voted to have Jason as an affiliate minister, and the congregation will need to formally vote in the Fall. Please take the time to read this letter of introduction from Jason and make a point of getting to know this remarkable young man!

For letter of introduction:  Continue reading


Rev. Burke joins with others on climate change

Metro Boston Climate Defense, led by Ken Ward, handed out revised MBTA service maps based on the 2040 projections for ocean levels rising due to climate change. Rev. Terry Burke prayed with the group (as shown at the end of this video). The action was part of the 350.org “Connect the Dots” international campaign on Climate Change.


A few words on Gerry Wright

Rev. Terry Burke writes: I made these introductory remarks for Gerry Wright’s plays “Frederick Law Olmsted and Walt Whitman:  The Civil War Years” at our church on Sunday night, April 22, 2012, Earth Day.

What a joy to introduce my friend Gerry Wright tonight.

Gerry and this congregation have a longstanding relationship.  I remember teens from Kiev rehearsing in this parish hall with kids from JP and Roxbury for Gerry’s Peace Child shows in the 1980’s.  Jamaica Pond Project events have been held here throughout the last 25 years.  Gerry created a Stewardship Club for the church that focused on the environment and history.  He got the Stewardship Club activists to unwind and go bowling once.  Another time we dressed up as our personal heroes. Continue reading


What’s Happening this Sunday, April 22nd, at First Church

11:00 a.m. Sunday Service:  This Sunday is Earth Day.  Please join us for a sermon by Andree Collier entitled “Earth Day:  Sources of Hope.”

Join us after the service for Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall.  Thank you to our Coffee Hour hosts, Carol Bell and Jom Michel.

12:30 p.m. Earth Day Potluck: The Social Action Group is sponsoring an Earth Day potluck, following the regular service, with Nurse Practitioner Becky Reed.  She will be speaking on “Connecting the Dots:  Farms, Food, and Health.”

7:00 p.m.:  Gerry Wright will be performing “Olmsted and Whitman, the Civil War Years.”


Trans Forming Faith

What are the intersections of transgender identity and religious experience?  How does being trans impact faith formation?  And what lessons does that experience hold for all of us?  These questions will be explored in a worship service led by Jamez Terry, founder of the Tranny Roadshow and MDiv candidate at Harvard Divinity School. 

Service followed by a workshop titled Understanding (Trans)Gender Identity

In this interactive workshop, led by Jamez and Julia Terry, participants will gain an understanding of gender identity, how it fits into all of our lives, and how we can talk clearly about it with one another.  We will explore what it means to be transgender and how, as a faith community, we can become more welcoming to all of the people in our midst.  Unsure what the words even mean or how to begin talking about it?  This is the place for you.  Know a little bit but have questions or want to deepen your understanding?  It’s the place for you.  Already have a nuanced understanding of gender and trans identities but wish to have more public conversation about how to fully live into our role as a Welcoming Congregation?  Yes, this is the place for you, too!  Please join us after the service on April 15. RSVP for the workshop to firstchjp@aol.com