Declaring Independence

Declaring Independence: Then & Now

Reconsidering the promises of the Declaration of Independence: A narrated performance and community conversation

What: A forty-minute performance piece in which a narrator and cast bring to life the Declaration of Independence followed by a community conversation and refreshments
When: Wednesday 6 June 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Where: First Parish Church United, 48 Main St., Westford, MA

This event is presented as a collaborative venture by the Westford Historical Society, the First Parish Church United and Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area.

For further information visit: www.freedomsway.org

What did the Declaration of Independence mean to citizens of 1776? What meanings does it hold for us today? The thought provoking public performance piece, Declaring Independence: Then & Now, seeks to explore these questions through an animated reading of our “American Scripture” presented by living-history re-enactors. As the 18thcentury words and ideas are performed, a narrator probes their meaning and challenges the audience to consider their relevance and power for today.

“Too often the Declaration of Independence is reduced to the single line, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…,” notes historian Mary Fuhrer. “Yet the document is rich with meaning on many levels. It expresses what many Americans by 1776 had come to believe: that Britain’s king and Parliament had violated our fundamental rights, that we were justified in abolishing such a flawed government, and that we were entitled – and determined – to create a new and better nation. It also asserts truths that transcend time: that governments derive their power from the people, with the purpose of securing their liberty and guaranteeing their equality. The history of our nation has been, and continues to be, the story of our struggle to redeem and defend those promises for all.”

Declaring Independence: Then & Now is part of a multi-year joint initiative of Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area and the American Antiquarian Society to engage citizens in the ideas and transformative potential of the Declaration of Independence. This initiative includes researching the ways in which independence was conceived and debated within colonial communities in the years leading up to 1776; tracing how the Declaration’s role evolved in American communities; and considering the challenges and potential of this living document for Americans today.

The performance will take place at the historic First Parish Church United, located adjacent to the Westford Town Common. The event is free and suitable for ages 8 and up. For further details, please go to www.freedomsway.org or contact (978) 772-3654.

About Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area
The 994-square-mile Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area (FWNHA) includes forty-five towns and cities in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire and is home to over 750,000 people. FWNHA connects people, places and communities through educational and interpretive initiatives that protect and promote shared resources and encourage residents and visitors to explore its landscape, history and culture. www.freedomsway.org.

About the Westford Historical Society
The Westford Historical Society (WHS) runs the Westford Museum at 2 Boston Road. The mission of the WHS is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Westford’s unique history to the community. By providing programming that features aspects of the daily lives, activities and achievements of Westford residents, they strive to expand and enrich understanding of how the town continues to evolve. They foster an environment of teaching and learning that strengthens a sense of community. www.museum.westford.org

About the First Parish Church United
The First Parish Church United (FPCU) was established in 1727 as the Second Parish Church of Chelmsford. Its existence was a prerequisite to establishing the Town of Westford in 1729. The Rev. Willard Hall was called as its first minister and served until 1775. Today, FPCU remains deeply rooted in its liberal religious history, while continuing to become more inclusive and diverse. It is a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association as well as the United Church of Christ, and is a community-based spiritual home for many in the Westford and surrounding areas. www.firstparishwestford.org

DI press release-5.16.18

Church Office is closed today due to weather

Church Office closed today due to weather

Church Office is closed today due to weather

TJ Harper Worship Service this Sunday, March 11th

Sermon title: The Subtle Gap of Oppression
Scripture Reading: Exodus 1: 6-22 (New International Version “NIV”)
Hymn 1: Precious Lord, Take My Hand
Hymn 2: Go Down, Moses (Let My People Go)

Bio: TJ Harper serves as the Massachusetts and Connecticut Conferences’ Associate for Racial Justice Ministries. Previously, TJ operated a nonprofit organization known as the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA), with programs in Chicago and Oakland, that has worked with over 900 youth through a sponsorship by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/Operation PUSH. Prior to SJSA, TJ worked with the StriveTogether Foundation, a network dedicated to improving educational outcomes for children; City Hall in Chicago; and U.S. Senator Richard Durbin’s Office. He is also a 2014 Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow alumnus at Princeton University.

Workshop in Fellowship Hall after service: Examining a Church’s Goal to be Racially Inclusive

News from PruCom

From PruCom – New Building Use Policy

Did you know that for Westford to legally incorporate as a Town in 1729 it was required to have a Church and a Minister? That Church was First Parish of Westford and for over 100 years Church and Town were one. Town Meetings were held here in our building until 1868 and the Church was the center of all religious, political, and social activity. Even Westford Academy graduation exercises took place here through 1907!

More than 275 years later as stewards of our historic Church building we are charged with protecting and preserving it, not just for our Congregation, but also for the community at large. With that in mind, the Prudential Committee has been diligently working on a revision of our Building Use Policy in order to safeguard and maintain the structure while simultaneously making it available to the Westford community in a streamlined, simplified and equitable process. A summary of the new policy follows:

a)  Various spaces in our building are available for use by local groups whose goals are not inconsistent with our mission regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and its expression, or sexual orientation.
b)  Pricing has been established with the goal of being affordable but at the same time accounting for our obligation to care for and maintain the building. Rules and restrictions have been put in place to protect the Church and furnishings and in consideration of our neighbors.
c)  We are working on an approved list of groups who are affiliated with the Town or the Church and have historically been allowed to use rooms without charge – we want to keep that list short and not make exceptions to it so that the wear and tear on the building is generally paid for by those who actually use it.
d)  Active Church members continue to be allowed to use the Sanctuary for wedding ceremonies, and the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall for funerals, without charge. In addition, active Church members are eligible to use all rooms for other personal (but not commercial) activities at half the price charged to the general public up to three times in each calendar year.

You can view the new Building Use Policy in its entirety by clicking on this attachment: FINAL Building Policies and Event Form-2.12.18 Please contact the Prudential Committee with any questions about this new policy.

Office is closed today due to weather

New Year’s Day party

Join First Parish family and friends in ringing in the New year at a pot luck supper with music, games and dancing.

January 1, 6PM in the Fellowship Hall

Each family will bring a pot luck dish and contribute $10 for supplies. The $10 fee will be waived for anyone who helps with the organization or cleanup.

Please respond to the event organizer, Carolyn Lumenello at msccarolynfpcu@gmail.com with the following information: Name, phone, email, number in family, pot luck dish you will bring and what you’ll be helping with.

Ideas for potluck: chicken wings, pasta, pizza, casserole, vegetable dish, and salad.

Help needed: table setup, decorations, beverage server, kitchen help, shopper, and admissions.

 

2017 Greens Festival

FPCU 2017 Holiday Greens Festival

Seasons greetings!

greens-festival

The frost is on the pumpkin and the holiday season is fast approaching! The First Parish Church United is preparing its annual 2017 Holiday Greens Festival to be held on Saturday, December 2nd from 9am to 3pm. We will be offering our usual popular items such as wreaths, swags, roping, poinsettias, centerpieces, luminaries and other decorative items. Your order of holiday decorations from the Greens Festival helps to maintain our historic Meeting House & Fellowship Hall, as well as supporting the many outreach activities of our church including: Westford Farmers Market, Habitat for Humanity, AA, The Lowell Wish Project, Westford Food Pantry, Middlesex Shelter/LTLC & local scout groups, the annual Strawberry Festival and the Apple Blossom Pancake Breakfast. We ask that you complete the 2017 order form and return it along with your check or money order to: First Parish Church United, 48 Main Street Westford, MA 01886

Volunteers Needed

We need many many volunteers!  Any time you can share will help make this Greens Festival a huge success and you will have fun doing it.  Please take a look at the variety of different volunteer opportunities and consider signing up for those that are of interest to you.  If you have any questions please contact us at greensfestival@gmail.com  Thank you!!