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Gardening With Unlabeled Seeds – 10/30/2011

The story is told of a young girl who decided one year that she wanted to plant a flower garden for herself. Her family didn’t have much, but there was a little scrap of dusty land that belonged to one of her neighbors, and when she asked for it he gave her permission to use it. She spent the winter saving a little bit of money here and there, in anticipation of the spring. And when the season finally came for planting, she found that she had enough for a pair of gloves, and a spade, and a watering can. But once she had purchased the tools she would need, the girl had little money left to spend on seeds to plant. Read More >>

Entertaining Angels – 10/23/2011

There is a popular story, I’d venture to guess that many of you have heard it before, about a monastery that had fallen on hard times. There were very few brothers left, and each of them was well-advanced in years. After going for a very long time with no one new admitted to their order, not even any prospects, the abbot, the leader of the monastery began to despair. He feared that his generation would be the last to pray and to practice according to their tradition in their little home in the woods. Read More >>

Lending Library

First Parish Church has a collection of books and DVD’s that have been donated or purchased. It can be found on the book carts in the back of the sanctuary near the Minister’s Study. These items are available for members and friends (regular visitors) to sign out and take home to read. We ask that you sign out on the clipboards on the ends of the carts. This library is counting on the Honor System. Please return the items promptly, so that others can enjoy them.

Among the collection are the Great Books of the Western World, books about Read More >>

Adult Learning Opportunities

The church offers a wide range of learning opportunities throughout the year. Movies with Meaning are shown periodically, that have moved one of us enough that we want to share it. If you have a feature film that you would like to share, contact Steve Hoy .

Docs with Talks are documentaries on various themes that may tie in with current events or sermon topics. GLBT issues, ethical eating, distributive justice, compassion, forgiveness, as well as diverse religious traditions, have been shown in the past. This year, Native American traditions and Islam will be featured. Watch the website for scheduling.

Small Group Ministry is an opportunity for 8-10 people to meet monthly for personal discussions about issues of importance to all. This is a wonderful chance to meet more intimately with members of the congregation. See Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson if

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you are interested.

Presentations by speakers, both from within the congregation as well as outside guests, are offered periodically. This year we will have a speaker from the Muslim community and a speaker on Inuit art and tradition. A field trip in the spring will take us to a Native American PowWow.

 

Credit Where Credit Is Due – 10/9/2011

I love museums. Growing up I was a bookish – we might say, ‘nerdy’ – sort of kid, and I loved to get to learn new things, and I still do. So when I got to go to a science or a history museum and see dinosaur fossils or scenes from the French Revolution I just ate it up. Read More >>

How Big Is Church?

Our service each Sunday starts at 10:00. It generally finishes by a little after 11. Our childrens’ religious education classes take about the same time. Most folks stick around for twenty minutes or so afterwards for snacks and fellowship. So call it an hour and a half, once a week: 1.5 out of 168 hours. Broken down into the time it takes to show up for worship each week, it doesn’t seem like much at all. It’s the sort of thing that almost anyone could find time for – take a second to compare it to the number of hours you spent on e-mail or television this week – and it also comes across as something that would be easy to give up. Less than 1% of your week? How important can it be?

 

That all depends on how big you think church is. Because just showing up and warming a pew can be a huge step the first time you take it – I’ve known people who spent years thinking about their local congregation, wondering about it, yearning to connect with what was going on there, but afraid to take that fist step across the threshold. Our thoroughly commodified society values work for pay, and time spent buying or consuming things, but it often looks with distrust on time ‘spent’ (to use a transactional term) in places like church, where there is little to be bought and rarely any money to be made. So ‘just’ going to church has a counter-cultural quality to it – a tiny rebellion ever Sunday morning!

 

Here’s how the Rev. A. Powell Davies explained the odd habit of attending worship:

I come to church—and would whether I was a preacher or not—because I fall below my own standards and need to be constantly brought back to them. It is not enough that I should think about the world and its problems at the level of a newspaper report or a magazine discussion. It could too soon become too low a level. I must have my conscience sharpened—sharpened until it goads me to the most thorough and responsible thinking of which I am capable. I must feel again the love I owe my fellow [people]. I must not only hear about it but feel it. In church, I do.

We know, from experience, that an hour and a half on a Sunday morning has this power – to renew our sense of hope and purpose, and to connect us to our fellow human beings. What is more, it can even be fun! But I want to remind us that church is actually bigger than that, even bigger than the most amazing, life-changing worship experience. Church is bigger than that because it is bigger than Sunday morning. It is all day, every day. The thoughts and discussion that our Sunday morning experiences spark, the lasting connections made with friends and fellow travelers, the good work of volunteers who make our congregation live: all of these things can happen at any time if we let them. Our church is as big as we allow it to be.

 

On that note, I want to draw your attention to an opportunity to grow your church experience. Our small group ministry program at First Parish is an opportunity for the sort of spiritual deepening that A. Powell Davies was talking about: a gathering of 6-12 folks who meet once a month for a few hours to share their stories and reflect on a monthly theme. We have several established groups that are open to new members, and if you are at all curious, I encourage you to attend the Taste of Small Group Ministry on Monday, October 17th at 7:00 PM.

 

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson

In the Valley of the Shadow – 10/2/2011

This morning, for the third year in a row, an assortment of American preachers, most of them theologically-conservative Christians, are preaching about politics. They are taking part in an intentional campaign to cross the line that tax exempt organizations, including churches, are held to by directly endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.[i] Read More >>

International Association for Religious Freedom

works around the world in support of freedom of belief; UnitarianUniversalists have a long and

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deep connection with the IARF. A delegation from Japan (where the IARF is headquartered) will be in the US visiting sites in and around Boston and Washington, DC in October, and on the 23rd they will pay us the considerable honor of being our guests here in Beverly. Read More >>

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First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915

978-922-3968

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

office@firstparishbeverly.org

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