Upcoming Event: Advent Retreat

Saturday, December 14, 2019, 1-4pm | Stearns Room

Advent is a time of growing darkness as well as anticipation. We seem to want to take naps. We grow sleepy earlier. But life turns into a frenzy of activities. Our three hour retreat just for adults will help you slow down. We will introduce you to advent themes, hear some stories (yes, adults like to hear stories too). We will do some art in response to the stories, (drawing, writing, knitting, etc.), and some meditation. Make some new memories in front of a fire with tea and mulled cider and cookies. Please join us. All are welcome.

Facilitators: Jenny Rankin and Paula Waterman

Sign up by emailing sarah@fplincoln.org

Upcoming Event: Follow-Up Discussion on Debby Irving Presentation

Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, 5pm | Stearns Room
Let’s continue the conversation! The Adult Learning Committee invites you to join our ongoing dialogue on race and privilege at 5pm on November 17 in the Stearns Room. We are certain there will be much to digest from Debby Irving’s presentation on November 13, and we want to provide a space to process her talk in community. Bring your courageous questions, and join us as we do this important work together.

Upcoming Event: Spiritual Parenting

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, 5:30-7pm | Donaldson Room
Margit and Jenny will lead a heartfelt conversation about how to bring the spirit home. We’ll talk a little history and theory, and move quickly to practices that you may like to incorporate into your family life… from morning blessings and nightly graces, to new traditions and holiday observances. Please bring your favorite ideas. Come and add some new plays to your parenting playbooks! All ages dine and chat in spirit together from 5:30 to 6ish; then there is childcare while the adults continue the conversation. Pizza, salad, cider for dinner.

Eight participants needed in order to run (no maximum, open to members and non-members!). Deadline to sign up is Nov. 14 at noon. Email sarah@fplincoln.org to sign up. We will let you know if the program will run by 1pm on 11/14.

Course Offering: The Writing Life

Tuesdays, November 12 and 19, 7-9pm | Garrison Room
Many of us hold a deep dream of wanting to write, but in our busy lives, we don’t make time for it. This fall, over two evenings, Barbara O’Neil will offer participants a chance to write in the company of others inspired by prompts to spur the imagination. We will generate new material, trust what comes and share with others. This is not a critique group, but a place to build our writing muscle. Once you have started, you may want to continue this writing practice long after the class is over. Barbara’s hope is that many of you will be inspired to write a piece for the Lenten booklet; a collection of readings for Lent written by members and friends of First Parish. No writing experience is necessary. All are welcome!

Barbara O’Neil, MEd is a lifelong writer and teacher. She finds writing to be a powerful vehicle for personal expression and creativity and is passionate about guiding others on their path as writers. For ten years, she has led writing groups in the Boston area. She teaches a yearly writing retreat in Taos, NM. In 2017, Barbara was awarded a writing residency at The Mabel Dodge Luhan House in New Mexico. She is a long time member of First Parish and has written many prayers in her role as lay leader.


Upcoming Event: Food for Thought, November 2019

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, 5:30-7:00pm | Parish House Auditorium
Food for Thought is our new monthly supper to bring together individuals and families within our church community and the wider community, to share a meal, to learn about important issues in our lives, and to enrich each other with conversation. Please come as you are, and bring your family too. No RSVP needed. We will provide a simple supper including gluten free and children’s options.

Join us for a spirited presentation and dinner discussion with Lincolnite & FPL member Dr. Andy Clark. Andy will cover the Free Range Child movement and the values and benefits that it provides to our youth – especially at a time of record levels of childhood anxiety and depression. There are many parenting books published about hot topics involving the Grit, Resiliency and Self-direction that children need in order to thrive. Come see how these tie in with the Free Range lifestyle! We will discuss strategies that we (parents, grandparents, educators, and community members) have employed and can employ in supporting each other and ultimately our children.

Bio: Dr. Andrew Clark is a Parent, Practitioner and Instructor. His areas of expertise include: Mental Health and Community Psychiatry, Adolescent & Pediatric Psychiatry. We are thrilled and fortunate to have an expert like Dr. Clark covering this topic!

Co-Hosted by the Adult Learning Committee and the Youth Programs Committee
Child care will be provided in the second floor church school space from 6-7:30. Donations at the door encouraged: Adult $10, Children $5, Families max. $25. No RSVP needed – come last minute if that’s your style. Volunteers welcome, especially for clean up!

Meditation Group: September 2019 News

Sitting in silence in our beautiful Stearns Room, with the view of the field, creates a special kind of community, and our times of reading together and sharing mindfully enhance those feelings of community.

We meet the first Monday (7-8:30) of each month and every Tuesday (4-5:30). We welcome everyone, those experienced in meditation and those new to the practice. People come from the First Parish, from Lincoln and from surrounding towns. The Monday sittings have been small group sittings, the Tuesday ones, larger.

Our sittings include silent or guided meditation (on chairs and the occasional cushion) , walking meditation, reading together, mindful discussion and metta practice (prayers for others). We follow the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, who encourages us to combine our meditation practice and our community (called a Sangha in Buddhist terms) with our root faiths. We hope you can join us.

Monday evening, Sept 9, 7-8:30:
This month the “First Monday” sitting will be on the second Monday because of Labor Day. 7:00-8:30pm; All Welcome.

Tuesday, September 10th at our sitting, 4-5:30 in the Stearns Room
Brother Phap Tri will be sitting with us on Tuesday, September 10th. He sat with us several years ago, and we are so glad he can sit with us once again.

As is usual, when monastics sit with us, we have a bowl for “dana” which means a bowl to hold our contributions (dana) to support their practice centers.

Brother Phap Tri has been a monastic in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh for many years and in recent years has overseen the growth of the Rose Apple Society’s Center for Contemplative Practice in Vermont. He has led sittings in many countries. (His name is pronounced “tree,” and he is tall and calm like a tree.)

Dinners for Seven 2019-2020

Back Again!!! What could be better than sharing a meal in a nearby home with a few folks from First Parish? We have five such events scheduled in the upcoming months and hope you will join in as many times as possible. Over recent years more than 100 friends- old and new- have participated. Here’s how it works:

Someone offers to host. That means the host contacts his or her 7 or so assigned guests and arranges the menu, which is a potluck provided by the group at each of the usually several homes that same evening.
Others sign on to be guests. That means they will help provide the meal at the home where they have been assigned. Their host and/or hostess will contact them to make arrangements.

Here are the dates for this year’s DINNERS FOR SEVEN or so..

How do you sign up? Just contact me, Kim, and let me know what date(s) you would like to join and whether you would like to host or be a guest. I’ll do the rest. Everyone is welcome, whether or not connected with First Parish, so feel free to invite a friend if you think he or she might enjoy the company! I guarantee exceptional nourishment for both body and heart.
– Kim

Adult Programs: September 2019 News

First Parish in Lincoln Church-Wide Summer “Read”

September 22, 4 pm. discussion in the Stearns Room

There’s still time to read our “All Church” Summer Read! Waking Up White, by Debby Irving.

We hope many have been able to read Waking Up White over the summer. There is still time to get a copy from the Lincoln Library or a few copies are available in the FPL library. Growing up in Winchester, a community much like Lincoln, the author starts with her experience as a white woman, and then moves on to grapple with the complexity of racism in the United States at both an individual and an institutional level. Her story is not only personal and readable, but it is also timely for our church, for Lincoln and for our country.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, please come to participate with our church community in discussion of the book and of the topics of racism and white privilege that it addresses. Our guest facilitator will be Michelle Chalmers, who has worked in this role with the author, Debbie Irving and with other racism education programs. For a summary of Waking Up White, you can watch Debbie Irving’s TEDx Fenway talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD5Ox5XNEpg

Food For Thought Suppers

Come to our first “Food for Thought” Supper on Wednesday October 2, 5:30 -7 pm. Parish House.

This coming year we plan to hold a monthly supper, usually the first Wednesday, with the goal of gathering to share a simple meal and to share conversation about an interesting topic. Our first supper will set the stage for the coming suppers, and engage us in a conversation about gratitude and blessings. To encourage families and folks with busy schedules, we won’t ask for RSVPS. The supper will be provided for a modest donation, a model that has worked at other churches. Children are welcomed, and childcare will be available. And we’re looking for volunteers to help us arrange food, set up and clean up.

Put Wednesday October 2 on your calendar and come share supper and conversation with your church family!

Sponsored by Adult Learning Committee. For more info and to volunteer, Mary Helen Lorenz mhelen808385@gmail.com

Forest Bathing Walk

Join us for a Forest Bathing Walk on Saturday, October 19

(Time and more details to come)

Enjoy the experience of a relaxed and mindful afternoon walk on October 19th with a Certified Forest Therapy Guide. She will invite us to immerse all of our senses in the sights, sounds and fragrances of the woods for a deep connection with nature. Practiced widely in Japan, where it is known as Shinrin Yoku, Forest Bathing is recognized as having significant wellness benefits for both mind and body.

Small Groups

Wondering about joining a small group?

Our small groups include around 90 members and friends. The Small Group Leaders promote membership and work to fit interested members with a group, and to offer ideas and guidance to those who serve as facilitators. A monthly packet of ideas for themes and readings are offered to each group. If you were thinking you would like to join an existing group, or join a newly forming group, please contact our Parish Administrator at gert@fplincoln.org or Mary Helen Lorenz mhelen808385@gmail.com

Upcoming Classes

Stay tuned for upcoming adult classes

Two members of our church community will be offering classes this fall, in October and November. Larry Buell will host a two-session class on Transcendentalism and Barbara O’Neil will guide a 4 session writing workshop. Sign up will be available later in September or early October.

Pastoral Singing

“It’s not so much about the song itself, it’s about the way it’s delivered and the people who deliver it. So, you know, they can sing How Much is That Doggie in the Window, and I can love that as much as I like the deeply spiritual songs that they sing.” 

A Nursing Home Patient

If you know someone who is going through a trying time or is ill and could benefit from a little laughter and enjoy soothing singing, please ask.

By-Your-Side-Singers (BYSS) offer support and comfort through song. Groups of three or four singers visit homes, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and other settings as requested. We may be invited by a minister, friend or parishioner to visit another parishioner. Our singing evokes smiles, tears and laughter. Many of those we visit, enjoy singing or humming along with us.

Most people we sing for visibly relax and smile. If they appear asleep, they may wake up. A few have started conducting us. Family and others who are present often join us singing and also are uplifted.

One of our earliest visits was to an elderly couple in their home. The husband showed very little affect. It was Christmas time and we started, quietly, with “O Come, O Come Emanuel.” When we got to the refrain, “Rejoice, Rejoice” he burst out loudly on the bass, singing Rejoice, Rejoice … I looked at his wife and she was crying. He sang with us throughout the visit. We were deeply touched.

Most people we sing for visibly relax and smile. If they appear asleep, they may wake up. A few have started conducting us. Family and others who are present often join us singing and also are uplifted.

BYSS is a group of men and women who enjoy singing to provide comfort to those who are in transition. Choral experience is not required. Rehearsals are the first and third Wednesdays. In these meetings, we rehearse familiar songs from our hymnals and other sources. Some of the song we sing are: Come sing a song with me, Spirit of Life, Find a stillness, Dona Nobis Pacem, Amazing Grace.

BYSS is modeled after nearby First Parish Concord’s BYSS, started 12 years ago by FPC Music Director Beth Norton. Sue Cornwall has sung with them from its inception. With Mandy Beal, Sue started BYSS in 2016.

If you would like to join BYSS please contact Sue Cornwall: SueCornwall@me.com, 781-389-1807. If you know someone who could benefit from a little laughter and singing, please contact Sue Cornwall, or the Caring Committee at fplcares@fplincoln.org

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.” 

Adult Learning: 2019 Church-wide Summer “Read”

When we talk about diversity, what exactly do we mean? Diversity based on religion? On race? On gender? On national background? On culture? On socio-economic class? On age? Other attributes? How do we think and talk about diversity and what it means in our lives and in the lives of other Americans in our increasingly diverse nation? These are questions people across our country are asking, including those of us at Lincoln’s First Parish.

The Adult Learning Committee is recommending a church community summer read on the topic of racism and white privilege. The book we recommend is Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debbie Irving. On Sunday September 22 at 4 pm, we will hold a discussion about the racism and white privilege issues raised by the book.

Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. (2014). Growing up in Winchester, a community much like Lincoln, the author starts with her experience as a white woman, and then moves on to grapple with the complexity of racism in the United States at both an individual and an institutional level. Her story is not only personal and readable, but it is also timely for our church, for Lincoln and for our country.

Copies are available at Lincoln Library and 3 copies are available in the FPL Library.

If you have already read Waking Up White and want another perspective or angle on the topic of race and white privilege, consider reading one of the following:

White Fragility, Why it is so hard for White People to talk about Race by Robin Diangelo (2018). A New York Times best seller, this book offers a sociological and psychological study of white privilege in the United States, exploring the dynamics of white fragility and how we might overcome it.

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise (2004). Growing up in Nashville and educated at Tulane University, Wise’s experiences present a male perspective, a counterpoint to Irving’s Growing Up White,, as well as a regional difference, the South, as opposed to New England. The book is part memoir and part essay, lively and compelling

Uncensored: My life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America by Zachary Wood ( 2019). Wood offers a personal account of overcoming a difficult upbringing , as well as complexities of systemic discrimination experienced as a high school scholarship student from a poor black neighborhood in Washington, DC and as a leader of the free speech movement at Williams College.

From the Summer Reading Team: Janet Boynton, Ken Hurd, Mary Helen Lorenz, Jessica Packineau, Barbara Slayter, Mary Jo Veling