The First Parish Church in Taunton (Approved by the Board of Trustees August 31, 2021) Recognizing that for The First Parish Church to truly thrive in our community, its doors must be open, if at all possible. The Board has determined that modified in-person activities, including Sunday services and religious education programs, will begin September 1, 2021. The following guidelines, based on the best information available from public health authorities, will be effective immediately and until further notice. As it manages the challenges of COVID-19, First Parish is fortunate that it has ample space to provide for recommended social distancing. We anticipate that these may be modified as guidance from public health authorities evolves. We will make guidelines as public as possible and keep our community informed through the Weekly Update, our Facebook page, and signage throughout the building. These guidelines are rooted in our Unitarian-Universalist beliefs in the “inherent worth and dignity of every person” and “the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” We, therefore, implore all attendees and participants in First Parish activities to follow them. Effective date Effective September 1, 2021, First Parish Church in Taunton will be resuming all in-person activities, Sunday services, religious education programs, nursery, rentals, and events. Masks Masks are required for all adults and young people while indoors. There is no mask requirement for children in the nursery or playroom during Sunday services. Social distancing Event and service attendees should put six feet (about two arm lengths) of distance between themselves and people who don’t live in their household. To assist with social distancing, pews available for seating will be clearly marked. Vaccinations We strongly encourage all people who are eligible to be vaccinated as soon as possible to protect their own personal health and the health of others. All staff and all volunteers who are working with children must be vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination to the church office. Church Services Congregational singers working with the Music Director during worship will be masked and sing from the chancel. The rest of the congregation will not sing but should feel free to move and/or clap hands to the music to engage with the music in other ways. (We are continuing to research this issue.) Services will still be available online for those who choose not to attend the in-person service. Nursery and Sunday School Children 5 years old and above are required to wear masks indoors. Indoor spaces and routines will be organized to promote a minimum of 3 feet of distance. Children do not have to wear masks nor maintain distance when outdoors. Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks outside; vaccinated staff are encouraged to wear masks when outside if they cannot maintain distance. Staff and children at increased risk for severe disease due to an underlying condition or with a household member who is at increased risk are encouraged to mask regardless of vaccination status. Children under 5 years old are exempt from mask requirements, however, a family who prefers to mask their children aged 2 or older while at First Parish will be supported in this choice. Coffee hour and food We will hold coffee hour after worship with coffee and tea provided. People are encouraged to take their beverages outdoors when possible. We are not allowing any shared/communal food at any church event at this time. Small group gatherings and rentals Small groups are welcome to use Zoom for their gatherings if they would like, but the building is open to them. All room bookings should be done through firstname.lastname@example.org. The building use schedule can be seen on our website, http://www.firstparishtaunton.org/ under the menu item “calendar.” If you book an event at the church and do not see it on the calendar, please email email@example.com Conclusion These measures are offered to significantly reduce risk and provide individuals with confidence that they can make informed judgments when deciding whether to attend First Parish services and events. We will continue to monitor public health guidance and adjust these guidelines as warranted. We thank our members, friends, and partners for all that you have done to sustain the mission of First Parish and to care for each other during these very challenging times. While we continue to confront the stubborn realities of this pandemic, we are grateful for the opportunity to safely gather together in person and online.
Soul Matters Fall Session Registration
Along with the changing landscape in which we are all living, Soul Matters 2021-2022 will be taking on a new and exciting format that we anticipate will better meet the needs of interested participants.
WHAT makes Soul Matters a unique and rewarding experience? Soul Matters differs from other small groups in that it is designed to help us experience the themes, not just talk about them. Its structure also helps us avoid the safety of shallow analysis and instead invites us to courageously dive into the work of vulnerable, honest, and heart-centered sharing. Think of Soul Matters as an invitation to listen more deeply and intentionally, in three distinct ways:
We listen to each other.
We listen to our lives.
We listen to our deepest self.
Soul Matters’ distinguishing characteristic is a focus on deep listening. But the way Soul Matters goes about that is also unique. Here’s how: Soul Matters Invites us to listen to each other deeply and with discipline. Soul Matters invites group members to practice three distinct disciplines of deep listening during their meeting time using this three-part mantra: • Hold still – the practice of offering an inviting presence. • Hold at bay – the practice of offering safe space. • Hold up and hold out – the practice of responding with gratitude and noting meaningful connections.
HOW will Soul Matters be structured this year? Soul Matters is now a part of a growing number of programs that Adult Religious Education will offer throughout the year. As a result, we are breaking Soul Matters into three sessions. The sessions will not overlap with any other Adult RE programs. This allows folks the flexibility to participate in a number of offerings. You can join one or all of our sessions. The sessions are as follows:
Join us for our fall session: Tuesday Evenings October 5th - November 23rd, 7-9 pm
Be Sure to Stop by the Farmers Market Before the Season is Over
Stop by for delicious fruits, vegetables, baked goods, local crafts, jams, jellies, pickles, and more! We are open on the Church Green 9 AM-12 PM every Sunday.
Some of our favorite vendors are back - Coutinho's, Breezy Knoll (yay sweet corn!), and Humble Hands Farms; Wagglebee Urban Farms (gotta love those pickles!), and Angry Bees Apiary. This year we are welcoming a new bakery - Wholesome Sweets - as well as Kash's Dog Bakery, which bakes dog food and treats for your canine friends. From Seed To You is selling macrame pot holders and potted plants this year in addition to fresh veggies. And our hope is that we will have a local coffee vendor - The Neighbors Coffee & Co. - coming some weeks to sell iced coffee and tea as well as bags of coffee to bring home.
Don't forget that we take cash, card, SNAP/EBT, WIC, and Senior Coupons, and participate in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which adds $40-$80 extra dollars to your EBT card to spend on fruits and veggies at certain farm and farmers market locations.
Matthew Mission Food Pantry - Open Every Saturday
We are thrilled to share that the Matthew Mission Food Pantry is ready to open its doors to the public. While our Grand Opening is still a few weeks away, we have received approval from the Board of Health to start giving out food weekly - and we're eager to get started. The food pantry will be open every Saturday from 10-12, and our first day will be September 4. Customers will be welcome to shop the aisles to select what they need.
For each day we are open, we could use a helping hand. Our volunteers will assist shoppers, fill bags, and stock shelves. The volunteer shift is just two hours on any Saturday. Please use this form to pick a volunteer timeor contact Emily Weilandto sign up. With thanks to the many donors, fundraisers, and volunteers who are building this initiative from the ground up. This project is supported by First Parish Church in Taunton, Eastern Bank, Taunton Elks Lodge #150, HarborOne Bank, and many individual donors. We have built shelves, repaired concrete, and upgraded the electrical in Elizabeth Hall, and have ongoing plans for improvements to make the Matthew Mission Food Pantry a welcoming space in our community.
Chalice Thrift Store is looking for volunteers to join our team! Whether it’s sorting, pricing or working at the cash register, volunteers are vital in helping our shop make a difference in the community. Volunteering can help build your resume, help give back to the community, and build friendships. Whether you can commit to a weekly shift or just stop by a few times a month, there is always something to do. You can even make it a family affair - teaching kids responsibility, sustainability, and goodwill! Please reach out to Nicole Rando (508) 496-3644 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can help.
Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of September 11th, a day that is carved into the memories of everyone that witnessed it. This week's song comes from Alan Jackson and is titled "Where were you when the world stopped turning." I know the world definitely feels like it stopped turning during our time in a global pandemic, but for this week I want you to think back to 2001: what were you doing, how did you process what you were seeing, what did you do in response to the attacks? For me, I just started my sophomore year at Taunton High, it took me a long while to process with lots of crying (to be honest, I'm not sure I ever fully processed that day), I went to church for the first time in almost 2 years, I clung to my family and we watched golden girls reruns. The world has changed quite a bit since 2001, we have grown and learned, we have built wonderful things and we have celebrated the little things and the big things. For this moment in time, join me in a quiet moment of reflection. - Lindi Malo
This Week in Youth Religious Education
Sunday School - This week our Sunday School kids will begin to explore our theme of Embracing Possibly by playing games that highlight the hidden things they have in common!
Jr. Youth- This week our Jr. Youth kids will also begin exploring our theme of Embracing Possibly by playing games that highlight the hidden things they have in common as well as games the highlight the possibility of things getting lost in translation.
In Nursery: Emily Keegan In the Playroom: Jane Haskell and Sharon Erikson Leading Sunday School: Bri LaBrie Leading Jr. Youth: April Rosario
Our spiritual theme for the month of September is Embracing Possibility! Here are a few suggestions on how to incorporate this theme into your daily lives as you live into our shared faith and ask yourselves, "What does it mean to be a family who is embracing possibility?"
Family Movie Night - Hidden Figures (PG) Snuggle up as a family and watch the phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
Family Activity - Trying New foods This week explore the possibility of new foods. Come together as a family and pick out a recipe to cook or order something that includes a food none of you have tried before! A new ingredient, a new culture, a new experience the possibilities are endless!
Family Bedtime (or Anytime) Stories We have brand new stories in our Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion Library this month! Visit our virtual library for some amazing read-aloud stories that connect to this month's spiritual theme of Embracing Possibility (slide 1).
FamilyConversations Starters ● How has COVID offered some “silver lining” moments? ● How does keeping an open mind and open heart allow for an easier ride through life’s challenges?
UU Parenting - Expand Possibilities From the time we’re born, we rely on each other to show us the world beyond what we already know. People teach us to walk, talk, read, and care for ourselves. Through our relationships, we learn to respect, enjoy, and love people who are different from us. And through relationships, we broaden horizons and discover things about ourselves and the world that spark our curiosity and passion, bringing fulfillment, joy, and pleasure throughout our lives. Below are some tips from Expand Possibilities - Keep Connectedon how we as parents can help our children expand their possibilities
Find ways for your children to spend time with people who are different from your family.
When your kids seem curious about an activity, topic, or issue, ask questions such as “what strikes you as interesting about this?”
Introduce your kids to a wide range of people, places, ideas, cultures, and vocations. Start with ones they’re curious about.
Encourage your children to try things they might be interested in. Maybe try it together.
Connect your kids with people you know in your extended family or community who can explore with them their areas of personal interest and strength.
Model being a curious learner by asking questions and sharing what you’re learning in your own life. Learn things from your kids.
Family Chalice Lighting Spiritual practice is just as important for children and youth as it is for adults!! Lighting a chalice at home is a wonderful way to live into our faith and help your children feel grounded in spiritual practice. This week try lighting a family chalice at dinner or bedtime, or whatever time makes sense for your family.
First Parish Church in Taunton P.O. Box 614 76 Church Green Taunton, MA 02780 508.822.2107