June 2015

In This Issue…


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From the Minister

Last April I joined a group of Unitarian Universalists from Chelmsford in New Orleans to help rebuild the city. This year is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the city is one half the way towards being fully restored. I hadn't been down to NOLA since 2008 and the city has made so much progress. I was relieved to see many parcels in the 9th ward restored to their original owners. The city looked beautiful, and I knew it was a reflection of the people who rebuilt their home.

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Sociologist Elaine Scarry, author of the book On Beauty and Being Just, says "when we gaze at something of beauty, like a garden, or a beautiful face, and truly see it, we receive a gift of life. And the gift is reciprocal, what we are looking at receives the gift of life too because the act of seeing creates relationship. I felt I received the gift of life that week as I spent time with Ms. Bernadine and her granddaughter. Ms. Bernadine told of us of her ten year struggle to rebuild, her loss of $90,000 to contractor fraud and how the nonprofit we worked with, the St. Bernard's Project, saved her and her family from financial ruin. We got to know her granddaughter and great granddaughter, all of whom move into their home tomorrow. I wish I could be there for the party, but I am celebrating in my heart.

On our last day, a few of us talked to a group of men who came to mow the lot next door. One of them talked about the early days when it looked pretty hopeless because the city didn't want to rebuild certain neighborhoods. He said, "But then, God sent us the volunteers." I love being part of someone's experience of the divine plan. I called my daughter Morgan who had been with me during the 2008 service trip, and we both felt grateful to be part of something so beautiful, and we pledged to return.

"Beauty creates justice" says Elaine Scarry, and "seeing" the beauty in another or a situation invites restoration and renewal. This month, lets pause to see and invite beauty to change us.

Here is what the poet Mary Oliver has to say about beauty in her poem “Swan."

Did you too see it, drifting, all night on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air,
an armful of white blossoms,
a perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings: a snowbank,
       a bank of lilies,
biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
a shrill dark music, like the rain pelting the trees,
       like a waterfall
knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
a white cross streaming across the sky, its feet
like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light
       of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it
       pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Yours in Faith,
Rev. Jill


Contacting Jill:

Jill's office hours next week will be 
Monday 9-11am and Thursday 11am to 1pm. 
She will be on family vacation from June 12-19. 

revjillcowie@gmail.com


Bags and Bags

The Lobster Roll bagging event will be held on Wednesday morning, June 17th. If you'd enjoy putting chips, napkins and notes into 1,200 bags (with lots of good chatting mixed in) – meet us in TB Hall at 10 am. Bring your "bag lunch" and we'll eat together when we're done. If you can stay, we'll be setting up the hall and decorating the tables for the sale. It's always a great time. Any questions: dtaleh@comcast.net


Circle Dinner

The next Circle Dinner will be held this Saturday, June 6th, and we would love to have another gathering to celebrate the arrival of spring. There is always the opportunity to host a dinner, so please don't hesitate to share your home with fellow parishioners.

Kay Mixon and Jane Ellis will be gathering signatures at coffee hour over the next several weeks, or you may give a call when you have a moment. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Kay Mixon (781) 383-6693
Jane Ellis (781) 383-0767


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RE Matters

Please come this coming Sunday, June 7 for Religious Education Sunday: Our Seven Principles, a multigenerational service given by the children of the First Parish Religious education Program.

As the church year draws quickly to a close and I look back over the year spent with the children in worship, in the classroom, outdoors; I am content and grateful for the growing sense of community among the children, the ease with which they gather and spend time together, and the support of the larger congregation which holds them in safe and loving space.

We have accomplished much this year: the re-establishment of an active and cooperative Religious Education Team; the addition of a paid Religious Education Assistant to be in the classroom each Sunday; welcoming several "guest" parishioners into the classroom to share their skills and wisdom with the children; the implementation of a Time for All Ages which strongly correlate not only with our congregational themes but with classroom content; the repetition of several special events, boosting their status as "tradition"; offering several inclusive and interactive multigenerational worship services; doubling our average attendance in religious education programming; and expanding our usable space accordingly by successfully re-establishing cooperative use of the guest apartment space. Again, the sense of community, collaboration and care and the ease with which it occurs, fills me with gratitude and joy as I look forward to another year with First Parish.

OWL News: Looking ahead, we will run the 7-9th grade OWL (Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education) class in Cohasset next year and will be kicking registration off in early September. Mark Alves and Lynn Doxey will be our facilitators and the class will be open to the public. There will be an information session in September for prospective parents to find out more about the program. If you know anyone who may be interested in enrolling, please refer them to me ASAP as a list of interested parties is already populating. The class will be limited to 15-16 youth. Also, stay tuned as we prepare to launch a 4th grade OWL program for the 2016-2017 school-year.

Next year, we will be sending two people to the November 6-8, 2015 4th-6th grade OWL Facilitator training at the Walker Center in Newton. Please contact Christine Bulman if you are interested in becoming a facilitator for the upcoming 4th grade OWL program. More information about OWL can be found here on the new UUA website: http://www.uua.org/re/owl

I will be working until the end of June and will be back in the office in mid August; however, if you have any questions or would like to get in touch with me any time over the summer, please do not hesitate to send me an email or give me a call on my cell phone. Have an enjoyable summer!

In Faith,
Christine Bulman


Like to Sing?

Matt Meyers and I are in conversation about doing an interactive singing workshop at First Parish, inviting our neighboring congregations as well. If you loved last weeks service, the movement, the rhythm, and the interactive singing, please come. Let me know if you are interested and we can take it from there.

Thank you,
Rev. Jill

Matt Meyers

Finding Ourselves in the Rhythm is an interactive training workshop designed for ministers, musicians, lay worship leaders, choir members, and worship committee members to explore ways of working together and using music to create more engaging worship. It includes elements of song-leading, tools for working as a worship team, integrating music into worship, and also conversations about culture, race, and inclusiveness that are involved in planning worship.

Music has the ability to engage our hearts and bodies together in an integrated and transformative worship experience. Join us for a day of exploring the theory and specific tools of worship planning, including experiential worship, discussions, small-group activities, and take-home resources.


From the Theme Team: Beauty

** September 13th Invitation: Mark your calendars for September 13 when there will be a pancake breakfast hosted by the Theme Team before the worship service as a way of “inviting” you into the new church year.

“I wonder how it is we have come to this place in our society where art and nature are spoke in terms of what is optional, the pastime and concern of the elite?”
— Terry Tempest Williams, from “Leap”

It’s easy to dismiss beauty as something frivolous. Something to appreciate or pursue once the real work of life is done. But what if beauty is something more? Something life-giving, life-sustaining, life-repairing? What if beauty is nature’s way of protecting itself – of making us fall in love again, that we might care for one another and this earth? What if beauty holds the power to pull us back from the brink, to remind us that we are inextricably connected to each other and this universe? What if beauty can heal, inspire, transform? Is it frivolous then?

This month we ask ourselves, what does it mean to live a life of beauty? What does it mean to allow ourselves to be pulled back into life by a piece of music, a painting, a waterfall, a flower, a face, or something as mundane as a fresh coat of paint? What does it mean to fall in love with one another and the world again?

Spiritual Practice

1) Take yourself on an Artist Date. In her book, The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron proposes a radical idea. Once a week, whether you consider yourself an artist or not, take yourself on an artist date. An artist date is a chunk of time that you set aside for yourself – at least 2 hours – to do something you enjoy. It can be a walk, a visit to a museum, listening to music, or finger painting with your children or grandchildren, for example. The only requirements are that these dates are just for you, that you have no goals of accomplishing anything, and that you immerse yourself in beauty.

2) Watch this inspiring TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.


Jill and Ben for Common Hope

Hello Friends,

Ben and I will be traveling to Guatemala with Common Hope, a nonprofit organization that works with impoverished children and families who want to participate in a process of development to improve their lives through education, health care, and housing. Many of you have gone to Guatemala and sponsor a family. And as you know, our congregation as a whole continues to sponsors Jefferson, now a teenager.

I will be leaving for Guatemala in July with 9 other individuals on Vision Team trip. My Vision Team is working to raise $4000, and so far have raised $3,200 for the un-sponsored children’s fund. I am inviting you to help donate the remaining $800.00 Please click on the following link for more information and to make a donatiom. Thank you. https://www.razoo.com/story/Jill-And-Ben-For-Common-Hope


Things to Look Forward to in the Fall (so far)

October-November – Rev. Jill will join Marie Christie and Jim Morrison in a 4-5 session exploration and discovery of poet Gary Synder.

Winter/Spring – Bible Study Class, stay tune for more information. 

Also, I am open to doing a discussion group on a book of you choice anytime, if we can get at least 4 others interested.

Have a great summer, drop in at the Parish House for a chat on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. I will be in Guatemala from July 11-23, and on vacation the first week in August.

Be well, and enjoy your days,
Rev. Jill


June Care Circle Coordinator:

Carol Martin  (781) 378-0941


Sunday Worship Schedule

 

June 7:

Religious Education Sunday

June 14:

Music Sunday

June 21:

Flower Communion (bring a flower)
 


Other Events

 

June 6:

Circle Dinner

June 7:

This I Believe  11:30 AM

June 9:

This I Believe  6:30 PM

June 17:

Bagging for the Lobster Roll Sale  10 AM

June 19-21:

Lobster Roll Sale at South Shore Arts Festival


Youth Schedule

 

June 7:

Religious Education Sunday: Our Seven Principles, a multigenerational service by the children of the First Parish Religious Education program.

June 14:

Music Sunday: There will be a Time for All Ages followed by a drumming circle for/with the children in Trueblood Hall, facilitated by fellow UU and musician Richard Brech of Plymouth.

June 21:

Multigenerational Service of Flower Communioon: A short service followed by an outdoor coffee hour at which Secret Pen Pals will be revealed to one another!

June 28:

No religious education programming until September. Enjoy your summer!


Summer Service Schedule

9-9:30 AM in the Meetinghouse:

July 12: Holly Harris and Suzanne Thorin.

July 19: Amy Martin and Edwin Henneken.

July 26: Chartis Tebbetts and Jane Goedecke.

August 2: Marie Caristi-MacDonald and Jim Morrison.

August 9: Open.

August 16: Open.

August 23: Bev Burgess.

August 30: Jeff Watson

Sept 6: Labor Day, no service.

Sept 13: Pancake Breakfast at 8:30 AM in the Parish Hall. Ingathering, remember to bring your communal water.

October 4: Animal Blessing as an intergenerational service in the Meetinghouse.