The E-Bulletin

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

► This version of the E-Bulletin displays the full article text so you don't have to click "Read More."

Sunday WorshipAction Sunday!

Action Sunday is upon us! If you signed up in advance, you should receive an email from the captain for your site filling you in on the details.  If you did not sign up, do come to the service at 10:00, and we’ll tell you about your options. Even if you volunteer elsewhere in the morning, you can give blood at the Bloodmobile as late as 4:00 pm. EVERYONE is invited to lunch next week, May 7, after the service, to reflect.

Sunday, April 30 ♦ 10:00 am


be a hero give blood

Action Sunday Blood Drive: Donors Needed!

Sunday, April 30 ♦ 10:30 am to 4:00 pm at First Parish

We're grateful for the volunteers who've signed up, and we need donors to sign up! Spread the news! Everyone can help by getting the word out. Thank you!

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Blood Mobile:

For appointments:

For donation questions: BloodDonor @ or 617-632-3206

tomato sale

Buy Tomato Plants, Support Asylum Seekers!

Please sign up to buy tomato plants and support two asylum seekers currently living with families from Church. When you purchase plants or donate funds, you help pay for the refugees' cell phones, T-passes or provide spending money. Patience Terry will be  in the Vestry after the service or you can phone her at 781-646-5315. Thanks so much!

active bystander

Active Bystander Peer Practice

Sunday, May 7 ♦ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm in Damon

As a follow up to the True Story Active Bystander training, a monthly Active Bystander peer practice group has started. Next practice session is Sunday May 7. During these sessions we welcome everyone to share their experiences and skills of using Compassion in Action as Active Bystanders to promote community healing through transformative activism. During the group practice we aim to listen to each other in a deep connected way, share our experiences and create a dynamic space to process feelings and try creative strategies through role playing. Please contact Elizabeth Grace Rocco at activebystander @ if you would be interested in joining the group and/or being a co-facilitator. Drop in participants are welcome. 


It's Time for Annual Reports!

Due Date: May 8

Annual Reports for First Parish officers, committees, teams, task forces, groups, and other entities are due Monday, May 8. Annual reports are not just a formality! They serve as a blueprint for First Parish that anyone can use to get a sense of what goes on at the congregation and how First Parish runs itself. They are a permanent record of the life of the church. 

Reports should:

  • Be sent to churchoffice @ as a simple Word attachment if possible, or in the body of an email. Use minimal formatting, which makes it much easier for the office staff to combine them into one document.
  • Be concise. For most reports, one page would be great, two at the most.
  • Begin with the name of the entity and contact information, including an email address
  • Include, at the very beginning, a description of the entity's purpose. What is it that you do?
  • Briefly summarize the activities and accomplishments of the last year.

If you'd like to see last year's report, it is archived in the member section of our website. You'll need First Parish's usual username and password. Contact Nancy Keeler, Office Associate, if you need help or would like more information: officeassociate @

helping refugees2

Refugee Concerns Info Update

Wednesday, May 10 ♦ 7:00 pm in the Vestry

Please join us for a Refugee Concerns update, hosted by the Refugee Concerns group and the Arlington Cluster of the Refugee Immigration Ministry. This will be a comprehensive information session covering the guests we are currently hosting, funding needs, volunteer opportunities and fund-raising projects. All are welcome. Our group is large and continues to grow. Please join us, meet fellow volunteers, and help us to make a difference in the lives of our displaced guests. 

Questions?  Email refugeeconcerns @

~ Eric Segal and the Coordinating Committee


Clean It/Fix It Day a Big Success!

First Parish had a very successful day (despite the bad weather) last Saturday in cleaning up our spiritual home. Property Committee members Mark Wilke (outside work) and Clarissa Rodrigues and Al Tosti (inside work) led the effort, with 18 workers showing up to trim, rake, pick up, mop, vacuum, dust and fix up First Parish. The workers included Frank Snyder Di Cesare, Aaron Kitzmiller, Barbara McCauley, Kate Morton, Greg Ruccio, Natalie Tyler, Grant Gibian, Peggy Gardiner, Bill Gardiner, Barbara Tosti, Paul Franzosa, Ted Live, Mary Fusoni, John Chamberlain and James Fleming.  Thank you to all!



Congregational Art Show!

Check out the wonderful art in the Parlor created by our fellow parishioners. Over twenty First Parish artists are presenting works in a variety of media! 


An Open Conversation About Racism

Wednesday, May 3 ♦ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm in the Parlor

The Parish Committee and the Racial Justice Coordinating Committee extend a special invitation to members of the First Parish community to gather for this conversatin about racism. This is a chance for anyone to speak about issues of race bias, white privilege and power, discrimination, and institutional racism, and how these issues affect our community and our world.

Parish Committee members will attend in a listening role. We see this evening as a chance to continue the story-sharing and conversation from the previous week’s panel discussion. Through raising awareness of racial inequity, we seek to inspire commitment, involvement, and action toward justice for all.

underground railroad

Women's Book Group 

Thursday, May 4, 7:15 pm in Damon

"The Underground Railroad: A Novel"

by Colson Whitehead

Email Jean Nagle at womensbookgroup @ with questions.


Potluck for People of Color & Their Families

Friday, May 5 ♦ 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in Bailey

Bring  your spouse and your kids (both big and small) and a covered dish. We will eat, play games, dance (if you want to), and enjoy each other's company. 

Questions? Email us at racialjustice @  

deborah parker

Alliance Annual Meeting and Program: "Designing a Life" with Deborah Parker

Friday, May 5, in First Parish Vestry ♦ Program begins at 8:00 pm following the Annual Meeting. Everyone welcome!

Tucked away in Arlington where you've probably never noticed it is a very special enterprise: Deborah Parker designs unfussy, stylish women's clothes that you may have spotted along Brattle Street, at the MFA, or on a Sunday morning at First Parish. Come meet Arlington's very own fashion-designer-in-residence and hear how she turned her love of beautiful fabric into a business that's still going strong after 35 years.

chalice and flame

Worship Associates Program Seeks Additional Members

Application deadline: Sunday, May 14

The Shared Ministry Committee is seeking a few members of the congregation to join the existing compliment of Worship Associates serving our community.

Those interested in becoming Worship Associates should have a deep interest in worship, be comfortable speaking before the congregation, have good organizational skills, and the ability to speak candidly but kindly. They should have a good intuitive sense of what makes a worship service effective. Worship Associates must be First Parish members and regular attendees at First Parish services for at least two years.

Worship Associates serve for two-year terms starting in the fall and may serve for up to three consecutive terms. They meet with the minister one Thursday per month from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm.

If you are interested, please submit an online application by Sunday, May 14. Applicants will be interviewed and selected by the Shared Ministry Committee in May and June. They will participate in a day of training on Saturday, October 21 and will be installed during the service on Sunday, October 22.

For more information please visit, contact the Shared Ministry Committee at sharedministry @, or speak with a current Worship Associate or member of the Shared Ministry Committee.

Worship Associates: Dawn Albright, Lynne Jacoby, Mary Beth Landy, Pamela Powell, Cindy Tavilla

Shared Ministry Committee: Gwenyth Hooper, Ruben Hopwood, Elizabeth Hunter, Kathy Kemp, Dorothy May, Barbara Tosti (Chair), Rev. Marta Flanagan (ex officio)

uu chalice

Have YOU Thought of Becoming a Lay Minister?

Application deadline: Sunday, May 14

While listening to spoken candles, do you experience a calling for a role of deeper service to the congregation? Perhaps you would like to consider becoming a Lay Minister.

Those interested in becoming Lay Ministers should demonstrate (1) an understanding of the expectations of Lay Ministry, and (2) a natural bent for listening and compassion; an ability to maintain boundaries and confidentiality; and a consistent, responsible and stable presence. Both the suitability of individual candidates and the over-all balance of the group will be considered. Lay Ministers must be First Parish members and regular attendees at First Parish services for at least two years.

Lay Ministers serve for two-year terms and may serve for up to three consecutive terms. They meet to support one another and to consult with our Minister, one Wednesday per month from 7-9:30 pm.

Members of the congregation are encouraged to submit an online application by Sunday May 14. Applicants will be interviewed and selected by the Shared Ministry Committee in May and June. Lay Ministers will participate in a day of training on Saturday, September 23 and will be installed during the service on Sunday, September 24.

For more information please visit the Lay Ministry web pages, contact the Shared Ministry Committee at sharedministry @, or speak with current Lay Ministers and/or members of the Shared Ministry Committee.

Lay Ministers: Anne Quaadgras, David Desjardins, Tom Estabrook, Loren Gomez, Kit Hayes, Jim Jolley, Arleen Kulin, Sarah Trilling, Natalie Tyler

Shared Ministry Committee: Gwenyth Hooper, Ruben Hopwood, Elizabeth Hunter, Kathy Kemp, Dorothy May, Barbara Tosti (Chair), Rev. Marta Flanagan (ex officio)



Join Us for Food and Fellowship at First Parish Potlucks!

May 14  11:45 am to 1:00 pm in the Parlor

We're organizing a series of Potlucks at First Parish to give people an opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Everyone is welcome. Please bring a dish to share (anything is fine -- it's truly "pot luck"). Our next potluck is May 14. All potlucks will be held from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm in the Parlor after Sunday Service. Drop-ins welcome! If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Trilling and Julius Pereli at potlucks @

cookies conversation

Join Us for an Evening of Conversation, Cookies, and Community

Sunday, May 21 ♦ 6:45 pm in the Vestry

The Religious Education Committee is hosting a parent potluck for Eighth Grade and Youth Group parents. After the youth go off to their evening programs we'll have round table gatherings to discuss topics that might be of interest to you as parents of this age group. We'll designate tables for different types of topics that might be happening in your household. For example: Balancing screen time and homework; teen stress and practices for reducing it; allowance, chores and budgeting money;  life transitions, loss and death; dating, relationships and sex;  race, gender and diversity in your communities. We'll have a handful of starter questions at each table to prompt conversations. After sitting at each table for 15-20 mins, we'll suggest people move to a different table. Light refreshments will be provided. If you'd like to help with planning the event, please contact either Tina Schultz (tina @ or Sarah Trilling (sarah.trilling @ RSVP is requested, but certainly not required. Please join us.


Fifty Years Ago: Martin Luther King on the Vietnam War

Two recommended readings from the Racial Justice Coordinating Committee

Fifty years ago this month, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "Beyond Vietnam" speech in which he first spoke out against the Vietnam War and the triple evils of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. One year later to the day, he was assassinated.

The U.S. has now been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq — also countries where the people are seen as not white — for years longer than we were at war in Vietnam. We also regularly engage in drone attacks and other military actions in countries where we have not declared war.

We spend roughly $600 billion a year on our military. Meanwhile, 21% of all American children, and 36% of African-American children, live in poverty.

This seems a fitting time to reflect on Rev. King’s words about the global context of war and the choices facing our country.

Click here to read an article in which King’s biographer explains the context of his Beyond Vietnam speech.

Click here to read King’s Beyond Vietnam speech.

ga 2017

Go to UU General Assembly in New Orleans, June 21-25

You could be a First Parish delegate!

Every year, thousands of Unitarian Universalists gather for General Assembly (GA), the UU annual convention. The days are packed with worship, music, workshops on every aspect of congregational life, and business sessions that largely focus on social justice issues. This year, delegates will elect a new UUA president and GA will be located in New Orleans — a city known for its music, food, architecture, and rich multicultural heritage. First Parish’s Youth Group, and many other UUs from all over the country, helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the GA planning committee has worked with local partners to develop hands-on service projects during GA. The Ware Lecturer will be Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, the author of Just Mercy, and an exceptionally powerful speaker who has dedicated his life to helping people who are poor, incarcerated, or on death row. A Racial Justice Training Workshop will occur on the two days before GA and every workshop slot includes at least one workshop related to racial justice. First Parish’s own Aisha Ansano is co-coordinating the track for young adults.

Interested? Want to learn more?

Click here to read more and register. (Rates increase May 1, and early registrants get their choice of housing.)

If you might want to be one of First Parish’s nine delegates to GA, email the Executive Committee at parishexec @


Refugee Concerns Working Group Spring Fundraiser 

The Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM) is sponsoring the annual “Walk for Refugees.” The Arlington cluster, of which First Parish is a part, is currently hosting an asylum seeker and will benefit 100% from any funds raised. Funds are used for necessities that only cash can cover. The host family generously covers room and board and the Arlington cluster gathers donations for other needs. We need your help in forming teams to walk and to find donors to pledge to teams. The 3-mile walk will be on May 20 around Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield. For more information, please contact: refugeeconcerns @ .

aids walk

Join First Parish's AIDS Walk Team!

Sunday, June 4

Join our First Parish AIDS Walk Team for our second year. Info and flyers will be available at our table in the vestry after Sunday's service. Please take a flyer and post it in places you frequent. Thank You! Questions? Contact Team Captain Inez Folsom at ifolsom22 @ or 978-758-3791.

swedish chef

Calling All Cooks!

We need your help to restock the lay ministry freezer. Soothing soups and easily digested casseroles are especially welcome. Brings your offerings in containers that are labeled with both date and the ingredients to the lay ministry freezer in the church kitchen. Thanks so much for your very important assistance.


We Are Called to Heal and Sustain the Earth

Unitarian Universalists believe in using our minds, hearts, and hands — in heeding the evidence of reason and science, practicing compassion for ourselves and other living beings, and making a difference in the world around us.  

In this springtime season of the earth’s reawakening, we affirm the importance of protecting the interdependent web of life that sustains us, and that we hope will sustain humanity for many generations to come.

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 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.

handbell choir

Join Our Handbell Choir!

Thursdays, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

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

Contact ringers @ for more details.


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.

video header

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



Join Us for Food and Fellowship at First Parish Potlucks!

May 14  11:45 am to 1:00 pm in the Parlor

potluck[2]We're organizing a series of Potlucks at First Parish to give people an opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Everyone is welcome. Please bring a dish to share (anything is fine -- it's truly "pot luck"). Our next potluck is May 14. All potlucks will be held from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm in the Parlor after Sunday Service. Drop-ins welcome! If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Trilling and Julius Pereli at potlucks @


With People of Color

On March 30, the President of the Unitarian Universalists Association, Peter Morales, resigned. His resignation comes after weeks of controversy surrounding the hiring of a white professional to fill a leadership position in the Association. The occasion forces all of us to consider again the predominately white and privileged positon of most Unitarian Universalists.

The most important thing I want to say is to the people of color at First Parish. You are welcome. You are valued. The white folks here will make mistakes, myself included. Please tell me when I say the wrong thing and when I neglect to say the thing that needs to be said.

In solidarity with our neighbors of color, I invite those of us who are white to consider one assumption or practice you recently engaged in that hurt or disadvantaged people of color. By looking fearlessly at ourselves, we participate in changing our world.

The members of the Racial Justice Coordinating Committee at First Parish as well as the two of us are here as always to continue in the important conversations about race and racism.

~ Rev. Marta Flanagan and Tina Schultz, Director of Religious Education

For more information about the UUA President's resignation see this article in the UU World

To learn more about the history of people of color in the UUA, consider attending these two programs on March 31 and April 1.


Think Summer!

No, it is not to soon to be thinking of summer...Summer Services at First Parish that is! Have you ever thought of leading a service here at First Parish? All summer services are lay led, giving members an opportunity to get creative with many of the aspects of worship. Have you had a sermon idea bouncing around in your head? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to try something a bit different to reflect something closer to your spiritual practice or journey? Applications will be considered until  May 20. Submit your application using our online form so that your idea can be considered. If a group is considering this possibility, please make sure that one individual has agreed to be the “point person.” Please submit a tentative title and summary. A required service planning/sermon writing workshop, led by Rev. Marta Flanagan will be held on Sunday, June 4, from 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm. You will also have the support of the Worship Associates.

re announcements

re img

Religious Education Announcements

Sunday, April 30: Turning Outward Sunday -- NO regular morning programming for our children. Families are encouraged to include their children in their social action projects! The Nursery will be open for our babies and toddlers during the short worship service. OWL, Coming of Age and Youth Group will all take place in the evening at their regular starting times.

Food Pantry Drive: This is the last Sunday of our month long initiative to help Arlington Food Pantry -- Personal Hygiene Items are most needed. Toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo/conditioners in plastic containers, toilet paper, small bottles of laundry and dish detergents. Thank you for your support!

Teacher Recruiting for next year has begun! Please visit the RE table at coffee hour to sign up to teach, substitute, lead a One Room Sunday program or offer your talents!

Let's Be Honest, Talking with your Children About Sex and Sexuality, led by Planned Parenthood, Thursday, May 11, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. This workshop, led by Planned Parenthood, is open to parents of children in grades K-2.  Free of charge and please invite your friends! Please rsvp to tina @ so we know how many handouts and materials to have on hand.

Tina Recommends this website to learn more about Raising Race Conscious Children

yg img

Youth Group Announcements

Dear Youth Group, as we settle into springtime, we'll be soon wrapping up the year with exciting projects, celebrations of our community, and preparations for the upcoming year.

Here are some important dates coming up:

Sunday, April 30, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm: Action Sunday Service Morning – the whole First Parish community will be volunteering all morning! Youth Groupers will be headed to Groundwork Somerville.

Sunday, April 30, 6:45 pm - ​8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program – We'll be celebrating May Day!

Sunday, May 7, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: YAC Meeting – The Youth/Adult Committee meets to plan programming and upcoming events.

Sunday, May 14, 6:45 pm – ​8:45 pm: Youth Group Evening Program.

Saturday, May 20, evening: Family Trivia Night – Community members of all ages are invited to come to this fun trivia night.

Sunday, May 21st, 6:45 pm – ​8:45pm: Youth Group Evening Program

Sunday, May 28, 4:00 pm – Monday, May 29, 10:00 am: End-of-the-Year Lock-in – Hosted by the seniors!

As always, if you have any questions about youth group, don't hesitate to contact, Steve Carmody, Youth Programs Coordinator, at youthadvisor @ or 781-648-3799 x204.

STAR: spirit, transormation, adventure, reflection


God is Beautiful and Loves Beauty: Experiencing Islam through the Visual, Auditory, and Literary Arts

Monday, May 1 ♦ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm in Bailey

A STAR Adult Education Program with Ali Asani, Harvard Professor of Indo-Muslim Religions and Cultures. Muslim history and cultures are full of beautiful artwork, including architecture, gardens, calligraphy, tilework, music, and poetry. Indeed, many Muslim people have considered creating and appreciating beauty an important part of their religion and spirituality. In the often-quoted words of the prophet Muhammad, "God is beautiful and loves beauty.” 

Professor Ali Asani will share with us some of this rich heritage and the role of art in Mulsim history and spirituality. Free event, all are welcome, so invite your friends!

Questions? Email star @

man reading under tree

Contemplating Poetry

Third Monday of Each Month
Monday, May 15  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm in Damon

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

This gathering uses a "listening to, responding to, and resting with" practice of experiencing poetry. The focus will be our own internal responses so don't worry about "getting poetry" (or not) -- just come and listen for what resonates…maybe illuminates. Open to all. Questions? Email Lynne at lbjacoby @

aging well

Aging Well Within Our Community

Thursday, May 25 ♦ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Parlor 

Aging Well in Our Community is an open women's group for women over 50 that meets monthly on Thursday mornings from 10:00 am - noon. If you would like more information or will be attending Aging Well for the first time, please contact Kit Hayes at 781-648-0373 or kithayes5 @ Please also visit our web page, where you'll find a sampling of past programs that will give you a sense of the group.

Meeting dates for 2016-2017: 5/25, and 6/22

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

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

Lectio Divina is a method of reading and listening, lingering with, and sharing personal responses to selected biblical or other texts. Diverse responses to the text provide new insights and help us grow in our spiritual lives and set intentions for our daily lives. Drop-ins are always welcome!

Click here to visit the STAR page of the web site.

sacred dance

Sacred Circle Dance: Spring Schedule

Monthly April - June ♦ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm in Bailey

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

A STAR adult education program, Sacred Circle Dance has a meditative focus. Some dances are celebratory and some playful. They are simple, and all dances are taught before the music plays and the dance begins. Inez has been part of the liturgical dance company "CREDO" since 1980. She discovered folk dancing in the early 90s, and quite by chance encountered Sacred Circle Dance in 2013 at a retreat. It was love at first dance. Within a few months she traveled to Scotland to attend a teacher training at Findhorn, where Sacred Circle Dance was started by German Dance Master Bernhard Wosien in 1976. For more information contact Inez Folsom at 978-758-3791 or ifolsom22 @

Dates: April 17, May 22 and June 19

social justice section header


Giving First Recipient for April: Refugee Immigration Ministry

The Refugee Concerns Working Group, an effort sponsored by the First Parish Social Justice Committee, is part of the Arlington Cluster of the Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM). Refugee Immigration Ministry was founded in 1986 as an Interfaith Ministry whose purpose was to offer Spiritual Care in detention facilities. RIM has expanded to other services bringing volunteers together from many cultures and faiths to provide community-based services to uprooted and often isolated persons.

The First Parish Refugee Concerns group is actively building a cluster in Arlington and is already housing and serving our first Asylum Seeker. Clusters provide resettlement services (food, housing, transportation) within their communities. Clusters are made up of volunteers from collaborating faith communities within a given geographical area. This collaboration allows several clients to be supported by Clusters and provides an enriching experience to volunteers. 

Your financial support through Giving First will go directly to assist the Arlington Cluster. Additionally, we are looking for volunteers for our many cluster 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.  Come to our table at coffee hour to learn more.

Refugee Immigration Ministry is a 501(c)3 Agency which serves immigrants who are seeking asylum. Each client must be legally and medically cleared prior to acceptance in RIM's programs. RIM does not allow clients to send money overseas nor does RIM support any other program. Ninety-three percent of funds raised are used directly for client care and program 

Learn more about RIM through their website:

You can also contact the working group for more information. E-mail: refugeeconcerns @

ryp afterschool students

UU Urban Ministry Volunteer Positions

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

Tutor English as a Learning Language (ELL)
When: Monday or Wednesday mornings (10:00 am - 12:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Join our team of teachers who lead English and citizenship classes for Renewal House residents and others affected by domestic violence.

English as a Learning Language (ELL) Childcare Providers
When: Monday or Wednesday mornings (10:00 am - 12:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Take care of a small group of children while their parents participate in English classes.

Tutor with the Roxbury Youth Program
When: One day a week (M, T, W, or TH from 4:00 pm -6:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Help high school students with homework and MCAS or SAT prep.

Bethany House
When: Days and Times are flexible at Bethany House on Newbury Street.
What: Volunteers are needed to support the day-to-day operations of this affordable housing unit for young women (including gardening and office/door coverage).

Jericho Road Roxbury
When: As needed.
What: Provide professional consulting expertise to a Roxbury non-profit.

Cooks (Individuals or Groups)
When: Occasional Wednesday evenings (4:30 pm - 7:00 pm) at the UU Urban Ministry.
What: Cook a healthy meal for ~40 students, parents and volunteers. Stay for game night!

For more information on these or other volunteer opportunities, please visit or contact The Rev. Rebecca Hinds, Director of Congregational Outreach and Volunteers, at rhinds @ or 617-318-6010 x214.


Arlington Food Pantry

Collection baskets are located at the front and office doors.

Monetary donations can be sent to:

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

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

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

"living our faith"

Living Our Faith: Organizations Supported by First Parish Members

In January 2013, the Social Justice Committee held a service entitled "Living Our Faith." A list of organizations that congregants meaningfully support was started that morning as people who attended the service were invited to fill out a form telling us about the organizations where they volunteer or work, or to which they donate money. We continue to collect names and contact information for social justice work important to members of our community. Please follow this link to see the list of organizations.

As we compiled the list, the amount and diversity of our collective involvement impressed us. The next step in this work, after we pause to recognize the deep social justice commitment displayed here, will be to foster connections within our community among those seeking to engage with organizations on this list.

If you see an organization or topic on this list that you would like to get more information about please contact the Social Justice Committee at


Refugee Concerns Working Group

There 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

For more information, email refugeeconcerns @

Eric Segal, Cluster Chair Coordinating Committee
Jennifer Bermant O’Brien,
Carolyn Hodges,
Lynne Jacoby,
Doris Orellana


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 gogreen @ 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.

hand ringing a chime bowl

The First Parish Meditation Group Welcomes You

Please join us! We hold drop-in meditations on Mondays (gather at 6:00 pm and start at 6:15 pm at First Parish in the Damon Room) and on Sunday mornings (gather at 9:00 am, start at 9:10 am at the West Medford Community Center, 111 Arlington Street map: 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. ALSO, four ongoing groups for those who already have a regular mindfulness practice meet one Sunday night each month for Buddhist-themed support and discussion. There is a waiting list to join one of these groups. For more information, contact Lynn Rosenbaum at 781-646-0313 meditation @

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.

cartoon of scissors and thread

Stitch & Sew Returns

Thursdays, 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 @

painting of woman knitting

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Do you like to knit or crochet?  Would you like to provide support to members of the congregation? Our supply of prayer shawls is running low and we could use your help. Participants in the First Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry knit or crochet prayer shawls for Marta or the Lay Ministers to give to people who could use a “hug with blessings.” If you are interested please contact Barbara Tosti at 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.

men's group

First Parish Men's Group

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

The First Parish Men's group provides a forum in which we help each other with spiritual, emotional, and personal questions and concerns. Discussion themes often interweave questions of security, identity, authenticity, and purpose. We provide a place where men can share their lived experience and 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 @

older mens group

Calling Older Men

First 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 oldermen @


Copyright 2017 First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington

Editor log-in & log-out