Past Services

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Thursday, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

"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

Urban Ministry Sunday

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.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Emerson wrote that “a friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud”. In this service we will explore the importance of friendship in our lives. Vespers is a candle-light service of readings, sharing of thoughts, candle lighting, special music, and silence. You are invited to bring a reading or poem about friendship to share at the service.

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Our days are full of anxiety and stress of all kinds. It is easy to become consumed, overwhelmed, even defeated. But there are ways to negotiate the stress. We will examine advice for life from the Sermon on the Mount, Rules of White-Water Rafting, and the story of a donkey who fell in a well. You just never know where you will find some great lesson for leading a better life. Our worship service will include a time of guided meditation to help us let go of some of our stress right on the spot. The Rev. Tom Rosiello will preach and lead worship assisted by Intern Minister, Ilene Gillispie

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

On this Valentine's Day our focus will not be on romantic love for a partner, but on love for our neighbors. "Love Your Neighbor as Yourself" is one of the two primary commandments in Christian Scripture. The very same words appear in the Hebrew Bible book of Leviticus and the theme is reflection in most religious traditions. Inherent in this commandment is the idea expressed in our principles that every human being has the same worth and dignity and we are called to treat all our neighbors with the same love and compassion we want for ourselves. Loving your neighbor as yourself means that you proclaim that their life matters as much as yours. On this Sunday when we hang our black lives matter banner in front of our church we explore what it means to truly love your neighbor as yourself.

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Generosity Sunday

"It is in Giving that We Receive"  The Spiritual Practice of Generosity
This morning we are going to pull out all the stops in a celebration of your generosity. Choirs, youth singers,  drummers, and jazz musicians will all contribute to the festive atmosphere.  Our ministers Tom and Ilene will be joined by Members of the Stewardship Committee who will share with you all that your generosity makes and can make possible.  The sermon will explore generosity as an important spiritual practice in all our lives.

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Today we focus on our first principle, affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person as we explore what that means in the context of children with special needs. Joining Tom and Ilene in leading this worship service will be parents, counselors, and teachers of children with special needs. Together we will learn about the blessings and the challenges these children present. As a church we serve many children with special needs, and our hope is that we will continue to grow in how we meet the needs of these children.