Welcome VISITORS! To receive more information about First Parish, please fill out the Visitor Card linked HERE or email our Membership Coordinator, Laurie Hasty, at email@example.com. We look forward to connecting with you!
Meetings & Classes
Homelessness in Portland | January 10 | 11 am | Following Service on Zoom Join Rev. Christina & Marcy Makinen immediately after the service this Sunday in a coffee hour break out room to discuss a First Parish unified response to homelessness in Portland. Join the Zoom service as usual, and stay on for this important discussion!
What’s Going on in Religious Exploration (RE)?- FMI about the RE program, please email Toben Cooney-Callnan, Director of Religious Exploration, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Grades 1-7: Zoom Meetings most Sundays 9-9:45 am.
- Grades 10-12: Youth Group Sundays 6-7:15 pm
Storytellers Invited! We can always use storytellers to tell stories or read books for our messages to younger kids and for the Time for All Ages part of our online worship services. Email Toben at email@example.com for more information.
Religious Exploration Updated Calendar The RE Calendar has been updated to reflect our shared classes with the UU Church of Brunswick. Our Online RE Calendar is the best place to go for the most up to date information on what is happening each week in the RE Program.
Pastoral Care Breakout Room | Sunday Mornings after Worship All are welcome to join a confidential pastoral care breakout room each Sunday after worship. Please send a chat message to the worship tech person during the service if you would like to join. A member of the Pastoral Care Team will be present with an open heart. Any questions or concerns please contact team leader Judy Micoleau: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONLINE Breathing and Meditation Class | Wednesdays | 7:30-8:30 am The practice of pranayama is essential to a calm mind, a healthy body, and a free spirit. Through breathwork, kriyas, mudras and sutras we prepare for silence and stillness. Taught by Rev. Christina. Free to members. $10.00 per class for non-members. Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/630981602.
Poetry Hour with Reverend Christina | Thursdays | 8-9 am We listen to poems, reflect on them, and share how they touch our beings. Some of us have begun to write poems. All are welcome. Free to members. $10.00 per class for non-members. Join Zoom Meeting: Location: https://zoom.us/j/250298315.
Peaceful Harbor Sangha | Sundays | 6:30 – 8:00 pm | Online Peaceful Harbor Sangha meets weekly for shared Buddhist practice. Meetings include sitting meditation, walking meditation, dharma reading and discussion. Come experience the calm in the storm! Meetings are now held on Zoom, and all are welcome; donations are gratefully accepted but not required. To receive the Zoom link contact Susannah Ristine at email@example.com.
First Parish Book Group | February 4 | 6-7 pm | Online Pop in to share about a book you are reading or have read and to hear about books others are reading! This group meets on the first Thursday of every month. Members free; $5 non-members. To register and receive the Zoom link, contact Betsy Garnett: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsored by the Library & Membership Teams.
Newcomer Coffee ONLINE! | February 7 | 11 am- 12 pm Newcomers and visitors to First Parish are invited to chat informally with Rev. Christina to learn more about what makes this church unique. To join the conversation, use the Zoom link posted above for this week’s online worship service or just stay online after the service. We look forward to meeting you! FMI: Laurie Hasty email@example.com.
ONLINE Worship Service | Sundays | 10 am | Join Zoom Meeting HERE Join us online each Sunday for our Unitarian Universalist worship service. Use the Zoom link below to call in as early as 9:30 am to say hello to other First Parish friends. Or watch the livestream service on our Facebook page.
Preble Street Wellness Shelter On Tuesday, 1/5, the City of Portland Planning Board voted to approve the conditional use application for the Preble Street Wellness Shelter! Thanks to the following members of First Parish who testified, wrote letters, made phone calls and joined in meetings in support of our unhoused neighbors: Anne Heminway, Carl Capello, Cate Lund, Claire Cowan, Corene Wickenheiser, Jake Kulaw, Jane and Cliff Hoover, Jeff Logan, Jenn McAdoo, Joan Stanton, Judy Micoleau, Karen Wentworth, Kathy Vezina, Kris Minister, Marcy Makinen, Martha Burke, Michael Pancook, Nancy Flagg, Sue Lippert, Susan Cook, Susan Payne, Tricia Naddaff and Val Blais.
Staff News Please welcome Marge Stockford as the Interim Office Administrator until our new staff person is hired. Marge will be answering email, returning calls, sending the weekly eNews, and so much more! You can reach Marge by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 773-5747. Thank you, Marge!
A big shout-out goes to the members of the First Parish Personnel Team: Lois Winter, Sue Veligor, Steve Jenks and Richard Burbank. They have been hard at work screening candidates and conducting interviews for our next Congregational Administrator. Many thanks for this important service to First Parish!
Update on Church for EveryBody The staging at the back of our building has been removed, revealing the attractive brickwork, and spaces for windows at the entry and up the stairway (photo above left). You can now see where the Community Dinner dishes will be handed in and out of the kitchen (photo above right), and envision the three new sinks and dishwasher! The slab for the elevator foundation has been poured, and we are hoping the elevator will be installed soon. You can learn more about the project’s status here.
COVID and First Parish Meetings Due to sharply rising COVID cases in Maine, it is important for all First Parish committees and chalice groups to be on the same page about meeting guidelines. If you have not begun to move your groups to an on-line only meeting method, please do so now. All First Parish sanctioned church activities should only convene through an on-line platform for the foreseeable future. If you are already doing this, thank you. If you are experiencing challenges making the transition, please feel free to reach out to your Ministry Liaison Team representative, Chalice Group Coordinator, or Sheila in the Office to help you navigate the transition. Please read the full letter from the Safe Congregation Task Force HERE.
First Parish Closed for all Meetings & Rentals Our building will remain closed until January 21, 2021, at which time we will reassess the COVID-19 metrics from the CDC and decide if it is safe to reopen. This pause will give us time to keep an eye on the data following the holidays, as it is expected there will be a continued increase in the case rate, which should be seen 2-4 weeks following the holiday. We see this “pause” as a compromise between closing the building for the longer term and keeping it open and risking active infection among staff and increasing community spread. FMI: email@example.com.
Hope for Spring 2021: A Message from Rev. Christina Sillari The Unitarian Universalist Association recommends that we do not return to in-person Sunday worship until May 2021. I feel this is very wise. The great state of Maine has one of the lowest rates of COVID cases in the country, but these cases are on the rise. We have also seen serious outbreaks from a few religious gatherings. As a faith community with social values, it is important that we not only consider ourselves during these times, but all of our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us. We will soon share with you how we determine the most responsible pathway forward during these unprecedented times.
Sunday Plate Needs Help! Sunday Plate donations are currently less than half of pre-pandemic levels. Weekly donations are an important revenue source keeping our church on sound financial footing. Even though we can’t gather in person, there are still ways to contribute during or after Sunday worship. Click here to learn all the Ways to Give to First Parish.
Join a Chalice Group! Chalice Groups are a great place to get to know other people and to get to know yourself. Groups of approximately 10 people meet monthly to reflect upon and discuss significant life topics. The conversations are respectful and caring. Currently we are going strong and making connections using Zoom. FMI, please contact: Barbara DeSerres, Chalice Group Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committee on Ministry: The Committee on Ministry (COM) assists the minister and the congregation in promoting the well-being of the congregation’s ministry. Should a member have an inquiry or feedback pertaining to The Reverend’s ministry at First Parish, please contact a member of the COM team: Andrew Bloom (ABLOOM@maine.rr.com), Jen Caswell (email@example.com), Bruce Carver (firstname.lastname@example.org), and/or Tom Rogers (email@example.com).
Phishing Emails from Rev. Christina: Please be aware of an emails you receive from Rev. Christina asking for help, money, or a return email, as there have been many recent phishing emails that claim to be her. “I would never ask Members or Friends of First Parish for money, gift cards, or help in any way, other than regular FP business,” says Rev. Christina. These emails are always sent from fake email addresses that look real. Christina only uses the following email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. These scams are an unfortunate reality for many churches these days. The UUA published an article on this issue titled, “Phishing: Don’t Take the Bait!”
Need Help Getting Started on Zoom? Thanks to Kate Stenberg, Worship Team, we now have our very own First Parish Zoom Guide linked HERE! Or, watch this helpful video to make sure you are up and running for Worship Service on Sunday, as well as other Zoom offerings!
Watch Previous Online Services: Did you miss a service recently? You can watch all of our online services on our FaceBook page, or read the transcripts of the services HERE.
Text to Give: You can now make donations to First Parish via TEXT by following these steps:
- Type in (833) 763-0068 in the “To:” field of a text
- Type in the amount you want to give in the text box
- Click on the link to enter your billing information
- For subsequent donations, simply text the amount you want to give to the (833) 763-0068 & hit SEND.
OR… Mail Your Pledge Check! Many of our parishioners usually pay their pledges with a check placed in the Offertory, and may prefer not to give online. If this is YOU, please mail your pledge checks to the church office at 425 Congress St, Portland, ME 04010. It is essential for us to maintain a smooth cash flow in these difficult times. Thank you for your generosity!
Sermons: We receive many requests for copies of Rev. Christina’s thought-provoking sermons. You can now find her sermons in this Shared Sermons Folder. Please allow up to a week for sermons to be posted here.
Weekly eNews Tips: Are you receiving our weekly eNews email? The eNews is filled with valuable information on how to get involved at First Parish. Email Sheila in the Office to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope the following tips will help you get the most out of this important mode of communication:
- CLICK on the rectangular buttons & blue underlined words throughout the eNews to link to more information.
- Click on the “ORDER of SERVICE” button above to get more information on readings and music from each service.
- Wait…there’s more! Click on the “View Entire Message” link at the end of this email to read the full eNews!
- Is someone you know not receiving the eNews even though they signed up? Encourage them to check their Promotions or Junk folders, and then move the eNews into their Inbox.