View the First Parish Calendar
Services are 10:30 a.m. at 50 School Street
Informal summer services start on June 26
Summer services begin at 9:30 a.m.
First Parish is a Welcoming Congregation and is Fully Accessible

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


On Thursday, September 17 at 7pm the church will be presenting a special program on immigration issues, one of the major concerns in our country today. This program will be in conjunction with the Bridgewater State University (BSU) English department and other departments. Ben Carson, chair of the English Dept., has invited Margaret Regan, author of two important books on immigration to come to BSU to speak with students involved in a special multi-discipline program on campus. The students will be using her book Detained and Deported in their course. She will participate in programs and classes at BSU on Friday, September 18.

Since another of Ms. Regan’s books, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories form the Arizona-Mexico Border, was the UUA Common Read for 2011 - 2012, she has been invited, and has agreed, to do a presentation at First Parish. This will be for the general public and area U U churches. The Social Justice Committee (SJC) will be coordinating arrangements for the program on September 17th. Please share this information.

Find out more information on our facebook page!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Migration Reflections

Today's lay-led service was a discussion of migration by geographer and First Parish member James Hayes-Bohanan. Drawing on his work as a geographer and his time spent in Mexico, Central America, and the US-Mexico Borderlands, it was an attempt to bring the UU First Principle to a topic that all-too-often does disservice to the worth and dignity of individuals.

We let the music of Tish Hinojosa open the discussion, with two songs from her Homeland album. "Joaquin" is a contemporary story -- perhaps fictitious but based on thousands of realities -- of what motivates a migrant and what he leaves behind. "West Side of Town" is about the artist's own family in San Antonio, Texas. It mentions migration as the initial spark of her family's history, but thereafter is more like the Loretta Lynn classic "Coalminer's Daughter" -- in other words, the story of an ordinary family loving each other and building a life. See University of Tish, Passim Campus for more about the wisdom and beauty of this music.

James continued with readings of two posts about migration from his "main" blog, Environmental Geography. He wrote the first of these, The Human Sieve, in 2010, and it remains the most complete statement of his concerns about migration. The service did not include the 2014 update Sieve Details, which adds some economic arguments and invites the reader to consider a more radical proposal to open borders entirely.
Many calling for a wall do not realize that there already IS a wall. Nor do they realize that they are subject to random search by ICE within one hundred miles of all US borders and coastlines, including most of New England and all the major cities of the East Coast.
The second reading is a year older, and was chosen because it has a direct UU connection. The church that James and Pamela attended in Tucson has become deeply involved in a humanitarian effort to save the lives of migrants being smuggled across the few deadly zones between wall segments. One of those parishioners has famously been arrested and charged with littering -- for leaving plastic water bottles in the desert -- which of course put James in mind of that most famous Massachusetts litterbug, Arlo Guthrie.

After the service, Tom St. Thomas mentioned an important song about migration -- Woody Guthrie's "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos," better known as Deportee. Many artists have covered this powerful song about the true story of a planeload of bracero program workers whose death was little-recognized. A couple of versions stand out.

First, Johnny Cash and Johnny Rodriguez on Nashville Now:

Much more recently, the duo The Last Internationale produced a music video that includes both the song and their research of the original story. Their goal was to restore something of the dignity that was taken from them by officials who considered them something less than human.

For more thoughts on migration and related subjects, search the terms migration, sieve, or Mexico on James' blog.

Monday, July 6, 2015


ECO-FRIENDLY AIR FRESHENER Check out the new eco-friendly air freshener making its debut this month in the Unisex bathroom. The freshener contains lavender essential oil, baking soda, and water. The GSC is seeking small pump spray bottles (5-6 oz.) for the freshener. Please contact Debbie ( if you can help with smaller bottles (perhaps recycled from hair products, etc.)!! For the present time, the spray bottle will be a larger size.

 BOYCOTT BOTTLED WATER THIS SUMMER! ~Boycotting bottled water means you support the idea that public access to clean, safe water is a basic human right. We don't need to pay a corporation for it. Perhaps the most important feat of engineering ever devised by humans, access to clean water, comes right out of your faucet every day, and for that we are fortunate. Drink it!
- The commodification of water also means that the planet is being polluted by those obnoxious plastic bottles. Use (and re-use) a refillable water bottle instead. Make it a habit to bring a bottle filled with ice water with you each day as you leave your home.
 ~Have a happy and hydrated summer!

Friday, May 8, 2015


To be Auctioned May 16, 2015 at First Parish, Bridgewater First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Bridgewater is holding its Annual Goods and Services Auction the evening of Saturday May 16, 2015.  There are two travel items up for auction that we think will be of interest to members of other UU churches.

We will take sealed bids for these items by e-mail.  If a sealed bid is higher than the final live bid at the auction, the sealed bid wins.   Please send an email message with your bid to no later than midnight, Friday May 15th, 2015.   Emailed bids must be received by midnight, May 15th to be included in the bidding. (Please clearly indicate which item you are bidding on.)  

3 Nights on Star Island for 2 people.
What’s Included:  This certificate is valid for any three nights during the summer of 2015 (June 20 - September 20, 2015) pending availability. Meals and ferry transportation from Portsmouth NH are included. Note that availability may be limited during July/August and on September weekends. The most available time is likely to be August 29 – September 5. The winner must contact the Star Island to arrange the nights.  Fair Market Value $840.

About Star Island:  Star is located 6 miles of the coast of New Hampshire and Maine.  A visit to Star is a step back in time.  Star Island was founded on the traditions of Unitarian Universalism and the United Church of Christ.  Star Island’s setting is both rich in history and access to nature. There are
many opportunities to learn, explore and relax. Visit the Vaughn Cottage Museum to learn about the history of the surrounding Isles of Shoals. Investigate the Gulf of Maine ecosystem at the Rutledge Marine Lab. Relax in a rocking chair on the Oceanic Hotel porch.  Kayaks and rowboats are available to rent, and sports equipment for lawn games or a tennis match is available.  To learn more:
2 Nights at Ferry Beach for 2 - Friday & Saturday nights, September 4 & 5, 2015.
What’s Included:  Two night standard room (dormitory stay), Friday and Saturday nights, September 4th and 5th, at Ferry Beach, Saco, Maine for 2 people. Includes Saturday breakfast, lunch, an all you can eat bbq dinner, and music from 4-8pm on Saturday. (Bring linens or they are available for a $25 charge.)  This is a $110 per night per person value with 2 full meal plans for Saturday, a $96 value.  Total fair market value is $316.  The winner must contact Ferry Beach to arrange the dates.

About Ferry Beach:  Ferry Beach is a UU retreat and conference center located on a 32-acre oceanfront campus in Saco, on the coast of southern Maine.  Founded in 1901 in the traditions of Universalism, it now continues those traditions whole espousing the principles of Unitarianism.  It is a place to experience nature, community and spiritual growth.  For more information:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Opening of The Hive!

Quentin Jarvis performing the ribbon cutting honors with our DRE Sara Williams and RE Committee Chair, Laurie Lessner.

The view inside.

From today - 
Welcome to the grand opening of The Hive! The RE Committee is very excited to finally reveal this much awaited addition. Of course we wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for Frank Yeatman. Frank made this happen with his research, organization, enthusiasm, crossed T’s, and much more. He didn’t give up our dream to expand our capacity for education. We're very lucky to have so many people wanting our extra space to succeed, from increasing pledges to giving monetary and material donations, to performing the physical labor to meet codes and turn a big box into a habitable building. And of course our DRE Sara, who’s working to turn the inside into comfortable, attractive classrooms.

The extra space we get with The Hive is one of the steps we need to grow First Parish. The Hive will help attract new families and encourage them to come into our lovely community. Their helping hands will help us carry out the important work we all do here at First Parish and new people will continue to keep our atmosphere vibrant and help take it into the future.

I don’t think we’ll make that mistake, and luckily we have people here who agree and will continue to work on improving our wonderful beginnings.

We’re happy to have Quentin Jarvis, the builder of this deck and representative of the facilities committee, do the honor of cutting the ribbon and officially opening The Hive!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Works by Mark Young " Past, Present and future". Fifty years in art.

Library show; starting Monday January 5th through February 29th, 2015.
Works by Mark Young " Past, Present and future". Fifty years in art.
This is the kickoff of the " Studio and Art Center, Inc" . A new non-profit
organization to teach art, metal sculpture, painting and the other disciplines in art, Bridgewater Ma.

Library show:
There are 25 paintings and sculptures of several phases of my career, with my all newest works belonging to the The Studio & Art Center, Inc.

This show kicks off an offering of these works for sale to fund the new school. Corporate sponsors as welcome and Interior Designers, ASID and Architects etc. Commercial and residential commissions available for large projects.

Some of these works are from 1963 forward, are from the Collection of Meghan R. Young and Samuel J, Young ( In trust). There will be other shows and I will post the dates and locations.

Classes: I taught at the Fuller Museum here in Brockton, Ma. when I first came here in 2000. I will be rejoining them and others here, to set up a school to teach art. I will teaching metal sculpture, painting and the School will also feature other Instructors. I am in the process of negotiating on one of two buildings and will have this set up for spring 2015,

Contact through:

Please come and visit on January 17th at the Library, 10 am to 2pm. I will be there for the day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Are you recycling? Of course, but there are many myths about what can be recycled. The ADCouncil has some mythbusters for some of the most commonly recycled materials. Go to the site to find more mythbusting tips:

Myth: The tab is the only part of the can that is recycled.
Fact: The entire can is recyclable! In fact, it is better to keep the tabs on the can to ensure it makes it through the recycling process.

Myth You need to remove all labels before recycling glass containers.
Fact: You do not need to remove the labels on glass bottles before recycling them. The heat generated in the manufacturing process removes the labels.

Myth: You must remove your beverage container cap before recycling.
Fact: Remember: Recyclers want your caps and lids, too. Tip: Because caps can slip off conveyer belts during the recycling process, so when you empty a bottle crush it, cap it, and toss it in the recycling bin.

Myth: You are required to remove staples, labels and stickers from direct mail before recycling.
Fact: You don’t need to remove staples, labels or stickers from paper products. This material is removed during the recycling process.

Myth: Compost piles are smelly, attract pests and rodents and take a long time to be ready for reuse.
Fact: A properly managed compost pile will not attract pests and rodents and can take as short as six to eight weeks to create usable compost.

Myth: It is important to bag your grass clippings and dispose of them in a compost pile when mowing your lawn.
Fact: An alternative to bagging your grass clippings is to mow your lawn so that the grass clippings are never more than two or three inches tall so you can leave the grass clippings where they fall to decompose.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adult Religions Education at First Parish Bridgewater: "Love and Death" by Forrest Church starts Tues, Oct 21 at 7:30

We’re going to start our Adult Religious Education program this fall by doing a close reading of Love and Death by Forrest Church, long-time minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist in New York City.  The book is a series of meditations on dying and what remains behind written from the time Rev. Church was diagnosed with an incurable throat cancer in 2006 until his death in 2009 at the age of 60. 

We will be meeting Tuesdays at 7:30, starting on October 21st when we’ll meet to make introductions to each other and the book. Then we’ll meet on Oct. 28, Nov 11, 18 & 25.  We’ll be reading about 40 pages per week so there will be plenty of time to share personal stories and reactions as we read together.

I’d be happy to get copies of the book for anyone who wishes for $13.00; you can also buy it to read on any eBook reader, and there are used copies for less if you wish to order your own.  If you want me to buy a book for you, you can pay me at the first class when I’ll distribute the ones I’ve bought.

Please sign up during coffee hour, OR you can just send me an email at  Be sure to let me know if you want me to order a copy of the book for you. 
                                                                                                                - Rev. Paul

Here's my column from Bridging this Month:

From the Minister:
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life has a scene in the posh boy’s school in which the chaplain leads a prayer in morning chapel:

Chaplain: Let us praise God. O Lord....  Ooh, You are so big.... So absolutely huge.
Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and.... And barefaced flattery.
But You are so strong and, well, just so super.... Fantastic.

Needless to say, you won’t hear any prayers like this in Unitarian Universalist worship services – nor, to be clear, in any Anglican chapel services, either.  The whole worship scene in the movie is a brilliant parody of the form of a certain kind of praying that seems – well, toadying, as the piece points out.  As in so many other things, we Unitarian Universalists are quite clear what we do not do in our worship services, but we’re often less clear about what it is that we do – and why.
 One way of understanding “worship” is to look at its origins and etymology; there we will find an older understanding – “worth-ship” – the valuing and holding up of things of worth, the things, values, principles that mean the most to us.  It’s interesting to remember that “your worship” was in an earlier age a way of greeting certain revered human beings – nobles or, more likely, high officials in one of the church hierarchies.  Obviously none of our ministers will ever be addressed as “Your Worship.”
My understanding of our Unitarian Universalist religion (or faith tradition, or shared path) is that we are joined together in a journey of life which we share with faithful people around the world in many different religious and non-religious traditions; that we are all working on how to live our lives in ways that are meaningful and productive; that we need company on this journey as we are born, as we grow, as we love and as we lose.  All of these different paths have different ways of expressing what they believe and why, what matters and what doesn’t matter, and above all how we should then live.  So we gather to worship and we say (as one of my favorite Calls to Worship puts it):
May we be reminded here of our highest aspirations,
And inspired to bring our gifts of love and service to the altar of humanity.
For me, “worship” is an expression of how we remind ourselves of what is most important when we gather each week.  Ken Patton, one of our great humanist ministers expresses this idea of worship in these words from our hymnal:
Let us worship not in bowing down, not with closed eyes and stopped ears.
Let us worship with the opening of all the windows of our beings,
with the full outstretching of our spirits.
Let us worship and let us learn to love.  (#437)
So that’s how I understand what we do in our “worship” services.  Our theme for our services during October is “Worship” and we’ll be hearing other perspectives at each services – including a music/hymn sing service on October 26thfor which we need you to sign up with your favorite hymns during coffee hour for the next few weeks.  

In Faith,

Rev. Paul

Monday, September 22, 2014

10th Annual Celebration for Peace

Read the nice article in the Enterprise.

Watch "This mini-documentary explores how Bridgewater, MA residents and Bridgewater State University staff, faculty and students think we can create a world characterized by peace, safety, and respect. This short movie was developed and produced as a class project in Bridgewater State University's Communication Studies 228 (Introduction to Communication and Culture), to be shown at a campus event commemorating the United Nation's International Day of Peace."

Read Rev. Paul Sprecher's sermon, "Covenant of Nations".