Summer Gatherings

Summer gatherings, 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.

The gatherings will be held in the Vestry Sundays at 10 a.m. Come and engage in the discussion. Zoom access will be available, but we hope you will give us the gift of your presence — it makes a difference. Covid risk is currently at low and masking is optional. 

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.

Summer Gatherings 2023

Here’s what we did last summer. Stay tuned for 2024 Summer offerings.

June 25
Possibilities – Join us for a summer service on the challenges and opportunities afforded by the ambiguity of liminal space as our congregation begins to move beyond Rev. Stephanie’s ministry.  At the end of the summer we will move into an interim time of delineating our three spheres of need: programming for the next two years, evolving and deepening the congregational vision of what is possible for our future together, and calling a new minister.
Led by Laurel Whitehouse; Lay Minister Roger Horine.

July 2
Addiction and Recovery. We will examine the roots of addiction and paths of recovery.   For many people, addiction begins at the edges of pain, and whatever we use to ease that pain may lead to addiction. Too often, the path of recovery is full of shame and isolation. This service will bring light and love to this journey. “How can we recover?” and “How can we support those in recovery?” are key questions that will be raised. This examination is not limited to substance addiction but all forms of addiction. “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of sobriety is human connection” (J Hari).
Led by Patrick Foley, Lay minister TBD.

July 9 – OPEN

July 16
Can We Find Meaning in Making and Mending? For almost all of our history, since humans wove their first basket, we made much of what we used, and the things we didn’t make were made by someone we knew. Today we make very little and mend less. And moreover, we don’t even understand how the things in our lives were made or how to fix them if they break. Does it matter? Is there a spiritual cost to this dissociation? We will read and discuss a few passages from Nina MacLaughlin’s Hammer Head, The Making of a Carpenter, Sandra Goldmark’s Fixation, and Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft. Joel will also share his experience as a member of the Fixit First team at the Weston Art and Innovation Center.
Led by Joel Angiolillo; Lay Minister Roger Horine.

July 23
I Know There’s AN Answer – A service based around the idea that those of us who would practice a liberal form religion recognize that there can be many paths to becoming the fullest expression of our ideals, as individuals and as a society. We may be “a faith without a creed” but we must nevertheless have faith that our Principles, Sources, and practices will lead us to an answer, maybe more than one, that will serve us well at each moment on our way “to that high cause of greater understanding.”
Led by Dr. Matthew Shear; Lay Minister Debbie Levens. 

July 30
Ukraine and China: Similarities and Differences – In the twentieth century, Ukraine and China attempted to establish Marxist-Leninist-style socialism in a Cold War alliance with Soviet Russia against the United States. In the twenty-first century, both polities are trying to implement market socialism in cooperation and competition with the United States. The ironic result has been open warfare between Ukraine and Russia over some Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine and the risk of warfare between China and the United States over the status of the island of Taiwan. Under these conditions, what are the prospects for peace in these two world regions?
Led by Roger Des Forges; Lay Minister TBD.

August 6
Earth Based Rituals and Meditation
Led by Suzanne Reitz.  Lay Minister Julia Kenney

August 13
The Evolution of AI and its Impact on Social Justice – Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way since its inception in the 1950s. Since then, it has transformed various aspects of our society, like medical diagnosis and criminal sentencing. We will discuss how AI can be both a catalyst for progress and a source of concern as we strive to create a more just and equitable world.

As we delve into the rapid evolution of tools like ChatGPT, we will identify opportunities for leveraging this technology to promote social justice. We will reflect on the complex relationships between AI and social justice, emphasizing the importance of ethical considerations, accountability, and transparency in the development of AI systems. We’ll conclude the service with a balanced summary of the promise and pitfalls of AI.
Led by Chauncey Wilson; Lay Minister Erik Felton.

August 20
First Parish Military Veterans –
This Sunday’s service will feature some of First Parish members talking about their time of military service. It will begin with Claude Williamson recounting some memories from his time in World War II, and then move into a facilitated discussion about the military with Vietnam vets Ross Trimby and Chauncey Wilson. Come for the stories and stay to celebrate Claude’s 104th birthday!
Facilitated by Ross Trimby and Chauncey Wilson

August 27
Body, Mind and Spirit Practices for a Peaceful World –
Join our new interim minister, Rev. Deborah for a morning exploring simple body, mind and spirit practices designed to bring more peace to your life and to our world. After a few stories from her own spiritual journey, Rev. Deborah will lead us in some gentle movements (standing will be optional), breathing exercises, and quiet inner focus (also known as meditation) as she invites us listen for the inner wisdom that arises. There will be time for sharing.
Led by Rev. Deborah Bennett

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>"