The Alliance is the women’s organization in our church, with a mission to support the women in our congregation, and through that support to advance the interests and efforts of our entire church.
Formal membership in The Alliance is open only to women, but Alliance activities are inclusive across gender and age: men attend meetings as guests and as speakers, and The Alliance is supportive of, and supported by, the youth and children of First Parish.
The Alliance hosts several programs each year from October to May. Most programs are held on Friday evenings.Click here for the list of Alliance Board Officers and more information about our charitable 3-year Giving Plan.

Click here for more information on Alliance membership or use the link in the side-navigation or contact alliance@firstparish.info.

Alliance Programs & Gatherings

Boxed images of smiling Alliance Board members at Zoom meeting

Save these program dates for 2022-2023!

Fridays: Oct 14, Dec 2, Jan 6, Feb 10, Mar 10, May 12

Alliance Sunday, April 23

All evening programs will be hybrid in the Vestry and on Zoom.

The Zoom link will be sent to the Alliance membership via email. If you are not a member, email us at Alliance@firstparish.info.

2022-2023

Program: MDMA and Psychedelic Assisted Therapy: The Healing Potential of Non-Ordinary States with Angela Winslow & Francis Guerriero
Friday, October 14, 7:30-9:00pm

This talk will cover the history of MDMA as a therapeutic medicine and will focus on the current state of research on the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder. It will include a few case examples and will also briefly touch on the therapeutic potential of other psychedelics such as ketamine, psilocybin, ibogaine and LSD.

Angela Winslow (she/her) holds a Master’s degree in Holistic Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. She is currently pursuing training in MDMA assisted therapy through the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies and is a part of the current phase 3 FDA trials researching the efficacy of MDMA assisted therapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Angela has counseled students from the New England Conservatory of Music and The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and addressed issues ranging from depression, PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety, issues of gender and sexuality and ADHD. She is currently working in community mental health providing psychotherapeutic services to adults from low income communities.

Francis Guerriero (he/him) received a Bachelor in Human Services with a focus in Holistic Psychotherapy from Lesley University, and Master’s degrees in both Social Work and Theology and Ministry from Boston College. He is a graduate of the Institute for Existential-Psychoanalytic Therapy.  Francis trained and practiced at McLean Hospital for seven years, working at the OCD Institute and 3East. He has extensive experience with mindfulness-based therapies, is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, has taught mindfulness to therapists at the graduate level, and brings 25 years of personal experience with contemplative Eastern and Western spirituality and tradition. Francis enjoys engaging at the threshold where psychotherapy and spirituality meet, welcoming religious and spiritual issues into the therapeutic work. His current specialty is in psychedelics and the treatment of psychological trauma, and he is a therapy team member in Boston on the FDA clinical trials for MDMA-assisted Therapy for PTSD. He has a private practice in Cambridge, where he offers Ketamine-assisted Therapy.


Programs for the rest 2022-2023 are being planned

and will be posted here. Stay tuned!


2021-2022 – Programs offered last year:

Program: ARTISTS TALK
Friday, October 1, 7:30-9:00pm

Three artists from the First Parish community share images of their artwork and talk about their backgrounds, creative processes, and how they have balanced art-making with competing roles and responsibilities. What is informing their work today? Audience response and questions are welcome. The participating artists are Patty Crotty (Patricia Crotty), Erica Licea-Kane (Erica Licea-Kane), and Suzanne McLeod (Suzanne McLeod).


Program: What a weird time to give advice: An Evening with Meredith goldstein
Friday, November 5, 7:30-9:00PM

The Boston Globe’s “Love Letters” advice columnist and podcast host will talk about what it’s been like to do her job during a very complicated year. She’ll also explain how one becomes an advice columnist to begin with and about how writing fiction makes her job a lot easier. Join her for a night of questions, answers, confessions, and empathy. Meredith Goldstein is an author and longtime advice columnist at The Boston Globe. Her books include the novels Things That Grow, Chemistry Lessons, and The Singles. Her memoir Can’t Help Myself: Lessons and Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist is based on her longtime Globe column, “Love Letters,” (also a popular podcast now in its sixth season). Meredith lives in Boston with a carnival-sized cotton candy machine and many action figures. She has spent the last year reading wonderful feminist romance novels. For more about Meredith and her column, click on the link, Meredith Goldstein – Love Letters Columnist and Features Writer – The Boston Globe


Program: An Evening of Literary Sharing
Friday, January 7, 7:30-9:00PM

The anticipated story telling program is postponed until it can be held in person as story tellers benefit from a live audience! In its place will be an Evening of Literary Sharing. We will hear members of our congregation share short stories, poems, or passages of their own or by others. Join First Parish friends, Pamela Powell, Ellen Robertson, and Robin Schoenthaler, along with new friend, Selgai Ata for a wonderful, uplifting evening! In response to the escalating Omicron COVID situation, we will not be gathering to share our traditional January Chowder Supper. Click here for links to recipes for how to prepare fish, corn, or clam chowders (creamy, clear or vegan) and for the website to local Fresh Pond Seafood in Arlington for excellent fish or clam chowder.


Program: Narayan Helen Liebenson Guiding Teacher of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center
Friday, February 18, 7:30-9:00PM

We will hear from Narayan Helen Liebenson, a guiding teacher at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center since its inception in 1985 and at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts.  Her chosen topic for our evening together is “A Path of One’s Own.”  Narayan finds it a joy and a privilege to share the Buddha’s teachings with all who are interested. Narayan’s training includes study in the United States and in Asia with meditation masters in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan traditions.  She was a student of the late Chan master Sheng Yen for over ten years. In her teaching Narayan integrates her understanding of Zen into her knowledge of vipassana, one of the central meditation teachings practiced and passed on within the Theravada Buddhist tradition.  The core of insight meditation is the practice of mindfulness, the quality of awareness that sees without judgment. Narayan is the author and illustrator of a small book titled Life as Meditation, and for many years wrote a meditator’s advice column in Buddhadharma magazine. Her latest book, The Magnanimous Heart, was published by Wisdom Publications in January 2019. Join us as we gain inspiration for meeting all aspects of life with greater openness, willingness to learn, and capacity for mindful living.


Program: Menstruation equity

Friday, March 11, 7:30-9:00PM The March program focuses our attention on a long existing societal inequity that affects women, especially those who are Brown or Black or living in poverty.  For many, access to information about menstruation, reproductive health, and sanitary supplies is limited.  The topic of menstruation is surrounded by misinformation, stigma, and taboo.  Our speaker, Bria Gadsden, Director and Co-founder of Love Your Menses, will share ways we can assist with the work for menstrual equity through community conversations, evidence-based menstrual health education, youth programming, resource connection, and mentorship. The program will begin with the showing of the Netflix film, Period. End of Sentence (2018), the winner of 13 film awards including the 2019 Oscar for best documentary short. The movie documents women in rural India, where the stigma of menstruation persists, strive toward financial independence by manufacturing low-cost sanitary pads.  Period. End of Sentence. – The Pad Project Date:   Friday, March 11, 2022 Film:  7:30 to 8:00 pm Period. End of Sentence Speaker:  8:00 to 8:30 pm, Bria Gadsden, Promoting Menstrual Equity Through Community, Conversations, and Collaboration Q&A:  8:30 to 9:00 pm Bria Gadsden is a Boston native, social impact strategist, grant writer, author, menstrual equity leader, and co-founder of two social impact nonprofit organizations: Love Your Menses, Inc. and Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices, Inc.  In addition to nonprofit consulting, Bria dedicates her career to promoting menstrual equity and supporting the reproductive wellness needs of women and girls worldwide. Bria has her M.S. in Community Health Education from Merrimack College and her B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At Love Your Menses: “We believe all girls, women, and people who menstruate deserve a safe, brave, and uplifting space to learn about their bodies and have equitable access to the resources they need for their reproductive health and wellness.”  Love Your Menses will be an FPUU Giving First recipient in 2022. Our speaker recommends reading local author Anita Diamant’s Period. End of Sentence. Inspired by the documentary, Diamant has written a collection of essays about periods that explore the cultural roots of menstrual injustice, which erodes self-esteem, limits opportunities, and even threatens lives. The book also celebrates a new generation of activists and innovators who are working to end period poverty and stigma.  Period. End of Sentence. – Anita Diamant Flowing Through Life, Unapologetically! (Bria Gadsden’s email tag)


Annual Alliance Sunday Service

Urban Naturalists – Rekindling a Relationship with Nature in the City

Did you miss the Service or want to see it again? Click here to view it on the FP Youtube site!
[OOS-Apr 24 2022 Alliance Sunday]
SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 10:00am (hybrid service)

During the pandemic, a recurrent theme in Zoom breakout rooms among congregants has been the restorative power of being in nature. On Alliance Sunday, Claire O’Neill, co-founder and president of Earthwise Aware, a global nature conservation nonprofit, will inspire us to go a step further to become citizen scientists. The title of her sermon is Urban Naturalists: Rekindling a Relationship with Nature in the City. She will focus on how we need to be attuned to nature so that we can get back to being a part of it rather than being apart from it. By paying attention to nature, we can feed our souls. Discover how to rekindle the naturalist in all of us, and in the process, become agents of change–local nature champions. Claire will illustrate her talk with stunning slides on Zoom and a photo booklet in the order of service.

Also the Women’s Alliance is pleased to facilitate the induction of Lois Wainstock Fine into the UUWF-Clara Barton Sisterhood

After the service, there will be a Reception in the Vestry to talk with Claire O’Neill and honor Lois Wainstock Fine, provided by The Alliance.

Speaker Bio:
Not only is Claire O’Neill the founder of Earthwise Aware, she is the director of its Biodiversity & Climate Participatory Science program–an initiative that connects the public with its immediate natural systems and empowers communities. EwA is known for its citizen science, that is the idea that all of us, not only professional scientists, can understand and be stewards of the natural environment. Outdoor group experiences focus on local urban wildlife, natural history, and the conservation of species interactions in their natural habitat. Claire also serves as a board member of the Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation and is an advisor for the Green & Open Somerville group.

Earthwise Aware is the Giving First recipient for the month of April. Please give generously.


ALLIANCE Annual meeting and Program:
Michaela Kirby Quilting as a Means of Transformation

Friday, may 6, 7:30-9:00PM (via zoom only)

This will be our final meeting of the 2021-22 program year. We will begin with our important annual business meeting where we will review the past program year and our finances. We will affirm the Board officers for the coming year and vote on the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.

While the opening part of our gathering may be of particular interest to Alliance members and those women contemplating membership, the program described below may be of interest to others. To hear just the program, guests should join the Zoom around 7:45 pm.

Once the business meeting concludes, we will hear art therapist Michaela Kirby present “Quilting as a Means of Transformation,” reflections on her experience creating a quilt as part of the Survivor Quilt Project (SQP). The quilt, titled My Story Quilt, captures her work to transform her experience of childhood incest. The SQP was started by art therapist Michelle Napoli in 2005 as a proactive and preventive response to incest. Conceptualized as a community-based studio project, SQP works to counter the shame and silence prevalent in our culture and to foster responding from an empowered position.

Michaela Kirby is a licensed psychologist and board-certified art therapist. Since 2000, she has been core faculty at Lesley University, teaching at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level. Currently in the Expressive Therapies Department, she most recently served as Director of the program for four years. Dr. Kirby has many years of direct clinical experience across a range of populations and settings, and her areas of specialization include sandplay, supervision, and sexuality. Dr. Kirby is also active in community arts projects that focus on empowering women, especially around issues of sexuality. She has shared a studio with the arts-based Survivor Quilt Project (SQP) since 2016, created for the purpose of speaking truth about incest to the next generation. The studio has been used for a variety of community arts projects, generally focusing on breaking the shaming silence around women’s bodies and sexuality. Dr. Kirby also uses the studio space for private practice, art therapy supervision, and trainings on integrating sandplay in clinical practice.


Summer Program Planning Meeting Tuesday, July 12, 7:30pm

Please join us on Zoom to discuss ideas. The link will be sent to all members and you can always reach us by email with your ideas at Alliance@firstparish.info!