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
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.
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 email@example.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.
FPCU 2017 Holiday 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!!
This past Sunday FPCU hosted 11 members of two Afghan immigrant families for dinner and camaraderie. About 25 of our Church folks set up and decorated the hall, cooked some really wonderful food and then waited in slightly anxious anticipation for the families to arrive. We all wondered how we would be able to communicate with these guests, many of whom spoke little or no English and all of whom had lived lives in a far-away place, so different from our own. There was no need for concern! Those with better English skills translated for the others; and it turns out everyone can talk about and make themselves understood when it comes to family, culture and food! In a day and age when we are constantly bombarded with angst producing news, this night of cooperation, friendship and unexpected rapport was truly a bright spot. We will be doing it again, hope you can join us next time!