Connect and Act
5-B New Group Application details the required process for forming a group. The New Group Form Only, is an interactive PDF of the required form which can be downloaded with Acrobat Reader (free program., Click on each field to fill it in, saveit with your own group's file (e.g. YAG.pdf)name and e-mail it to Chris McElroy at Program [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
5-C The Annual Renewal Application details the privileges and requirements for already existing groups to continue as active groups. Annual Renewal Form Only, which must be submitted prior to the yearly spring scheduling meeting in order to reserve space for your group for the coming year is also an interactive PDF.
12C-Policies and Procedures-Co-Sponsored Events.pdf details the current policy for co-sponsoring events with non-first Parish groups. As of May 2010 it is under review and revision.
In a large congregation like ours it can be difficult to find ways to sink deeper into our spiritual selves (ultimacy) as well as create stronger bonds with our fellow congregants and community at First Parish (intimacy). We have created a Small Group Ministry model we call Covenant Groups to provide the ultimacy and intimacy needed to further develop our beloved community. This is our sixth year doing them. Covenant Groups are open to all members and friends of First Parish. Covenant Groups are comprised of 6-11 members who meet for two hours each month to discuss spiritual issues and practice compassionate listening (listening without judgement, interruption or trying to fix or advise others). We bear witness to each other and to our own true selves. Each group is guided by a trained facilitator. These facilitators are in turn guided at monthly ministerial support and problem solving meetings. Discussion topics are pre-selected by the Covenant Group Facilitators, with ministerial support and guidance, from a number of sources including:
- Other Unitarian Universalist congregations
- Small Group Ministry website
- Sermons preached by our ministers
- Subjects the congregation is grappling with
- Past topics have included:
- Simplicity in Our Lives
- Our Place in the Universe
- Deep Listening
- Asking for Help
- In addition, each group will do a service project, giving back to the church, the community or the wider world. This project will be done as a group and is meant to both be of service to others as well as strengthening the bonds of the group. Projects in the past have included painting the food pantry at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, planting for the Food Project, and organizing and managing social hour after Sunday services. To learn more check our Frequently Asked Questions or contact Patrick Sullivan at Covenantgroups [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
Groups will meet once a month for two hours beginning in October and continuing through early June. On-line registration will begin the week of September 9 and continue through September 25. Paper registrations will be available during social hour beginning Sunday, September 16.
Please remember you do not have to be a member of First Parish to join a Covenant Group. In fact,Covenant Groups are a good way to meet people and learn more about First Parish.
Environmental Justice Task Force 2011-2012 Overview The Environmental Justice Task Force strives to raise awareness to the human impact on the environment,while acknowledging that this most often and inequitably compels those with the fewest resources to carry the major burdens of the destructive actions of others. Toward this effort, we will advocate, inform, educate,and mobilize First Parish Cambridge members, friends, and the community with an urgent call to act by reducing our consumption of the earth's resources, generating as little waste as possible, recycling, andmaking a commitment as producers, investors, and consumers to living in an ecologically balanced andresponsible manner. In response to the 1994 UUA Environmental Justice Resolution, and with respect to our UU SevenPrinciples, our task force will act by afﬁrming justice and compassion in human relations, whileacknowledging the inherent worth and dignity of every person. As we work toward environmental justice, wehave respect for the interdependent web of all existence. We share the goal of a “world community” withpeace, liberty, and justice for all and believe much of this begins with environmental justice and equality. We acknowledge that waste, pollution, and overconsumption by the worldʼs more afﬂuent societies can have a negative impact on those removed from the decision-making processes. It is the worldʼs poorer, less inﬂuential populations that live in the wake of this environmental destruction. The concept of environmental justice links the principles of liberal religion with the values of ecologicalawareness and racial and class justice. The Unitarian Universalist Association has adopted separateresolutions on speciﬁc economic, political, and environmental issues, and thus it realizes that environmentaljustice requires an integrated, holistic approach. The Environmental Justice Task Force also takes this holistic view and will work to educate, introduce, andalign the congregation with the importance of this work.
• Educate congregation about current issues and legislation related to Environmental Justice.
• Provide resources to First Parish Cambridge to identify advocacy action opportunities available.
• Partner with organizations working on Environmental Justice issues, such as UUSC, UUA, Youth BuildBoston, Boston Tree Party, Boston Natural Areas Network, Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, UUMass Action Network, Boston ACE, Haley House, etc.
• Connect environmental issues to other social justice concerns honoring cultural and religious diversity.
• Help First Parish Cambridge become more sustainable in itsʼ practices.
Strategies, Activities and Events
Collaborate with other FPC groups & committees and community organizations.
Collaborate with other FPCgroups/committees to integrate environmental justice issues into RE, worship, social activities and music.Organize and sponsor range of events and activities, some of which are:
• Film Screenings & Discussions
• 350.org Moving Planet Event on September 24, 2011
• “Choices for Sustainable Living” Discussion course from Northwest Earth Institute
• Fair Trade Month Event - October, 2011 Film, invite UUSC & Equal Exchange.
• Green Field Trips, e.g. Recycling Center, Visit local organic farm.
• Attend Boston Local Food Festival October 1, 2011.
• Forming a “Green Team” to oversee the Sustainable Community Leader Programʼs Certiﬁcation process aimed at reducing our energy costs and consumption of resources.
Hear Three Five O, written by Senior Minister Fred Small and recorded with Pan-Latin ensemble Sol y Canto as a call for climate justice.
For more information contact EnvironmentalJTF [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
Do you like to sing? If so, the First Parish Choir is open to all interested members and friends. Rehearsals are Sundays at 9:15am in the Meeting House and Thursdays at 7:30pm in Crothers Chapel. For more information, talk to Mara Vorhees or Steve Hanna,co-chairs of Music Committee at music [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org,or Jonathan Barnhart, Music Director at MusicDir [at] fpcambridge [dot] org
The Purpose of the ITF
• To promote education and awareness of immigrant issues both locally and globally.
• To advocate for local, state and national policy and legislative changes in concert with our partners for justice for the immigrant community as part of FPCs vision of a multiracial, multicultural, justice-making future.
What We Did This Year
• Organized seven events at church, including two Sunday services about immigration 3 educational events with guests, a letter writing campaign against Secure Communities and sponsored a major fundraising event for the Haitian Coalition.
• Organized/participated in ten events of our partner organizations, including six demonstrations, conferences, and the Haitian Earthquake Commemoration event. Attended by 4-50 parishioners.
Why the ITF for FPC?
• Grounding: Alignment with UU principles and UUA goals (SSL campaign), the minister and members participated in advocacy and other events this year
• Accountability/Right Relationships: TF has immigrant members, and we have formed strong partnerships with Latino and Haitian organizations.
• Fit: FPC leaders are experienced in and/or support this issue; 2 services.
• Opportunity (to make a difference): Local and national and international advocacy and volunteer opportunities (Haiti, Phoenix).
ITF Objectives for 2011-2012
• Introduce FPC to the different immigrant communities in Cambridge and Somerville. • Make advocacy action opportunities available to congregation. Continue partnerships with SIM, CP and HC. Meet with others to explore possible future partnerships.
• Prepare congregation to vote on FPC becoming a member church of the Boston New Sanctuary Movement (BNSM). FPC staff and leaders are already participating.
• Send a larger than usual delegation to Phoenix GA in June 2012.
ITF Strategies 2011-2012
• Invite local immigrant leaders to ITF meetings. Include RIM (Refugee and Immigrant Ministry), Brazilian Women’s Group, etc.
• Present the proposal to join the BNSM at the October semi-annual meeting and a vote at June semi-annual meeting.
• Multicultural Forum- hold an evening or Saturday event to celebrate cultures and hear immigration stories • Continue to provide advocacy opportunities and educational events, preparing congregation for Phoenix GA. For more information contact Immigration [at] Firstparishcambridge [dot] org
The Jewish Culture Group welcomes all who are interested in exploring Jewish culture as a part of their UU identities. The group will provide a chance for discussion around topics related to Jewish culture, as well as sharing of favorite songs, stories, readings, and recipes. For those of us who grew up Jewish, this group will serve as a chance to celebrate our cultural roots in the context of our current religious community. For more information, e-mail JewishCulture [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
First Parish has been a Welcoming Congregation since 2002 and voted in the spring of 2004 to conduct public witness in support of marriage equality. Efforts included media outreach, letter writing campaigns and marching as a faith community in the Pride Parade.
Support for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender rights are also part of the UUA Standing on the Side of Love, a public advocacy campaign that promotes respect for the inherent worth and dignity of each person. Individuals can join this public campaign of the UUA at
Standing on the Side of Love
Photos of First Parish members conducting public witness and Standing on the Side of Love
The group strives to promote deeper knowledge and understanding of current issues in the Middle East, especially where our government or the United Nations plays a role. This is done by offering educational opportunities such as films, book discussions, and lectures. Much of the programming concerns the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. For more information e-mail MEEG [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
Paine Senior Services helps older Cambridge Residents manage safely at home. The agency is over 100 years old and is named after its founder, Jeannie Warren Paine, a member of First Parish. Members or friends of First Parish may serve on the Board of Directors, which also includes professionals from the elder care network. For more information contact Liz Aguilo, LICSW, at (617) 864-2580 or e-mail paineseniorservices [at] verizon [dot] net
The Paine Fund was established in 1905 to honor the wishes expressed by Jeannie Warren Paine in her bequest to the First Parish in Cambridge. Serving Cambridge residents, the Paine Fund responded mainly to financial distress. Gradually, Paine expanded its operations to include a wider variety of social services. In 1977, the name was changed to Paine Social Services (PSS) to more accurately reflect the work of the agency. In 2007 it was changed to Paine Senior Services to clarify its purpose and client base. Paine Senior Services is an organization of First Parish in Cambridge. However, the agency is non-sectarian and provides services regardless of financial means.
PSS is committed to providing a wide range of high quality, personalized services primarily to the elderly and their families in the City of Cambridge regardless of their financial means. In a spirit of compassion and justice, PSS offers assistance through effective counseling, preventive planning, advocacy and collaboration with community resources.
An Advisory Board administers Paine Senior Services. This board consists of members of First Parish and individuals from the Cambridge community some of whom serve the elder population in their professional roles or various civic commitments. The First Parish minister is an ex officio member of the Board.
Paine Senior Services’ Executive Director is responsible to the Board of Directors for administering the day-to-day operations of the Agency and managing the Agency’s activities to successfully accomplish its mission and achieve its goals and objectives.
The Executive Director supervises the PSS staff.
The group provides love, friendship, and support for a very tiny Unitarian congregation, Bordos, far up on the western slope of the Carpathian Alps in Transylvania. This is the Hungarian-speaking area of Romania, at the far eastern spread of the Reformation where our Unitarian heritage began over 440 years ago and continues in unbroken line to this day. The Bordos church itself is just now celebrating its 100th anniversary, having been sanctified on September 18, 1910, and the congregation eagerly awaits our contact. For further information, e-mail PartnerChurch [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org