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Nov 11 / Nancy

Youth Blanket Project for Action, Inc.

 

First Parish Congregational Church invites community members ages 12 and up to join us in a fun and easy community service project. We will be creating tied fleece blankets for Action, (https://actioninc.org/) who will share them with those in need of warmth as colder weather approaches.

Newly hired Director of Youth And Children’s Ministry, Jeanne Westcott, will offer kits for you to take home and create, or you may join us with a mask at our chapel location, ( enter address or location description here) on either or/both Saturday mornings, November 14, and 21 between the hours of 10- noon. Directions and fleece are free and finished projects can be delivered on or before Saturday, November 28 and dropped into the bin located just outside the buildings entrance.

Middle and high school youth who participate will be offered a certificate for community service hours in increments of two hours per completed blanket.

Join us so that no one is left out in the cold. To RSVP email jeanne.fpchurch@gmail.com or call 978 526 7661 ext. 3

Nov 3 / Nancy

Minister Mark’s November Message

Hi…


Last Spring, a number of us spent several Tuesday evenings engaged in a Spiritual Studies unit titled, “Hope Is A Muscle”. Throughout those weeks, we discussed how hope is a spiritual “skill” – not something we either have or don’t have, but instead all have an innate disposition toward to varying degrees. That disposition can then be grown and maintained through the development of a number of habits. It is an understanding of hope as a by-product of other life practices.


Of those life practices, one of the few which shows up on nearly every piece of research I have seen regarding people who score highly on inventories assessing hope is gratitude. Hopeful people tend to be people who practice gratitude consistently in their lives.


As we enter the month of November then – the month of Thanksgiving, and especially in such trying times – I invite you to try something. Each day through the month, perform a “practice of gratitude”. For instance, make a list at the end of each day of three things you were grateful for specific to that day. Make a donation to a charity, school or other organization in the name of someone you are grateful to for something that made a difference in your life. Send an email or note thanking someone for something recent, or perhaps even better, something long ago that they might not be aware of or remember.


Then, at the end of the month, see if you haven’t become a more grateful person. And because of that, a more hopeful one as well.


Blessings,

Mark

 

Nov 1 / Nancy

Spiritual Studies

Spiritual Studies

November

Our first “Spiritual Studies” unit for the Fall concludes the first week of November:

“You Mean That’s NOT in the Bible?!”

Tuesday, November 3, 7:00-8:15 PM, Via Zoom

December

“Isn’t There Anyone Who Knows What Christmas Is All About?!”

Tuesdays: December 1, 8, 15 and 22, 7:00-8:15 PM Via Zoom

The Jesus we prepare for the arrival of during Advent and then welcome at Christmas is often referred to in a popular sign and bumper sticker as, “The Answer”. But what are the questions? With a title borrowed from the question Linus asks near the end of the classic special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, this four-week Advent unit will explore some of the vital questions that characters presented in the stories leading up to Jesus’ birth ask, looking to understand what they were searching for in their time and how those questions might speak to us now.

Join us for any or all of these evenings during this sacred time of year.

If you are on our email list you will continue to receive details on times and how to participate in all our offerings from the Church Office either on the day of or day before each gathering. To j return to our homepage and sign up.oin our email list

Prayer and Meditation

November 4 & 18, 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 office.fpchurch@gmail.com for details.

Bible Study

Thursday- Bible Study sessions, also continuing on Zoom at 4 PM. 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 office.fpchurch@gmail.com for details.

American Conscience: the Reinhold Niebuhr Story

The Jordan Peterson Discussion Group will explore the life and theology of Reinhold Niebuhr, arguably our denomination’s outstanding voice in developing a contemporary Christian view of social justice.

We will work from the PBS special American Conscience: the Reinhold Niebuhr Story, which you can view here: https://manchesterpl.kanopy.com/video/american-conscience-reinhold-niebuhr-story

This feature is not publicly available but can be viewed without charge at the Kanopy site through your membership in the Manchester Public Library. You will need to create an account with an email and your library card number. A useful short summary of his life is also available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhold_Niebuhr

Call Steve Carhart at 978-407-8454 or the First Parish Church Office 978-526-7661 to receive information on how to join.

Worship

November 22 Jazz Sunday

A lively, musical service featuring Rebecca Shrimpton, Brian Price and Carolyn Wilkins.

December Advent Message Theme

Throughout the four Sundays of Advent this year, we will take a look at “The Family Christmas Tree”. Each week, we will look at a character from the genealogy of Jesus presented in the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. We will explore aspects of their spiritual journeys, and how their lives speak to us now as members of that same family tree.

Sunday- Morning Virtual Worship Service, 10 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.

Nov 1 / Nancy

Worship Services

Worship

November 22 Jazz Sunday

A lively, musical service featuring Rebecca Shrimpton, Brian Price and Carolyn Wilkins.

December Advent Message Theme

Throughout the four Sundays of Advent this year, we will take a look at “The Family Christmas Tree”. Each week, we will look at a character from the genealogy of Jesus presented in the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. We will explore aspects of their spiritual journeys, and how their lives speak to us now as members of that same family tree.

Sunday- Morning Virtual Worship Service, 10 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 services at 9 AM July through Labor Day)

Nov 1 / Nancy

Book Group News

On November 30 at 7:30- Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

Looking ahead:

December 28th No book to read. Let’s get together to share how we are celebrating the holidays, share a recipe…

January 25 at 6:30- Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

The iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but also the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

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.

Nov 1 / Nancy

Worship Bulletins

Nov 22 2020

Nov 15 2020

Nov 8 2020

Nov 1 2020

Oct 25 2020

Oct 18 2020

Oct 11 2020

Oct 4 2020

Sep 27 2020

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Sep 13 2020

Sep 6 2020

Nov 1 / Nancy

Newsletters Newest November 2020

Church Bell Nov 2020

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Church Bell Jan 2020

Oct 19 / Nancy

Minister Mark’s October Message

Friends…

A couple of months ago, our Church Council determined that the time had come for us to update First Parish’s website. The site as it is now has served
us well, but as with all technical tools, it must be kept current as times and circumstances change. As we are in a renewal time here at First Parish –
new staff, new directions, new hopes and dreams for the future – the time has come to renew our website as well.

Besides the obvious benefit of doing so, the process of updating our website offers another substantial plus – the opportunity to engage in the
vital exercise of exposing who we are now and who we aspire to be going forward to others, both internally and externally. For while one of the
primary purposes of a website is to communicate important information to our current members and friends, the more important purpose in my mind
is to communicate to those outside our congregation – especially those who may be considering or actively seeking a spiritual community – who we are
and why we matter.

So, how would you answer that question?

Over the many years that I have facilitated leadership and performance lectures and workshops, one of my favorite exercises is something usually
referred to as either the “Elevator Pitch”, or my preference, the “30-Second Commercial”.

Imagine you are at a party, in the grocery store, a concert, game, or some other environment, and instead of being asked to describe what you do, you
have a 30-second opportunity to describe your organization or team.

What are the most important things, or thing, you would want them to know?

What would you say to someone in that 30-second timeframe that might move them to consider looking further into First Parish, joining us, or at the very least
mentioning us to others?

I invite you to try this exercise. I also invite you to send me your “30-Second Commercial” by email, text, or mail. It will not just be helpful for you, but might also prove helpful to the subgroup that will end up working on the content of our revised website.

Blessings,
Mark

Oct 2 / Nancy

Seaside Parish Knitters

Seaside Parish Knitters

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words    

Above and below are photos of our handmade items and knitters during our get-togethers on the 1st and 3rd Thursday afternoons in the Chapel Parlor.

Over the years we have enjoyed our time knitting and crocheting items for baptismal events at the church, shawls and blankets for friends at home, scarves, neck gators, and helmet liners for our veterans in Afghanistan; and mittens and hats for Cape Ann children.

We all love to knit/crochet, but more importantly we have been  rewarded with helping others by sharing our handwork. We would love to have you join us, Sandy, Bonnie, Millie, Sally, Martha, Lauren, Eleanor, Jean, Jan, Mary K., Penny, Cheryl, Mary L., Wendy M., Carol, Doris, Muriel, Liljana, Marianne, Wendy S., Shirley

project linus thank you

 

Sep 1 / Nancy

Minister Mark’s September Message

Friends…


In the first sentence of this month’s section on “Worship Notes”, you’ll no doubt notice that I use the term “re-gather” to describe the time when we resume in-person Worship, classes and meetings.

For the past several months, I had been using the term “re-open” to describe this time in the vast majority of my communications to you. But it occurred to me recently that it would be helpful to drop that term from my – and our – vocabulary regarding First Parish for the sake of ‘truth in advertising”.

The fact of the matter is that we won’t “re-open” because we never “closed” in the first place. Circumstances made it unwise for us to gather together in-person to Worship, study, pray, meditate, conduct committee business, or socialize, but we never stopped engaging in any of those parts of our spiritual community’s life. No, it hasn’t been ideal, but it has worked. More importantly though, it has made us better as a community of God’s people.

Over these last seven months, significantly more people have been participating in Worship and study through our consistently improving virtual efforts than when we were exclusively gathering in person. Committees have continued to meet to faithfully deliberate and fulfill their vital duties. Connections between our members and friends have been maintained, and in some instances renewed. On a regular basis, some act of thoughtfulness and kindness carried out by one of you for the sake of another has been brought to my attention.

In a few days, it will be the one year anniversary of your calling me to join you as First Parish’s Minister. A major factor in my decision to accept that invitation was that you convinced me you were ready, willing, excited and committed to letting God move you in new ways and directions that would make this a more vital spiritual community – one able to respond to changing times, circumstances, and the needs of God’s people, with flexibility and creativity.

None of us, obviously, is grateful for this pandemic. But one of the core questions the Bible and our tradition continually put before us is how faithfully we will respond in difficult, confusing, uncertain times.

For the past seven months, we have been passing that test. We have remained “open” even though we have not been “gathered”. And we will remain “open”. Always.

Blessings,

Mark