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The Living Faith of the Dead – October 31, 2010

From those who came before us, we gain strength and courage, a challenge to set higher goals for ourselves, and make strong our commitment to spend our lives doing what is right. Each of us can think of caregivers and patient teachers, those who taught us what it meant to love another, or who first loved those that first loved us. Lessons from our family members, from friends, perhaps from our early faith communities; the generous legacy left to us by those who no longer inhabit the Earth. It is true for us each as individuals, with our personal stories, and also for us as Unitarian Universalists, with the shared inheritance of our faith. The lessons of those who came before shape the lives we seek to live today. Read More >>

Simple Gifts – October 24, 2010

$288. That amount of money means different things to different people. Depending on where you live in the world and what sort of work you do, that could be a day’s wages, or a week’s, or a month’s. It could be a car payment, or a car repair bill that’s too high for you to pay. For almost anybody, its an amount of money you wouldn’t mind getting, and that you’d notice if you lost. Read More >>

Three exciting new curricula this year!

Picture Book UU

Picture Book UU is based on the 36 best picture books for teaching young children about the love, reason, tolerance and good works that make up our faith. Some of the books that will be used are Henry Builds a Cabin by D.B. Johnson (teaches children to think for themselves and live simply, as does Henry, the bear, based on Henry David Thoreau), Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkoff (Author), Craig Hatkoff (Author), Paula Kahumbu (Author), Peter Greste (Illustrator) (a true story about a Hippo and a Turtle who become friends) and Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco (three children work out a way to solve some problems and make connections despite differences in race, religion and heritages). Picture Book UU will be used for our Kindergarten, grade 1 & 2 class.

Spirit of Adventure

Spirit of Adventure concentrates on Unitarian Universalist identity through exciting activities from themes in engineering, exploration, medicine, sports, holidays, food and nature. It is an action packed curriculum. For example, a food session in the kitchen explores the world of Unitarian-Universalist Fanny Farmer. A science session exploring the impact of the world-wide-web features a take-apart part party where our young scientists get to disassemble assorted electronics. Spirit of Adventure will be used in our grade 3, 4 & 5 class.

Traditions with a Wink

Traditions with a Wink, our new Middle school curriculum, teaches an understanding of UU faith and identity that replaces the vague “anything we want to” statement with: “We come from a long tradition of questioning and searching. We come from a long tradition of loving kindness and good works.” As Unitarian Universalists, we have powerful stories and visions of hope. Through Traditions with a Wink, we share them

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with our older children as they begin the process of shaping their own faith. This curriculum will be used with our grade 6 ,7 & 8 class.

Chalice Children

In addition to these new curricula we will be offering Chalice Children for our Preschool class. Chalice Children follows the premise that children learn best through direct experience. This curriculum is designed to nurture children’s spiritual growth, creativity and connection to their Unitarian Universalist community.

Download Church School Enrollment Forms

Heavenly Rides

Try our airport ride program. A volunteer from First Parish Church will take you or your friends to Logan, Manchester, or Portsmouth airports at any time of night or day and then pick you up when you return. We’ll be there to provide top-notch service and stimulating conversation. You then make a donation to First Parish; we will provide a business receipt if needed. That way, First Parish benefits from an expense you would have to incur anyway. Tell your friends and business associates. For more information or to arrange a ride please contact Dunc Ballantyne or (978) 998-9113.

Local Food Resources

Here’s the resource guide. It is not meant to be complete, but just a start. There are so many good local food resources in our area! Please share freely and widely.     

Local Foods in the Beverly Area
A Starter Guide

Some of you are veritable experts on local food sources, while others may be new to this concept. Start by considering ingredients closest to home. Do you or your neighbors have food to share from your gardens? Are you familiar with any wild edibles in season? Chances are you’ll still need to go shopping. The list below offers some sources of local foods. Most of the fruit and vegetable growers have farmstands on-site. Some of the cheeses and some other items need to be purchased at a retail store. Many independent or natural food stores are attentive to sourcing some foods locally. Try Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, The Organic Rainbow in Beverly and Whole Foods in Swampscott. A staff person at any of these locations can be helpful in clarifying which products meet the 100-mile guideline.

This time of year, local fall veggies and apples are easy to find. Local sweeteners can be used by substituting honey or maple syrup for sugar. Locally-grown grains and beans can be especially tricky to find, but the brands listed below are often available at Green Meadows and/or The Organic Rainbow.

At the potluck, help everyone appreciate the flavors and origins of your dish; please write down each ingredient and its source on an index card to display next to your contribution.


Many local foods, sold directly from the growers or producers and all in one easy location! The Beverly Farmer’s Market (Mondays, 3:30-6:45pm in season) is a great resource.You can always find great local produce – and sometime local fish, meats, eggs, and cheeses – at other North Shore markets.

  • Marblehead Farmer’s Market, Saturdays, 9am-12, thru 10/23 – 217 Pleasant St, Marblehead.
  • Peabody Farmer’s Market, Tuesdays, 1-6pm, thru 10/31 – Railroad Ave, behind the courthouse.
  • Salem Farmer’s Market, Thursdays 3-7pm, thru 10/21 – Derby Sq, Front St, Salem.

Commuting to Boston? There are multiple markets daily in different neighborhoods. To find MA Farmer’s Markets, go to


  • Brooksby Farm – 38 Felton St, Peabody (978) 531-7456. Their own apples and some veggies.
  • Canaan Farms – 93Main Street (Rt. 1A) Wenham (978) 468-1554. Their own veggies. Sometimes local eggs and cheese.
  • Cider Hill Farm – 45 Fern Ave, Amesbury, 978- 388-5525. Their own apples, cider, some veggies. Local cheese.
  • Clark Farm – 163 Hobart St, Danvers, 978-774-0550. Their own veggies.
  • Connors Farm – 30 Valley Road (Rte. 35), Danvers, 978-777-1245. Their own fruits and veggies.
  • Green Meadows Farm– 656 Asbury Street, Hamilton, 978-468-2277. Their own veggies, eggs and meat. Locally sourced fruit, milk, and cheese.
    Marini Farms – 259 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich, 978-356-0430. Their own veggies.
    Russell Orchards – 143 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, 978-356-5366. Their own fruit, some veggies, and wine. Valley View cheese often available.


  • Baer’s Best Beans – Distinct heirloom beans grown at Moraine Farm, Beverly. Available at Green Meadows Farm, The Organic Rainbow, and other locations.
  • GrandyOats – 349 Center Rd, Brownfield, ME. Maine-grown oats and other grains and grain products. Available at Green Meadows Farm, The Organic Rainbow, other locations, and online.
  • Kenyon’s Grist Mill – 21 Glen Rock Rd, West Kingston, RI. Cornmeal and other grains and flours. Some products are locally-grown, others are just locally milled.


  • Alta Vista Bison Farm – 80 Hillside Road, Rutland, MA, 508-886-4365. Bison.
  • Courser Brook Red Deer Farm – 2 Fruit Street, Byfield, MA. 978-465-7826.
    Green Meadows Farm – Chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey.
  • Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds – 159 Wheeler Road, Concord, MA 01742, 978-318-0063. Chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, and eggs.
  • Tendercrop Farm – 108 MA 1A, Newbury, MA 972-462-6972. Chicken, beef, turkey, and eggs.



  • Green Meadows Farm.
  • Long Ears Farm – West Newbury, 978-363-2341.
  • Natural Way Farm – Anne Goldstein, 79 Hill Street. Topsfield, 978-887-8580. Available at The Organic Rainbow store.
  • Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds – 159 Wheeler Road, Concord, MA 01742, 978-318-0063.
  • Tendercrop Farm  – 108 MA 1A, Newbury, MA 972-462-6972.



Spiritual Parenting

For parents of children of all ages, First Parish offers Spiritual Parenting meetings. This lay-led group meets approximately 6 times a year for a themed parenting discussion and camaraderie.

Examples of past topics include:

After Worship Discussion

Following the benediction and Closing Circle, The Adult Learning Program is offering an After-Worship Discussion. This is an opportunity for those who would like to delve more into the theme of today’s service to collect in the Minister’s Study at the rear of the sanctuary for a chance to share your reflections on the service. Feel free to bring your

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coffee with you.

Thanks for Asking – October 10, 2010

We’re going to start things off with an informal poll, this morning. How many of ya’all have a set of jumper-cables in your car? Put your hand up if you would. And keep your hand up, if and only if, you know how to use them. Alright so you’re the people I’m going to call the next time I can’t start my car. Read More >>

Lonesome No More!

The other day, I had a conversation with one of you about family. We started out talking about where we grew up, and realized that we have something in common: both of us are now living and raising families far away from our own parents, siblings, and extended family network. This is a very common story in our nation (and with the rise of globalization, it is becoming more and more common all over the world): we grow up, we set out to begin lives and perhaps families of our own, and in order to pursue a dream or a job or a lover, we leave the home of our childhood behind. The family and friends and neighbors who, in previous eras we might have lived among for most of our lives are now set apart from us by a great distance – connected by phone lines and heartstrings, of course, but still set apart. Some of us may have lost members of our network of support to time and to death. Others of us might have lost such folks not physically, but emotionally, the connection broken by what wasn’t done, and should have been, or by what should never have been done, but was. As many of us – not all, but many – make our lives without frequent connections with family and long-time friends, our nation is growing lonelier and lonelier.

Robert Putnam published a book several years ago on the shrinking social circles of American life called Bowling Alone. (The title highlights the decline of bowling leagues – replaced by folks bowling in smaller, more homogenous groups – as a symbol of narrowing social networks.) Fifteen years later, the nation is in a different place than he could have fully anticipated – for many of us vast webs of interconnection have been created by the internet and related technologies. But the root problem he was pointing out still remains: deep interactions between people, particularly people of differing opinions and outlooks, have become unfortunately rare.

In his novel, Slapstick, Kurt Vonnegut describes a future in which the United States has elected its last President, who ran on a single-issue platform, with the slogan, “Lonesome No More!” The candidate’s promise was to relieve each person of their growing sense of isolation by giving them a new group of people to act as their surrogate extended family. In the book, each person in the U.S. is assigned a randomly generated middle name, and those with the same middle name – people of all ages, races and walks of life – begin to group together and look out for one another. It

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idea, but it keys into a real human need: the need to know others, and to be known by them.

Spiritual communities such as our own exist, in part, to serve this need. It’s a need we experience whether or not we have large, local, tightly knit networks of family and friends. (And for those of you who have lived your whole lives in the same area surrounded by close relations, chances are you need a place where you can go to get a break from those people every now and then.) We come together to share in a sense of connection and of common good, which does not overwhelm or erase our differences, but which endures and helps us to better appreciate them. As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, but to experience that worth, and to appreciate that dignity – in others, and in ourselves – requires relationship. Our coming together to know and be known is among the most basic and the most important expressions of our faith.

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson

Join In

If you are looking for ways to join with others to enrich your life, improve the world around you, share your joys and sorrows, have some fun, come try us out. We firmly believe that diversity enriches us all, that each has talents to share and together we can accomplish wonders.

Links to ways to become connected: sing in the Choir, holiday fair, Sunday coffee & snacks, occasional church school assistant, visiting with or sending cards to those who are ill, make a meal for someone, play at Ferry Beach, minor repairs and projects on this venerable building, join us for movie and discussion night or meditation group.
People in our congregation help one another through our Pastoral Care committee. We get the word out when someone needs a ride to an appointment, or a meal, a visit, child care, an errand done or just a friendly, supportive card or call.


Parking is most available in the municipal lot behind the stores across Cabot St. Enter from Bow St. Chapman St. or Federal St. The small municipal lot behind our church may also

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be available. A ramp is at the side entrance and an accessible bathroom just inside that door. MAP


Childcare for babies and toddlers is available in a nursery downstairs in Hale Hall. It is staffed by a paid sitter and a parent and you are welcome to stay with them. The minister’s office at the rear of the sanctuary is also available for restless children and parents during the service. A speaker in each of these rooms carries the service.

Some days children enrolled in Church school begin their morning with us in the sanctuary and sometimes they go directly to their class rooms in Hale Hall. There are signs at both the front and rear entrances to the church saying “Children Up” or Children Down.”

Come, Come Whoever You Are

Welcome! We are a singing, caring, laughing, learning, justice-seeking people. We hope you will find here among us a spiritual home. Our 300 year old building is the golden yellow church in the heart of Beverly, 225 Cabot St. at Ellis Square. We gather for worship each Sunday at 10:00 am.


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After the service we join together at the rear of the sanctuary for coffee and conversation. Dress is comfortably informal. We look forward to seeing you here.

Church School

The mission of our religious education program is to provide the children of First Parish with a moral and spiritual framework upon which they

can form their own religious convictions. In the words of William Ellery Channing, we want to “awaken their consciousness, their moral discernment, so that they may discern and approve for themselves what is everlastingly right and good”.

To that end we have programs for preschoolers through high school students and a staffed nursery for toddlers. Children and their teachers begin their Sunday experience at upstairs worship with their family and friends before going down to Hale Hall for classes.

Programming Details

Lifelong Learning

At First Parish we have vibrant programs for children and adults. We look forward to hosting more programming for whatever fits with your growth path and passions.

“The opportunity to encourage discovery and lifelong learning is at the center of Unitarian Universalist religious education. Inspired religious education programs can provide the spark that encourages a congregation to grow or discover new ways in which it can serve a community. Whether that learning is experienced by a child, a teen, a young adult, adult, or the entire family, the flowering of the spirit occurs where religious education takes root.”   The Unitarian Universalist Association offers lifespan faith development resources for education, worship, advocacy, and social action that nurture identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love.”

Director of Religious Education

On a Sunday morning a few weeks before Easter 1984 my husband, four-year old, and I first walked through the doors of First Parish Church.


Our Music Director

Robert Littlefield has been associated with First Parish Church for 42 years. Besides his duties as organist and choir director, he also teaches numerous private organ and piano students. Additionally, Robert is the accompanist for Chorus North Shore and Portsmouth Pro Musica.

Robert has presented many organ recitals over the years at such places as Arlington Street Church, King’s Chapel, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Hammond Castle,

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Portland Maine City Hall, and Methuen Music Hall. In 1993, he gave a recital at Jesus College in Cambridge, England. Read More >>

Children and Community

At First Parish children ages 5 – 16  have the opportunity to sing in a choir. They sing ten times throughout the year and rehearse about twice a month at 11:15 on Sundays.

The popular Community Music Concerts  are coordinated by Robert Littlefield and usually hosted by First Parish. In December, the First Parish choir joins other Beverly church choirs to present the Christmas portion of the Messiah. On Good Friday, the combined church choirs perform Mozart’s Requiem. These events provide the members of the local church choirs the opportunity to sing these popular works with a large group of fellow musicians and an orchestra. Over 300 members of the greater Beverly community attend these events.

Soloists and Ensembles

Sunday services when the choir is not singing still feature excellent musical offerings provided by soloists and ensembles. Robert and/or a guest musician may perform piano or instrumental works. Section leaders from the choir may offer arias or duets. Talented members of the congregation will present pieces by a variety of composers. The music covers a full range of styles from folk to opera, classical to jazz, and spirituals to requiem masses.

Music at First Parish

Music is an essential part of First Parish. Under the direction of Robert Littlefield, First Parish enjoys outstanding music during both regular Sunday services and special holiday services. Rehearsals are held two Thursdays monthly 7:30 pm, plus warm-up at 8:45 am Sundays when the choir sings.

Holiday Fair

The First Parish Holiday Fair is held each year to raise funds and to offer affordable and creative gifts for young and old alike. First Parish members staff the gift tables which include, among others, Attic Treasures, Almost

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New Items, Books and Records, Children’s Craft workshop and Luncheon. Limited space is available for outside vendors and a portion of their proceeds go to First Parish.

Everyone is enthusiastically welcome to help create items for sale, staff a table or workshop, assist in the kitchen. There is plenty to do and lots of holiday cheer to go around. Join us!

Circle Dinners

Circle Dinners are opportunities to enjoy a potluck meal with up to eight other people in the home of a First Parish member or friend. Read More >>

Play & Work

Do you enjoy laughing and working together, often in an intergenerational setting? At First Parish, having fun and helping others is a priority.  The church social calendar usually starts off with our annual retreat at Ferrry Beach in Maine. There we kick back, play games, have stimulating conversations and get to know each other better away from everyday hustle and bustle.  Therfeafter, the year is filled with pot lucks, circle dinners (see below), game nights, sock hops, and movies. Events for children include  a Valentines Day Party and Mystery Friends (see below).  Work/fun events include Fall leaf raking and providing transportation to and from the airports (see  Heavenly Rides below). The year ends up with our Annual Auction. Come play and serve with us!


The Salvadoran Association for Rural Health (ASAPROSAR) is a multi-service non-governmental community service organization based in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

It was founded in 1986 by Dr. Vicky Guzman, a Salvadoran doctor. ASAPROSAR is staffed by Salvadoran physicians, social workers, health promoters, teachers, and other professional outreach workers.

The Barefoot Angels Program seeks to eradicate high-risk child labor primarily in Santa Ana’s bus terminal marketplace and municipal city dump.

  • Many boys and girls (ages 6-18) who are forced to work in these areas become victims of gang associations, prostitution, and related violence.
  • ASAPROSAR offers the youth a program of physical and psychological health and quality educational training. It is the only alternative for youth living and working in the streets and on the margins of western Salvadoran society.

Members of First Parish lead an annual Learn and Serve Volunteer Trip.

  • The purpose of the trip is to build relationships and encourage cross-cultural understanding.
  • Create opportunities for individuals to use their talents and interests in partnership with Salvadorans to work on projects that benefit local communities.
  • Visitors gain knowledge about another culture, experience personal growth and learn that they can make the world a better place.
  • Participants need not be members of First Parish Church.

Tuesday Night Suppers

Every Tuesday evening (from 5:30-7:00) volunteers serve supper to 30-40 guests at First Parish.

  • The food is purchased and prepared by volunteers through funds from the congregation and a generous donation from Beverly Hospital.
  • Helping to serve meals can be a rewarding way to spend 1½ hours doing something to benefit others.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ron Sweet and Nat Carpenter.

Fair Trade Coffee

We serve and sell Fair Trade

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of the world’s coffee farmers (who are small holders) get a fair price for their harvests in order to achieve a decent living wage. Fair Trade guarantees to poor farmers organized in cooperatives around the world: a living wage (minimum price of $1.26/pound regardless of the volatile market); much needed credit at fair prices; and long term relationships. These fair payments are invested in health care, education, environmental stewardship, and economic independence. Fair Trade coffee is a simple solution that means the difference—quite literally—between surviving and not surviving for small-scale coffee farmers.

Monday Night Suppers

On the 2nd Monday of the month (5:30-7:00 pm), volunteers prepare and serve meals to 50-60 guests next door at the First Baptist Church, 221 Cabot Street, Beverly.

  • In the past, Three Star Pizza in Beverly has generously donated pizza and pasta each month. Thank you Three Star Pizza!
  • Volunteers usually provide dessert.

Here is what one young person wrote about her experience:

“My community service project for school in sixth grade was to help out at one of the dinners. When we shared our projects I realized that I had touched many more lives than any of my classmates. I know that economy is down and I know that many people are unemployed but something hit last Monday night supper. I had never seen anyone other than adults at these dinners but last Monday we served three young children all younger than me. This woke me up and I realized that the Monday and Tuesday night suppers help so many people that truly need it.”

If you and your older child are interested in volunteering, contact Coordinator Fran Gerrior.


First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915


Office Hours: Mon 8:00 - 11:00 am & Tue-Fri 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

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