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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Services

First Parish -- like most UU churches -- has a "church year" that corresponds to a typical school year, with summers reserved for less formal services. In our case, the services are usually held in the Upper Parish Hall, and they are held at 9:30 a.m., in hopes of benefiting from some morning coolness.

The final "regular" service this year will be in the sanctuary at 10:30 on June 12. Our annual "picnic" service will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Island Grove Park in Abington.

Thereafter, summer services will be in Upper Parish Hall at 9:30. The services are informal and are led by members and friends of First Parish.

June 26 -- Frank Yeatman: The Real Differences Between Liberal & Conservatives
July 3 -- No service
July 10 -- Green Sanctuary Committee: The Life & Legacy of Rachel Carson
July 17 -- Betty Gilson: The Chocolate Dilemma
July 24 -- Susan Holton/First Principles Project: Standing on the Side of Love: How Do We Do That?
July 31 -- James Hayes-Bohanan: Coffee & Land Mines
August 7 -- Lori Tunewicz-Gavin: Topic TBD
August 14 -- Vernon Domingo: Travels through Southeast Asia
August 21 -- Open
August 28 -- Kathy Keenan: Topic TBD

Please check the blog throughout the summer for updates on TBD (to-be-determined) services.

June 19 Service: At Island Grove Park

As is the custom at First Parish, the last service of our church year is combined with a picnic gathering. This year, for the second time, the service will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Island Grove Park in Abington. The service will be in a lovely location and will be jointly led by Rev. Ed Hardy and Rev Bob Thayer of the Channing Church in Rockland.

Bring lawn chairs and lunch to enjoy this service with our neighbors from Rockland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I Like About UU

During last Sunday's intergenerational service, children -- and interested adults -- were given paper, crayons, and the opportunity to draw something that represents what we like about coming to First Parish Bridgewater.

I took the paper and crayons without anything particular in mind. I like many things about First Parish, but I have to admit that the first thing that came to mind was coffee hour: both the conviviality and the source of the coffee.

Please see my coffee pages for more about the beverage.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Religion and Sex Quiz

During this morning's service, Rev. Ed mentioned the Religion and Sex Quiz that appears in today's New York Times. Nicholas Kristof uses the quiz to introduce his review of Jennifer Wright Knust's cleverly-titled new book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire. (A purchase made through this link benefits First Parish Bridgewater.)

The arguments made by Kristof and Knust echo those made by a few years ago by Canadian activist Vaughn Roste in an article entitled Biblical marriage: A bad source for debate

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What do UUs have to do with the history of Mother's Day?

Julia Ward Howe
Unitarian Julia Ward Howe founded Mother's Day in 1870 as a way of activating women to work for peace. It did not take long before the holiday became the commercialized event it is today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is Liberal Religion a Saving Faith?

Submitted by Korin Zigler for the Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry:

The sermon preached May 1 at the UU Church in Philadelphia by the Reverend Nate Walker is entitled "Is Liberal Religion a Saving Faith?"  Nineteen minutes long and full of passion and unapologetic vigor, the sermon insists that we as Unitarian Universalists "must be the ethical agenda-setters of our time" by recognizing that killing animals in order to eat them is unethical.  Reverend Walker encourages us to recognize "the inherent worth and dignity of every BEING," in that revolutionary way that our spiritual forefathers insisted on the recognition that slavery and the oppression of women was unethical, even though their views were wildly unpopular.

Click the embedded YouTube version below, or see the clip on the UUCP site.

An Invitation

We had planned on having a special Worship Service on May 22 with members of Messiah Baptist Church of Brockton as our guests. However, they are now expecting a special guest of their own. Gov. Deval Patrick will be visiting them for a signing of his book
"A Reason to Believe".
The date for their visit in Bridgewater will be rescheduled. Watch for the announcement.
The May 22 service will still be special, but with a different focus. Please join us for the 10:30 a.m. worship.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Run to Home Base

As he mentioned during announcements today, First Parish member Matt Foster will be running in the 2011 Run to Home Base event on Sunday, May 22. The purpose of this 9k run is to raise funds for veterans returning from Afghanistan or Iraq (or both!) with insufficient support for combat stress and/or traumatic brain injury (TMI). The event also helps to increase awareness of the often-hidden sacrifices being made by today's soldiers, whether or not they are officially in combat roles.

Matt is a bit over halfway toward his fund-raising goal. Visit Matt's Fundraiser Page to learn more and perhaps to make a contribution.

We can learn more about the stresses of combat and the sacrifices born by veterans from BSU graduate and former combat medic Michael Anthony, who tells of his experience in Mass Casualties, which is both a book and a blog.

Auction Coffee

Kelly Greenlee's amazing desserts have become a much-anticipated attraction at First Parish's annual service auction, and last night's offerings did not disappoint. In an effort to do some justice to the quality of the desserts, I serve some good coffee.  I promised those present that I would share a little information on the coffees that were offered this time.

The regular coffee was Selva Negra dark roast, from the La Hammonia farm on Selva Negra Coffee Estate, which I have visited during each of my five study tours (so far) in Nicaragua. It is always the most popular coffee at the annual coffee tasting event organized by students in my Secret Life of Coffee class. This coffee is not fair-trade, because Selva Negra is one large estate, rather than a cooperative of small farms. It is, however, recognized by the Rainforest Alliance as a socially and environmentally sustainable farm, and I can certainly vouch for that certification. I know the farm well, including both temporary and permanent worker housing and dining areas. Selva Negra is a leader in sustainability, where a thoroughly integrated approach connects the coffee farm, hotel, food cultivation, energy, and waste streams. During the peak harvest and tourism seasons, many hundreds of people are living on the farm, and almost no waste goes off-site. In addition, a large portion of the farm is set aside as a biosphere reserve known for orchids, birds, and even primates. You can order Selva Negra coffee through its web site or through JavaVino in Atlanta.

The decaf coffee is roasted at Dean's Beans in Orange, Massachusetts, a leader in organic and fair-trade coffee. Dean Cycon was a human-rights lawyer who entered the coffee business specifically as a way to empower coffee farmers he met during his work with Nobel Laureate Rigoberta MenchĂș. His book Javatrekker is required reading for my coffee students, a fun read, and the best introduction I know of to the need for more justice in the coffee trade. (MenchĂș's autobiography is also a worthwhile read, focusing on the long civil war in Guatemala.)

Dean's book includes an entire chapter on the deadly human-rights abuses in the state of Chiapas in far southern Mexico. The decaf coffee we served at the auction comes from the Mut Vitz cooperative in Chiapas, and is decaffeinated through a Swiss-water process that introduces no chemicals. I purchase this coffee frequently, because it is a delicious single-origin coffee that is readily available in both regular and decaf form, so that my coffee students and audiences can make a direct comparison.

I prepared both coffees in high-temperature drip brewers, which are an improvement over typical brewers and a big improvement over percolators. If you purchase these coffees for home use, however, I recommend preparing them with a French press or other small-batch method. See my coffee care page for more preparation tips.

Rotary Breakfast Today

Sorry for the late notice, but here is a nice event taking place before church this morning.