The next meeting of the Jordan Peterson Discussion Group will be at 7:30 pm in the First Parish Chapel on Monday, March 16. 2020. The topic will be Lecture 11 of the Biblical Series, Sodom and Gomorrah. As usual, no preparation is required; clips of the video lecture will be provided as a springboard for discussion. However, if you would like to view the full lecture ahead of the discussion, both the video be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKzpj0Ev8Xs&t=6606s
(You can also just google JORDAN PETERSON BIBLICAL XI TRANSCRIPT!)
All programs are self contained, so if you haven’t come previously or recently, you will have no problem joining in! This group is open to the public, so please feel free to invite anyone you think might be interested. If you have any questions, contact Richard Smith (978-590-7497) or Steve Carhart (978-407-8454)
Fat Tuesday Pancake Dinner
First Parish Church invites you to join us for:
February 25, 5-7 PM
In the Chapel (2 Chapel Lane,
behind Santander Bank)
Come enjoy Mardi Gras music,
make masks and beads,
enter a pancake-eating contest, play Fat Tuesday games,
And experience a blessing and
brief spiritual reflection
by our new minister Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea.
This is a great, FREE event for families and residents of all ages.
All are welcome! The COA van will be available for pickup, Call 978-526-7500 to arrange.
Until January, I had spent the past 23 years in New Jersey. Home of The Sopranos. A state with a long reputation (whether deserved or not I really don’t know) for corruption in government and business. A place that is often the butt of jokes related to dishonest and “shady” people and practices.
And I thought I had left all that behind…
Within three weeks of arriving, Alex Cora had been fired as Manager of the Sox for his lead role in a sign stealing scheme while he was a coach with the Houston Astros; the results of a study done at MIT indicated that investment advisors who took and passed a licensing exam which included a now no longer required ethics segment were less likely to commit misconduct related to theft, fraud and deceit than those who weren’t required to take the ethics part; and an article in the Boston Globe titled “Who’s the fairest of them all? It sure isn’t us” discussed the extensive history of less than ethical political, financial and sporting behavior in Boston and Massachusetts in general.
Now I say all of the above with tongue in cheek – but only partly. As the Globe article made sure to point out, that kind of stuff knows no geographic boundaries. But at the same time, that stuff matters. Of course there is never just one single answer for the existence of unethical behavior. But in our time, as Yuval Levin proposes in his coming book, A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream (must be a really big book cover to fit all that), perhaps the most significant is the lack of structure to our social life – the lack of shape, purpose, meaning and identity in our individual and collective lives.
Levin says this is a direct result of the collapse of our confidence in institutions. He says that besides performing important tasks like educating our kids, enforcing the law and providing some service, institutions also (or hopefully, I would say), form the people within it to carry out those tasks responsibly and reliably; shape behavior and character. We have lost faith in our institutions, Levin says, because we no longer believe they do this.
I do not disagree with him. Many institutions now regularly ignore or pretend that ethical living matters, or deny that they have a responsibility to further that interest for all our sake. As a lifelong educator, I know that most schools certainly try to facilitate ethical development, but it is one of only a countless number of tasks which schools are looked to take on now. Which means it may very well be the case that there is only one institution which, despite its undeniable flaws, exists, among other things, for the specific task of helping shape more ethical people and a more ethical society.
The Church. And by “church” I mean religious institutions of many traditions.
Yes, the church has been its own worst enemy in regard to cover-ups of abuse, its history of complicity with slavery and the second class status afforded women, and those who have and continue to use it to enrich themselves materially or politically. But no institution is perfect and none ever will be. Despite all this, churches have been and continue to be an enormous force for good. Those who are active in a spiritual community, including, tend to be more ethical, more generous, more compassionate, and less likely to engage in individual and socially harmful behaviors than those who don’t, including vitally, children and youth. They continue to be the one place in our society whose primary purpose is purpose – the purpose and meaning so many seem to be searching for and that Levin says is so missing and needed.
We just completed a month of Sundays devoted to exploring where we might go as individuals and a spiritual community in 2020. It is a conversation that I hope will continue in the months ahead, if not throughout my entire time here. But there is one role which I hope we will always take as a given, remain steadfastly committed to, and consistently communicate to our community and beyond – our central place in the ethical shaping of each other, our kids, and our society.
February gathering on Monday,
We will be discussing, “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh on Monday, February 24 at 6:30 PM at Liz Loomis’ home, 34 Bennett St. Manchester.
RSVP to Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-704-9722.
In this inimitable, beloved classic—graceful, lucid and lyrical—Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh’s musings on the shape of a woman’s life bring new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. A mother of five, an acclaimed writer and a pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives. Good Reads
The book for our March discussion is “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett. Meeting Monday, March 30 at Mary Lumsden’s home, 18 Woodcrest Rd. Manchester. From the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, comes Ann Patchett’s most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.Amazon
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.
Each month is a new host, who provides light snacks, beverages and dessert but only once a year!!!! The host then chooses the book for the next month.
Jan 20 2019 Service Cancelled
It is the morning after our first Sunday together as your new Minister, and I want to thank you for the enormously gracious welcome both before and immediately after the day’s Worship time, and then again throughout the following Welcome Reception. Cindy and I surely felt your warmth, energy and enthusiasm for what the days and years ahead will bring as we partner in helping each other and as many of God’s people as we can become all of who and what God created us and them to be.
In that regard, let me briefly note a few things from my end to help us get started, knowing that we will be learning much more about and from each other as time goes by:
- Please feel free to simply call me “Mark”. While I certainly won’t be upset if you choose to address me in another way (well maybe not every other way), I hope you will come to be comfortable enough with me to do that.
- While I haven’t figured out any type of set Office Hours yet, my habit over the years has been to be in the office for part of the day each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday pending any outside meetings, unexpected pastoral duties or personal needs. These hours tend to fall in the late morning to mid/late afternoon timeframe. Of course, all you need do is contact me if you want to set up an appointment either within or outside those parameters.
- And as for contacting me, my FPC email is: email@example.com. In addition, I can be reached via the church phone number, or most often through my cell number 908-477-5426. We will not have a home phone number, so do not hesitate to contact me by cell (call or text). I will get back to you as soon as I can if I do not respond immediately.
- Please bear with me as I struggle to remember all your names. I rarely forget a face, but it will take me awhile to get the names connected to them.
- And lastly, related to my not getting things right, please do not ever hesitate to tell me directly if I do something which concerns, troubles or even offends you. I much prefer that to hearing about it second or third hand. Please know that if and when that happens, it will be from a lack of knowledge or awareness on my part, and not from intent. I only ask that you engage me respectfully. In return, I promise I will listen – really listen – and take you seriously so we can do our best to resolve whatever issue might be at hand.
With that, I hope to see you often on Sundays for our Worship time, and as much as need and opportunity presents itself every day.
As I said at the beginning of yesterday’s Worship celebration… “Here we go…”
Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea, Minister
We had a busy autumn of outreach to the community!
In October, we joined in with the town’s Wobblin Gobblin Parade, which starts on the green in front of church and did a photo booth, using the families own cell phones. In 30 minutes, 3 FPCC members had 115 interactions with families, gave out 80 pieces of candy, and took approximately 35 photos, using the families’ own cell phones. It was an easy, happy event which brought goodwill to the community and awareness of FPCC.
In November, we re-used the hay bales and set up a photo booth at the town Bark Festival at Masconomo Park. Rev. Marlayna and Vitality members blessed more than 50 dogs (and gave away 50 dog blessing cards, with FPC upcoming events and website), had more than 90 interactions (more significant conversations than at the Wobblin Gobblin). We also gave out free cookies.
On December 6, during the Friday night shopping stroll during Christmas by the Sea, we welcomed the community to join us caroling in front of the church, and had another photo booth — this time with twinkly lights.
On Dec.8 for the Tree Lighting Concert, we promoted our Christmas events (that cantata on Dec 15 was amazing!) with a small flyer with silver Hershey’s kiss placed on each seat, as we did last year. Last year, concert attendees were charmed by the little gift of chocolate and probably read the flyer as a result!
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.
We will be making brown bag meals for Action Emergency Homeless Shelter, the last Friday of the month. Can you help? Needed: Donations of food, volunteers to make the sandwiches and a volunteer to deliver the meals to Gloucester. Action, Inc. is an Emergency Homeless Shelter in Gloucester, their Mission is to improve the lives of disadvantaged individuals and families by minimizing the effects of poverty, promoting economic security, and advocating for social change. This is an ongoing Mission of First Parish held the last Friday of each month sign up to help online https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4caba822a1f49-brown6
Our November Missions project was the Council on Aging Bags
and College Freshman Boxes
(Sponsored by Women’s Fellowship, Missions and open to the entire church)
We filled 20 COA bags and 6 freshman boxes to distribute to members of the community and youth from our church.