The E-Bulletin

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

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Sunday Worship head 

Christmas Intergenerational


Conversation with our Minister, Marta Flanagan

chaliceJanuary 21, 2018
After the Service

Are you new to First Parish? Do you have questions about our community and how we are involved in Social Justice and Climate Change issues? Are you curious about Unitarianism and Universalism? We are an active and engaged community. Are you wondering how to get involved? You may be curious about our minister, Marta, and how she sees her role as minister.

On January 21 after our service, come along with others to meet with Marta. She will answer your questions, talk about her ministry and the ways she supports First Parish. This gathering is sponsored by the Membership Committee and is open to all.



Sign-up to provide gifts for two Arlington families (total of four kids). See Patience after the Service to find out what the families need for Christmas. For more information contact Patience Terry at 781.646 5315. Sponsored by the Social Justice Committee - Thank you!

December Worship at First Parish in Arlington


uulationsFriday, December 15 at 7 pm
Embrace the Darkness

Amidst good cheer and busy-ness, there is a shadow side to the season. For many this contemplative worship service is their favorite service of the year. It provides comfort and acknowledges our losses and longings at this time of year. The service will include music by UUlations, an eight woman acapella group and is coordinated by Marta Flanagan and the Worship Associates.


 Sunday, December 17, Worship at 10 am

An Innkeeper’s Night
All ages adults gather to sing, worship, and decorate a Christmas tree. The service will include a play and a brief homily by Marta Flanagan.


Sunday, December 24, Worship at 10 am
Pagan Yule Circle in the Vestry
This purely Pagan service celebrates the turning of the year from darkness toward light. We will hear music from Diane Taraz with her dulcimer leading us in hymns and chants. Come contemplate what to leave behind in the old year and what you most hope for in the new. 


Sunday, December 24 candles
4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm
Candlelight Ceremony
The Christmas Eve candlelight services are the favorite services of the entire year at First Parish. This year the three services feature all the same elements but for a few differences in musical selections. Come to any one of the services and experience the wonder of bringing light into the darkness.


Sunday, December 31, Worship at 10 am
Words for the Ending and Beginning of the Year
Poems provides wisdom and perspective at the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new. If you have a favorite poem, bring it along. The service is led by Pamela Powell, Worship Associate.

Ushers Needed - All Christmas Eve Services

leavesWe need volunteers to help with Christmas Eve services. This year there are more opportunities than ever with services at 10 am, 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm on Sunday, December 24. No experience needed. Open to all - grade 5 and older. Please contact Kate Tranquada if you are able to help out with any of the day’s services.

Hanukkah Latke Party

laktesSunday, December 17, 2 pm to 6 pm

You can sign up in person at Coffee Hour or online.

We grate potatoes and cook latkes together. No experience cooking latkes is needed, just a willingness to help. 

Kids are warmly welcomed to help cook, play dreidel, sing, and light candles. Dreidel playing for kids is taught & supervised by experienced babysitter and RE teacher.

Please register by Wednesday, December 13. If you have questions talk to us at the sign up table at Coffee Hour or email usAll are welcome.


Holiday Cookie Bake

cookiesSaturday, December 23 at 11 am

Come join us in baking holiday cookies! Lots of cookies! Grand Parents, Parents, Aunts & Uncles, Youth, 'Tweens, and Kids. (Note - anyone under the age of 11 must be accompanied by an adult). We will be looking for some help supplying ingredients (and a few hand mixers) andapple cider! We also need help to setup and/or clean. The freshly baked cookies will be enjoyed during the First Parish Christmas Eve receptions at 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm. Please email your RSVP or call Carolyn Hodges 617-943-0364. All are welcome!

Unique Art Show

Sisters in Stiches BannerThe Sisters in Stitches Joined by the Cloth is a New England quilt guild dedicated to preserving the art, tradition and culture of African-American quilting. The following description of story quilts is from the Sisters' website: 

"The art of quilting has traveled across oceans, survived 400 years of slavery and has been carried down by generations of our family and friends.. Over the centuries,  we of African descent have joined together to make quilts as a way of sharing our joys, sorrows, traditions and to celebrate our history. Quilting connects us to our ancestry, preserves our memories and gives us a way to connect with generations to come."

Those who have read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd will recall that story quilts are central to the plot. Come enjoy some more modern story quilts and chat with the quilters about their stories.

2018 Giving First Nominations

givingOur Giving First program donates 50 percent of the non-pledge offering each month to a charitable organization that we feel is consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles and our mission to challenge the excesses and injustices of our time. The program began in November 2009, and First Parish has donated well over $80,000 to more than 50 organizations. We are seeking nominations for recipient organizations for February 2018 through January 2019. Anyone who is part of the First Parish congregation can submit a nomination. We’d like your help identifying which organizations to support. Deadline for nominations is December 31, 2017. Click here learn more and to submit a nomination.

uuaThe Parish Committee recently approved First Parish's first two official Safer Congregations Policies. The purpose of these policies is to create a process for responding to concerns about an individual's behavior in a way that respects our desire for a physically safe environment, our mission of being welcoming to all, and our principle of honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

One policy creates a Safer Congregations Committee, whose mission is to make thoughtful decisions about the participation of an individual in First Parish activities when there is a substantive reason to consider whether that individual might pose a threat to others. The other policy requires adults who have been convicted or accused of a sex offense to speak with a member of the staff before participating in First Parish activities, and lays out a process for deciding whether and/or how that individual's participation in First Parish's activities should be limited.

If you are concerned about an individual's behavior, please speak with any member of the First Parish staff.


Graphic Designers and Artists - We Need You!

musicOver the past months, a varying group of people have been working to create a First Parish Song Book with a particular focus on social justice and multi-cultural songs. What comes to your mind as a graphic element for our own songbook? We will also need a cover design and will likely use graphic elements within the book. Email us fpsongbook @ firstparish . info with your ideas and artwork!


Colorful, Heavy Stock Paper Needed

paperWe are collecting magazine covers (anything colorful on heavy stock paper) to use for this year's ringlets on the Christmas tree. If you have any magazine covers or paper that we can use, please drop them off at the reception desk in the church office. Thank you!

Contemplative Retreat - Save the Date

walkingSaturday Feb 17, from 8 am - 4 pm
Edwards House in Framingham

Led by the Rev. Marta Flanagan
More details to be announced soon.

Community Building During Upcoming Stewardship Campaign – Save the Dates!

stewardOur annual stewardship campaign will begin in early February. Save the dates for these fun, community-building events.

  • Sunday, February 25th: Luncheon after service for New Members within the last 3 years
  • Sunday, February 25th:  Dinner for Parents of Coming of Age and Youth Group members
  • Sunday, March 4th:  Luncheon after service for RE Parents of children in Grades 4-6


FY2019 Budget - Finance Committee Wants Your Input

fin2The Finance Committee is interested in your thoughts regarding the FY2019 budget. We'd like your help in thinking about how we can use our financial resources to best serve our community. Please send us your ideas.

Climate Action Working Group (CAWG)
climate action

The First Parish CAWG is gearing up new efforts, and there are great opportunities for First Parish people to get involved. We are participating in a series of creative, strategic actions at the statehouse in Boston this October and November. The actions will take place mostly during lunch hour on the weekdays, and are part of a coalition campaign to get Gov. Baker to halt the construction of new fracked gas infrastructure in Massachusetts and instead invest in our communities and in renewable energy. We are also planning to provide information at Sunday coffee hours regarding how Arlington residents can easily get more of their electric power from renewable sources, through the town's new Community Choice Aggregation program. If you would like to learn more about these and other actions  of the CAWG, Contact Alan Linov.


Job Opening: Part-time Building Maintenance Sexton (Custodian)

nowhiringposter1First Parish is seeking to hire a Part-time Building Maintenance Sexton. Please click here for the job description.

handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary starting September 7

Come ring chimes with us! Starting Thursday, September 7, the handbell 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 them. Reading music is useful, but not required. All ages who can follow instruction and maintain focus for the length of the rehearsal are welcome. There is no requirement to be a member of the choir or any other First Parish musical group. We perform at various services throughout the year. New ringers are welcome to join throughout the church year. Please contact ringers @ for more information.

blm banner

Black Lives Matter to Us

For Adam Jones and everyone else who has been subjected to bigotry, here or elsewhere.

For Alton Sterling, Jordan Edwards, Walter Scott, and so many more people who have died violently.

For the 63 percent of black children who live in low-income families that have difficulties covering basic expenses.

Because of the continuing injustice and violence disproportionately faced by people of color, we affirm that Black Lives Matter.


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 more information, visit the music pages of our web site, or email music @


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 our florist, or you may provide one. You can find more information and sign up for a specific Sunday at, and you can email flowers @ to contact the Flower Coordinator. If a date is not listed on the sign-up form it has already been reserved. Please note that we will have special sign-up announcements for Christmas and Easter.

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 Sunday at the visitors tables -- in the lobby before the service and under the Welcome sign at coffee hour. For those who are not newcomers: You can use Connection Cards to let the church office know about your new address or contact information.

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 be edited to fit into the welcoming script.

Send news items for the E-Bulletin or Sunday Bulletin to weekly @ by 12:00 pm Wednesday for inclusion in that week's bulletins.


Help rededicate and restore a vandalized Black Lives Matter banner this Sunday

blmSunday, December 10, 1 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford
147 High Street in Medford

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford has invited us to join a public rededication of their Black Lives Matter banner on Sunday, December 10. Speakers will include representatives from the City of Medford, the Mystic Valley Area NAACP, the UUA, and other congregations.

The Medford church consecrated their Black Lives Matter banner in September 2015. Their banner has been stolen or vandalized three times in the last two months, as well as in November 2016. Most recently it was slashed in mid-November.

The rededication ceremony will begin at 1 pm in the church’s sanctuary, with speeches and messages of support. Members of the congregation, led by their minister Rev. Marta Valentín, will then sanctify, rededicate, and raise the new banner bearing their signatures of support.

We are invited to attend this rededication in order to show support for the Black Lives Matter message and solidarity with the Medford congregation.

While it has been more than a year since our own Black Lives Matter banner has been vandalized, such affirmations of the importance of black people’s lives are clearly still needed.
More details here.


“What It’s Like to Be Muslim in America”


Dalia Mogahed’s powerful TED Talk on faith, fear, and countering prejudices.Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed opens her TED Talk by discussing her decision to wear a hijab and what her faith means to her personally. She goes on to reflect on her experiences on 9/11 and the fraught days that followed it, the role of mosques in preventing conversion to extremism, and the effects of a toxic atmosphere of fear. Highly recommended! 


Contrary to her claim after the talk, however, Mogahed is not a typical Muslim. She worked with the Gallup organization to conduct the most comprehensive study of Muslim people’s opinions both worldwide and in the U.S. Her 2008 book based on this study, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, is available here.You can watch the documentary version, which we showed at First Parish in 2011, on YouTube for $3.Or listen to an interview of Dalia Mogahed and Reza Aslan (whose book, Zealot, Marta preached on a few years ago) here.

“Unveiled”: A one-woman show on being a hijabi Muslim woman in the U.S.

 UnveiledBuy tickets now for January 10-26

New Repertory Theater
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Racism. Hate crimes. Love. Islam. Culture. Language. Life.

Five Muslim women in a post-9/11 world serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in this critically acclaimed one-woman show.

Rohina Malik, the playwright and actress, was born in London and grew up in Chicago, and is of South Asian descent. In “Unveiled” she explores the experiences of five very different characters as they deal with the fear and hatred they face because they wear a hijab.

Read a review here.

Click here for more information and to order tickets. ($40)


Multicultural books for kids & how to talk with kids about race

seedsResources for families
Looking for good books for children you care about?  Want assistance in talking with your children about race? 

Check out this great website, How to Talk to Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help. It includes general tips, links to other articles, a few books for adults, and lots of books for kids.

Looking for something specific?  Multicultural Books for Kids provides dozens of lists of children’s books of many different kinds – including books about the Arab world, multicultural foods, the Civil Rights movement and Harlem, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, country-specific books for several Asian countries (including less-known ones like Sri Lanka, Laos, and Bangladesh), and even books about Asian kite-flying traditions. 

For great books by African-American authors and illustrators, check out the winners of the Coretta Scott King Awards in 2017 and previous years.

There are so many good books out there!



Good reads for adults

good readsFirst Parish member Mary Fusoni highly recommends Philip Dray’s At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America.    

From Mary: “I read it a few months ago and it had a profound effect on me. While the subject is, of course, deeply disturbing, the book also tells the uplifting stories of the many brave people (Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois, and many more) who fought to end this horrific practice.”

From the publisher:  “It is easy to shrink from our country’s brutal history of lynching.  Lynching is called the last great skeleton in our nation’s closet: It terrorized all of black America, claimed thousands upon thousands of victims in the decades between the 1880s and the Second World War, and leaves invisible but deep scars to this day. The cost of pushing lynching into the shadows, however—misremembering it as isolated acts perpetrated by bigots on society’s fringes—is insupportably high: Until we understand how pervasive and socially accepted the practice was—and, more important, why this was so—it will haunt all efforts at racial reconciliation.”

“The celebrated historian Philip Dray shines a clear, bright light on this dark history—its causes, perpetrators, apologists, and victims. He also tells the story of the men and women who led the long and difficult fight to expose and eradicate lynching, including Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and W.E.B. Du Bois. If lynching is emblematic of what is worst about America, their fight may stand for what is best: the love of justice and fairness and the conviction that one individual’s sense of right can suffice to defy the gravest of wrongs. This landmark book follows the trajectory of both forces over American history—and makes the history of lynching belong to us all.”

What books have moved you, thrilled you, disturbed you, changed you? What books did you enjoy and savor? What books do you find yourself thinking about weeks, months, or years later?

Please send your suggestions to Thank you!

Other recommendations:

Award winners [ (Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, Hugo Award, Pulitzer Prize, etc.)

More award winners from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (fiction & non-fiction)

15 excellent black history books (It’s not for just black history month any more!)

Fantasy & science fiction recommended by The Root

21 books by people of color that everyone should read

New novels by people of color

African-American literature  (a broad selection)

The 101 most influential novels written by African-Americans (mostly 20th century classics)

100 must-read African-American books  (A checklist for serious readers – How many have you read?)


“Black Nativity” opens this weekend

blackJoin UU Urban Ministry for a special reception this Sunday, December 10

Reception - Barry Gaither 2:15 pm
Curtain at 3:30 pm
The Paramount Theater
at Emerson College
559 Washington Street, Boston


Written by Langston Hughes, “Black Nativity” retells the Christmas story through Gospel music, blues, African-inspired dance, and black vernacular speech.  Boston’s National Center of Afro-American Artists has staged “Black Nativity” every year since 1969 – the longest continuous production anywhere.

This year the UU Urban Ministry encourages UUs to attend the 3:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 10. We are also invited to the Paramount Lounge before the show for a special reception with Barry Gaither, the founder and director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and the producer of “Black Nativity.”  He will share the history of the show and offer an inside look into how it is produced, entirely with local adults and children.

Click here to order tickets.  ($35-47.50)

 Click here for a review from a few years ago in the Bay State Banner, the weekly newspaper serving Boston’s black community.

Enfolding us in its joyously affirmative embrace, ‘Black Nativity’ simply lifts the spirit, in every sense of that word.”  – The Boston Globe 



Liberty and justice do not exclude Muslims, refugees, immigrants

Muslims refugees immigrantsFirst Parish stands for justice and compassion in a troubled world
Five times a week, on average, a Muslim in Massachusetts asks the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MA) for help after a hate-related incident. Nationwide, rhetorical and physical attacks on Muslim people and mosques are relentless. Worldwide, more people are displaced now than any time since the immediate aftermath of World War II.  People are fleeing war, attempted genocide, hunger, and the devastating effects of climate change.

First Parish therefore affirms that liberty and justice do not exclude Muslims, refugees, or immigrants.

On a practical level, the ArCS cluster that First Parish started has helped two families and five individual asylum seekers from six countries: Djibouti, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia. We have welcomed people fleeing violence and homophobia, housed a homeless family and a blind man who was living on the streets, taken asylum seekers grocery shopping and brought them to medical and legal appointments, helped them learn English and look for jobs – and, most importantly, taken everyday steps to bridge the gap between our mostly comfortable lives and the lives of people facing constant fear and uncertainty.
Click here to learn more about the ArCS Cluster's work, find out about volunteering, and/or donate to help purchase groceries, T passes, and cellphone plans for people who are starting new lives here. 
May we come to live in a country, and a world, with liberty and justice for all.


Embrace the Darkness 

uulationsFriday, December 15 at 7 pm

Amidst good cheer and busy-ness, there is a shadow side to the season. For many this contemplative worship service is their favorite service of the year. It provides comfort and acknowledges our losses and longings at this time of year. The service will include music by UUlations, an eight woman acapella group and is coordinated by Marta Flanagan and the Worship Associates.

re announcements

 re img



Religious Education Announcements

Dear Families,

We all want our kids to grow up with open minds, helping hands and loving hearts. But there's a lot of hurt in the world right now, especially for those who are seen as  different in some way. Many of us wonder "What do we tell our kids? How do we support them on their journey to be forces of change to the community and the world?" We are excited to support a program called STORY STARTERS, a pilot program for kids in grades Prek-4 that uses children's literature to give families the tools and support to talk about race and racism, and to engage in family centered social justice conversations.

Angel Singers are rehearsing for the All Ages Worship Service (December 17) after church in the Sanctuary on December 10. If you are interested in having your child participate please contact Lynn Baldrich.

Our Whole Lives of Sexuality for Middle Schoolers (grade 7) will begin in March. Please be sure your child is registered in our regular morning program if you would like them to attend.

Christmas Eve Readers are needed for our 4, 6 and 8 pm worship services. This is an opportunity for children in grades 3-7. Please contact Tina to learn more. Slots are filling up quickly!


Sunday, December 17: All Ages worship service. Regular evening programs. OWL ends. Coming of Age parent orientation, 7 pm
Sunday, December 24: No morning programs. Christmas Evening worship services

Sunday, December 31: One Room Sunday School program. NO evening programs.

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Youth Group Announcements


Dear Youth Community, ​

May you find some warmth and rest in these holiday times! Our December looks exciting, with lots of opportunities to build community and celebrate one another. Join us!

Please note some upcoming events:

Saturday, Dec. 16, 9 am – Sunday, Dec. 17, 9 am: Youth Conference – Save the date. FPUUA hosts a 24-hour youth conference for regional UU youth!

Sunday, December 17, 6:45 – 8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program – Our holiday party, hosted by the freshmyn reps!

Thursday, December 21st, 5–7pm: Youth Alumni Holiday Party – Current and former youth groups are invited to this friendly time!


As always, you can contact Steve, the Youth Program Coordinator, if you have any questions or concerns. Email Steve or phone at 781-648-3799 x204.

STAR: spirit, transormation, adventure, reflection

 Aging Well in Our Community

aging wellThursday, December 21
10 am - Noon in the Parlor 

Purpose of our group is to foster engagement and build community among women over fifty who wish to explore themes related to planning and consciously living out our later years. We are an open group facilitated by Kit Hayes. Some meetings have guest speakers; others include small-group or large-group conversations. All include two breaks for physical exercises such as stretching, yoga, and sacred circle dance. We are in our sixth year! Open to all women over fifty. New participants welcome. Contact Kit Hayes at 781-648-0373.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

Tuesdays at 7 am to 8 am in the Parlor
and Thursdays at 8 am to 9 am in the Parlor

Lectio Divina is a method of reading and listening,lingering with, and sharing personal responses to selected biblical texts. Diverse responses to the text provide new insights and help us grow in our spiritual lives and set intentions for our daily lives. Drop­ins are always welcome! Click here to visit the STAR page of the web site.

social justice section header

UU Urban Ministry Volunteer Positions

ryp afterschool students

Be a part of First Parish’s turning outward --Click here to view current volunteer opportunties with the UU Urban Ministry to promote social justice and equality. Urban Ministry works side-by-side with individuals and communities in Boston, primarily in Roxbury, to create opportunities and instill hope for a brighter future through education and social activism. 

For more information for volunteering with UUUM, contact Marvin Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement, 617-318-6010 x214, or contact First Parish member Maggie Schramm or Maryglenn Vincens.

Also check the FP Connection Board and the UUUM table at fellowship hour after Sunday  services for specific activities and calls for help.

Arlington Food Pantry

pastaCollection 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 Arlington Food Pantry welcomes donations of unexpired, unopened, non-perishable food and personal care items. Please avoid glass containers. Items can be placed in the collection baskets at the front and office doors. Monetary donations can be sent to:The Arlington Food Pantry, 27 Maple Street, Arlington, MA 02476.  Learn more and donate online or contact Stephanie Franzosa.

Refugee Concerns Working Group

refugeeThere are currently more refugees around the world than at any time since World War II. The Refugee Concerns working group enables First Parish members to become active in a variety of efforts addressing the global refugee crisis.

Our current focus is working with Refugee Immigration Ministry to provide housing and support services for Asylum Seekers. The RIM program allows clusters of faith communities to work together. The First Parish Refugee Concerns group is working to build a cluster in Arlington, and is already housing and serving people in need.

How can you help? We are looking for volunteers for many activities such as providing one-time transportation to appointments, hosting our guest for a meal or coffee date, coordinating ESL study and practice sessions, fund raising or hosting someone in your home.

Contact the working group through email to express your interest, we can direct you based on your interest: refugeeconcerns @

As a volunteer, you are required to complete a RIM Covenant Agreement

See our web site for more information.

Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O'Brien
Suzi Lubar
Sarah Trilling

Giving First Recipient for December: Artsbridge

artsbridgeArtsbridge, Inc., brings transformational change to young adults from communities in conflict. Our unique training model inspires future leaders to work creatively through their differences to develop innovative approaches to complex human problems. Artsbridge, Inc. was established in 2007 in the aftermath of the Second Intifada and in response to the prolonged, multi-faceted conflict throughout Israel and Palestine. Through an innovative approach of dialogue and the creative arts, Artsbridge develops youth into leaders through providing the necessary skills and support for them to communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, and ultimately create sustainable change within their communities.

Artsbridge, Inc. fosters leadership, understanding, curiosity, and creativity in young adults through the creation of intercultural collaborative arts projects and our unique method of dialogue based in best practices. Today, our participants span beyond Israel and Palestine to include youth from right here in the United States. Each year, our staff welcomes up to 30 students from these locations to participate in a three-week intensive summer program located in here in the United States. It is here that our youth engage in the challenging processes of working towards constructive communication through dialogue as well as collaborating to create works of visual art and films. At the end of the program, participants have the opportunity to witness the impact of their work through a summer showcase open to the public. The final component of Artsbridge spans throughout the year, where students meet in The Region for three follow-up seminars to strengthen and further develop their skills learned. Research is already showing that the skills developed during our Intercultural Leadership Program have a lasting impact on our graduates, mature over time, and can be applied through various life experiences.


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 include race, social class, gender, age, disability/special needs, and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender).

If you are interested in participating in decisions over upcoming plans, or if you are able to make a short- or long-term commitment to work on a particular issue, please join us. For more information, contact diversity @

click here to visit the Diversity/Inclusion Group page of the web site.


The First Parish Meditation Group Welcomes You

hand ringing a chime bowl

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.) We sit for 35 minutes in the style of Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist meditation, and beginners are welcome. By focusing on mind/body sensations in meditation, it is possible to become more mindful in daily life.

For more information, contact

Click here to visit the Meditation Group page of the web site.

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 participating. Click the above link to check out what First Parish Musicians are up to in the weeks ahead -- concerts abound!

If we've missed your group or concert announcement, send a note via our musical connections form.

click here to visit the Music pages of the web site.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

painting of woman knittingDo 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 the Lay Ministers to give to people who could use a “hug with blessings.” If you are interested please contact Barbara Tosti at abtosti @ I would be happy to talk with you and/or provide simple prayer shawl patterns.

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 join us another week, please schedule yourself on our sign-up sheet. Speak to Patricia Hawkins, or see us at our table at coffee hour.

First Parish Men's Group

men's groupThe 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, and purpose. We provide a place where men can share their lived experience & hear others in a small-group community. 

Our structure involves a check-in followed by discussion of issues that emerge. There are no attendance requirements although continuity benefits everyone.

We meet every other week on Sundays from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. For more information, meeting date, and location please send an email to mensgroup @

Calling Older Men

older mens groupFirst Thursday of each month ♦ 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. We meet on the first Thursday of each month. These are brown-bag affairs, so pack a lunch and a pleasing beverage and bring your open mind and heart. For more info, email David Desjardins, Lay Minister, at


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