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Where are we going this Spring?

Happy Easter, friends!  I hope your experience of our holiest holiday was a joyous for you as it was for me.  As we turn the page from Lent into this Easter season, I wanted to give you a little snapshot of where we’ve been and where we’re going this spring.  As I like to say, once we start Lent, it’s like a downhill sprint to the summer, so I think it’s a good moment now for us to pause and take a breath as we take stock of what’s to come in the next few months.

First, where have we been this year?  We’ve done a lot! Here’s a few snippets of what we’ve been working on, starting with our book group that has been through three sessions this year, each book offering a different learning experience for a different group of readers.  In a true example of our “Failure is always an option” ethos we’ve established at the church, we ended one session early when our book proved to not be inciting joy in any of us.  But we also had a marvelous, enlightening, and expansive conversation in our session on The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Our structure team has been meeting bi-weekly and peeling back the layers of our old church structure as we discern a new structure for the church.  You’ve seen and participated in some of their work in surveys that have been sent out this year and Big Sunday Brunch conversations, like the fantastic conversation we had about church membership in March.  Your feedback continues to be a very important part of this work as the team tries to reflect where we are and what structure works best for us now and in the future.

We’ve formed a few new teams this year to address some of the conversation pieces that have come up this year.  One just getting started is a membership team that will ask more questions about what it means to be a church member, while another membership team will ask more questions about how we could invite more of the community into relationship with our congregation.  We’ve also formed a building team that will focus on stewardship of our buildings and grounds, and is leading the conversation of renting our space to a new after-school program for the community.

This Lent our mission team lead us in another supply drive.  This year, instead of bringing in food, we’ve partnered with the New Life Furniture Bank to collect cleaning supplies for a Housewarming basket drive.  We started with a goal of filling twenty baskets with specific supplies, and we met our goal by Easter, with some money left over to try to fill a few more baskets.  While not as simple as counting over 1,600 food items like last year, we’ve still had a substantial impact in our community as we welcome over 20 families in need to their new homes.

       Now, where are we going this spring?  There’s a lot on the horizon that will be behind the scenes, like our continuing work on discerning a new church structure.  As our structure team continues to meet, there will be more feedback sessions as we share new ideas and directions, with an intent to present a draft to finalize at our June congregational meeting.  Other teams have their own work this spring, like our building team finalizing details for the after-school program to utilize our space starting in the fall.  Our mission team will be leading us in continuing our relationship with New Life Furniture Bank after we deliver our Housewarming Baskets, we’ll host a family-oriented furniture building event later this spring.  We’ve got great worship celebrations coming, like Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Pentecost, Memorial Day, Graduation, Pride, Father’s Day, and Juneteenth.  All this and more are a part of our downhill sprint, so keep checking in on this space, our weekly emails, and Sunday worship for more details as we have them.

Blessings to you in this Easter season that continues to bring new life and joy to First Parish, our community around us, and the wider world.

Pastor JT

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