The E-Bulletin

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

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Sunday Worship head
Remember Loved Ones:
Dia de Los Muertos

Sunday, Oct. 22 at 10 am


Please bring a photo or other memento to put on the “ofrenda” in remembrance of those you want to honor during the service. This ancient Aztec celebration has fused with that of our ancient European ancestors to become a moving and healing celebration in honor of our loved ones.


Alliance Program - Dr Ruth Nemzoff Author and Speaker on Adult Children and In-Laws

NemzoffFriday, November 3
Gathering at 6:30 pm - Pot Luck Supper at 7 pm, Program at 7:30 pm

Dr. Nemzoff has degrees from Barnard, Columbia School of Education and Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently in the Scholars Program at Brandeis. Her areas of research are Intergenerational Relationships and In-law Relationships. Read more about Dr.Ruth Nemzoff. All are welcome. Questions? Contact Contact the Alliance.

"Parents make enormous sacrifices helping children become healthy and autonomous adults. And when children are older, popular wisdom advises parents to let go, disconnect, and bite their tongues. But increasing life spans mean that parents and children can spend as many as five or six decades as adults together: actively parenting adult children is a reality for many families. Dr. Ruth Nemzoff--a leading expert in family dynamics--empowers parents to create close relationships with their adult children, while respecting their independence." from Amazon's introduction to Don't Bite Your Tongue


Community Dinner
Friday, November 10 in the Vestry from 6:30 pm ­to 8 pm

Please join us for this community supper! Following dinner, Game Night occurs at 7:30 pm - come for both or either. These days it is good to just be together. Send an RSVP to let us know if you are coming or, even better, if you want to volunteer. But please come, whether or not you rsvp. Dropins welcome.

Game Night

Game Night - 
Friday, November 10, at 7:30 pm
Please join us for Game Night right after our Community dinner. These days it is good to just be together. Join us to play games such as Boggle, SET, Splendor, Clue, Fluxx, as well as more advanced games such as Scrabble. No previous experience with these games is required because we're happy to teach any newcomers. Please feel free to bring any other games and/or snacks to share. Send an RSVP to let us know if you are coming or, even better, if you want to volunteer. Questions? Contact Sarah Trilling or Lorraine Cooley. But please come, whether or not you rsvp. Drop­ins are welcome. We will welcome donations to help offset the cost. 

Covenant groups - Do You Want to Connect Meaningfully with Others at First Parish?

covenantIf you are looking for deeper connections with others at First Parish, consider joining a covenant group. Covenant groups provide an opportunity to get to know other people at a deeper level, while discussing topics that explore our spiritual paths as informed by life experience. Through discussion of a specific theme each month, we listen deeply to each other, form friendships, and enrich each other's lives.

Groups meet monthly throughout the calendar year (10 meetings in 2018). In January, ongoing groups will be open to new members and a new group of up to nine people may be forming. Members are asked to commit to regular attendance. To sign up or ask questions, look for our table at coffee hour or email us.

On Sunday, November 5, from 12 Noon to 1 pm, Rev. Marta Flanagan will lead an interactive, no-obligation demonstration of the covenant group format. Join us in the Parlor to find out what it's all about. Questions? Contact Mary.


Art Show: "Reflections and Textures of Lebanon" 


Now through mid-November in the Stanton Parlor

Elaine’s photos reveal a Lebanon that is pluralistic -- majority Muslim with a strong Christian tradition stretching back to its beginnings. Since the Syrian conflict Lebanon has absorbed 2 million refugees into a country of 4.4 million in 2012, now 7 million. Today, pock-marked reminders of the Civil War and refugee camps, both Syrian and Palestinian, intermix with a revitalized country brimming with art and architectural talent.

Walk 'n Talk
wntSunday October 29, and November 5, meet in the courtyard after the service.

We are trying an experiment over the next three Sundays, which we are naming "Walk n' Talk". On Sunday, October 15, we will try taking an easy 30-minute walk in a surrounding neighborhood - weather permitting. Our plan is to try this on three "nice enough weather" Sundays. We will convene in the courtyard after the service. No preregistration is required. Questions? Contact facilitators Sarah Trilling or Josh Stillerman.

 FY2019 Budget - Finance Committee Wants Your Input

fin2Sunday, October 15 in the Grady room from 12 noon to 1 pm or
Tuesday. October 17 in the Homer room from 7pm to 8 pm

Correction - Last weeks E-Bulletin listed incorrect dates for these meetings. The 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.

 Harvest Moon Fair  - November 18

Harvest Moon FairReboot Your Old Computers and Rewind your Electronics - Reboots and Rewinds (formerly Chips and Salsa) wants your old electronics. Bored with your keyboards?  Mice not so nice? Amps cramping your life style?  iPod's sitting in dry dock?  Bring old computers, audio components, and video equipment for the Harvest Moon Fair's most electrifying table. Contact Greg Ruccio and let him know what you'd like to bring. 

The Artisan Table is looking for donations of new art/craft and specialty creations for the Harvest Moon Fair. Contact Erica Licea-Kane 617-901-5948 if you have questions, suggestions or would like to make a donation. Thank you! 

The Jewelry Box Wants Your Jewelry... And Everything Else On Your Dresser!
Don't wait till the last minute. Start your Harvest Moon Fair jewelry donations now. Sarah Short will take earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches any time between now and the Fair - November 18. But don't stop there. We'll take: jewelry boxes, handbags, sunglasses, broken jewelry (the one booth that wants broken stuff!), hairbands, scarves, costume jewelry and beads. Start gathering your jewelry and accessories now to help make this year's Fair the best yet.

 Dr. Elizabeth Hinton, Shinn Service Speaker

shinAt the October 29 Shinn Service, Dr. Elizabeth Hinton, Assistant Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, will speak to the congregation. Dr. Hinton has garnered many honors and awards for her recent book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America,” which was named one of the New York Times' 100 notable books of 2016.

Recently she received the prestigious 2017 Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, which is given for “scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.” Dr. Hinton's research examines the persistence of poverty and racial inequality in 20th century United States. Her scholarship considers the transformation of domestic social programs and urban policing after the Civil Rights Movement. She identifies the federal law enforcement programs that laid the groundwork for the mass incarceration of American citizens.

Discussion in the sanctuary will follow Dr. Hinton's presentation immediately following the service and her book will be available for purchase (with an opportunity to have the book autographed).

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.


Women's Book Group

atul beingmortalBeing Mortal by ​Atul Gawande
Thursday, November 2 in the Damon Room at 7:15 pm

"From Atul Gawande, a book that has the potential to change medicine – and lives. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients’ anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them. And families go along with all of it."

Nonviolence in the Wake of the Nazi Rally in Charlottesville: Is history about to repeat itself?


Sunday,October 29, 12 Noon - 2 pm
Location: Bailey

[Photo--Cornel West and Carlton Smith pictured with clergy protesters at Charlottesville]

Charlottesville August 2017: A rally organized by heavily armed white Nazis was met by counter-protesters. The Nazis targeted a clergy group that included Cornel West and our former FP associate minister Carlton Smith. The police did not intervene. A young, diverse group of antifascists (Antifa) placed their bodies between the clergy and the Nazis and protected them from harm. According to Carlton, the white Nazi commitment to violence and brutality “makes the possible outcomes of any action or civil disobedience that much more unpredictable.”

How do we respond to Carlton’s challenge and warning? How might we avoid replicating the example of Nazi Germany, where violence, intimidation, and appeals to racist nationalism brought Adolph Hitler to power? Come join a conversation with historian Esther Kingston Mann of UMass-Boston and Harvard University.

Light refreshments provided. Bagged lunches welcome. All are welcome. 

Dinner and a Show with a Minister and a Director!

Magic Fire halfsheetThe Magic Fire at Theatre@First in Somerville
Sunday, November 12th at 3 pm

Join Rev. Marta Flanagan see The Magic Fire in Davis Square and enjoy supper and discussion at the director's Elizabeth Hunter's home after the show. This play by Argentinean-American playwright Lillian Groag, explores the challenges faced by the individual in the face of creeping authoritarianism. The play is directed by FP member Elizabeth Hunter and the cast includes FP members Jason Merrill, Jo Guthrie, and Alice Merrill Hunter. Elizabeth Hunter says, "By turns wistful, funny, and alarming, The Magic Fire offers much to ponder about the stories we tell, the actions we choose, and the truths we hide from as the grown daughter of a family of immigrants reflects on her memories of a happy Buenos Aires childhood."  Join us as we consider how to find our best selves and stand up for our values when darkness looms. Click here for more info about the show. Tickets for our group are just $10 per person. Please email to reserve your spot. 

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.


Why the Constitution doesn’t Apply in Puerto Rico

prThe Supreme Court ruled in 1901 that “alien races” should be governed differently. The same Supreme Court that approved “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) a few years later decided in the “Insular Cases” that the people of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines – which the U.S. had conquered during the Spanish-American war – were “alien races,” so the “Anglo-Saxon principles” of “government and justice” that were used in the mainland territories (all of which eventually became states) did not apply. These island territories would be governed by different laws, and have different constitutional rights and procedures, because of “differences of race.”

Today, residents of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other territories are considered U.S. citizens but they are not allowed to vote for President or to have a representative in Congress. Many federal laws and protections do not apply to them. This differential status is still considered constitutional because of the Insular Cases.

Click here for a brief overview of Puerto Rico’s complicated history with the United States.

Click here for an easy read with more context about the Insular Cases.

Click here for a deeper dive into Puerto Rico’s colonial status in the Yale Law & Policy Review.


Photographing Black Lives: A Talk By Photojournalist Beuford Smith


Friday, October 20, 7-9 pm
Maran Theater at Wolfard Hall
Lesley University,
34 Mellen Street
in Cambridge - 
Sponsored by the
Griffin Museum of Photography

This talk is a remarkable opportunity to hear from a great black-centric social documentary photographerBeuford Smith was a founder and the chief editor of The Black Photographers Annual (1973-1981), one of the first black-owned publications in which black photographers could get their work published. It is now available online here.

He photographed the Detroit Rebellion in 1967, the energy of jazz musicians in performance, the black community’s anguish on the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and a multitude of scenes from daily life.

He was also a founding member of Kaominge:

“Kamoinge exists,” he wrote, “as a forum of African-American photographers, to view and critique each other’s work in an honest and understanding atmosphere, to nurture and challenge each other in order to attain the highest creative level. The name comes from the Kikuyu language of Kenya, and means a group of people acting together. Its aim is to seek out the truth inherent in our cultural roots, to create and communicate these truths with insight and integrity.”

Learn more and get tickets ($0-10).



“Out of Many, One” Teach-in and Solidarity with the Boston Muslim Community 

Out of Many OneSunday, October 22, from 2 pm - 4 pm
Temple Beth Zion
1566 Beacon Street in Brookline

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and Temple Beth Zion are co-hosting this opportunity to learn more about the Muslim faith and to hear stories from individuals of their experiences of being Muslim in Boston. We’ll also learn about specific threats facing the Muslim community in these troubling times and about what we can do to be of support. RSVP and/or see the Facebook post.

This teach-in is sponsored by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), an interfaith social justice network whose mission is to “coalesce, train, and organize the communities of Greater Boston across religious, racial, ethnic, class, and neighborhood lines for the public good.” Some First Parish members are beginning to ask whether First Parish might want to join the GBIO. If you’re curious about what GBIO membership might mean, learn more here or email for more information.


 Black Lives Have Always Mattered: Personal Readings by Local Writers

BLMTuesday, October 24, 7 pm
Porter Square Bookstore
25 White Street in Cambridge

Most of the contributors to Black Lives Have Always Mattered, a Collection of Essays, Poems & Personal Narratives, edited by Abiodun Oyewole, are African American poets, writers, activists, and scholars. 

These 79 personal writings offer first-hand perspectives on long-held values and beliefs about black lives, white privilege and fragility, and the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality. They explore five major themes: “Mourning Black Lives That Mattered,” “Black Skin/White Masks,” “Black Spaces/Black Places,” “Black Lives Remembered/Reclaimed,” and “The Legacy of Black Protest Continues.” Together, they are a call to action and an affirmation that black lives have always mattered.

Contributors Lisa Braxton, J. Kates, Bettye Kearse, and Ellin Sarot will read from their works, and Charles Coe will introduce the event.


Kemp Harris celebrates African-American musical tradition

harrisWednesday, October 25, 8 pm
Passim, 47 Palmer Street in Cambridge

Composer Kemp Harris is also a children’s author, story-teller, and teacher.

Harris was born in North Carolina and taught himself the piano as a child. His first CD, “Sometimes In Bad Weather,” explores the intersection of American roots music, jazz, and African folk influences. His second CD, “Edenton,” blends the traditions of blues and spirituals with contemporary lyrics and themes. Listen here and here.

Harris has shared the stage with Taj Mahal, Gil Scott-Heron, and blues artist Koko Taylor. He wrote and performed “If Loneliness Was Black” for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Complexions, and has also composed for Phase One Contemporary Dance in Atlanta. His song “Stand Up, Rise Up” is the theme for Ralph Nader’s weekly talk show.

Purchase tickets ($15, $13 for Passim members).


Reflect on How we Remember Slavery While Sitting in a Former Slave Quarters

royallHistorian Kevin Levin on “Confederate Monuments and the Memory of Slavery”

15 George Street in Medford

Royall House and Slave Quarters
Wednesday, October 25, 7:30-9 p.m.
Free for RH & SQ members, $10 for non-members

The Royall family held at least 60 people in slavery. Their slave quarters is one of the few remaining buildings in New England where we know enslaved people lived and worked and we can see some of the items they handled in their work and play.

Historian Kevin Levin will lead a conversation, on the first floor of the slave quarters, about the more than 700 Confederate monuments that the Southern Poverty Law Center estimates now exist in public spaces in the U.S., along with untold hundreds of schools, streets, and communities that are named after Confederate icons.

Levin will discuss the historical origins of these monuments – their connection to “Lost Cause” remembrance of the Civil War and the Jim Crow era of the twentieth century – and how the divisive current debate over their future connects to our nation’s memory of slavery.


Film “Shadowgram” asks South Side Chicagoans what has Changed in the Last 50 Years

shadowU.N. screening canceled by request of the Trump administration
Arlington International Film Festival screening on Thursday, October 16, 7 p.m.
Capitol Theater, 204 Mass. Ave.

Fifty years after the abolition of Jim Crow Laws, what has changed?

Shadowgram (66 minutes) features a cross-section of people from the South Side of Chicago – including a psychiatrist, an administrator, a teacher, and a hip-hop artist – who reminisce about their childhoods and reflect on the hopes of generations gone by and their influence today.

This portrait of Chicago is a rumination on racism, social divides, and the layout of urban spaces. As a European, far removed from America’s historical and urban planning problems, the Italian documentary filmmaker Augusto Contento set up his camera in the city of Chicago. From the awe-inspiring downtown skyline to the outlying neighborhoods, from the suburbs to the lakeshore, the film pieces together a sensory, personal vision of a world indelibly marked by culture and history.

Shadowgram was scheduled to be screened at the United Nations meeting of the High Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in March 2017. That screening was canceled by request of the Trump administration.

Shadowgram has received the UNESCO Worldwide Patronage – The Route of Slaves recognition for its intense research on African-American heritage and community and is supported by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.

The full schedule of the Arlington International Film Festival is available here.


 Is Racism an Addiction?

raRead and Reflect about Racists Anonymous Chapters

“Racism in the world is real,” says a black United Church of Christ pastor named Ron Buford who started a Racists Anonymous chapter in 2016. “We should stop being in denial about it, the way an alcoholic is in denial about alcoholism.”

“A spiritual dimension of racism that we are just beginning to understand,” explains a pamphlet developed by the Presbyterian Church, “is the degree to which power and privilege becomes addictive. Addiction means to be gripped by a compulsion, a craving, or a dependency that is strong and deeply embedded in the subconscious; and it is difficult to stop doing even though you realize that what you are doing is wrong.”

Is addiction a helpful way to think about racism? For more information.


Discuss Safer Congregation Policy Drafts

uualogogSunday, 10/29 at 12 Noon in the Parlor
Comments? Email the 
Executive Committee
Review the Drafts

One of the responsibilities of our governing board (the Parish Committee) is to think ahead about how to manage situations that might arise, before they arise. Several months ago, an individual who is currently incarcerated for sexual offenses contacted a First Parish member and expressed interest in joining our community after he is released. He is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, the classification for people who are most likely to re-offend. He will not be released for many months, perhaps for many years, so there is no immediate concern.

While First Parish affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person and seeks to be welcoming to all, we also seek to provide a safe environment for current members of our community. This inquiry prompted the Parish Committee to construct a process for determining whether an individual’s participation at First Parish should be limited.

Last winter and spring a Safe Congregations Task Force met several times, organized two opportunities for congregational input, and created a first draft of a policy regarding sex offenders. The chair of the Safe Congregations Task Force, Jeff Keffer, and our Director of Religious Education, Tina Schultz, also attended a workshop on creating safer congregations, which gave them a broader perspective on situations that other congregations have encountered. The Parish Committee drew on these resources to draft two safer congregation policies.

The Parish Committee is currently considering Safer Congregations policies and is seeking input from you!

One of these policies would create a Safer Congregations Committee (SCC), with five people with relevant expertise who would convene in response to a situation. The members of the SCC would meet, gather and evaluate information, and decide whether restrictions are needed and, if so, what they should be.The second policy would apply to adults who have been classified by the legal system as Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders and to adults who have certain types of active and currently unresolved accusations. It would require these individuals to identify themselves to the First Parish staff and to honor the conclusions of the SCC.

We recognize that these policies do not cover all possible situations that might emerge. For now, though, we are seeking the input of our First Parish community on these drafts. View the draft policiescontact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or join the discussion on Sunday, October29 at Noon in the Parlor.


re announcements

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Religious Education Announcements

Dear Families,

This Sunday marks the sixth Sunday of the fall teaching term. All children should bring their sweaters or coats if the weather begins to chill.

Arlington Food Pantry has told us of a special need for cold and hot cereals. Please donate as generously as possible to support our neighbors in need. Donations can be brought to First Parish and put in containers near our doorways. Thank you for your help!

What's happening this Sunday? We will have regular morning or evening classes. The Nursery is open at 9:50 a.m. so parents can drop off their little ones before the church service begins.

Children's Choir for grades 3-6 has a new meeting time - 4 pm to 4:30 pm
Please contact Jonathan to sign up or learn more.

Are you interested in having your child participate in OWL next Spring? If so, they need to be attending our Sunday morning 7th grade class now. Deadline date for registration in OWL is December 17th. There is a $100 fee for OWL, a 26 week program. Contact Tina Schultz for more information.

Are you interested in teaching our OWL (Our Whole Lives of Sexuality) course for middle schoolers? We would like to add a person who identifies as male to our teaching team to teach in the 2018-2019 academic year. If curious about the weekend long training, the teaching commitment and content of the material please contact Tina Schultz to set up a meeting to discuss your interest.


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22 Fourth Class of Fall Term - Day of Dead celebrated in worship, OWL and Youth Group. Neighboring Faiths Field trip to HighRock, depart First Parish 10:15 am.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29 Fifth Class of Fall Term, OWL and Youth Group. Neighboring Faiths Field Trip to AME in Cambridge.
Thursday, November 1 Religious Education Committee Meeting, 7 pm, Parlor

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Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Community, as we prepare for the retreat and the Harvest Moon Fair, make sure you get a chance to sign up for different leadership opportunities! It's a great way to contribute to the community and grow at the same time, especially for newer members. Talk to our fabulous co-leaders or Steve if you're interested.

Please note some upcoming events:

Sunday, October 22nd, 6:45–8:45pm: Youth Group Evening Program

Saturday, October 28th, 9am – Sunday, October 29th, 10am: Youth Group Fall Retreat – Our annual fall retreat, held at Cedar Hill Camp, in Waltham, MA. Register in advance.

Sunday, October 29th, No Evening Program

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

Options in Aging Care

aging 150Sunday, October 22
12 – 1:30 pm in the parlor
Veggie Chili will be provided, or BYO lunch

Are you contemplating the “next step” as you age? Are you worried about a failing parent or partner? Many among us are in the “sandwich generation,” juggling care giving of our children as well as our parent(s). It can be confusing and overwhelming to know what help is needed, how to get that help, and how to encourage an elder to accept help. These challenges are multiplied when you are a distant caregiver, or the situation involves mental illness or memory issues. Kathy will offer information and advice for acute situations or planning for the future — bring your questions, or email them in advance to Kathy Kemp.

Kathy Kemp is a Licensed Occupational Therapist and Certified Geriatric Care Manager with her own practice, Sage Advice Care Management. She brings with her 25+ years experience working with older adults in psychiatric, rehabilitation, nursing home, and community settings. Kathy served many years at First Parish as a lay minister.

Single Only on Sunday

single only on sunday 1Tuesday, October 24 in the Parlor at 7 pm
No pre-registration required.

Do you find yourself "single" on Sunday? Do you have a partner who opts not to be part of the church community? Does he/she support your participation fully, yet you still feel pulled between home and church? Do you opt out of some church activities and groups because you know you will be so missed at home? At this one-time discussion group, we will share our stories about living with this challenging situation. Facilitated by Barbara McCauley. Barbara is a clinical social worker who has been Single Only on Sunday at First Parish for five years. All are welcome! For more information contact Barbara McCauley.

Love is My Religion:  Improving Political Discourse

Love LogoLet's work together to repair the acrimony in our country. This resistance effort will identify actions we can take to alter the tone of political discourse for 2018 and beyond. The series of sessions continues on October 23 and 30.

A STAR Adult Ed Program.
e-mail the office to registere - mention "Love Registration"in the subject line. Click here more information.

 Aging Well in Our Community

aging well
10/26, 11/16, and 12/21 in the Parlor 10 am - Noon

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 or

Work That Reconnects 

Work that reconnects logoSaturday, November 11, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Saving a space is recommended but not required.

How we can remain resilient, creative, and empowered to act for the healing of our irreplaceable world? There is limit of 35 people for this program, and some of the spaces will be open to the public. If you would like to save a space, please send an email to


Capitalism: What is to be done?

Capitalism Logo

Capitalist economic systems have produced material abundance undreamt of in earlier eras. Poverty, starvation, and short brutal lives have been greatly reduced. On the other hand, capitalism is also derided as a predatory system that causes economic inequality, unchecked climate change and a host of societal ills. To what extent does capitalism reflect our values? Is it compatible with our liberal religion? What is to be done about it? A thoughtful panel discussion with David Dreyfus and Tom Estabrook, moderated by Jitendra Singh. All are welcome! For more information, contact David Dreyfus.

Monday, November 13, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm. A STAR Adult Ed Program.

No registration is required. Please mark your calendar.

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 Food Pantry can always use juice, jelly, cereal, things from baked goods aisle like cake mixes, etc., and personal items.

To learn more and donate online please visit or Contact Jean Nagle for questions.

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 October: Grassroots International

grassrootsGrassroots International works in partnership with social movements to create a just and sustainable world by advancing the human rights to land, water, and food through global grantmaking, building solidarity across organizations and movements, and advocacy in the US.


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 for a sustainable future. Contact or check the church calendar for events.

click here to visit the Green Sanctuary page of the web site.

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.

Stitch & Sew Returns

cartoon of scissors and threadThursdays, 10:30 am in Pierce

Join us for a weekly gathering of people to knit, sew, talk, eat lunch and  prepare items for the November Harvest Fair. Everyone invited to come or let us know if you can prepare items at home that would be appropriate for the Stitch and Sew Fair table. We meet every Thursday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Pierce room until fair week. Coffee and tea  provided, bring a lunch to join us. Drop in or stay for however long you are free.

Please email comments and questions to stitchandsew @

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 @

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 caregivers struggling with similar issues. For more information contact Mary-Beth Landy at jacobsmother @

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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