First Parish Church of Ashby, Massachusetts
Unitarian Universalist

978-386-5660 •
Calendar of Events
March 2017
Sun 5 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Enough ... Enough!" by Loretta CR Hubley

It is a relevant topic for our times that the secret of happiness is both Gratitude and Perseverance.

musicians: Lizards in the Hayloft

hospitality: Noël McGonigle

Sun 12 2:00 AM
Spring Forward or you'll arrive at church for coffee hour
10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Redemption Song" by Rev. Jeanne Nieuwejaar, UU Congregation in Milford

The word redemption may have an archaic ring to it, but it is, in fact, a principle that is central to our liberal religious faith. Our affirmation of the worth and dignity of every individual is hollow unless we also affirm our commitment to help reclaim the value of individual lives that have become lost or broken. This is the work of redemption.

In this service, we will look in particular at the challenge of reclaiming the value of the lives of those who are serving time in prison, reflecting through the lens of our faith on this very troubling issue.

Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, ordained to the ministry in 1987 after nearly twenty years of work as a religious educator.

From 1987 – 2000, she and her husband Olav served as co-ministers at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Milford, New Hampshire. Together they then served as interim ministers in Cambridge, England and Manhasset, Long Island, then for four years as District Executives of the New Hampshire Vermont District of Unitarian Universalist Churches.

Following several years of interim ministry in NH, VT and MA. Jeanne retired in 2012 and is enjoying life at her long-time home in Milford. Her greatest passion in retirement is the volunteer work she does at a women's prison, and community work to support women after their release from prison.

Jeanne has authored and co-authored several books, most recently Fluent in Faith, published by Skinner House in 2012.

11:30 AM
Potluck Lunch after the service
Sun 19 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "The Pause of Vulnerability" by Rev. Joy Christi Przestwor, Universalist Church of West Hartford CT

This interactive Sunday service will look to our definition of vulnerability and how perhaps pausing and reaching out can enhance our own compassion and caring. How does the intertwining of these touch our lives and call us through our own willingness or unwillingness to be vulnerable to the incredible mysteries of life that unfold before us each and every day? Come and explore your insights with one another!

Rev. Joy Christi received her M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and her MBA from Anna Maria College. She continued multi-faith, esoteric, and mystical studies at Sancta Sophia Seminary where she was ordained in 2012. She became a UU candidate in 2009 but was delayed in pursuing dual affiliation due to multiple family illnesses. She moved to CT in 2014 after serving on several committees and the Board of Trustees of the UU congregation in Asheville, NC.

Presently she is the Affiliated Community Minister at the Universalist Church of West Hartford, a member of the first cohort of the Spiritual Guidance Certificate program at Rowe Retreat Center, and is working toward chaplaincy certification. She will meet with the UU Ministerial Fellowship Committee for dual affiliation in the fall of 2018. Rev. Joy Christi believes deeply that "Beloved Community" is the foundation for resistance and wholeness in her ministry.

musician: Stephan Arsenault

hospitality: Norm Pierce

12:00 PM
Parish Committee meeting – all are welcome
Mon 20 6:29 AM
First Day of Spring
Sat 25 5:30 PM
Ashby Sugar Supper

Reservations required – tickets are $10. The supper may be a sell out. You can reserve a ticket by calling Anne & Jerry Manney at 978-386-5579.

The Sugar Supper benefits the Ashby 250th Celebration Committee.

Sun 26 9:45 AM
Visiting the UU Congregation in Milford – "They Called Her Moses"

Once a month during snow season, we attend a worship service at a nearby UU church.

This Sunday we're traveling to Milford, NH, where Carolyn McCreary (Music Director) & Nancy Baker are leading a music service featuring a cantata based on the life of Harriet Tubman. A narration and songs of her time tell the story of a journey to freedom on the Underground Railroad, which prior to the Civil War led thousands of slaves to the free states and Canada. This is a Whole Congregation Worship Service for all ages.

Carpools leave Ashby Common at 9:45 am for the service beginning at 10:30 am.

April 2017
Sun 2 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Investing Our Talents" by Rev. Bruce Taylor

To speak about money (even during the canvass season) can make us a bit uneasy, linked as it is to issues of freedom, security and self-worth. Perhaps that's why Jesus spoke of money so often, and in parables: wisdom stories that defy a simple interpretation, opening us up to new ways of being. Today, we reflect on The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) to see what we can learn.

musician: Stephan Arsenault

hospitality: Noël McGonigle

Sun 9 10:00 AM
Worship Service

hospitality: John McKendry

Mon 10
First Day of Passover

Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, begins at sundown.

Sat 15 6:00 PM
Passover Seder

The First Parish Ashby Passover celebration will commence in the Parish Hall at sundown. The Passover seder, as we celebrate it in the Unitarian Universalist church, is open to everyone and shared in a spirit of peace and justice for all. We use a progressive Haggadah (or "script"), sing traditional songs in Hebrew and in English, and enjoy fantastic food cooked by participants.

Guests, members, family and folks of all ages are invited! Please RSVP to Ward Clark.

Sun 16 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Inter-faith as Inter-Being" by Rev. Bruce Taylor

Easter stands at the confluence of Pagan, Jewish and Christian traditions. What are the implications of treating this holiday as an interfaith encounter? In today's service, we reflect on Easter as an opportunity to appreciate the integrity, and the deep interdependency, of our many sources.

hospitality: Liz Strong

Tue 18
Last Day of Passover

Passover ends at sundown.

Sun 23 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "The Five Practices of Dharmic Christianity" by Wil Darcangelo, First Parish Church UU of Fitchburg

Much has been said about the dogma of religious Christianity. Many of us are greatly challenged by it. But hidden inside the jewel-encrusted bottle lingers still a deeper message, a life practice. This service will explore the five practices of the dharma of Christianity: Nonresistance, Forgiveness, Compassion, Hospitality, and Empowerment.

Wil Darcangelo is an MDiv/MAGIL candidate at Andover Newton Theological School and anticipates graduating this coming May. He is the Spiritual Coordinator at First Parish UU of Fitchburg, where he has served since 2014. He is the founding Executive Director of an all-ages creative empowerment program called Tribe Music Mentorship Project, currently in its seventh year. Wil is also a stained glass artist and a carpenter.

Wil writes a weekly column on spiritual optimism in the information age, "Hopeful Thinking," which appears on his blog and in the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

11:30 AM
Potluck Lunch after the service
Sun 30 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Coyote Goes to Church" by Rev. Bruce Taylor

Coyote, the trickster deity, plays an important part in Native American folklore and spiritual practice. Alternately cunning and foolish, he brings wisdom by overturning cherished assumptions, testing the bounds of the status quo and revealing new possibilities. What would an encounter with Coyote look like, to Unitarian Universalists in the twenty-first century?

hospitality: Noël McGonigle

12:00 PM
Annual Meeting
Parish Committee Martha Morgan
Property Mark Haines
Collector Cedwyn Morgan
Treasurer Bill Arnold
Clerk Stephan Arsenault
Trustees Nancy Haines
Music Stephan Arsenault
Pastoral Care Martha Morgan
Social Justice Kathy Becker
Communication Liz Strong
Community Council Nancy Haines
Membership Ward & Barnabas
Minister Rev. Bruce C. Taylor