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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, October 29, 2014

GREEN SANCTUARY COMMITTEE’S Green Tip of the Month

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: http://www.iwanttoberecycled.org/toolkit/spread/Recycling_Mythbusters.pdf

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 minister@firstparishbridgewater.org.  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.
Amen

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".

Sunday, August 31, 2014

GREEN SANCTUARY COMMITTEE’s Green Tip of the Month

The next time you reach for your stapler, try this instead! Use (then re-use and re-use…) a paperclip. If all of the country’s 75 million white-collar workers used just one fewer staple each day, there would be a daily saving of 5500 lbs. of steel—that’s about 900 tons a year. Teachers and students, take note!!
(from 1,001 Ways to Save the Earth, by Joanna Yarrow)

Friday, August 1, 2014

On the Water

Our music director Denise Haskins and I led the July 27 summer service based on our own experiences "On the Water." Denise is an experienced sailor who often takes parishioners out on her boat C Major and also enjoys leading fresh-water outings in kayaks. Although I have always enjoyed canoes and kayaks, I have only recently begun spending a lot of time on the water, as an active member of Whaling City Rowing. The club's replica whaleboats are moored in the same harbor as C Major, so we are often in the same harbor.

For the service, we invited everyone to share the places where they most enjoy being on or near water, and we explored what water experiences mean to us. The visual focus for this service included a number of books about water -- both fresh and salt -- from James' office. All of the titles are in the "On the Water" section of our online store.

Following the service, the Hayes-Bohanan family took visiting Wisconsin relatives to Salem for some family history. We also visited the Peabody Essex Museum, which is hosting a particularly nautical exhibit through September 1. Turner and the Sea is a deep exploration of the work of England's greatest maritime artist, who was also a teacher of the craft of marine painting. His work is varied, but is especially noteworthy for his depiction of shipwrecks -- both natural and military. The most riveting part of the exhibit is "Trafalgar Squared," which  puts the viewer between two different paintings of the Battle of Trafalgar, at which England lost Admiral Nelson and many other men. On loan from the navy hospital in which they are normally displayed, these paintings compel the viewer to contemplate the grim realities of naval warfare.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Today in UU History - Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes "The Dial"


On this date in 1840 the Transcendentalists, lead by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published the first issue of "The Dial" in Boston. Read more here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

UUnited Youth Ministry

Our youth group is joining together with 7 other local UU communities to make the UUnited Youth Ministry. Let's give them our support for this fabulous opportunity! Stay on the lookout for information on how you'll be able to donate to this cause.