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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.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nicaragua, Trade & Environment: Monday Oct 24

Julio Sanchez is a researcher at the Humboldt Center in Managua, Nicaragua, who is currently studying the introduction of genetically modified organisms through U.S. food aid into Nicaragua.

Julio is the featured speaker in the Witness for Peace fall speaking tour, and will be appearing at Bridgewater State University on Monday, October 24.

At 1:50-3:05, Julio will be a guest speaker in James Hayes-Bohanan's Geography of Latin America class, which is being held in the lecture hall of the new Science & Mathematics Center for this occasion. Enter the building from the Chapel Lot side (the only available entrance), walk down the long, glass hallway, and the lecture hall will be to your right in the main lobby area.

At 5:00, Julio and members of the Social Justice League -- which is sponsoring his visit -- will be meeting with Julio -- and the Witness for Peace tour team -- in the Bear's Den (formerly known as Commuter Cafeteria) in the basement of the Rondelau Campus Center. This is a chance to meet the team informally -- community members are welcome to bring along their own dinner or buy dinner at the cafe.

The main event will be at 6:00, when Julio will make a presentation at the Moakley Auditorium, regarding his work at the Humboldt Center. His presentation will trace the connections among trade policy (especially CAFTA), the introduction of food aid, and environmental consequences, particularly related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Details and background:
Facebook Event page with details of Julio's visit
Fall Tour Page with more information about Julio's work
Witness for Peace New England with information on the organization

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Campus Sustainability -- Wed Oct 19

The Center for Sustainability at BSU is happy to announce campus events on Wednesday, October 19th in celebration of Campus Sustainability Day. All presentations will be held in the Heritage Room in Maxwell Library.

10:00 am to 11:00 am: "Serving Sustainability from Field to Cup" ~ Lecture by Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan  Geographer and Coffee Maven, and Nikki Sauber, BSU Student

(Nikki has been a leader in various capacities in the Social Justice Leauge and has frequently collaborated on events at First Parish. Arrive promptly at 10 to hear her moving poem "Campesino," which is based on her experience on our Geography of Coffee study tour in Nicaragua.)

11:00 am to 11:30 am: "The Successes of the BSU Annual Residence Hall Collection Drive" ~ Presentation by Amy Cavanaugh, Senior Peer Educator, Outreach Education

11:30 am to 12:00 pm: "Next Steps on Collaborative Teaching with Sustainability" ~ Discussion led by Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger, Coordinator for the Center for Sustainability and Associate Professor in Political Science

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm: Film: "Food Inc."
~ Film Presentation and Discussion led by Arthur Lizie, Co-Coordinator for the Center for Sustainability, Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dominican Coffee Farmer in Town

Saturday, October 22
Noon -- 2:00 pm

Rockin K' Cafe 
(across from CVS, next to the Baptist Church)

This is a chance to meet Maria, a coffee farmer from the Dominican Republic, to hear about the benefits of Fair Trade first-hand. 

Of course, you will also be able to enjoy some fair-trade coffee, and snacks will also be served. After the event, Social Justice League students will take Maria around the BSU campus, to show her where fair-trade products are served.

This event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Privilege and Justice

For the Closing Words in this morning's service, Rev. Ed chose reading #496 from our hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition. This prayer, by the late Rev. Harry Chamberlain Meserve, are among Rev. Ed's favorites, and I concur:
    From arrogance, pompousness, and from thinking ourselves more important than we are, may some saving sense of humor liberate us. For allowing ourselves to ridicule the faith of others, may we be forgiven.
    From making war and calling it peace, special privilege and calling it justice, indifference and calling it tolerance, pollution and calling it progress, may we be cured.
    For telling ourselves and others that evil is inevitable while good is impossible, may we stand corrected.
    God of our mixed up, tragic, aspiring, doubting, and insurgent lives, help us to be as good as in our hearts we have always wanted to be. Amen.

October 9 Homework

On October 9, First Parish member Frank Yeatman will be reprising the summer service he led on June 26 of this year. To prepare for the upcoming service, he asks members to visit, create an account, and complete the Moral Foundations Questionnaire found on the site.

Frank suggests the 2008 article Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations, by Jesse Graham, Jonathan Haidt and Brian A. Nosek of the University of Virginia as additional reading.

For those who missed the June service -- and even those who were there -- this promises to be a thought-provoking discussion.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Geography Education

Most First Parish members know that we have two "official" geographers in the congregation -- Vernon Domingo and I are both professors in the Department of Geography at Bridgewater State University. But geography infuses much of what we do in the church, whether it is learning about the interdependent web of life, valuing the religious traditions of other cultures, or educating our community about social justice at the local, national, and global scales.

It is in this context, then, that we think many in First Parish will be interested in learning more about efforts to ensure that more Massachusetts students learn geography at all grade levels. Currently, U.S. geography is taught in the fourth grade and the rest of the world in the seventh. Some students are lucky enough to have a geographer as a teacher, and to get more than the minimum, but the state does not require it. In fact, Massachusetts does not even ALLOW geographers to become certified at the high school level, though it once did.

We therefore invite our fellow parishioners of all ages to have a look at what we are doing to promote geography education, in partnership with our creative and dedicated colleagues in the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance. Please check out the MASSGEO blog for more information about advocacy and professional development, and have a look at what we do on a face-to-face level with middle school students every Friday on our EarthView blog.