“The religious person is a grateful person, and the grateful person is a generous person.”
UU Minister, Rev. Don Wheat
The members of First Parish in Cohasset recognize the many ways in which their lives have been blessed and cherish opportunities to return something to the local and the world communities. This is both an obligation of the ethical member of the community as well as a wonderful opportunity to expand our own lives and experiences through interaction with whom we might not otherwise connect. First Parish service projects come in many forms, large and small.
Outreach Committee and Community Outreach Fund
The Outreach Committee is primarily responsible for coordinating the service projects of First Parish and specifically responsible for designating the use of funds from the Community Outreach Fund. The Outreach Fund was initially established in 1986 with an initial donation of $25,000 from Warner Bros. Studios, in appreciation for the use of our First Parish Meeting House as a location for the film The Witches of Eastwick. The fund has grown over time through investment returns and additional donations. The fund primarily provides moderately sized financial grants to recipients approved by the Outreach Committee.
In 2018, through the outreach fund, the “share the Plate” portion of our Sunday offering, and a special Christmas offering we have been able to generously assist the Unitarian Universalists Urban Ministry (UUUM) “Believe in Success” and summer art enrichment programs; UU Disaster relief in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and California; and make a gift of $1,000 to Mary Margaret Earlier for the UUUM when she spoke to us at First Parish in February.
Living in an area as beautiful and well-nourished as Cohasset and the surrounding communities, it can be a challenge to stay in touch with the rest of the world, to be aware of people nearby who are not so fortunate.
Cohasset has had a relationship with Rosie’s Place since it opened in 1974. Rosie’s Place was the first women’s shelter in the United States and today serves 12,000 women a year with meals, housing, education and support services.
First Parish generally sends three teams a year to help prepare and serve meals to the women and children who are clients of Rosie’s Place, Circle Ministry groups have given their time to Rosie’s and one of our young adults recently completed an internship at Rosie’s Social Justice Institute. In addition to the cash contributions of the various serving teams, the Outreach Committee provides complementary donations.
In all the ways we connect with Rosie’s, we are gifted with real time interaction with folks who might otherwise remain invisible to us as well as the opportunity to be part of the efforts of Rosie’s Place to shift the trajectory of their clients lives.
Common Hope is an international agency whose purpose is to fight poverty through diplomas, but also recognizing that education requires more than just school supplies, but extends to housing, nutrition and other forms of support.
First Parish has been active over the years with Common Hope efforts in Guatemala. Members have provided financial support for the sponsorship of children. In addition, a while ago a Vision Team from First Parish spent nine days volunteering at a Common Hope home in Antigua, Guatemala.
Guest at Your Table
Guest at your table is the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s annual intergenerational program to raise support for and awareness about its work to advance human rights. UUSC works in 25 countries with over 75 grassroots partners and there are thousands of individuals involved in and who benefit from its work.
With the slogan “small change makes big change” members of the congregation take home small boxes to represent the “guest at the table’ and contribute small change from time to time. Small change adds up and can make a significant impact.
Each year, during the holiday season, First Parish has a tradition of the Angel Tree. A tree is festooned with wish cards for clients of the South Shore Friends of the Homeless. Members of the congregation take a card and provide a gift. The total value of gifts and gift cards is estimated at almost $3,000.
As always, the Outreach Committee encourages individuals to contact them at any point with ideas or ventures which they feel passionate about or would like to see sponsored and seeded on behalf of the wider church community. Simply express your interest to any member of the committee at any time.
Caril Martin, Chair