Our history as Unitarian Universalists is multifaceted, as are our beliefs. This is one of the greatest strengths of our liberal faith-- its openness to seeking inspiration from a great variety of sources. In this service intern minister, Ilene Gillispie, will explore the multitude of spiritual paths within Unitarian Universalism, particularly focusing on how her own path as a lifelong UU came to intersect with the Sikh religion. This will be Ilene's last time preaching at FPC during her internship year. Mike Pfitzer and Sanghee Kim will be assisting in worship, sharing music that represents the vast diversity of the UU spiritual tradition.
Listen to Past Services
Sunday, April 24th, 2016
“I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention. . . .” So wrote Mary Oliver in her wonderful poem, “The Summer Day.” Come celebrate Spring and the coming May flowers with this Worship Service dedicated to poetry of Mary Oliver and others, with all the morning’s music provided by the Parish Jazz Band. Parishioners will read selected poems interspersed with carefully chosen inspirational numbers from the Parish Jazz Band’s extensive repertoire. Whatever your theological leanings (and no matter where you stand on prayer!) you are invited to join us in this beautiful service about finding your way in this world, joyfully, and gratefully.
Sunday, April 10th, 2016
To kick off FPC's first-ever Transylvanian Unitarian Heritage Pilgrimage, Rev. Eric Cherry will be coming from the Unitarian Universalist Association's International Office to share with us his views about the importance of international religious partnerships. Rev. Cherry writes: “In our religious tradition, it’s common for our primary sense of community to be with a local congregation. And, yet, we are also connected to a global U/U story that has had a profound effect over centuries, across many continents, and with transformative social justice movements. This morning, let's explore that story and consider how to find our place within it.”
Rev. Tom Rosiello and Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, will assist Rev. Cherry in leading worship, and a special brunch with Transylvanian foods and a performance from some of our FPC singers will follow the 11AM service.
Rev. Eric M. Cherry has been the Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s International Office since August 2007. In this position, Eric manages the UUA’s relationships with Unitarian, Universalist, and interfaith partners around the world, provides resources for congregational international engagement, and supervises the staff of the UU Holdeen India Program and UU United Nations Office. Prior to accepting this position, Eric served for 12 years as a parish minister with UU congregations in Burlington, Iowa and North Easton, Massachusetts. Eric has long been involved in the UU Partner Church movement, serving as the English Teacher for Unitarian Seminarians in Kolozsvár, Transylvania in 1998. Eric is a graduate of Earlham College (BA) and Meadville/Lombard Theological School (M.Div), and lives in Mansfield, Massachusetts. We are pleased to welcome him to FPC to help reflect with us on the importance of partner church relationships as we prepare to send off a group of 31 FPC members and friends to visit our partner church in Olasztelek, Transylvania.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
On this unique Sunday, you will have the opportunity to bring your burning questions for Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, to answer from the pulpit! The morning's sermon will consist of those questions brought by members and friends to church. So, start preparing now, and bring your questions about Unitarian Universalism, history, theology, world religions, and the meaning of life! We will reflect together in this service on the importance of questions, and will sing hymns together on this topic as well. Whatever is on your mind-- that's what this Sunday service will be about!
Sunday, March 27th, 2016
Join us for an uplifting service that will focus on what the Easter message can mean in our lives today. After a special Easter Message for All Ages, our children will leave for the "Great Easter Egg Hunt." Both services will be filled with "Hallelujahs" and other great Easter music. We will conclude both services with an invitation to join the choir in singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. It will be a wonderful morning. Treat yourself to the experience and bring a friend.
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
"Maundy Thursday Communion Service"
This candlelight service will be led by our Minister, The Rev. Tom Rosiello, Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, our lay ministers, and musicians. We will tell the story of Jesus' final days focusing on the Passover meal that he shared with his disciples and what this ritual of "breaking bread together" means to us today. In this service we honor our history and celebrate our Christian roots while reaching beyond to the broader message of community and the ministry of humble service. We will be using the historic communion silver form both the First Parish of Stow and the Universalist Church of South Acton in the service. Whatever your religious background is, you are invited to join us for this beautiful service.
Sunday, March 20th, 2016
"The Best Teachers"
Our Unitarian faith has roots in the 16th century Europe where their approach to Jesus focused on his teachings rather than his divinity. That tradition thrives today in places like our partner church in Transylvania where they refer to Jesus as, "The Best Teacher." On this Palm Sunday we will look at the very human side of Jesus and what he taught. The Rev. Tom Rosiello and Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, will each offer reflections on what they see as the most important teachings. The services will also feature beautiful organ, piano, and choral music, and there will be great hymns to sing. Please join us.
Sunday, March 13th, 2016
Max Weber, speaking about Americans, once said that we are "a nation of joiners" yet at the same time, we know that many are isolated, and lonely with little sense of belonging. Unitarian Universalist theologian, James Luther Adams, once said that it is "by our groups that we are known," indicating how important belonging is to our identity. Today both our minister, Tom Rosiello, and our Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, will offer a reflection on the importance of "belonging" in our lives.
Sunday, March 6th, 2016
This Sunday our worship will focus on our Urban Ministry. First Parish is a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. The UU Urban Ministry is the oldest social service agency in the country. Among the programs it presently runs are a domestic violence shelter, a transitional housing program, and various after school and weekend programs for inner city children and youth. The Urban Ministry is also an advocacy organization and strives to bring people together across differences and work for justice.
The service will be led by First Parish Minister and Member of the Urban Ministry Board of Directors, The Rev. Tom Rosiello. The guest preacher will be The Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, Executive Director and Senior Minister of the Urban Ministry. In her sermon she will explore how “race” keeps us apart from our sisters and brothers, and how being "broken-hearted by the racial divide" can lead us to healing it. The music will include uplifting justice hymns and anthems. Following each service there will be a presentation and discussion about the Urban Ministry and the ways members of First Parish have been and can be involved. Come and be part of the network of people who support our Urban Ministry.
Sunday, February 28th, 2016
Although many articulate that the purpose of our prison system is to rehabilitate offenders and prepare them for re-entry into society, the way the prison system operates does anything but that. In fact many practices from mandatory sentencing to solitary confinement, do just the opposite. As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm the equal worth and dignity of every person and justice equity and compassion in human relationships. This morning we will examine how we are called to apply those principles in the context of our prison system. Rev Rosiello, a former Assistant District Attorney and criminal defense attorney, will be preaching and will include insights from his prior profession.