April 2015

In This Issue…


Upcoming Events

 

April 2: Maundy Thursday, "Remembering Our Beloveds"

With Rev. Jill Cowie and Caroline Harvey singing a solo accompanied by Joseph Youth. 7-7:30pm in the Meetinghouse.

April 5: Sunrise Service

6:30am at Sandy Beach, Cohasset.

April 12: Easter Egg Hunt

Begins at 12:30pm at Dana and Mary Ann Cushing's house, 271 Beechwood Street in Cohasset. All are welcome. If you have questions, you are invited to call Dana or Mary Ann at 781-383-2049.

April 12: Calendaring Sunday

The calendaring event will take place in Trueblood Hall during coffee hour. Please take advantage of this one-time yearly signup and reserve your special event on the large calendars provided for next year. If perchance you are unable to attend this calendaring session, please send a representative from your group to do so. It is understood that in so doing you or your group is responsible for this event.

April 14: UU Advocacy Day

At the State House, see Rev. Jill for details.

April 13, 27 & May 11: Watercourse Way Reading Group

See below for more information.

May 1: Annual Circle Ministry Potluck

We hope that everyone participating can join us for this gathering to celebrate another year of exploration and fellowship. Friday May 1st at 7pm in the Trueblood Hall.

May 7: Volunteer at Rosie's Place

See below for more information.

May 8: Genesis Chamber Singers Concert

See below for more information.

May 10: Mother's Day Walk for Peace

See below for more information.

May 16: GRACE Summit: Ministries in the Era of Ferguson

See below for more information.


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From the Minister

“Revelation comes to those who are radically hospitable to what they don’t know.”
– Rebecca Parker

I have been thinking lately how true these words are and how challenging it is to be radically hospitable to what we don't know. For we all like to know what we know and find comfort there, and then invite others to join us in our place of knowing. This is true for me, especially when it comes to understandings my birth family. How wonderful it would be for my sibling to agree with my insights and wisdom about how we function, or don't and why. But they see differently, how can they not? My brother and two sisters were raised with their own set of perceptions and parental relationships. I have learned just to listen now when it comes to talking about family understandings knowing that these insights have become fundamental parts of who they are in the world, as my family truths have become for me.

Yet if I were to apply this to faith, I know I would be locked into the past for my faith not only helps me understand who I am in the present, but it carries me into the future, promising challenge and growth. This is the essence of our Unitarian Universalist faith, a gift of wondering, acceptance and affirmation we give each other as we try out each other's Gods, Jesus, Buddha, science, and philosophies, rolling words over our tongue and into our hearts and asking what has this to teach me? What door or window could open now, with this word or thought, or feeling, so kindly given to me by my brothers and sisters of faith.

I especially rejoice in the Christian roots of our tradition, and am grateful we acknowledge the faith from which we came so many hundreds of years ago. I am grateful too that theologians like Theodore Parker expanded our theology recognizing the importance of not being trapped by the words of scripture or creed but to find the truth within it and name that truth for yourself. And so our wisdom sources grew and now Christianity is one of six. But is still the water of the womb from which our liberal faith was born. And the concepts of sin, evil, confession, reverence, resurrection, salvation, all invite us into discovery and meaning. Lets us together, be hospitable to what we don't yet know. Here what Nancy Shaffer of beloved memory wrote for her friend Margaret.

Listen, when you quarrel with God
You are really quarreling with
those who have come after God.
It is not God who taught you that a certain
prayer or said reward lies in only one direction.
It's not God that said reward rather than
embracing love, which is everywhere;
not God who taught you to hate God,
shun God. Those like you–two legged
and mortal–did this: those also hurt in turn
by those before them.

You could just leave off this quarreling;
just begin again, with just yourself and God.
You can choose a different name for the holy;
stop cringing when I say mine. Each is only a
word for what can't be said, the barest beginning,
a glimpse. The rest you may do in private.

But see, what you do there in private shows,
what you come back with is written all over you.
It doesn't matter what the particular word is. Only
that you have been there to fetch it. Only that you
return there often, opening yourself to everything
that makes it.

Those that taught you what to pray and how to pray
were wrong if what they taught you, you hate. You can
begin again.

Here's to beginning again-again and again.

Yours in faith,
Rev. Jill


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RE Matters

Isn't it nice when different parts of a whole click into place? They may be each running in their own track and at times may intersect or travel along the same track, but ultimately there is a unified whole. Church on Sunday morning offers families a rare opportunity to participate in such a phenomenon together but just how cohesive this is can vary. Often, the only commonality is that the family went to church. Period. The children go to their classrooms while the adults go to the service. Queries as to what the children did in class are met with answers like: "Nothing." This could be a missed opportunity. Wouldn't it be nice if the whole family hears the same message, explores it each in their own way, and afterward comes together to share their experience?

Topics shared at church on Sunday mornings can be a rare gem in the life of a family. They are typically of a different essence than those covered in school. They offer ideas, insights, questions and examples of how to live. Talked about at the dinner table or on car rides, these can guide us in our most trying times, at a crossroads or even in everyday encounters. Ensuing dialogue can cause a spark of revelation, a fresh perspective or a new pathway – for both children and adults. Sunday mornings at church can sow the seeds of conversations that take place in the heart of the home.

This is why we are bringing new intentionality to the messages during the Time for All Ages portion of the service and their connection to the content experienced in the classroom for the remainder of the hour. Although the structure of classroom time will change very little, we are reframing it as an extension of the worship service. Children will not start over once they get to the classroom and be presented with a new lesson – separate from that which they heard in church. The hour may begin and end in different locations but it includes worshipful elements throughout, including discussion on the topic shared during the Time for All Ages, artistic or other free expression of what is stirring, and a closing that indicates the ending of sacred time together with an invitation to take what was shared or realized out into children's lives. Not having a separate 'syllabus' for the children does not mean that curriculum gets thrown out the window but rather its content weaves its way into worship. In fact, an additional benefit is how the many wonderful stories and lessons informing our Unitarian Universalist faith that were created for use primarily in classrooms with children will be liberated into the worship service and made accessible to all.

We have been exploring the UU Principles in the classroom and will continue to do so… weaving in and out of our monthly themes, Time for All Ages and discussions. We hope you enjoy this small step in the spirit of unity, interconnection and wholeness. Over the coming months, be sure to communicate to me or Reverend Jill what you experience as a result.

In Faith,
Christine Bulman


Parish Committee Spotlight: Joan Lunt

Being born into a large Italian family is a part of my identity. I was the middle child and that suited me well. Growing up in Milton, I was in a minority as a dark little Italian girl. Instead of retreating I became a comedian to my family and friends. I graduated from Stonehill College with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Education. I began a career in teaching and I have been well rewarded for my choice. As a reading teacher in the city of Boston, I witnessed a lot about inequality in educational materials and physical plant depending on which part of the city that you lived. But I loved the children, the parents and my co-workers. It was akin to a family. So after marrying and moving to North Andover I took a break to have two children, John and Dianna. I resumed teaching but this time in the " immigrant City of Lawrence". Again, a bond was formed that still lasts to this day. Along the way, I began to question my Roman Catholic background especially because of the pedophilia convictions of priests. We brought our children up in the local U.C.C. Congregational church.

I tell you this because I believe my background put me on a path that led me to the Unitarian Universalist faith. When exploring churches after we moved to North Scituate, First Parish felt not too dictatorial, not too preachy but just right. I am glad to be part of a religious community that respects all peoples and faiths. I am encouraged by First Parish's regard for diversity and a mission toward social justice. As for my role on the Parish Committee, I am honored to serve this church that I have grown to love and especially because our church is a giving and welcoming congregation. For it is in giving that we receive the most. I recommend being a part of the many opportunities here at First Parish. It is most rewarding!

As a post script, I am still living my passion for teaching after forty years by working as a reading and math tutor part time in the Marshfield Public Schools system.


From the Theme Team: Revelation

What does it mean to be a people of revelation? Every UU out there agrees: to be a "people of revelation" in our liberal tradition means first and foremost to be a people of humility. Revelation is not sealed. It is on-going and incremental. All each of us, and each of our religions, can do is know a piece of the truth. And so we are called to be humble. Humble and open. Open to other perspectives. Open to new insights. Open to a diversity of perspectives and insights.

But revelation is also about being open to what life calls us to do. Imagine that Life itself actually “wants” something for us and from us. Imagine that it's not all about us choosing and being in control, but instead about us listening, and looking, and letting ourselves be led. This too is what it means to be a people of revelation.

As UU theologian James Luther Adams put it:

"We cannot properly place our confidence in our own creations; we must depend upon a transforming reality that breaks through our encrusted forms of life and thought to create new forms. We put our faith in a creative reality that is re-creative. Revelation is continuous.”

So we are called to be humble, to admit that we get stuck in “encrusted forms,” that we can't see or break out of those stuck ways of being all on our own. Humility to trust that there is an “otherness” operating out there and within us that we need.

Do you trust that Life itself is trying to tell you something important? Lead you somewhere important? Get you to see or do something important?

Spiritual Exercises:

1) Sharing Your Revelation. Look back over your own life and notice when you have suddenly become privy to some kind of truth or illumination that changed the direction of your life. Has there been a pattern of similar contexts? Have you been able to share with others the illumination that you received? How did you keep it fresh when others remained unaware of your experience or transformation? Did you try to share this revelation?

2) Your Book of Revelation. Religions across all time and places have located revelation in a book. Unitarian Universalists are famous for saying we don't have 'one' book but many. What book has recently come to you as a revelation? Or what book do you hold on to because it contained a revelation you don't want to forget?

3) Watch and be inspired by this amazing TED talk by Activist Caroline Casey speaking of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation: Looking Past Limits, Caroline Casey

4) Try one of these tests for resilience and find out your score: http://www.resiliencescale.com/your-resilience/test-your-resilience/. What did the questions unearth for you? What are some answers you'd like to see change?


Watercourse Way: A Reading Group

You are invited to convene a reading group dedicated to exploring the work and thought of Alan Watts, “who held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, [and] has earned the reputation of being one of the most original and ‘unrutted’ philosophers of the [twentieth] century. He is best known as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and of Indian and Chinese philosophy in general. He was the author of more than twenty books on the philosophy and psychology of religion, including Behold the Spirit; The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are; Does It Matter?; The Joyous Cosmology; Nature, Man and Woman; The Supreme Identity; The Way of Zen; The Wisdom of Insecurity; This Is It; and Beyond Theology.

photoWe will be reading and discussing Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal, comprising entries on a range of spiritual matters encompassing Taoism, spirituality, love, transcendent experience, life and death, good and evil, stewardship of the earth, Christianity, and contemplation, among other topics. We will be sharing our responses to Watts's probing thoughts and exploring ways in which his perspectives on Western and Eastern religions can help us to enrich our personal spiritual growth.

We will be meeting in the Atkinson Room in the Parish House at 7:30 on Monday evenings: the 13th and 27th of April, and the 11th of May. Copies of the book are available online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

A suggested reading schedule with focus questions will be distributed to all those who have contacted me at j.c.morrison@me.com before we start. I look forward to our getting together for some enriching discussions.

Jim Morrison,
Group Discussion Leader


Come Volunteer at Rosie's Place

We hope you can join us. Depending on the size of the group, the cost may be $20 each. If this donation is financially challenging, I can pay the balance with my minister's discretionary fees. (from Jill)

If you are interested please let us know. Thank you!

Group: First Parish in Cohasset
Shift: Dinner (4pm to 7:30pm)
Date: Thursday, May 7

Sincerely,
Cebele Veitas, ccveitas@yahoo.com
Lynn Doxey, ldoxey@hotmail.com
Rev Jill Cowie, revjillcowie@gmail.com


Genesis Chamber Singers Concert

The Genesis Chamber Singers, the South Shore's very own professional chamber vocal ensemble, will present a concert at the First Parish Meetinghouse on Friday, May 8 at 7:30pm.

Led by artistic director and First Parish Music Director Joseph Young, the 8-voice mixed voice ensemble performs unaccompanied classical choral music in intimate spaces for intimate sized audiences. The group's mission involves making direct and meaningful connections with audience members of diverse backgrounds and varied musical knowledge and experience, exclusively on the South Shore of Boston. The eight singers all have degrees in music performance, and some have or are pursuing masters degrees as well.

Joseph Young is completing his DMA in choral music at Boston University, studying with Ann Howard Jones. Repertoire on the program includes music of Josef Rheinberger, Samuel Barber, Charles Stanford, Edward Elgar, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and a world premiere of a work by Boston composer Adria Stolk. For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.genesischambersingers.com.


Mother's Day Walk for Peace

We hear and read about it every day. Needless and senseless violence in our schools, on our streets, in our neighborhoods. Please join us as Boston, and ALL of Massachusetts, comes together to make a statement: "It's time to unite, and together, stop the violence that impacts all of us!" This Mothers' Day, Sunday, May 10th, 2015, thousands of caring and concerned citizens will rally and walk in support of creating a more peaceful and violence free community.

The Mother's Day Walk for Peace began in 1996 for families who had lost their children to violence. On a day that we celebrate mothers and children, the Walk became a place for families and friends to feel support and love with thousands of others who pledge their commitment to peace. The Walk is the primary fundraiser to support the work of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

Please note, ALL walkers must register. www.mothersdaywalk4peace.org

Donate to Team Compassionate Cohasset
More about the Mother's Day Walk for Peace


GRACE Summit 2015: Ministries in the Era of Ferguson

You are invited to the 5th annual G.R.A.C.E. (Growing Racial and Cultural Equity) Summit on Saturday, May 16 from 9am to 4pm in Hudson, MA.

As movements build to confront such racialized injustices as police brutality, immigrant deportation, mass incarceration and threats to voting rights, UU congregations committed to racial justice are asking how to respond meaningfully, wondering if they are ready to respond and asking what readiness looks like. Some have already taken bold responsive steps.

Participants at this year’s GRACE Summit will consider “Ministries In the Era of Ferguson.” The elements for our time together will include

  • engaged, multicultural worship
  • keynote speech by Rev. Bishop John Selders, minister at Amistad UCC in Hartford, CT; native of St. Louis; Black Lives Matter and Moral Mondays CT leader
  • testimonials from a few congregations about how they have taken responsive action and what they have learned in the process
  • conversation about how these issues are being discussed and dealt with in our congregations
  • spiritual practices to keep us grounded and focused as we consider the onslaught of opportunities for engagement

We hope you are able to join us.

Location: Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson
Fee: (includes refreshments, lunch and materials)

  • $35 per person
  • $140 for congregational teams of up to 5 
  • $25 for each additional team member after 5

Register yourself or your team now; deadline is May 9 or capacity.


Climate Change Justice Month Information

Between World Water Day (March 22) and Earth Day (April 22), Unitarian Universalists and other people of faith and conscience will explore ways to shift to a low-carbon future, advance human rights, and grow the climate justice movement. This is all part of Commit2Respond, the new climate justice initiative that we are leading with seven other UU organizations.

Join the movement and become a climate justice leader! Here are five ways you can take action today:

  • Sign up to receive the Climate Justice Month daily messages in your in-box, full of faith-filled resources, powerful practices, and practical tools.
  • Follow and share the daily messages by liking and following Commit2Respond on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Gather a group of friends, family, or people from your community and set aside time once or twice a week during Climate Justice Month to reflect together on the daily messages and discern how to support each other in committing to long-term actions.
  • If you are part of a congregation, plan to celebrate World Water Day and Earth Day. Climate Justice Month will kick off with Climate Justice Sunday, and new worship resources for the entire month are now available.
  • Spread the word! Forward this e-mail to your friends and community members, and check out Commit2Respond’s media page for cool shareable materials.

This is your movement. You have the power to respond to climate change in ways that build hope and promote justice.


Sunday Worship Schedule

 

April 5:

"Transformation" -Easter Intergenerational Service.

April 12:

Rev. Jill Cowie.

April 19:

Earth Day Celebration – members will join Rev. Jill in leading worship.

April 26:

"An Extravagance of Roses" – a sermon on joy and duty by Rev. Pam Barz, Guest Minister.


Youth Schedule

 

April 5:

Multigenerational Easter Service.

Childcare available for ages 1-4 in the Carriage House Nursery School.

Story: Ostara.

April 12:

Children begin in the Meeting House with a Time for All Ages.

Childcare available for ages 1-4 in the Carriage House Nursery School.

Story: Theodore Parker and the Turtle.

In the classroom: Tatyana Nakishima and Christtine Bulman.

* Easter Egg Hunt at the home of the Cushings (217 Beechwood Street, Cohasset) – Noon.

April 19:

Children begin in the Meeting House with a Time for All Ages.

Childcare available for ages 1-4 in the Carriage House Nursery School.

Story: The Perfect Globe.

* Clean-up and Hike in Brewster Woods with Annie Spang, Reverend Jill Cowie and Tatyana Nakashima.

April 26:

Children begin in the Meeting House with a Time for All Ages.

Childcare available for ages 1-4 in the Carriage House Nursery School.

Story: TBA.

In the classroom: Tatyana Nakashima and Sarah Williams.