Summer Gatherings

Thanks to the generosity and willingness of so many fellow parishioners, Ted Barnes and Nathalie Thompson have lined up an engaging series of summer gatherings (otherwise referred to as summer services) to be held June 19th – August 28th, in the Vestry at 10am. These services, typically led by parishioners, offer a chance to come together for informal discussion and reflection on different topics and experiences. They include a presentation, readings, prayers, meditations, the sharing of joys and sorrows and, we hope, some lively discussion. A Lay Minister will be present each Sunday.

Please join us in the Vestry if you can. Zoom access will be available, but we hope you will give us the gift of your presence– it makes a difference. We will observe all the protocols set forth by our Covid task force, currently to be masked and vaccinated in a well-ventilated space.

Following the service attendees will adjourn to the Commons for social time and light refreshments. Those on Zoom can share in an online community time (no break out rooms).

If you are interested in attending our Summer Gatherings via zoom, please sign up for our e-blasts to receive log-in information. Contact if you need help or have questions.

Regular services resume on Sunday, September 11.

2022 Summer Services Schedule
(10:00 a.m. Sundays, Vestry)

June 19
Understanding China Today through its History. Led by Roger Des Forges. Lay Minister, Ted Barnes.
The late and great Harvard historian, John King Fairbank, some of whose relatives still live in the vicinity of Sudbury-Wayland, once suggested that “We Americans would understand China better if the Parthenon were in Athens, Georgia and the Forum were in Rome, New York.” In other words, China has a much longer and more continuous cultural history than the United States and we need to try to understand that history if we are to understand China today.

June 26
Hootenany. Led by Ted Barnes and Dan Lewis. Lay Minister, Ted Barnes
Join a variety of First Parish musicians to share music together. Come to play, sing along to some songs, or just listen and enjoy.

July 3
Stillness Speaks. Led by Patrick Foley. Lay Minister, Erik Felton
How do we return to the beauty of silence in a world that seems to be full of more and more noise? Our stillness can also be revolutionary, and our silence can also be a powerful voice of change. Our service will focus on calming the mind in the storm rather than waiting for the storm to end.

July 10
Telling The Bees. Led by Ann Gordon and Nan Jahnke. Lay Minister, Kathie Schmidt
Telling the bees about life events — a death, a birth, a new home — is an ancient tradition. It was believed that keeping important family news from the bees might cause them to stop making honey, or leave the hive, or even die. Humans have had a long and beautiful relationship with honey bees, and many of the world’s religions hold bees and honey in special regard. What is it about bees? The First Parish Bee Team will talk about what bees teach us.

July 17
Deepening. Led by Laurel Whitehouse. Lay Minister, Roger Horine
This hour will be an excursion into the delights and challenges of living into Principle 4, the independent search for truth and meaning. Readings and practices will dip a toe into the waters of living with hearts wide open, developing generosity of spirit and discerning who each of us is meant to be and what work is ours to do.

July 24
Can Shakespeare Teach Us Anything About Leading the Good Life? Led by Joel Angiolillo. Lay Minister, Erik Felton
The philosopher George Santayana wrote “Shakespeare is remarkable among the greater poets for being without a philosophy and without a religion.” But is this true? Together we will read a number of scenes and soliloquies in his plays to guide a discussion on how they might speak to us today, 400 years later, about life, love and our responsibilities to others.

July 31
Finding Hope in a Hole in the Ground. Led by Jean Milburn. Lay Minister, Kathie Schmidt
Having an “Abrahamic concept of land” means thinking that everything in the world is made for humans. The environmental movement is failing because we feel righteous about abusing the land, justifying our actions as property rights. As scripture fails us and our planetary environment collapses, some of us find peace and hope in restoring native plants to their natural homes.

August 7th
On Being Late. Led by E. A. Miller Mlcak. Lay Minister, Lynne Morrison
Lateness carries with the pejorative of procrastination, of being slow to understand, to arrive, act, to “get with the program.” For the timely, there’s the familiar impatience of waiting. With all the cultural admonitions to be early and quick, what can we learn when we are late? This service will explore the spiritual discernment possible in lateness, in coming late to the table, in accepting the things and people and feelings that do not show up “on time.”

August 14 NO SERVICE

August 21
Returning to Our Beloved Conversations. Led by Alyssa Lee, Ministerial Intern. Lay Minister, TBA.
Several First Parishioners, along with our Ministerial Intern Alyssa Lee, participated in the Beloved Conversations program this past spring. This program, run by Meadville Lombard Theological School, focuses on the internal work we each need to do as we engage in a deeper understanding of race, racism and white supremacy culture. We will look at how the lessons they learned are showing up in their lives, where they are continuing to grow, and highlight some of the resources that resonated with them.

August 28
Lifelong Learning. Led by The Rev. Dr. Stephanie May. Lay Minister, Lynne Morrison
We all know that babies and young children have extraordinary abilities to learn. And, we’ve heard it said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But does this mean that adults should stop learning new things? Reflecting on her recent experience of trying to learn to play the guitar as an adult, Rev. Stephanie asks us all to consider what new learning might be on our horizon? (And yes, she’ll play the guitar in the service.)



Online Donations and Weekly Offering

All unspecified donations made during the service will be used to support the programs of First Parish. Once a month we share our Sunday donations with a deserving organization. Thank you for your support!

Donation Options:

  • Give online
  • Text your tax-deductible donation to 833-264-0104 (no dollar sign).
    Please have your credit card available the first time you text.
  • Download the Vanco Mobile Faith Engagement app (Apple) (GooglePlay)
  • By check to First Parish - please indicate in the memo line "Sunday Donation - <Date and/or Share Organization>"