Welcome, Reverend Abigail Stockman and Reverend Misty-Dawn Shelly!

The Interim Minister Search Committee has been working behind the scenes the past several weeks to secure contracts with two part-time interim ministers. Today, we are extremely excited to make an official announcement!

Both Reverend Abigail Stockman and Reverend Misty-Dawn Shelly lovingly and intentionally stepped forward to join First Parish Northboro to become our interim ministry team for the 2022-2023 church year.

Reverend Abigail Stockman will serve as a half-time interim minister, primarily responsible for coordinating and leading worship. Our congregation knows Reverend Abigail from her work with us during Reverend Lynda’s sabbatical. Though Abigail resides in Vermont, she plans to travel to Northborough a minimum of two times per month to be here in person with us to lead worship services.

Reverend Misty-Dawn Shelly will serve as a quarter-time interim minister focused primarily on providing pastoral care and supporting the work of the DRE. She resides in Berlin, MA where she is serving as the Berlin FPUU three-quarter-time minister.

Celebrating Blessings

June is the month to celebrate our blessings, and celebrate we have been. I took up our Board President’s challenge to read the Annual Report in one sitting, and every line spoke of the blessings of time, talent, and care that this community has been blessed with over the past year. We all need joy in our lives, and there is a touch of joy whenever we notice the ways, large and small, in which we have been blessed. 

And it’s not just about widening our view to see the gifts and blessings themselves; it’s about widening our understanding of life. Pointing to blessings repairs our relationship with life, allowing us to see it as generous instead of indifferent or threatening. And that’s no small thing. Because when the world seems stingy with us, we start getting stingy with others. In contrast, those who feel blessed have little trouble passing blessings on. Life spills into us and we spill into others. 

I’m looking forward to the picnic (bring-your-own) lunch after church on Sunday, and visiting with those of you who can make it. I’ll also be around for a couple more weeks, so please give me a call or an email, or we can have coffee or take a walk together, if you’d like. Saying farewell is hard, but beautiful and sweet at the same time. I am so blessed to have known you all.

To paraphrase from a blessing from Rev. Ashley Horan:We are loved beyond belief. We are enough, we are precious, our work and our lives matter, and we are not alone. You are part of a “we,” a great cloud of witnesses living and dead who have insisted that this beautiful, broken world of ours is a blessing worthy of both deep gratitude and fierce protection. Our ancestors and our descendants are beckoning us, compelling us onward toward greater connection, greater compassion, greater commitment to one another and to the earth. Together, we are resilient and resourceful enough to say “yes” to that call, to make it our life’s work in a thousand different ways, wherever we may be knowing that we can do no other than bind ourselves more tightly together, and throw ourselves into the holy work of showing up, again and again, to be part of building that world of which we dream but which we have not yet seen.
In Gratitude,Rev. Lynda

This is our Faith: Another world is possible

In these turbulent times, when so much seems in flux and it can be difficult to find any certainty at all, I find myself seeking a center, a core around which to rally. Again and again, what I find there is my UU Faith. Because, while we are not a creedal religion – that is, we don’t tell folks what to believe – we are a faith-based religion.
And what is our UU Faith? Ashley Horan of the Unitarian Universalist Association expresses it well in her poem, “Another World is Possible,” excerpted here:
We say it, again and again,even when the proof lies somewherebeyond the horizon,beyond our reach,beyond our imagination.
This is our faith:Another world is possible.
Not somewhere else-another world, another lifetime-but here, andnow,for us and for all.
Another world is possible.There is no single pathtoward that world;no one strategy or approach that will restore balance,heal brokenness,sow wholeness, free creation.
In this time of despair, of fear, of collapse-this time that is both like every other eraand like no other time in history-It is audaciousto declare our faithand to commit our workto a world that is           more free,                    more just,                               more whole.
But we are an audacious peoplein good company, with many kin,and we are ready to show upand work hardand stay humbleand make friendsand hold the visionstarting here, now, today, with usand persevering-however long it takes-until that other worldIs not only possible, but
Another world is here.
In Gratitude,Rev. Lynda Sutherland

Difficult Conversations

“Three things you never talk about in polite company,” my father taught me: “Religion, politics, money.” In our church production “Care-a-Lot” a couple of years ago, many of us could relate to the character Lady Prance-a-Lot, who “pranced around the subject of money.”

It has taken me years to realize that, while avoiding those uncomfortable topics my father named can indeed grease the wheels of everyday, superficial conversation, our avoidance of any subject that affects our lives deeply only compounds whatever problems might be lurking beneath the surface. The fact is, we live in a complex world of money that is not easy to navigate; it can, in fact, feel quite discouraging at times. 

This month, our sermon series will focus on the meaning of money in our lives, through the lens of the classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” A crisis of money creates vastly diverse reactions from several characters that can hold up a mirror to our own relationships with money. In this four-week series, we will “look” squarely in the face of our money issues in compassionate ways.

We are so much more than our monetary worth, and yet money affects all of our lives in multiple ways. The ability to talk openly about our challenges and assumptions can deepen our relationships, bring greater understanding, and offer relief from having to “tip-toe” around the subject. I hope you find this series to be both challenging and uplifting, as we explore perspectives that can offer more depth of meaning, healing, and wholenes and a whole new “outlook” on what constitutes a wonderful life.

In Gratitude,
Rev. Lynda Sutherland