Reverend Eliza Blanchard will focus on what it means to declutter the soul. As we curate what we hold tightly to, we’ll explore ways in which clearing out our spirits’ basements, and attics can transform us. Reverend Eliza Blanchard graduated from Harvard Divinity School (where she met Rev. Tom) in 2004, served the U.U. Society of Grafton and Upton for five years, and now offers spiritual direction and pet loss support as an affiliate of The First Parish in Brookline, U.U.
Listen to Past Services
Sunday, January 10th, 2016
Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
Join us for an intergenerational service observing the holiday of Epiphany, honoring the special day on which the three kings arrived to bring gifts to the newborn Jesus. Director of Religious Education, Michelle Cote, and Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, will co-preach about the gifts we each bring to the world, and the epiphanies we have that can change our lives (just as the lives of the kings were changed upon meeting the baby Jesus). This service will include beloved hymns like, We Three Kings, and will also involve movement and sharing to be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Sunday, December 13th, 2015
On this 7th day of Hanukkah we will tell the story of the Maccabee people who never lost hope that they could overcome those who oppressed them and tried to take their culture away. We will be treated to some wonderful Hanukkah and join in singing songs of hope. In the sermon Rev. Tom Rosiello will address the fear so many are experiencing with the recent incidents of terrorism and how we might address it in light of the lessons learned from the Jewish experience in both ancient and modern times. When the French Jewish writer, Tristan Bernard and his wife were arrested by the Gestapo, he proclaimed, "We have lived in fear, now we shall live in hope." This morning's service will be about fear and its antidote, hope. Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie and director of Music, Mike Pfizer will assist in leading worship.
Sunday, December 6th, 2015
Thirty five years have passed since AIDS was first diagnosed. Millions have died and entire communities have been devastated. Both research and treatment have been challenged by racism, homophobia, and negative attitudes towards other classes of victims. AIDS has challenged our love and caused many to abandon hope. But this season of Advent is time of renewed hope and we will explore that in the context of hope for even better treatment, prevention and cures for the disease. This Sunday we will share the journey of this disease, beginning with its devastating effect on American gay men in the 1980's and moving to its impact on other communities today . We will look at how it has changed the world and changed all of us. We will remember those we lost to the disease and celebrate the lives of those living well with the disease.
Sunday, November 29th, 2015
The days draw shorter, the winds are colder, and our calendars are filling up with holiday plans. Thanksgiving has gone, and Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years are fast-approaching. Many have called the holidays a season of light in a time of darkness, and for good reason. Parties, food, and gifts abound-- but there is room, too, for darkness amidst this season of light. The holidays do not always bring unadulterated joy-- for some, they are a distinctly mixed bag or even a time of mourning and loss. In this service, Intern Minister Ilene Gillispie will preach about acknowledging darkness during the holidays and even, at times, welcoming the peace that darkness may bring into our busy lives during this holiday season.
Sunday, November 15th, 2015
Worship lead by Rev. Tom Rosiello and Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie, with music under the direction of Mike Pfitzer.
For centuries black lives in our nation have been devalued in so many ways. Our society has sent a message that black lives don't matter. In response to that, an organization has formed to declare that Black Lives Do Matter. This morning we will explore what that means and why it is not enough for us just to say, all lives mater. Our service will be rich in music from the Black spiritual tradition and the civil rights movement.
Sunday, November 8th, 2015
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lamp-lighting, celebrates the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. In this fall season of darkening, with winter approaching, we will explore together through this Diwali service how to keep our own inner lights shining brightly, even in times of darkness. Rev. Tom and Intern Minister Ilene Gillispie, will co-preach, and Ilene will also perform kirtan (Indian devotional music). Ilene has spent five long periods of time in India for research, study, and language-learning, and will draw on these experiences as part of this service.
Sunday, November 1st, 2015
All Souls Day is a day of remembrance for those loved ones we have lost, especially those who died in the last year. With words and beautiful music from our choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists, we will bring them close again. Everyone is invited to bring a photo or memento of a deceased loved one to help us create our beautiful "All Souls Day Altar of Remembrance." Worship will be led by the Rev. Tom Rosiello and Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie. In addition to remembering those who have gone before, we will reflect upon the legacy we each will leave behind when our time on this earth comes to an end. After the service we will plant daffodils in front of the church, so that they may rise up in the spring to remind us how the loved ones who have died live on with us in spirit. Visitors, especially those who have lost a loved one recently, are invited to join us and participate in this beautiful service.
Sunday, October 25th, 2015
Sunday, October 25 9 AM & 11 AM
"Parity, Not Charity"
Unitarianism (the belief that God is one, not a trinity) had its beginning in the Transylvania region of Romania almost 500 years ago. For 20 years now, the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council has helped to facilitate partnerships between congregations around the globe. First Parish Church of Stow and Acton is partnered with a Unitarian congregation in Olasztelek, Romania. Intern Minister Ilene Gillispie also grew up in a UU church which had a partner church program, and in this service she will share her experiences traveling to Romania as a child, teenager, and young adult. We will reflect together on the Partner Church Council's motto-- parity, not charity-- and explore the many ways that we can be nurtured spiritually through partnership. This service should be of particular interest to those considering or planning to visit Transylvania with FPC's first-ever Unitarian Heritage Pilgrimage this spring! While she is an experienced preacher, this will be Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie's first time preaching here at FPC. Hymns of Transylvanian origin will be included in this worship service.
Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Rev. Tom Rosiello will be preaching this morning.
In our tradition we affirm the equal worth and dignity of every person. We proclaim all lives as sacred yet we witness senseless and unprovoked killing at an alarming rate. In the last week or two we witnessed the occurrence of at least three horrible shooting incidents on school campuses. Recent statistics reveal that 90 people die every day of gun violence in our country. Yet, in spite of this alarming rate of gun violence, which is killing children and innocent people, it seems that no one is willing to do anything about addressing the problem. When will enough be enough? When will it be time for our country to join the rest of the civilized world and enact reasonable gun control legislation? This Sunday we will remember the victims of gun violence. Using the principles and teaching of our faith tradition, we will explore the problem, the inability or unwillingness of our national leaders to take action, and the way we can at least try to work for change. Please join us to explore this very important and timely issue.