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Continuously Updated News From First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, MA

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planet earth

“Taking Spiritual Stock”

Rev. Marta Flanagan Preaching

Sunday, January 22 ♦ 10:00 am

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rev. martin luther king, jr.

29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance

Plus a Pre-Event Gathering at First Parish

Monday, January 16 Robbins Memorial Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 02476

► First Parish gathering at 5:30 pm in the Parlor (see below)
► Town Hall doors open at 6:45 pm with light refreshments

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Local Opportunities to Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Legacy

Arlington, Cambridge, Medford, and Roxbury January 14-16

Here are some of the many ways to celebrate and keep alive Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision this weekend.

Lift your spirits with Joyful Noise, the Harlem Gospel Choir’s annual Gospel concert in…

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growing up lgbtq

Marta Recommends: "Growing up LGBTQ in Arlington is Complex, Sometimes 'Weird'"

Marta recommends you check out this article in Wicked Local Arlington about growing up LGBTQ in Arlington.

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Annual Social Justice Potluck

Friday, January 27 ♦ 6:00 pm in the vestry

The Social Justice Committee invites everyone to the annual Social Justice Potluck. Marta will address the group, and after eating, representatives of each Social Justice Committee will give a short summary of their group’s work, followed by…

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safe congregation

Safer Congregation Task Force Hosts Listening and Feedback Meeting

Sunday, January 29, following the worship service

First Parish’s Safer Congregation Task Force wants to hear from you on Sunday, January 29, after the service. The task force has been meeting since late November, figuring out a policy to guide First…

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happy marriage

Women's Book Group 

Thursday, February 2, 7:15 pm in Pierce

"This is the Story of a Happy Marriage"
by Ann Patchett

Email Jean Nagle at jsn0708 @ with questions.

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uu chalice

New UU Class this Winter

Saturdays, February 4 and 11 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Are you new to First Parish or the UU faith? Are you contemplating joining First Parish? Are you seeking ways to get more involved? Please consider participating in the New UU Class being offered thiw winter. Topics include sharing our…

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Transylvanian Folk Dancing!

Saturday February 4 7:00- 9:00 pm in the Vestry

Come join the Partner Church Committee for a night of Transylvanian folk dancing! Denes Takacsy will teach us traditional Transylvanian dancing (including group dances). Potluck dessert. Suggested donation $10 per adult, $20 max per…

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Youth Group Seeks Adult Advisors for Service Trip

► Adult Advisor Application

► Scholarship Applicaton

► Youth/Parent Information Packet

The Youth Group will be heading to Pittsburgh, PA, to engage with a weeklong service trip (6/28/17–7/5/17), where we will learn about and engage with issues of environmental…

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2017-2018 Stewardship Campaign will Begin on Sunday, February 5

The theme for this year's campaign is "Now More Than Ever"

With the changes we see in our world, we need our religious community at First Parish now more than ever.

Now more that ever we need a place where we can get pastoral support and find…

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Community Sing-Along: Show Tunes!

Friday January 20 ♦ 6:30pm

Please join us for a community sing-along with Allison TC and Melina Vanderpile and Brendon Shapiro on piano. This month's theme will be SHOWTUNES!!! (cue jazz hands). Please bring your voice and or instrument. You will laugh, you will cry, it will be…

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An Invitation to People of Color

The Racial Justice Coordinating Committee seeks your input

Are you a person of color who has attended First Parish?  Are you the parent (of any racial identity) of a child of color?

If so, the Racial Justice Coordinating Committee would like to learn from you. The RJCC was started…

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snoopy in the snow

Big Snow!

When snow comes, you may wonder if First Parish is open. In case of a storm on a Sunday, a notice is posted on the website at by 7:30 am if worship and/or religious education classes are cancelled. An all-First-Parish email is also sent out. The decision to close on a Sunday is made by…

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antique camera

Stewardship Seeks Pictures for Next Campaign

Do you have pictures of activities at First Parish that you would be willing to share?  Leaders of The Stewardship Campaign are looking for pictures to use in the publicity for next year's campaign. Please contact bill.gardiner1942 @

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older mens group

Calling Older Men

Thursday, February 2 ♦ 12:00 pm in the Parlor

First Parish is organizing a monthly fellowship gathering for older First Parish men, aimed at reinforcing camaraderie and providing a forum for discussing topics of general interest. Our next gathering will take place in the Church Parlor at noon on…

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the spire

The January Issue of The Spire is Now Available!

The Spire newsletter is published on the first Sunday of each month. Hard copies of The Spire are available in church and you can click here for the PDF version.

To contribute to the Spire, please send articles to spire @ The deadline is the last…

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Join Us for Food and Fellowship at First Parish Potlucks!

March 26 11:45 am to 1:00 pm in the Parlor

We're organizing a series of Potlucks at First Parish to give people an opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Everyone is welcome. Please bring a dish to share (anything is fine -- it's truly…

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arc banner with safety pin

Safety Pin of Solidarity

We put a large safety pin in front of our building to symbolize our intent to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone, including immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBT people, women, and anyone else who may face discrimination, intolerance, or violence. 

We thus join the individuals…

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arlington food pantry

Arlington Food Pantry Expanding Hours, Needs Volunteers!

The Arlington Food Pantry will be expanding hours starting in January to be open every Wednesday, with morning and evening hours. With that comes a need for more volunteers! Individuals or groups of 6-8 volunteers, high school age and older, are welcome to…

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handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

Come ring chimes with us! Our bell choir rehearses in the Sanctuary on Thursdays at 7:00 pm for just under an hour before choir starts at 8:00 pm. You are welcome to join us! We have plenty of chimes (3 octaves) but we could use a few more people to ring…

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Participate in Music at First Parish

The Music Committee and Music Director welcomes anyone interested in participating in music this year. There are a multitude of opportunities including the Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, Bell Choir, as well as instrumental groups such as the C-Winds and other ad hoc groups. For…

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Sign Up to Bring Sunday Flowers!

Follow this link to use our online flowers signup form

The flowers that grace our Sanctuary on Sunday mornings are donated by parishioners, often with a special dedication that is printed in the order of service. The Flower Coordinator can assist in ordering an arrangement from…

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connection card

Get Connected/Stay Connected with First Parish

We invite newcomers to First Parish to fill out a Connection Card to receive our weekly email bulletin, give us your contact information, and (if you wish) indicate your interest in various aspects of life in our community. You can find the Connection Cards every…

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cartoon of man with bullhorn

How to Request a Spoken Announcement or Submit a News Item

Send requests for Sunday morning spoken announcements to announce @ Requests will be forwarded to the Worship Associates every Friday. Please note that Spoken Announcements must be relevant to the whole congregation, and will likely…

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video header

Enjoy this video about First Parish and our efforts to live up to our mission with our Meetinghouse Campaign. Many thanks to Joel Olicker of Powderhouse for creating this!



March with Marta for Solidarity and Equality

Boston Women’s March for America — All welcome!
January 21, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm on the Boston Common
Meet Marta and other First Parish folks at 10:30 am at Alewife Station, near the turnstiles — look for the First Parish banner

On the day after the inauguration, people all over the country will march in solidarity with the communities most affected by hate, intolerance, and violence — including women, immigrants, people of color, and LGBTQ people — and to affirm the values of equality, civility, compassion, and liberty and justice for all.

Our minister, Rev. Marta Flanagan, will lead a contingent from First Parish.  All are welcome, of every age and gender.  Please come and be counted!

To RSVP and receive details and updates:  Email Marta’s Executive Assistant, Sara Haugland, at sara @

Click here for the march event schedule.

Click here to share the Facebook event with your friends

Click here to register (free) or provide financial support (both optional)

This is the same day as the Women’s March on Washington, for which more than 200,000 people have registered. Click here to register or learn more about the D.C. march 

Click here to learn about travel options for going to the Washington, D.C., march on January 21, or email Jen Izzo of First Parish Concord at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve space on a pair of charter busses. To sleep on the bus costs $120 per person; to sleep at a UU church costs $160 per person and more time.

re announcements

re img

Religious Education Announcements

Dear Families,

Welcome to our winter teaching term at First Parish!

Parents of youth in grade 7, who study Neighboring Faiths, should keep an eye out for emails from Tina about upcoming trips to Catholic, Greek Orthodox and African American Methodist worship services.

Upcoming Events:

Sunday, January 15: One Room Sunday School program in the Bailey Room, led by Ellen Robie of the Religious Education Committee. Children in grades k and older should go…

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yg img

Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Community, as we settle into the new year, there's much to look forward to. We begin in earnest our preparation for the Sunday, February 12, worship service, centered on the theme of "Comfort." There will be lots of ways to get involved—speaking parts, making art, playing music—so please be in touch.

Don't forget! Our Not Your Average Joe's fundraiser continues all through January. Eat at NYAJ's in Arlington on a Tuesday in January, let your server…

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STAR: spirit, transormation, adventure, reflection

sacred dance

Sacred Circle Dance

3rd Mondays January - March ♦ 7:15 pm - 9:00 pm in Bailey

Simple steps are set to folk music, classical and contemporary music. All steps are taught – no experience or partner needed. Wear soft shoes or none. Come to connect with yourself, each other and have fun!


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aging well

Aging Well Within Our Community

Thursday, January 26 ♦ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Parlor 

Aging Well in Our Community is an open women's group for women over 50 that meets monthly on Thursday mornings from 10:00 am - noon. If you would like more information or will be attending Aging Well…

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Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

Tuesdays ♦ 7:00 am - 8:00 am in the Parlor
and Thursdays ♦ 8:00 am - 9:00 am in the Parlor

Lectio Divina is a method of reading and listening, lingering with, and sharing personal responses to selected biblical or other texts. Diverse responses to the text provide new…

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man reading under tree

Contemplating Poetry

Third Monday of Each Month
Monday, January 16 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm in Damon

"People turn to poems for some kind of illumination, for revelations that help them to survive, to survive in spirit not only in body."
~ Denise Levertov

This gathering uses a "listening to,…

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social justice section header


Giving First Recipient for January: LEAH Project

The  Leaders through Education, Action and Hope (LEAH) Project trains Boston Public High School students, called LEAH Mentors, to teach inquiry-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities and build caring relationships…
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"living our faith"

Living Our Faith: Organizations Supported by First Parish Members

In January 2013, the Social Justice Committee held a service entitled "Living Our Faith." A list of organizations that congregants meaningfully support was started that morning as people who attended the service were…

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ryp afterschool students

UU Urban Ministry Volunteer Positions

The UU Urban Ministry is looking to fill a number of volunteer positions. Could one be a match for you?

Tutor English as a Learning Language (ELL)
When: Monday or Wednesday mornings (10:00 am - 12:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Join our team…

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Arlington Food Pantry

Collection baskets are located at the front and office doors.

Monetary donations can be sent to:

The Arlington Food Pantry
Health and Human Services
27 Maple Street
Arlington, MA 02476

The Food Pantry can always use juice, jelly, cereal, things from baked goods aisle…

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cartoon of scissors and thread

Stitch and Sew

Thursdays 10:30 am in Pierce

Come help us get ready for fair with knitting, sewing, embroidery, new ideas... 

We create items for the Harvest Moon Fair Stich and Sew Table (the Fair is in November). Bring a lunch and we provide the coffee and tea. Drop-ins are welcome. We…

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men's group

First Parish Men's Group

Next up: Sunday, January 8 ♦ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The First Parish Men's group provides a forum in which we help each other with spiritual, emotional, and personal questions and concerns. Discussion themes often interweave questions of security, identity, authenticity,…

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Jacob's Mother

First and Third Sundays ♦ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm at First Parish

Are you having more challenges with your child's behavior than most parents? Do you feel like your family and friends do not get what you go through? Join us for a change to get support from other parents and…

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Join the Climate Change/Climate Action Vigil After Coffee Hour!

Sundays, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Please come join us for the weekly Climate Action Vigil on Sunday after coffee hour! And please stop by our table at coffee hour for information, sharing ideas, and discussion! If you'd like to…

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painting of woman knitting

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Do you like to knit or crochet?  Would you like to provide support to members of the congregation? Our supply of prayer shawls is running low and we could use your help. Participants in the First Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry knit or crochet prayer shawls for Marta or…

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hand ringing a chime bowl

The First Parish Meditation Group Welcomes You

Please join us! We hold drop-in meditations on Mondays (gather at 6:00 pm and start at 6:15 pm at First Parish in the Damon Room) and on Sunday mornings (gather at 9:00 am, start at 9:10 am at the West Medford Community Center, 111…

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First Parish Music Programs

Click here for more information on First Parish music programs for youth and adults.

Concerts by First Parish Musicians

The Musical Connections page on the First Parish website provides information on concerts and events with First Parish musicians…

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Diversity/Inclusion Group

All interested First Parish folks are invited to meetings of the Diversity/Inclusion Group (D/IG). Our mission: to work together to make First Parish as welcome and inclusive as we can be and to assist outside efforts with a similar goal. We define diversity to…

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Green Sanctuary Practices

The Green Sanctuary Group recognizes that we all have a responsibility to be mindful of the environmental consequences of our choices for the sake of the human community now on earth, future generations, and endangered species.

All are welcome to join us in working…

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