Jan 20 2019 Service Cancelled
The “Vincent Terrill Memorial Steeple Fund” was recently established.
Vin led many fundraisers and most prominent was a 1980s campaign to preserve his church steeple.
Monies raised through this fund will help to maintain the Steeple of First Parish Church.
Donations can be made through Paypal at PayPal.Me/
Church Steeple Railings Restoration 2019/2020
The railings (balustrades) in the steeple of our church are in need of restoration. The balustrades- at both the bell level and the carillon level- must be repaired. At the carillon level, several spindles have rotted and become separated from the rails; at least one has fallen to the ground, further presenting a safety problem. A contractor with expertise in steeples (American Steeple) has assessed the situation and provided an estimate for repairs. On Monday, November 25, American Steeple brought in a large crane and removed all of the balustrades (four at the bell level, eight at the carillon level). They will be restored in the coming months and reinstalled in the spring. We will apply for, and hope to get approval for, funds from the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to defray some of the cost. We have been awarded funds from the CPC for restoration projects for our church on three previous occasions dating back to 2007.
Monday, September 28
meeting 6:30 PM via Zoom
The book for discussion will be “Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe”by Laura Lynne Jackson
Laura Lynne Jackson is a psychic medium and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Light Between Us. She possesses an incredible gift: the ability to communicate with loved ones who have passed, convey messages of love and healing, and impart a greater understanding of our interconnectedness. Though her abilities are exceptional, they are not unique, and that is the message at the core of this book. Amazon
Book group is open to everyone! This is a time for church members as well as non-church goers to come together and engage with one another, build relationships, and share in discussion of books that are of interest to people of various backgrounds. We have fun visiting, discussing the book and sharing stories.
Who will it be?
When it becomes both safe and possible again, who will be the first person you will go to see that you have not been able to during these months of pandemic?
A daughter or son? Parent or grandparent? Sibling? Friend?
Or what will it be?
What will be the first place you will go, or resume doing, or start doing that you have often wanted to but haven’t yet?
Significant life, social and historical events like the one we are in now always seem to inspire reflection on questions like these. They move us to examine our lives for ways in which we might take the people and other blessings in our lives less for granted; better use the gifts, talents and resources God has given us; put more emphasis on what truly matters most; do and be better.
It is highly likely though, that this kind of reflection may also lead to some degree of regret. And while regret is not the most enjoyable of feelings, it can be a helpful one. Psychologists identify two different kinds of regret – “regrets of commission’ and “regrets of omission”; regret over things we have done but shouldn’t and regret over things we have not done but wanted to or could. Of the two, studies suggest that – contrary to what we might expect – regrets of omission cause us greater emotional distress and pain than regrets of commission.
There is good news in this, however. Because while the things we have done which we regret cannot be undone, as long as we are alive there is the possibility for us to do what we have not yet done but wanted to or could. Maybe not everything, and maybe not in an ideal way. There will always be some things which the changing of times and circumstances will preclude us from doing. But that still leaves many things which can be done – regrets which can be avoided.
Like making the time and effort to see the important people in our lives more often while we can. Like telling someone you love them while you can even, or maybe especially, when that kind of thing is out of your comfort zone. Like taking up that hobby, or musical instrument, or other activity while you can even though it will be more difficult than if you had done it at a different time in life. Like sending a note or email to a teacher, coach, supervisor or mentor who helped make you a better person.
Like serving God and God’s people in a way you always wanted to but haven’t tried yet.
As one of my mentors, Dr. Frank McLaughlin, a sociology professor and hospice founder, told me:
“I have heard far fewer people near the end of their life talk about the things they did but shouldn’t have than I have heard talk about the things they wish they had done but didn’t.”
It is not too late. With God, as long as we are in this life, it is never too late.
So who will it be for you? Or what will it be?
A new Spiritual Studies Unit will begin in September.
Summer Message Series
Beginning this Summer, we will present a series of Messages built around a genera;l theme. This Summer, beginning on Sunday, July 5 and continuing for most if not all of the summer Sundays up through Sunday, September 6, our theme will be “One Hit Wonders”. Each Sunday we will explore a character from the Bible who appears either only once or in only one book, but who still offers us an important contribution to our spiritual lives.
Please join us for what we hope will be a informative, interesting and inspiring Summer Message Series.
July 29, Wednesday- Prayer and Meditation, 7 PM. An opportunity to come together for a time of quiet reflection, sharing of Scripture, and the offering of any prayer intentions that are on participants’ hearts and minds. To join us with your computer, tablet, smart phone or phone contact email@example.com for details.
Thursday- Bible Study sessions, also continuing on Zoom at 4 PM, with the exception of July 23rd when there will be no class. Participation in this has significantly increased since going online, another sign of how many of our community are using this time of necessary distancing wisely and well for the benefit of their spiritual lives. To join us with your computer, tablet, smart phone or phone contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Sunday- Morning Virtual Worship Service, 9 AM led by Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea with Dr. Herman Weiss, Rebecca Shrimpton and Paul Knox. Streamed on Facebook. Click to watch at 10 AM.
Past Worship services also available on YouTube, here.
Summer Worship is offered at 9 AM through September 6th
Our weekly Worship Celebration is streamed on our Facebook Page @ https://www.facebook.com/FirstParishChurchManchesterMa/
Click here to watch past services
As I was leaving the Sanctuary after our Easter Sunday online Worship celebration, I remembered them. The orange cards.
It seems so long ago, especially under the circumstances of the last several weeks, but on the night before the official start of Lent – “Ash Wednesday” – we held our second annual “Fat Tuesday” celebration. There were masks and beads; pancakes for eating and ones for a “flipping” contest; a picture booth; members, friends and guests laughing, talking and praying.
And orange cards on every table.
For distribution the night of the Fat Tuesday celebration and throughout Lent, our Vitality committee had printed up a full supply of orange-colored cards which listed all of the Sunday and special Worship occasions through Easter Sunday; all of the classes being offered during that timeframe, such as “The Walk” and the Jordan Peterson series; our Wednesday evening Prayer and Meditation sessions; and the special events and social groups scheduled, such as the monthly Book Group and a “Spring by the Sea” Craft Fair.
As I left the Sanctuary Easter morning, I remembered those orange cards were still on the small table in the Narthex you pass as you enter the Sanctuary. So I took them. And since Easter Sunday they have sat on the meeting table in my office, where they will stay for awhile. Maybe even until the start of Lent next year.
They will stay there as a reminder – not of what could have been, but of what was.
A couple of days after Easter, when I read one of them again, it occurred to me. that of all the things listed on those orange cards, there were only two we weren’t able to fulfill in the midst of this pandemic – neither of which was in our control. One was the Early Risers concert scheduled for late March,
which we needed to postpone because of necessary restrictions on public gatherings, and the other was the annual MBTS Easter Sunrise Service at Singing Beach, cancelled for that very same reason.
Everything else on those cards – everything – we fulfilled. We came together to figure out when, where and how. And then we did it. We did it even though it wasn’t how we preferred to do it. We did it even though it was out of our comfort zone. We did it even though it wasn’t without glitches at times.
We did it. Together. For each other’s sake. And for God’s sake.
In that, we carried on the commitment of those who have come before us throughout the life of the Christian spiritual path – those who found a way to express, strengthen, and live out God’s call for our lives individually and as a spiritual community, in a variety of circumstances that were less than ideal.
I am sure it is not the first time this spiritual community has done that. And it will likely not be the last. But as God raised Jesus, God will continue to help us rise to the occasion. Whatever color the cards are.
It is believed to be the phrase most used by Jesus in the Gospels:
“Do not be afraid”…
Around a dozen times (depending on the Bible translation), Jesus says some variation of this to his closest followers and others:
“Do not be afraid”, Jesus says when he calls the first disciples.
“Do not be afraid”, he says to his disciples as he gets ready to send them out on their own for the first time.
“Do not be afraid”, Jesus says to the women who come to tend to his body on Easter morning.
“Do not be afraid.”
I have seen and heard enough over the last few weeks to know that Jesus’ words are not the easiest to embrace right now. People – many people – are afraid right now.
Perhaps you are afraid right now.
If so, please be assured that you are not somehow being unChristian, unfaithful or spiritually lacking. Be assured that you are not dismissing or rejecting Jesus’ call. Because while the stories in the Gospels, and the Bible in general, are told from the perspective of particular instances at specific times, like all the best stories they are meant to speak to us in a much more general, universal way. They are meant to speak to us from the perspective of our common human condition.
And so while Jesus is encouraging the disciples and the women who came to tend to his body after his death (in truth, those women were also disciples, but that’s a conversation for another day), to not be afraid in those specific instances, those scenes are more about encouraging us to not be afraid in general. They are meant to tell us that from a spiritual perspective, it is one thing to be afraid at a particular time for a specific and valid reason. It is quite another to be afraid as a general way of being – as a consistent way of life. As a habit.
Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid”, as a way of life because that way of being drains the life right out of us. As research has consistently demonstrated, fear as a habit negatively impacts the decision making ability and creativity we need to find solutions to our troubles, and also saps our emotional, spiritual and physical strength.
As it pertains to our current struggles with the Coronavirus, fear as a habit saps the very mental, emotional, spiritual and physical “immune systems” we need to overcome this pandemic with the least possible harm done. So while we should be “afraid” of the virus in a specific sense – take it as enough of a very real and serious concern to exercise appropriate, medically recommended precautions against – it will not serve us to live in constant fear. That kind of habitual fear leads to things like the spread of misinformation; the unnecessary hoarding of certain goods; states of anxiety and despair which actually lower our resistance to disease; and a sense of hopelessness which makes it more difficult for us to overcome this pandemic together as God’s people.
As we move through this time when the Coronavirus pandemic coincides with Holy Week and Easter, Jesus’ call to us is more important than ever. Let us answer that call by offering support, strength and encouragement to each other.
“Do not be afraid.”