Antiracism Film Screening – “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (Part 1)

Sunday, January 26, 2020, 4pm | Stearns Room
Join FPL’s new antiracism group to view and discuss the three-part PBS Documentary series, “Race: The Power of an Illusion.” This series compels viewers to examine some of their most fundamental beliefs about concepts of race.
On January 26th we will be screening Episode One: The Difference Between Us, which follows a diverse group of teenagers as they discover some surprising truths about their DNA. Join us as we seek to deconstruct our own false and harmful beliefs about race in commitment to our values as an open and welcoming community church.

Under the RE Tree 1/23/20

All Aboard!

This Sunday, January 26th, the children will begin in the Parish House to join the Bell Choir for the morning! Last year’s Winter Workshop with the Bell Choir was such a phenomenal hit, we’re hopping on that train again this year!  Whoot-whoot!

Youth in grades 8-12 are welcome to attend and ring with the Bell Choir OR to come and make a little breakfast together and head upstairs. If our new conference/ping-pong/billiards table isn’t fully assembled, you can help get that together and have a couple of rounds of play!

There are more Winter Workshops coming in February! Sarah and Anna Bishop will lead the first on February 2nd. On February 9th, Hannah Burreau will help us prepare for Valentines for our families, friends and folks who receive Meals on Wheels – the third anniversary of this project! Sunday the 16th is the start of school vacation, but we’ll be in the kitchen preparing some bread to share with our congregation during Hospitality. On February 23rd, the children will begin and remain in the Sanctuary to join us and assist in serving communion to our community.

This spring, there are some changes coming up… We are going to combine some classes. The nursery will remain the same. In the “Blue Room”, we’ll gather Kindergarten through 2nd graders for the combined Spirit Play and Players curriculum (stories and plays). In “Classroom 9 3/4” (the middle room), 3rd – 5th graders will meet to continue Harry Potter and the Bible discussions and activities. The Map Room and Window Room will be reserved for any youth, 8th through 12th, who would like to come together on Sunday mornings.

More details and a full calendar will be included in my weekly e-blast on Friday. If you haven’t been receiving them, please let me know and I’ll make sure you’re on the list. You may also need to check your “spam” folder and mark my e-blast as friendly.

Merrily Chugging Along!


Minister’s Message: January 2020

Dear Friends,

There are all sorts of reasons we set out on the road.

It may be a choice we make, an inward call that comes to us, prompting us to set out on a journey, take a new direction, switch course.

It may be a star in the sky that beckons to us—as in the story of ancient travelers scanning the skies and finding a new star that surprised them. An inspiration which calls us to take to the road.

Sometimes, we are dragged forth, kicking and screaming, the way Toni Morrison describes she was dragged when she had the first inkling of a new book waiting inside her to be born. She didn’t want to write Beloved, didn’t want to enter the painful territory of slavery in the United States. But it was almost as if she had no choice.

C.S. Lewis describes a similar experience when he recounts his conversion from atheist to Christian, describing a reluctance so powerful that “being dragged kicking and screaming” would just about cover it.

There are all sorts of reasons we set out on the road. It takes courage to follow an inward call, welcome or not. It takes vision to find a new star, or idea, or life direction, where none has been before.

Thankfully, we acknowledge that we do not travel alone. We walk with one another, with the spirit of those who have come before us in this place, and with a Spirit of Love or Presence that some name as God and others choose to give no name, bowing in silence to the mystery of the ineffable.

Wherever Life finds you, as we walk into the new year together, I am grateful to have your company for this stretch of the pilgrim road we walk together.In faith,

Jenny Rankin

Clothing Drive for Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center

The Outreach Committee is collecting new and lightly-used winter clothing for the RIAC’s new immigrant families in Roxbury and Worcester—for men, women, and children of all ages. Hats, coats, scarves, sweaters, shirts, pants, and other winter garments are all welcome and urgently needed. Please leave donations by January 26 in the collection box in the hall of the Parish House side entry. Contact Larry Buell ( with any questions.

MLK Service Day for Waltham Community Day Center

Monday, January 20, 2020
First Parish continues a long-standing tradition of service on MLK Day by providing a warm meal and warm socks to our most vulnerable neighbors,

Waltham Day Center is part of a network of shelters which provide lifesaving support to over 50 homeless people who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse.

Over 25 members of First Parish will be participating by baking, cooking and serving the meal on a day the shelter would otherwise be closed if not for our help. Signup sheets will be available in the Stearns room after the service on January 12th.

You can also help by leaving a sock donation (or gloves) in the bin located at the side entrance to the Stone Church, from now to January 19th, or bring to the Sunday service on January 12th or 19th.

Upcoming Event: Climate Sunday, 1/12/20

Sunday, January 12, 2020, 10am | Sanctuary and Parish House Auditorium

Join The First Parish in Lincoln & Conservation Law Foundation for Climate Sunday on January 12th.
 Climate Sunday is a gathering for all those who are interested in learning more about their role in creating a healthy and thriving New England. The First Parish in Lincoln is partnering with CLF and their highly successful advocates in order to hold interactive workshops discussing a variety of issues, such as environmental justice, transportation, and zero waste.
These workshops will provide an opportunity to learn about the current state of environmental advocacy in Massachusetts from the experts who are working on the ground. You are welcome to join us for the entire day or only the climate sensitive lunch and afternoon workshops.

Event Schedule:
10am — Church service led by Rev Jenny Rankin. Reflections by Peter Shelley of CLF.

11:15am – 12pm — A small climate fair (with appetizers!) featuring accessible action items for climate care. Representatives from HomeWorks Energy, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, and Mothers Out Front in Lincoln will answer questions followed by lunch beginning at 11:45am.

12:15pm — Presentation over lunch by CLF President Brad Campbell.

1 – 3pm — Experts from CLF will speak and encourage discussion on Climate Change, Clean Transportation, Environmental Justice, Zero Waste, and Plastics. 

Event: Food for Thought January 2020

Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 5:30-7pm | Parish House Auditorium 

A Conversation between Adult Children and Aging Parents

Take a night off from the kitchen and share a simple supper and stimulating conversation as we explore how parents and adult children address the challenges of aging while respecting independence and privacy. Led by Lincoln therapist, Jane O’Rourke, a panel of elders and mid-life children will start off the discussion. Over dessert and coffee there will be time for you to exchange your thoughts and ideas with your table companions. Come by yourself, or bring a friend or child. All are welcome!

Under the RE Tree 12/19/19 — Why Pageant?

Christmas Pageants, in churches, in December, telling The Story, have been a tradition for centuries. They range from extravagant elegance, to even the basic “Live Nativity” scene… each telling the same tale. But why? Why do we do this every year? Year after year? Generation after generation? We all know how this ends, right? So, why bother? The answer goes beyond religious doctrine or, “…because it’s super cute.”

I’ll put my professional educator hat on and discuss curriculum, pedagogy, and developmental psychology for a moment. Here are the basics of the importance of Pageant for children…

  • We work as a multi-age collective group to accomplish a common goal,
  • We take the risk of presenting ourselves in front of an audience,
  • We make mistakes and carry on – it’s not the end of the world if the “Star” falls off the pole, or a Magi sneezes,
  • For some, we memorize lines; some remember to listen for cues; some add their own “sparkle” to our production,
  • We learn the story of the Nativity – getting it way down deep through acting it out…
  • …and learn about how humble beginnings do not define destiny,
  • We step outside ourselves and learn to put ourselves into the shoes (or shepherds’ costumes) of another,
  • We present the pageant in service to our church and town communities,
  • The Pageant is a PLAY! We play! It’s fun! FUN IS IMPORTANT!

From the perspective of the audience…

  • We bear witness to the work and play of beloved members of our community; we show up and are charmed; we support,
  • We allow ourselves to be transported to the time of the Nativity, to a time of our being in a Pageant, to a time of our children being in Pageants…
  • …and are wholly present to the Pageant being presented by these, Our Children, today,
  • We gather to sing together in community – recognizing the value of music and community music-making to healthy living at any age and stage,
  • The Pageant is FUN! When the littlest bring their own unscripted “sparkle”, we sparkle! FUN IS IMPORTANT!

From the perspective of the staff and Deacons…

  • We are in service to our community every Sunday. This. Is. What. We. Do.
  • It’s challenging… and who doesn’t like a little professional challenge (from time to time)? Moving things around in the Order of Service, stepping outside the lines, embracing the chaos (“Life is like a Christmas Pageant, you never know what you’re going to get.”), mixing it up,
  • It’s FUN! The Sanctuary buzzes with the energy of the kids, and the vibe of “now for something completely different!” We all feel a little free-and-easy!

From the perspective of the wider community…

  • This is what churches are “supposed” to do. Normal can feel so good.
  • This is a service that often feels less structured, more open – we can walk in and engage as we choose.
  • Our non-member families find children embraced and valued. That’s it. Nothing more or less.

So, “Why Pageant?” In the end, each of us brings into the Pageant, and carries out from the Pageant, our individual answers to that question.

Just like every Sunday – ever. But with just a little sparkle!

Yours in Anticipation…

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

December 24, 2019, 5pm, 8pm, 10pm

First Parish in Lincoln invites you to one of our Christmas Eve Services!

The earlier service at 5 pm is designed for families with younger children. We’ll hear the Christmas story in word and song, sing carols, and light candles. Margit will give the homily, and Jenny will offer a prayer. We’ll have some of our elementary school-aged children participating in worship by offering one of the readings. Traditional carols and lots of candles!

The later services are designed for families, visitors and friends. Jenny will give the homily, and the deacon will offer a prayer. Ian and the choir will delight with festive musical anthems. We will close with “passing the light” from one candle to another as has been done in this sanctuary for so many years.

All the services include the opportunity to sing plenty of Christmas carols as well as the traditional lighting of candles. For some, sitting in the darkened sanctuary and watching as the light is passed from one to another is a highlight of the season.

FPL Book Group — February Meeting

Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 6:30-8pm  | Stearns Room
Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, by Andrea Wulf

From the bestselling author of The Invention of Nature, a fascinating look at the Founding Fathers like none you’ve seen before.

For the Founding Fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions: a conjoined interest as deeply ingrained in their characters as the battle for liberty and a belief in the greatness of their new nation. 

Founding Gardeners is an exploration of that obsession, telling the story of the revolutionary generation from the unique perspective of their lives as gardeners, plant hobbyists, and farmers. Acclaimed historian Andrea Wulf describes how George Washington wrote letters to his estate manager even as British warships gathered off Staten Island; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; and why James Madison is the forgotten father of environmentalism. Through these and other stories, Wulf reveals a fresh, nuanced portrait of the men who created our nation.

Click here to order the book.