First Church is governed by a Standing Committee, congregational meetings, and church bylaws. The Standing Committee establishes other committees of the church. We also have a Trust that maintains our church endowment.
Click here for a downloadable pdf that outlines First Church activities and gives you a quick synopsis of each committee: 1st Church at a Glance.
The Standing Committee is a group of 7 elected church members whose role is to act as the governing body of the church. Members serve a 3 year term with a maximum of 2 terms.
In addition to these 7 members, the committee also includes the Minister, the Clerk and the Treasurer as ex officio voting members. Members meet monthly from September through June to discuss church matters and bring proposals, such as the annual budget, before the Congregation for a vote.
The Standing Committee members are active members of the church who have the general care, superintendency, and the control of all temporal affairs of the Church. In addition, each Standing Committee member acts as a liaison to one or more of the other church committees.
The First Church Trust:
The Church building and certain Church endowment funds are held in a Trust designed to ensure the long-term survival of this Church community in Jamaica Plain. The Trustees of the Trust are all long-term members of the Church. The Trust makes a yearly contribution to the Church’s operating budget which is consistent with recommended practices for charitable endowments. Learn more about the Trust on this page.
The Welcoming Committee strives to make the church a hospitable environment for all who enter. They are particularly focused on greeting and engaging folks who are ‘church shopping’ or are new to the church. The entire congregation is encouraged to join in creating an actively welcoming community.
Typical committee activities during the course of the year include:
- Maintaining a database of visitors;
- Operating a ‘buddy system’ which connects newcomers to current church members;
- Arranging for greeters to be present before each Sunday service and staff an information table during coffee hour throughout the church year;
- Organizing a system for assigning volunteers to host the fellowship/coffee hour following regular Sunday services;
- Making available relevant pamphlets and brochures for the information table;
- Hosting a series of Newcomer’s Breakfasts;
- Scheduling overview talks on Unitarian Universalism by Rev. Terry Burke and history of First Church presentations by church historian George Wardle.
The Religious Education Committee is charged with overseeing the various Religious Education functions at First Church. These include nursery care for children up to 4 years of age during our weekly Church Service, a weekly Children’s Chapel worship service for children aged 4 -13, age-specific religious education classes for these same children, monthly Youth Group meetings for our high school-aged youth, various adult education events, and special annual events such as the Christmas pageant. The committee’s members are involved in various aspects of these activities and work in conjunction with the Director of Religious Education.
For more information about the program contact Larry Zaborski, Religious Education Committee chair.
The Ministerial Committee provides support for the minister of First Church, Terry Burke. The functions of the committee include:
- Clarifying the minister’s job responsibilities and defining what should be delegated to others;
- Facilitating communication between the minister and the members of the congregation;
- Setting up for services and closing the church each Sunday;
- Arranging for Sabbaticals and supporting the minister’s plans for those Sabbaticals;
- Scheduling guest speakers, musicians and liturgists for summer services;
- Scheduling coverage for one Sunday off each month (as specified in the Minister’s Letter of Call);
- Addressing any other concerns of the minister.
The members of the Ministerial Committee include Thalia McMillion (Chair), Alice Hawley, Steve Arcanti, and David Dorney. For further information, please contact Thalia McMillion.
The Music Committee provides support and feedback to the Music Director, and organizes special events such as the Big Show, the Medieval Feast, and organ concerts.
The Social Justice Committee is an active participant in First Church affairs, organizing educational events, initiating/supporting outreach programs, and helping to serve as our congregation’s social justice advocates. The committee focuses primarily on issues involving hunger, homelessness, civil rights and economic justice by employing direct service, advocacy and education to achieve its goals.
A regularly scheduled Food Pantry, collaboration with Sojourner House (a family shelter), participation in Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), and educational speakers are just a few of the projects this committee coordinates.
The Building Committee meets regularly to address the physical needs of our beautiful, historic building. Volunteers work to provide a safe, clean and fully functioning space for all users of the building, to coordinate maintenance and repairs as required, and to assist the Standing Committee and Trust with major capital repairs.
Coordinates support for members and friends in times of personal need or crisis, including the provision of meals, transportation, shopping, friendly visits and hugs.
The Personnel Committee provides guidance and recommendations to the Standing Committee on staff issues such as salary increases, job descriptions, and annual evaluations. The Committee also provides guidance to Church staff on issues related to working at First Church. We are involved in hiring new staff, including interviewing, and making recommendations to the Standing Committee for new hires.
We are available as a resource to support First Church in its effort to follow workplace laws and guidelines to ensure that First Church is a good employer of quality staff.
Responsible for choosing candidates for officer positions and Standing Committee members. Contact Paul Miller at email@example.com.
The Finance Committee connects quarterly to review the status of the Church Budget and to create a “Dashboard” report for the community. This committee is responsible for proposing a new budget at the end of the Annual Budget Drive.