First Parish Church UU, Ashby, MA
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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
Casual Sunday theme: Another Springtime!

A "Casual Sunday" is a quiet morning of fellowship and reflection, with no formal church service. We gather in the Parish Hall to share stories, readings, poetry, music and videos on the theme of the service.

Video note: Since we have no Internet connection at the church, send a link to YouTube or other videos to Ward several days before the service.

hospitality: John McKendry

2:00 PM
FPC Outing: Boston Jazz Voices in Concert

Boston Jazz Voices is an 18-voice a cappella ensemble devoted to vocal jazz. They sing sophisticated and complex vocal arrangements which sound lush and fabulous.

See and hear Boston Jazz Voices perform And So It Goes, To Everything There is a Season, and Scarborough Fair on YouTube.

The concert is open to the public, free of charge, and is sponsored by the TPL Endowment, the Friends of the Townsend Seniors, and a grant from MCC.

Carpools leave Ashby Common at 1:30 pm for the free concert starting at 2:00 pm.

at: Townsend Public Library in Townsend, MA

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.

See the Passover Seder Announcement for the latest Seder Dinner Roster & head count.

Sun 16 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Who Is Christ for Us?" by Rev. Bruce Taylor

As Unitarian Universalists we sometimes speak of Jesus as a wisdom teacher and prophet – one of many. But how shall we speak of Christ? There are many dimensions to the question. On this Easter Sunday, we consider the question of Jesus as Messiah – to us, and to the world – from our progressive and pluralistic perspective.

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.

musician: Stephan Arsenault

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?

musicians: Lizards in the Hayloft

hospitality: Noël McGonigle

12:00 PM
Annual Meeting
May 2017
Sun 7 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "No Words" by Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris

"Post-truth" was chosen as the 2016 word of the year by editors of the Oxford English Dictionary. Post-truth. Fake news. Alternative facts. In the context of politics in the United States these days, words often fail to mean the way they used to and often challenge our sense of what is truth and who is trustworthy. Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris's sermon explores what happens when words fail us.

Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris serves as Interim Minister with the First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist. She has served in three previous Interim positions, as well as serving our larger family of faith as a UUA consultant for Ethics in Congregational Life and for JUUST Change Consultancy and on the UUA staff as Director for Congregational Services. She came to the UUA from ministry with the Community Church of New York in Manhattan.

Raised a Southern Baptist, Tracey discovered Unitarian Universalism during high school with the help of a friend and a class in World Religions. When her grandmother died on Easter Sunday in 1971 she had to decide whether the Southern Baptist Church could minister to her or whether this newfound faith of Unitarian Universalism was where she should turn. She chose the UU church and found the saving message she was searching for.

Tracey's husband, the Rev. George Robinson, served this congregation in the mid 1980's. After moving to New York City, George and Tracey bought the First Parish parsonage. She returned to Ashby in late 1995 when she joined the UUA staff and moved in while George remained in New York serving the UU congregation in Flushing, Queens. He died quite unexpectedly in September 2002.

2:00 PM -
3:30 PM
FPC Outing: Vintage Vocal Quartet in Concert

The Vintage Vocal Quartet brings to life the sweet harmonies of the big band era, with each member singing harmony and playing an instrument (piano, bass, guitar and trumpet). Their repertoire is drawn from vocal harmony hits of the big band era, like Glenn Miller's Modernaires, the Nat 'King' Cole trio, Tommy Dorsey's Pied Pipers, The Delta Rhythm Boys, and the Andrews Sisters.

See the Quartet perform "Undecided", "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and "Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring" on YouTube.

The concert is open to the public, free of charge, and presented in memory of former library trustee Gilbert 'Gil' Tremblay.

Carpools leave Ashby Common at 1:15 pm for the free concert starting at 2:00 pm.

at: Leominster Public Library in Leominster, MA

Sun 14 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Practices of Presence" by Rev. Bruce Taylor

What makes us human is the quality of our encounters. Many of us live with divided attention: multi-tasking, running on auto-pilot, living in the past or future. What would it be like to be fully present to ourselves, to one another, to beauty, to the richness of the everyday world? Today's sermon explores some effective ways of bringing our whole being into the present moment, and the consequences of doing this.

Sun 21 10:00 AM
Worship Service
Sun 28 10:00 AM
Worship Service: "Original Blessing" by Rev. Bruce Taylor

Creation Spirituality is an ancient tradition that finds its expression in many of the world's religions, the insights of mystics, and our present-day ecological and environmental movements. It emphasizes the feminine aspects of God, original blessing over original sin, and the sacred relationship between humanity and the natural world. Today we explore this vibrant theology through the work of Matthew Fox, a major proponent.

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
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