Course Offering: Creativity as Spiritual Practice

Wednesdays, January 15th, 22nd, and 29th, 1 – 2pm | Church Library

Instructor: Rev. Jenny Rankin

Making things by hand. It’s an ancient idea. A simple idea. And it turns out, it can be good for the soul! Join Jenny Rankin and a small group as we come together for this contemplative hand work group in the heart of the winter.

Whether you are knitting a sock, painting a picture, caning a chair seat, whittling, or just beginning to think about getting started on some new practice of your own, we hope you’ll join us. Bring whatever it is you are working on or thinking about working on. We’ll spend time in silence, conversation as we explore together how creativity may be an over-looked spiritual practice in our lives.

Course Offering: Spiritual Autobiography

Tuesdays, January 14th – February 11th, 7 – 8:30pm | Church Library

Instructor: Rev. Jenny Rankin

Join Jenny Rankin and a small group as you are invited to reflect, consider your life through a “spiritual” lens, and write about it. You have the freedom to define “spiritual” in your own way!

Through a series of in-class exercises and short writing assignments, participants will begin to consider the different chapters or steppingstones of their life’s journey up until now. We will have short (two page) weekly writing assignments, culminating in the final writing of a “spiritual autobiography” (6-8 pages in length).

Each person will bring different experiences and questions to the class. Some things to consider: What have been the gifts and graces of your life? Where were the losses and hurts? How would you articulate your sense of the sacred, God, or what spiritual vocabulary do you use? What “language of reverence” do you speak?

Participants will be invited to read their writing to the class. The “right to reticence” is always encouraged. Attendance is expected at each session.

Labyrinth of Light

This year, we will not be holding a Solstice Service on Saturday, December 21.  Instead, you are invited to participate in an intergenerational Labyrinth of Light organized by Margit Griffith and Sarah Klockowski.  It will be held in the Parish House Auditorium on Saturday, December 21 from 12-8pm, and on Sunday, December 22 from 12-5pm. All ages are welcome!

Please contact Margit Griffith ( if you would like to assist in creating the Labyrinth and/or if you would like to volunteer some time to sit and welcome guests while the doors are open.

A new solstice committee will be forming in the spring for Solstice 2020.

Hygge for Beginners

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, 5:30-7pm | Donaldson Room
The Danish expression, Hygge, is an attitude towards life that emphasizes finding joy in everyday moments. Rather than drudge through the winter, hygge is about celebrating coziness, comfort, warmth and family; as well as practicing mindfulness. Join Margit and Meredith as they create space for us to explore this cozy tradition. Email to sign up.

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

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 to sign up. We will let you know if the program will run by 1pm on 11/14.

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.)

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:, 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

“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.”