The E-Bulletin

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

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Sunday Worship head




 The Rev. Marta Morris Flanagan

10 am Sunday February 25 



Sanctuary Redesign Listening Session

green sanctSunday, February 25
11:45 – 12:30 pm in the Damon Room

On behalf of the congregation a working group has consulted with several committees and staff over the past year to reimagine the look of the sanctuary. Their goal is to balance key design elements of this space with the practical needs and spiritual personality of our community. If you want to learn more about the sanctuary redesign please attend a presentation at 11:45 in the Bailey room.We are looking for your input on a potential piece of art we may include on the alcove wall , or provide your thoughts by email.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf

For Colored Girls5

Tickets still available to see Ntozake Shange’s iconic choreopoem this weekend

Hibernian Hall - Roxbury
Sunday, February 25, at 2 pm
An UU Urban Ministry Activity

“It’s been more than four decades since Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf’ first began speaking to audiences in an arrestingly original, even singular, voice.  Today, in an era of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, that voice still has plenty to say. An impassioned new production at Roxbury’s Hibernian Hall makes clear that Shange’s ‘choreopoem’ has lost none of its vitality or its power to move us.” – Boston Globe Review

We will be going on Feb 25, to the matinee at 2PM. There is plenty of parking around Hibernian Hall. If you have questions email Marcia Please rsvp so we know who is coming.

Sign Up for Unpacking Whiteness

Dialogues at First Parish

The Monday Group meets 7 - 9 pm
February 26 - March 26

Want to get “woke”?  

Want to reflect on the legacy and impact of white supremacy and white privilege?

Want to deepen your understanding of how race and privilege work upon you and the world?

Want to better understand explicit bias, implicit bias and microaggressions?

Join guided dialogues “Unpacking Whiteness.” The group meets for 5 sessions and is limited to 10 people. Participants will receive articles and video clips to review before each session. 

People of all races and backgrounds are welcome -- however, the focus will be exploring the meaning and impact of being, and being considered, white.

The Monday Group meets 7 - 9 pm, February 26 - March 26
(Marilyn Downs, Facilitator)

Registration is required. We ask that participants attend all five sessions to build group cohesion and dialogue.

Register for the Monday class

Facilitator: Marilyn Downs is a clinical social worker at the Tufts University Counseling and Mental Health Service. She is grateful for the ways that thoughtful, respectful conversations about difficult issues can deepen our personal and collective wisdom.

Community Dinner/Games Night
Friday, March 9 at 6:30 pm

dinner1Community Dinner
in the Vestry from 6:30 pm to 8 pm

Please join us for this community supper! Following dinner, Games Night starts at 7:30 pm. Come for both or either, these days it is good to just be together. Send an RSVP to to let us know if you are coming or, even better, if you want to volunteer to help cook. But please come, whether or not you RSVP. Dropins welcome. We welcome donations to help offset the cost.


gkGames Night at 7:30 pm

Please join us for Games 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.


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's Words on our Public Witness Banners

mlk 3First Parish will display a series of quotes from Rev. Martin Luther King's speeches and writings from now until the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination, which was on April 4, 1968.  For more information about these quotes and their context, please see the front page of First Parish's website or our E-Bulletin.

Women's March Book Group

march womens bookThe Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
March 1 at 7:15 pm - Damon room

Join us to discuss Edith Hahn Beer's book - The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust.

"Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret".

workshopSunday, March 4th  at 12 Noon
Bailey Room or  Thursday, March 8th - 7 pm -9 pm (Parlor) - Facilitated by Erin Jackson | Moderated by Cynthia Tavilla
"What pronouns do you use?" "What are gender pronouns?" "Why do some people choose to self-identify pronouns on name tags and during group introductions?" "How do I know what pronouns someone uses?" "Why is it important to respect people's pronouns?" "What can I do to minimize micro-aggressions in my community?" "What if I make a mistake?"
Join us for a workshop and group discussion surrounding use of pronouns and the increased inclusion of transgender, gender non-binary, and gender diverse individuals at First Parish. 
Together we will explore:
  • What is gender and how have society's expectations of gender changed? 
  • Who are transgender, gender non-binary, and gender diverse people and what do those terms mean? 
  • How gender identity differs from sexual orientation. 
  • What is cisgender privilege, and what steps can one take toward dismantling it? 
  • How to further First Parish's "welcoming to all" credo around these issues. 
Please bring your open minds, questioning souls, and loving hearts. Ages 15+ welcome to attend. (These are identical wessions content; discussion may vary.) Pizza and refreshments will be served. Pizza and refreshments will be served.

Contemplating Poetry
poetrySecond Tuesdays of the month 
7 pm -8:30 pm - Pierce Room

Back By Popular Demand! (and in honor of Ricky Carter's milestone birthday) - Contemplating Poetry originated in our congregation by our beloved Lynne Jacoby, who has since relocated. Lynne pioneered using a Lectio Divina model to deepen responding to a poem on a deeper emotional and spiritual level. Arlington Poet Laureate Cathie Desjardins will continue this tradition for the congregation's many poetry lovers. Join us to try this innovative and experiential model to engage with language and the spirit. 

Sacred Circle Dance - Cancelled for February - Dancing resumes the 3rd Monday in March (3/19/2018).

dancingMarch 19, from 7 pm to 8:45 pm   
Bailey Room, led by Inez Folsom

Sacred Circle Dance is cancelled for February. We will resume in March on the 3rd Monday (3/19/18) from 7 to 8:45 pm. We will welcome Spring! A new flyer for the spring sessions will soon be available.Questions? Contact Inez or 978-758-3791.

ArCS Cluster (formerly Refugee Concerns Working Group)

refugeeThursday, March 8 at 7:30 pm
Meet up at Cafe Nero - No signup required and drop-ins welcome.

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

Contacts: Sarah Trilling or Eric Segal

The First Parish Meditation Groups Welcome You

hand ringing a chime bowlLooking for support for your meditation practice? There are two opportunities for you! One of our Sanghas is looking for new members! We meet monthly to meditate together and explore Buddhist teachings and the impact on our lives. Join us! 

We also hold drop-in meditations on Mondays (gather at 6 pm and start at 6:15 pm at First Parish in the Damon Room.)  If interested in either group, email us  or click here to visit the Meditation Group page of the web site.

Now on view in the parlor 

southwickPhotos of famous people and events drawn from Peter Southwick’s career as a photo journalist. Come browse!

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


handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

Come ring chimes with us! The handbell choir rehearses in the Sanctuary on Thursdays at 7 pm for just under an hour before choir starts at 8 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 visitor's 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.

How to Request a Spoken Announcement or Submit a News Item

cartoon of man with bullhorn
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 pm Wednesday for inclusion in that week's bulletins.

NAACP’s one-day art exhibit on AfricanAmerican experiences in New England

artSunday, February 25, 2 - 7 pm
West Medford Community Center
111 Arlington Street in Medford

In celebration of Black History Month, the Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP, West Medford Community Center, and other organizations are presenting a one-day art exhibit this Sunday afternoon – The African American Experience in New England: Arts by African American Artists or Reflecting the African American Experience in New England.

Check it out!

See “The Migration” by Step Afrika! with a First Parish group

migrationEmail by March 1 for group tickets ($15 or less)
All ages thoroughly welcome
Saturday, May 5, 2 pm
ArtsEmerson Cutler Majestic Theater
219 Tremont Street in Boston

Lynette Martyn is organizing a First Parish family field trip to go see “The Migration” – a multimedia powerhouse production that chronicles and celebrates the paths of the brave men and women who left the American South searching for better opportunities.  The step dance troupe Step Afrika! will bring the Great Migration to life through an explosion of dance, drums and canvas.

Inspired by painter Jacob Lawrence’s groundbreaking series of 60 paintings about the Great Migration, Step Afrika! transforms his paintings into a textured, interdisciplinary movement piece incorporating South African Gumboot, Western African dance, vocals, drumming and audience participation.

Step Afrika! is one of the one of the top ten African American dance companies in the U.S. and the largest African American arts organization in Washington D.C..  It began as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of South Africa and has expanded to become a national and international touring company.

All ages are invited to join this First Parish field trip, either solo or as a family unit. Currently 14 people are going, including three children ages 5-11. The running time is 90 minutes, and parental discretion is advised as to your child’s individual attention span for theatre.

Email by Thursday, March 1, if you want to be included in a group order of tickets.

Ticket prices will depend on the final number of participants but are expected to be less than $15 per person.  If the cost is an obstacle for your family, please email.

A clip from “The Migration” can be seen here.

Coro Allegro Concert:  “We Will Rise”

wewillriseSunday, March 11
at 3 pm
Sanders Theater in Cambridge

Coro Allegro is Boston’s excellent LGBT+ chorus and Kareem Roustom is a fabulous Syrian-American composer.  Roustom’s newest work, “Rage Against the Tyrant(s)” is based on street chants from the Arab Spring plus Arab and Arab-American poetry. It will be followed by Shawn Kirchner’s settings of pilgrimage psalms that lift us “beyond our divisions to find peace.” This concert will be exceptionally beautiful and powerful. Highly recommended. Buy tickets here.  ($15-65)

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf
Tickets still available to see Ntozake Shange’s iconic choreopoem this weekend

Twelve performances February 15-25
UU Urban Ministry group visit followed by a Q&A with the director
Sunday, February 25, at 2 pm
Praxis Stage at Hibernian Hall
184 Dudley Street in Roxbury

We have an exciting opportunity to see a live production of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf.

“It’s been more than four decades since Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf’ first began speaking to audiences in an arrestingly original, even singular, voice. Today, in an era of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, that voice still has plenty to say. An impassioned new production at Roxbury’s Hibernian Hall makes clear that Shange’s ‘choreopoem’ has lost none of its vitality or its power to move us.” – Boston Globe Review

UU Urban Ministry is encouraging UUs to attend the matinee on Sunday, February 25.  Meet in the lobby at 1:30 p.m. and stay afterwards for a Q&A with the director, Roxbury resident Dayenne C.B. Walters. If you plan to join the UU Urban Ministry group, purchase your own general admission ticket and also RSVP to Marvin Venay.

Or attend one of the other performances on February 15-25.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here or at the door.

Bryan Stevenson on racial trauma and healing

Learn from one of the moral and intellectual leaders of our timeBryan

Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, a recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant,” and a powerful writer and orator.  He has persuaded judges that 115 people on death row were wrongfully committed and argued five cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He is also one of the most compelling advocates for the belief that truly coming to terms with our racial history can lead to racial healing.

In this recent interview, Stevenson speaks about racial trauma, the effects of violence, and how we can move forward from here.

His best-selling memoir, Just Mercy, describes his work to end mass incarceration and the death penalty, and tells the stories of some of his clients.  You won’t see the world quite the same way after reading this book. It can be purchased for $10 here. Or add yourself to the waiting list for copies in the Minuteman Library system here or the spoken CD here.

Listen to Stevenson’s Ted Talk, “We Need to Talk about an Injustice,” here

One way or another, you will want to get acquainted with Bryan Stevenson’s thinking. He is an important, challenging, and ultimately hope-inspiring moral and intellectual leader.

Nikole Hannah-Jones on school and housing segregation

nicoleThought-provoking articles and podcasts by a 2017 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient.

Nikole Hannah-Jones combines historical and policy research with moving personal narratives to explain the persistence of school and housing segregation.  What public polices and personal choices keep us separate?  What are the consequences of segregation? 

Her best-known piece describes her personal process of choosing a school for her young daughter in a segregated city, and the many considerations that led her to decide to send her daughter to a high-poverty neighborhood school largely attended by low-income black and Latino students.

She spoke compellingly on NPR about how school segregation is maintained by individual choices (34 minutes).

She explained why Michael Brown attended one of the most segregated school systems in the country and why American schools are still so unequal.

She talked on “This American Life” about the problem we all live with – the failings of our country’s two-tier education system and the continued resistance to racial and economic integration (58 minutes).

She started the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, with the goal of increasing the number of reporters and editors of color and the breadth of reporting about racial justice.

And she received a MacArthur Genius Grant for “chronicling the persistence of racial segregation in American society, particularly in education, and reshaping national conversations around education reform.”

NAACP Mystic Valley Branch meets on Monday

NAACPMonday, February 26
at 7:30 pm

West Medford Community Center
111 Arlington Street in Medford

Would you like to meet other local folks, of all colors, who care about racial justice? Want to lend a hand?

The Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP serves Arlington, Medford, Malden, Woburn, Winchester, and Everett, and everyone is welcome at their business meetings and events.

In 2016 the Branch protested the display of an “All Lives Matter” banner on a polling station in Medford. Last year it helped convince the Mystic Valley Charter School to repeal its prohibition of braids, extensions, and other hair styles culturally connected with black students. And a couple years ago it created a powerful 30-second video countering the stereotypes of young black men: I’m a Statistic – well worth a viewing!

Last year the Branch elected a new president, Zane Crute, whose top priorities are ending voter suppression, fighting unjust deportations, increasing affordable housing, and promoting job growth, with an emphasis on increasing the number of teachers and policeman of color.

Learn more here.

If you’ve been thinking you want to get more involved locally, here’s a way!

Black Panther is “a celebration of black creativity, beauty, and excellence”

panterGo yourself & contribute so low-income Boston kids can go too

“Black Panther” is turning into a cultural phenomenon. With an African-American director, Ryan Coogler, and a mostly black cast, it is thrilling both black moviegoers and film critics.

Contribute here to a GoFundMe campaign for the Hawthorne Youth and Community Center in Roxbury, which is working with the City of Boston and local schools to send Roxbury children and chaperones to “Black Panther” during school vacation week. This is one of several campaigns nationwide to send black children to see an excellent movie that shows someone who looks like them as a superhero.

“We can be the heroes we wanted to see as children, and our children can be superheroes too. We want to inspire our young people and help them see their own potential.  From writers, to directors, to camera men and women to the cast – we are well represented FINALLY in the film. Representation matters, and Black Panther is the first predominantly Black Superhero movie in history.” – Liz Miranda, Hawthorne Center Executive Director

“If you appreciate finely honed storytelling with a Shakespearean core; winning performances from an enormously talented ensemble; provocative premises touching on isolationism, revolution and cultures of oppression, and oh yeah, tons of whiz-bang action sequences and good humor — then you should see ‘Black Panther.’ ”Richard Roper in the Chicago Sun Times.

Robin Baker recommends three fabulous free concerts – two of them family oriented

robin baker

Soul Yatra Trio:  World music with Mike Block (cello), Sandeep Das (Indian table), and Shaw Pong Liu (erhu-violin)

Don’t miss this unique trio of world class musicians. Their collective experience performing with the Grammy-winning Silk Road Ensemble spans diverse musical styles and cultures. The word “Yatra” means “journey,” and this concert will be especially worth the journey.

Saturday, March 3, 3 p.m. at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street in Roxbury.  Free, but RSVP here to ensure seating.

Masary Studios & Stan Strickland: Sound Sculpture featuring drums, marimba, and video projection

Percussionists Ryan Edwards and Maria Finkelmeier team up with video projectionist Sam Okerstrom-Lang and jazz musician Stan Strickland.  They combine rhythm compositions with video imagery and an interactive Sound Sculpture, in which changes in color patterns are triggered in interactive light blocks in response to physical and musical stimulus.  If you’re looking for something awe-inspiring and intergenerationally friendly for all ages, this is it!

Sunday, March 4, 3 p.m. at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street in Roxbury.  Free, but RSVP here to ensure seating.

Voci Angelica Trio: Exploring the Migration of Music with Jodi Hitzjusen, Meena Malik, and Aristides Rivas

Voci Angelica offers a highly interactive, family-friendly program featuring world geography, the early history of human immigration and civilization, and the diverse cultures, languages, and music of six continents. Want to introduce your children to the music of the world? Don’t miss this opportunity!

Saturday, March 17, 3 p.m. at, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 West Newton Street in the South End.  Free, but RSVP here to ensure seating.


mlkRev. Martin Luther King’s Words on First Parish Arlington’s Public Witness Banners. (continued)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” From the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", an open letter that Rev. King wrote in 1963 in response to white clergy who opposed his use of non-violent civil disobedience to secure civil rights.

“We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” From Rev. King’s sermon "Antidotes for Fear, " published in his book, Strength to Love, in 1963.

 “Violence never brings permanent peace.” From the Nobel Lecture that Rev. King gave as he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” From Rev. King’s famous speech, "Beyond Vietnam", given at the Riverside Church in Manhattan on April 4, 1967, exactly a year before he was assassinated, when he decided he had to break silence on the evils of the Vietnam War and American militarism.

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.” From a speech titled "The Three Evils" that Rev. King gave on August 31, 1967. 




Moving Forward in sustaining our community!
Stewardship Update!

MFT arrow smallStewardship is delighted to report that we are almost 2/3rds of the way to our financial ($) goals, and 40% of the way to our participation goal. MANY thanks to those who have stepped up so far!

Our participation goal is just as important as the $ goal in sustaining our lively and spiritually supportive community.

Your pledge acknowledges the importance of our robust religious education programs, our socially progressive role in the wider community, and of course your commitment as part of the First Parish UU community.

Our beloved friends, this is a gentle reminder to submit your pledge; we need all members and friends to Move Forward Together in planning for a healthy fiscal future. We are a financially independent entity; and that means we look only to ourselves to support staff salaries (80% of the budget), and our building.

In addition to ensuring that we know how to budget for our wonderful staff and programs, your annual pledge is a recognition of your bond with First Parish. will receive chocolate and cheer at the Stewardship Table during coffee hour.

To pledge online, log into Realm, our database - Instructions.
For more information, find us at coffee hour, or contact any of us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your Stewardship Committee: Anne Quaadgras, Sue Sheffler, Pam Baldwin, Lisa Davis, and Sue Mapel

Last Call - Get Your Social Action T-Shirts

watermarked smallFebruary 28 is the deadline!

Perhaps you have seen people in beautiful turquoise First Parish T shirts? Now there is another opportunity for you to get one, so you will be ready to be recognized when we participate in rallies, vigils, service, and other social actions outside our walls, including Action Sunday in April. Click here to see the design and to order. The all-cotton T-shirt is $16.26 . They run on the small side, so consider ordering a size up from your usual. When the T-shirts arrive you'll get an email saying when you can pick them up at First Parish. If the price is a barrier for you, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., providing the size of shirt.

Pipe Dreams: Getting to Know Our E. & G.G. Hook Organ


Friday, March 2, 7:30 pm
Sanctuary - Alliance-sponsored Program for All of Us

Learn about the history, the workings and the beauty of our E & GG Hook 1869 organ under the guidance of organist, Wendy Covell, and musician, Dorothy May. Wendy Covell was Organist and Children's Choir Director at First Parish from 1999 – 2007. Wendy will tell us about the organ and how it works, illustrating her narrative with music on the organ. Dorothy, whose husband Ted was organist at First Parish from 1975 – 1999, will share personal recollections about the organ and its adventurous travels to First Parish for its 1985 dedication. From Rev. Charles Grady, Dorothy has a recording of the dedication, and she'll share excerpts with us.   

All First Parish and friends are most welcome to this program. We'll gather in the vestry for a pot luck dessert at 7 pm and begin our program in the sanctuary at 7:30 pm. Come, and bring friends of all ages!

re announcements

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Religious Education Announcements

One Room Sunday School Program this Sunday, February 25, led by Meredith Jeremiah (RE Assistant) and members of the Religious Education Committee. The Nursery and Prek rooms will be open. COA and Youth Group meet at their regular times.
Stewardship Dinner for parents and members of COA and Youth Group, 6:30 pm in Vestry. (Youth will leave after eating)

OPERATION SOCK DROP will be taking place during the month of February. Children, teens, families and everyone in the congregation is encouraged to think of those who are homeless and bring in new, clean socks for our drive. Look for specially  marked baskets around the building or hang them on the clothes line on the RE bulletin board. 

We need one second grade teacher for the spring term! Classes begin on Sunday, April 1. This is a great opportunity for a newcomer to be partnered with a veteran teacher (Marc Jacobsen). The curriculum is "Web of Life", a nature based curriculum. For more information please ask

Children's Choir - We are recruiting children in grades 1-6 to help us with the All Ages Easter worship service on Sunday, April 1st.  We need singers! Our hope is to have a group of children sing a hymn for the prelude at the first worship service at 9:00 a.m. Rehearsals will be after church on Sundays from 11:30-12:15 in the Sanctuary. They need not attend every rehearsal,  but regular attendance is encouraged. The following are other rehearsal dates: March 4, March 18, March 25. Please contact Lynn or Jonathan with any questions. 


Sunday, Feb 25: One Room Sunday School, COA and Youth Group
Sunday, Feb 25: COA and Youth Group Parent Stewardship Dinner, 6:30 pm
Thursday, March 1: Religious Education Committee Meeting, 7 pm, Parlor
Sunday, March 4: Regular morning and evening programs.
Sunday, March 4: Stewardship lunch, 11:45-12:45 pm Vestry
Sunday, March 4: Mandatory OWL parent meeting, 7 pm, Sanctuary
Sunday, March 11: Regular morning and evening programs. OWL begins
Sunday, March 18: Regular morning and evening programs. Youth Group worship service.
Sunday, March 25: Regular morning and evening programs. Teacher Bagel Breakfast, 9 am - Last Sunday of winter term.

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Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Community, as we prepare for our upcoming Youth Worship Service, on March 18th, we reflect on themes of "Hellos & Goodbyes." We welcome all members of our group to get involved in different roles! And Band members - pay special attention to rehearsal schedule. 

Note that Steve has new office hours for the Winter/Spring: Tuesday 9–11 am, Wednesday 2–6 pm, Friday 3–6 pm, & Sunday 3–5 pm. As always, it's best to email/text Steve before stopping by, in case of a conflict.

Please note some upcoming events:

Sunday, February 25, 5–6:30 pm: Youth Group Band Rehearsal – The Youth Group Band prepares for the upcoming Youth Sunday Worship Service (3/18). All members are expected to attend if one of their songs is being rehearsed.

Sunday, February 25, 6:30–8:30 pm: Youth Community Stewardship Supper – Parents and guardians of youth group members are invited to this evening of conversation and good food. The Stewardship team will also present that night.

Sunday, February 25, 6:45–8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program – Come early (6:30pm) for dinner!

Sunday, March 4, 5–6:30 pm: Youth Group Band Rehearsal – [see description above]

 Sunday, March 4, 6:45–8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program

Sunday, March 11, 4–5:30 pm: YAC Meeting – The elected leaders of the youth community have their regular monthly meeting.

Sunday, March 11, 5–6:30 pm: Youth Group Band Rehearsal – [see description above]

Sunday, March 11, 6:45–8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program

Wednesday, March 14, 6:30–8 pm: Youth Group Band Rehearsal – [see description above]

 Friday, March 16, 5–6:30 pm: Youth Group Band Rehearsal – [see description above]

Saturday, March 17, 2–6 pm: Mandatory Rehearsal for Youth Service – A mandatory rehearsal for anyone involved in the Youth Sunday service.

Sunday, March 18, 10am–11:30 am: Youth Worship Service – If you're involved in the service, please plan to arrive around 9am.

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

STAR: spirit, transormation, adventure, reflection

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 opportunities 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


Every day, thousands of people in Massachusetts suffer from hunger because they cannot afford adequate food. The Commonwealth has one of the widest income gaps of any state in the country, and those on the low-income side of this gap are experiencing food insecurity at unprecedented levels. In 2017, the Arlington Food Pantry is projected to serve roughly 400 families across 6,900 visits. First Parish has long been a partner with the food pantry and we welcome your participation in this effort!

Donation boxes are by the front door and the office door. Please consider donating:

Cereal; canned fruit and vegetables; jelly and jam; peanut butter; tuna fish and canned meats; meals in a can such as spaghetti, stew, hash, ravioli, soup; fruit juices; coffee; tea; pasta; rice; spaghetti sauce; crackers, cookies, and baking mixes; baby food; diapers; soap, body wash, and shampoo; toothpaste and toothbrushes; toilet tissue; paper towels; and household cleaning products.  Please make sure items are unexpired and unopened, and avoid glass containers

 Visit the Arlington Food Pantry website for more information on donating food, to make a monetary donation, and to sign up to volunteer.

community circle

Black Lives Matter and our Restorative Justice Process

Last winter First Parish entered into a restorative justice process with a man who had vandalized our Black Lives Matter banner. We are especially grateful for the Arlington Police and the Center for Restorative Justice for making this possible. In November 2016, Marta Flanagan was asked to speak at the annual meeting of the Center for Restorative Justice. Click here for a copy of her remarks that describe our process. Click here for the full text of the apology from the man who engaged in vandalism.

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 February


ABLED Advocacy - A Better Learning in Education - A small, hard-working special education advocacy team. 

ABLED Advocacy is a non-profit 501(C)(3) special education advocacy organization serving families in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. They believe strongly in providing high quality, effective advocacy services and in promoting collaboration and partnerships between parents and schools. Their mission is to provide affordable advocacy services to all families. They are funded through donations and various fundraising activities in addition to their advocacy service fees.


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 @ firstparish.infoClick here to visit the Diversity/Inclusion 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? 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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