Minister’s Report – March 16, 2012

Rev. Terry Burke writes:

Besides the usual, some of the things I was up to this week included:

  • meeting with Rabbi Joseph Berman of Jewish Voice for Peace;
  • having dinner with Jim Solomon, Scoutmaster of Troop One West Roxbury and long-time head of our kitchen crew for the Fellowship Dinner;
  • attending the Jobs With Justice annual fundraiser dinner at Suffolk Downs (“I got a horse right here, the name is Paul Revere…”);
  • talking to our Worship 101 group about sermons and organizing a service around a theme; and
  • preparing for and co-leading (with Ghanda DiFiglia and Alice Kociemba) our weekend church retreat at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham.

I also spoke about my Camino pilgrimage at a house service for my friend Phil Jacob’s church in Canton. Phil and I are both board members for the Massachusetts Committee for Interfaith Worker Justice.


Jamaica Plain Spring Fling Clothing Swap – Saturday, April 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

An afternoon of “Fun, Fashion and Philanthropy” at First Church!

Recycle your gems and renew your wardrobe … for women and men, all sizes and all seasons.

Tickets are available for advance purchase online through Brown Paper Tickets ($12). Tickets at the door are $15 (cash only).

Swapping is not only a great way to revamp your wardrobe and have a ball – it is also a super environmentally-friendly thing to do. You’re diverting clothes from landfills, cutting carbon emissions, opting for fashion without exploitation and saving money!

Swapping is done on a one-for-one exchange. For each swappable item you bring, you’ll get a ticket. You can then go home with as many items as you brought!
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Fun in the Sun and Social Justice too! – Saturday, May 12

The Social Action Group writes:

On Saturday morning, May 12, we will work at The Food Project farm in Roxbury. Everyone 12 years old and older who can weed, hoe, or plant, is welcome to come and learn about the farm and help plant food that will feed the hungry throughout Eastern Massachusetts. The Food Project provides free or low-cost food to homeless shelters and low-income buyers and also provides training in urban agriculture to inner-city youth.

We will work from 9:30 to 12:30 and then enjoy a picnic at the farm. See this page for more information.


Ibrahim Miari, “In Between” – Sunday, March 4, at 7 p.m.

In Between is a semi-autobiographical one-man show that portrays the complexities and contradictions inherent in Palestinian-Israeli identity. On the precipice between two cultures stands Ibrahim Miari. His play recalls his childhood in Acco, memories of his Jewish and Palestinian grandmothers, of war, and of the struggle to shape and understand his own multi-faceted identity.

Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist, First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, and JP Forum are co-presenting this production of In Between, which will be performed on Sunday, March 4, at 7:00 p.m. at First Church. To reserve tickets, call Allie at First Baptist (617-524-3992). Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. If you’d like to help promote the show, a one-page flyer for the performance may be found here.

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JP Gazette: “Officials rally against ‘three strikes'”

The Jamaica Plain Gazette reports on the January 27 JP Forum event at First Church:

A panel discussion about controversial prison sentencing reforms—including the “three strikes” laws—turned into a political strategy rally by several prominent Boston elected officials on Jan. 27 at First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist.

Dramatic moments included a convicted felon tearfully describing the impacts of a throw-away-the-key approach to sentencing, and local state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz defending her vote in favor of the Senate’s version of the controversial proposal.


JP Forum, “Criminal Injustice: The High Cost of 3-Strikes Laws in Massachusetts” – Friday, January 27, at 7 p.m.

In November, despite protests from community activists and legal experts, both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts State Senate passed “3-Strikes” bills that could have disastrous consequences for our communities. As this legislation speeds toward a final vote, opponents of that legislation urge that we educate ourselves about the rampant injustice of our criminal justice system and how 3-Strikes provisions perpetuate and magnify that injustice.

Join us in a panel discussion at First Church on the potential repercussions of the 3-Strike law for MA featuring key players in the debate:

Ben Thompson, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, will moderate.

Come to listen, ask questions, and learn how you can take action!  This event is co-sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Forum and The Union of Minority Neighborhoods.


JP Forum, “The History of Jamaica Plain and its First Church” – Sunday, January 29, at 5 p.m.

First Church historian George Wardle will discuss the connections between Jamaica Plain history and its First Church at a JP Forum talk this Sunday, January 29, at at 5:00 p.m.

Jamaica and West Roxbury were synonymous until the creation of a new parish church on the “Pond Plain in Jamaica” within the colonial town of Roxbury.  Jamaica Plain was the Third Parish of Roxbury, it was the downtown of the Town of West Roxbury , and is now a neighborhood of the City of Boston and a postal district.  For seventy years, First Church was the only church in Jamaica Plain.

A simple bread and soup potluck will be shared.  Please bring two cans of vegetables or non-dairy vegetable soup to be mixed in the soup pot or bring breads, crackers, cheese, or fruits to accompany the soup. Coffee and water will be provided.  (Any extra cans of vegetables will go to the First Church Food Pantry which provides for those in need.)

Caroling at Shattuck Hospital

On December 18, 2011, an enthusiastic group from First Church went caroling at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain following our Sunday service.  The hospital’s director of volunteer services graciously shared a few photographs of the event with us.

Caroling at Shattuck is an annual tradition at First Church.  Be sure to join us next year!


Sermon, December 18, 2011: “Occupy Christmas”

(Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square. Image from Wikipedia.)

Rev. Terry Burke:

I went down to Occupy Boston on the evening of Thursday the 8th, after discovering that the city had set a  midnight deadline to pack up the encampment.  I arrived around 10 p.m. intending to show support but not get arrested.  I found the clergy types and protest chaplains and spent the next several hours singing, caroling, talking, and dancing.  Around 1:30 a.m. the police announced that they wouldn’t raid the camp that night, and Matt Meyer from the Lucy Stone Coop gave me a ride home.  It was a wonderful, spirited, political party, and I can’t remember when I last danced. 
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Sojourner House Christmas Wish List

This year we are providing gifts to three families who are  residents of Sojourner House in Roxbury, a ‘transition house” for families moving out from homelessness into their own apartments.  Gifts will be wrapped and delivered on Sunday the 18th.

The social justice group has created a bulletin board Mitten Tree in the Parish Hall, each mitten listing an item from the families’ wish lists.   To choose gifts to buy for one of the parents or children, just take a mitten (or mittens) from the board. Continue reading