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  • Friday, March 20, Join us for Worship in Zoom
    Click the button below to join us in Zoom worship this Sunday at 10am. (Please note, this link may not work until 9:45am on Sunday, March 20th.)


    Click to Join Worship


    Or use your phone to participate with audio only by dialing 929-205-6099 then enter 778-235-298 followed by the pound key.

    If you have trouble connecting via Zoom, you may view the service live on our YouTube channel.


    View the order of service here.


    Have a candle ready to light during worship.


    Worship will feature:

    Rev. Marta Flanagan

    Tina Schultz, Director of Religious Education

    Jonathan Brennand, Music Director

    Chloe Briede, Intern Minister

    and Amy Anderson, Worship Associate

  • Sunday, March 15th, A Ministers Perspective

    A Minister’s Perspective

    March 15, 2010

    This morning abut 80 gathered in the courtyard practicing healthy spacing between us.  We called it Worship Out: Outside Outdoors.  We sang, we prayed, we walked together.  We greeted one another with elbow taps, waves and curtsies.  We felt the absence of those staying safely at home.  We want everyone to make wise and healthy choices.  We knew this would be the last time we gathered in a large group until the COVID19 crisis passes.

    I spoke of the need for the solidarity in a time of social isolation.  Solidarity is another word for love.  In heat waves and disasters of all sorts social connections make the difference between life and death.  Our love for neighbor moves us to promote public health, not just our own personal security.  It keeps us from hoarding food and medicine.  It moves us to check in on friend and neighbor.

    To build solidarity First Parish staff and lay leaders are introducing a number of online opportunities to connect.  They are listed below and registrations are being accepted.  We are also developing a phone buddy system.  See details below.  We will be offering worship experiences online.  You will be hearing more about that in the days to come.

    In the meantime our youth are holding their regular Sunday evening meeting online tonight.  I have already participated in several zoom organizing meetings with lay leaders.  We are continuing to be a religious community of people committed to love in action.

    In faith,


    Rev. Marta Morris Flanagan


    Be a Phone Buddy!

    First Parish has many members who live alone.  And those of us who live with someone may want to have someone else — not under the same roof — to talk with regularly.  In a time of contagion and social isolation we need to connect.

    Symptoms of covid-19 can sometimes, in some people, gets bad quickly — especially in people who are older (over age 65 or so) or have pre-existing health issues.  We want to provide opportunities for people to talk with someone every day (even if sometimes for just a 3-minute check-in phone call).  We all need people  who will a red flag if one of us is in trouble.

    If you want a phone buddy, or if you’re willing to be matched with someone who wants one, contact Lori Kenschaft. Or feel free to pick a phone buddy of your own!

  • Friday, March 13th, First Parish Virtual

    First Parish Virtual

    This week March 15-22, 2020

    In this time we are limiting physical contact with others to prevent the transmission of disease.

    We do this out of care for ourselves and our neighbors.

    But our hearts yearn for connection.  Every week First Parish will be providing opportunities for people to connect virtually.

    Spirit Talk

    Go deeper with others from First Parish in these facilitated one-hour conversations. Registration closes 24 hours before the start time.

    Register through Realm with the links below.


    Monday, March 16th, 2020 4:00pm – 5:00pm

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 12:00pm – 1:00pm

    Thursday, March 19th, 2020 3:00pm – 4:00pm

    Friday, March 20th, 2020 2:00pm – 3:00pm


    Lectio Divina

    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. Registration closes 24 hours before the start time.

    Register through Realm with the links below.


    Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 7:00am – 8:00am 

     Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 9:00am – 10:00am

    Thursday, March 19th, 2020 8:00am – 9:00am


    Live Worship

    Sunday, March 22nd at 10 am

    All are welcome!

    Visit our YouTube channel:

    “First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington Massachusetts”

  • Friday, March 13th, A Ministers Perspective
    A Minister’s Perspective


    All of us wonder about how the days and weeks ahead will unfold. And all of us are dealing with rapid shifts in how we spend our days.

    This is what I have heard these last few days…

    …Some of us cannot visit loved ones in the hospital, rehab or nursing homes. Some of us are worried about our income. We are counselors who cannot bill patients who don’t come in. We are physical therapists who can no longer touch clients. We are store clerks with little business.

    …Some of us are scrambling to work online while at the same time watching children now no longer in school.

    …Some of us are welcoming youth now back home from colleges and universities.

    …Some of us are worried about ourselves and our loved ones knowing they are especially at risk. We are above 60, have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems for a variety of reasons.

    …Some of us worry about the stock market, retirement funds, and the economic impact on the restaurant worker who served us last week.

    I am holding us all in prayer in these uncertain times.

    On Sunday at 10 am we will gather outdoors for worship. We will maintain healthy spacing, a safe distance between us. We will sing, pray, and walk and roll together. The following Sunday we will worship virtually online. You will receive links and technical information in the days to come.

    Out of care for ourselves and perhaps even more for our neighbor, we will not be meeting face to face. Gatherings on site at First Parish are being cancelled. But I and other members of the staff are still available to you. We welcome your emails, your texts and your phone calls.

    We remain the caring, sustaining, outward looking religious community we are.

    In faith, Marta Rev. Marta Morris Flanagan

  • Thursday, March 12th, 1:20pm A Message from the Parish Committee

    Greetings to the First Parish community,

    We are in uncertain and potentially unsettling times, with the presence of the COVID-19 virus. In circumstances like these faith communities are especially valuable, providing connection, perspective and care. At the same time, traditional worship creates ideal conditions for the further spread of infectious disease.

    Changes starting Sun., March 15:

    • All First Parish-sponsored gatherings in the building will observe “healthy-spacing.” Healthy spacing means attendees are able to maintain at distance of at least one meter from one another. This will necessarily limit the size of a group meeting in any particular room.
    • No food may be prepared or served in the building.

    As result:

    • This Sunday, March 15th, Rev. Marta Flanagan will lead an abbreviated worship service outdoors. For the next four weeks worship services in the sanctuary will be suspended.
    • Choir, and all RE classes, including OWL and Coming of Age, and the nursery are suspended for the time being.
    • Youth Group members will work with staff to determine how to continue as a community within the guidelines above.

    First Parish staff and Parish Committee leadership are actively looking for ways to fulfill our spiritual mission and support our members in a responsible way that is cognizant of health guidelines, mitigates the impact on our healthcare system and protects the most vulnerable in our society. We ask for your wisdom, creativity and patience as we develop new ways to be in community.

    We recognize in times like these there are no perfect solutions, only reasonable compromises. The Executive Committee of the Parish Committee has formed a COV19 task force that is researching and sorting through practical issues. The Parish Committee and staff will continue to make adjustment implement changes as needed. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide input and feedback.

    In faith and affection,

    Marie Meteer, Chair of the Parish Committee Sara Galantowicz, Vice Chair of the Parish Committee Rev. Marta Flanagan, Minister

  • Wednesday, March 11, Working Group
    The Parish Committee has created an ad hoc Covid-19 Working Group, which met for the first time on Sunday, March 8. Its members are Tish Miller, Lori Kenschaft, Steve McMullin, and John Hodges and they can be reached at The charge to the working group is to assist First Parish in coordinating and promoting appropriate responses to this developing global and local concern. We have reached out to many of you already and we welcome your reaching out to us. We do not replace any existing leadership structures, but instead seek to understand and assist all the many wonderful ways this community serves our mission for our inner lives, our community, and the wider world as we model responsible behavior in these changing circumstances. The safety and well-being of congregants, visitors, tenants, family, friends, and the wider community have always been and remain paramount.
  • Monday, March 9, Practicing Good Health at First Parish

    With the developing news of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, it is natural to have questions, including those related to gathering for worship and other events. While 80 percent or more of the recorded cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide are mild, we are mindful of considering reliable information about protecting those most vulnerable to illness in our community. With that in mind, we write you to tell you what you can do to help and how First Parish is taking precautions.
    What you can do to help
    Stay home if sick:
    All community members, including staff, should stay home (and/or seek medical attention) if they are sick or they have any flu or cold-like symptoms until at least 24 hours after fever and symptoms are gone. This means staying home from school, work, and First Parish. We care not only for ourselves this way; we care for those with whom we would have come into contact, especially those whose immune systems put them at greater risk.
    Practice good hygiene:
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (disposing of them in trash can with a liner), or cough/sneeze into your sleeve elbow.
    • Wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer. This especially important after touching surfaces in heavily trafficked public spaces, such as buses or the T. We have added hand sanitizer in more locations in our church building for your use.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible. Consider using a clean tissue if you need to touch your face.
    General Self-Care:
    In addition, get lots of sleep, manage stress, drink fluids and eat healthy foods, and maintain the physical and spiritual practices that keep you feeling healthy.
    What First Parish is doing
    • There are 4 touch-less hand sanitizer dispensers, near the entrances and the vestry. They will continue to be refilled as sanitizer remains available.
    • The sexton is regularly cleaning and disinfecting door handles.
    • The Executive Committee of the Parish Committee is forming a task force to follow developments and consider our approach as a community. We will continue to communicate through our website, email and outgoing voicemail messages.
    Greeting One Another
    We encourage alternate ways of greeting one another rather than shaking hands. Engage in elbow bumps, nods, or waves to convey a sense of connection. Check out this BBC video for a playful approach.
    Personal Needs
    If you are ill and have trouble stocking up on food and medical supplies, lay ministers and others can shop and deliver what you need ( or if staying home from work becomes a financial emergency, the Minister’s Discretionary Fund is here to help.
    First Parish is committed to health and well being in our world in a myriad of ways. We care for our physical well being. And we care for those who may be the object of fear in such a time. As people of faith, we encourage all of us to continue to practice love of self and of neighbor.
    In solidarity,
    Marie Meteer, Chair of the Parish Committee,
    Sara Galantowicz, Vice Chair of the Parish Committee,
    Rev. Marta Morris Flanagan, Minister,