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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mama Charlotte at BSU Monday

These are busy times at BSU & First Parish. Here is yet another great opportunity: Mama Charlotte Hill will be returning to BSU Monday evening, March 28. She and her husband Peter Hill left Kansas City at the height of the work of the Black Panthers, and have continued their social activism in exile in Tanzania. Charlotte is a warm, captivating personality whom I had the pleasure of meeting during her visit to BSU last year. Many BSU students have enjoyed meeting Charlotte and Peter at their project/home in Tanzania. Come hear her poetry and experience the magic!

Monday, March 28
7:00 PM
Maxwell Library Heritage Room (near the main entrance)

Guest Speaker from Egypt

From the First Parish Social Justice Committee:

All are invited to meet with Professor Naglaa Hassan of Bridgewater State University, a visiting professor from Egypt, on Mon., April 4th.

At 7:00 p.m. at First Parish Church, 50 School St., Bridgewater. She will be discussing her views of Egyptian culture and life in Egypt in light of the current situation there. Also, she will share information about Islam which is often misunderstood by others. Please join us to hear her views and to make her welcome as she lives and works in our neighborhood.

You can read a bit about one of Dr. Hassan's recent appearances at BSU on the BSU newslog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird at Messiah Baptist -- April 2

At the invitation of a friend, Pam and I attended the staged reading of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird at the Lakeville Public Library this afternoon. We were delighted to see several friends there, and to learn that some of our new friends at Messiah Baptist Church were part of this very moving production.

Local director Matthew Bruffee worked with an amazing cast from Lakeville, Middleborough, and Brockton to perform Christopher Sergel's adaptation of the tale, using very spare staging and moving integration of music in the performance. The dramatic reading was followed by dialog between the cast members and audience. The co-producers of the work are Louise Dery-Wells of “Arts From The Heart” and Jean Hamler of the Theatrical Ministry of  Messiah Baptist.

The third and final performance of this work will be on Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the Messiah Baptist Church in Brockton. (See the announcement of our February joint service for maps and directions.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sacco and Venzetti Film in Raynham

Both Bridgewater and Raynham are currently reading the book Dark Tide as community-read events (known in Bridgewater as One Book One Community). As part of the festivities, the Raynham Public Library is showing a documentary film on the Sacco and Venzetti case. The film will be shown next Tuesday evening, March 29, at 6:00 p.m. at the Raynham Public Library.

In the course of reading Dark Tide, Pam and I discovered the  Bridgewater connection to the famous case, which we discussed last year on our Bridgewaters Project blog. Contact me -- James Hayes-Bohanan -- if you would like to carpool to next Tuesday's viewing of the film. Parking at the Raynham Public Library is quite limited.

Archbishop Romero Anniversary

I began my path in Unitarian Universalism when I was hired as the Director of Religious Education at the UU Church of Silver Spring, Maryland, where I worked for just one year: 1984 to 1985. The church is located in the suburbs of Washington, DC, which at that time was the center of Salvadoran migration to the United States. At that point in the middle of the civil war, tens of thousands of Salvadorans were in the DC area seeking asylum under international human-rights conventions. (They were usually denied, though Eastern Europeans were routinely winning asylum cases during the same period.)

At the start of that war, government-hired assassins killed the Archbishop of the country while he was saying mass. This was a truly incredible crime, committed by an ally of the United States, yet the U.S. government stood by the government of El Salvador for a decade more of war.

Today is the anniversary of that priest's killing, which took place on March 24, 1980. I lit a candle in his memory during a brief service with my church school students in 1985, and have done so on this anniversary ever since, as I will do this evening.

President Obama was in El Salvador just yesterday and visited Archbishop Romero's grave, but did not really bear witness to the events. More thoughts on this missed opportunity are on my personal blog.

Coincidentally, today is also the anniversary of the March 24, 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Justice Sunday Follow-up

Yesterday's service, led by the Social Justice Committee, was part of a continent-wide recognition of the work of UUSC. The Justice Sunday page on the UUSC web site provides more information about the day's meaning.

As mentioned during the service, the original emphasis on Haiti -- which remains in great need of support -- has been broadened to include the overwhelming need for assistance in Japan. The UUA have quickly come together to mobilize the resources of both organizations in support of the people of Japan. Those "resources" of course, include members of First Parish. Read about the joint commitment or go to the UUA online donation page.

The service included the hymn "Our World Is One World," which is number 134 in our Singing the Living Tradition. I noticed that the song's tune is named CHERNOBYL and that it was published by Cecily Taylor just two years after the disaster there. I have been looking for more information about the origins of this hymn, and will post it here if I find it. Meanwhile, if anybody knows the story of this hymn, please let me know directly or share it through the "comment" link below.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19: Rights in Humanitarian Crises

On March 19, the Social Justice Committee will lead our morning worship, with a discussion of human rights in the midst of humanitarian crises. The presentation draws on the experience of the service arm of our denomination, the UUSC. Members of First Parish are strong supporters of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), which is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. Through a combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots organizations, UUSC promotes economic rights, advances environmental justice, defends civil liberties, and preserves the rights of people in times of humanitarian crisis.

The UUSC introduces the problem of human rights in humanitarian crises as follows:
International humanitarian law establishes that all people affected by humanitarian crises have an equal right to aid and assistance with dignity. Our experience at the grassroots with the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Pakistan have taught us that this right is one of the first casualties of a crisis.
International humanitarian law establishes that all people affected by humanitarian crises have an equal right to aid and assistance with dignity. Our experience at the grassroots with the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Pakistan have taught us that this right is one of the first casualties of a crisis.

We invite you to join us at 10:30 for a service centered on this theme, and afterward for fellowship and conversation in our Upper Parish Hall, where snacks and fair-trade coffee will be served.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Messiah/First Parish Partnership on BTV

Bridgewater Television (BTV) produced a nice, one-minute video about the recent project in which Messiah Baptist and First Parish worked together to reduce hunger in our community. Learn more about the project from the web site created by the youth who led this effort: We Can Help Food Drive.