August 2018 Newsletter

Church Events

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Ice Cream Sundays                                      August 12, 2018, 5:00 PM
Julane Deener and the First Universalist Parish Choir


Thanks to a very cooperative and enthusiastic group of singers, the choir will be leading another special Evensong service this summer.  On August 12 from 5:00 to 5:45, we’ll share anthems, hymns and readings in special abbreviated musical services that will end with an ice cream party downstairs in the Fellowship Hall. These services are designed to be Very Family Friendly, so snacks before ice cream will include protein and veggies to offset the sugar. The theme for August is Children. Please join us!  Bring your friends and children and take a bit of time to reconnect with our church family during our summer off.  You’ll be glad you did!

Principles in Action

Our donations will go to the Refugee & Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a non profit group that provides free and low cost legal services to immigrant        children, families and refugees. They have just set up a hot line, staffed by volunteers, to help reunite families that were separated at the border. Money will go toward detained parents bonds which are needed to reunite families and will also fund legal representation of            separated families.

Music News

Singing Meditation will continue on August 16 – third Thursday of every month from 6 to 7 p.m.  All are welcome!

Board Meeting

Sunday, August 26
10:00 AM
All are welcome to attend.

May Yard Sale

A Note from Melody:
"We worked hard at the yard sale, but with Ed’s hot dogs and the goodies from the bake sale, lots of fun was had by all. We set up Sunday, and what didn't sell went into the free pile and most disappeared overnight. The grand total is now $3,575.55. We did good! :-)"

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June Church Picnic

The Pizza was great from the wood fired pizza oven. It was delicious!!!!! It was a beautiful day at Melody’s and Wally’s home and we ate a lot of pizza , saw the gardens, and had great conversations.

July Ice Cream Sunday

Singing and Sundaes How much better can a Sunday Service get? Nick Boke will be giving the first sermon of the season, Sunday, September 9, 2018.

Remember Water Communion

Please remember to bottle a little water from the meaningful place you visit this summer. If you found joy or peace, bring some token of your experience to share with us at our Water Communion Service September 9.

August Community Events

Community Asylum Seekers Project Update                                                    
Steve Crofter wants to let people know that in addition to the Mexican family that he and Laurel are hosting, the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP) has now welcomed two asylum-seeking women from Honduras to live in a host home in Brattleboro, and it looks like host homes will be available soon in Putney and Westminster."

Home Health Aide Services Needed
A neighbor is looking for home health aide services for his elderly mother. Flexible shifts.
Mother lives off Main street. She requires minor lifting. She is very alert and oriented.
Clean environment to work in. Current wage offered. Inquires please call Mr. Kim Kendal 802-875-3469. Thank you very much.
- Liz MacAdie

The Nature Museum, Grafton

 

June Newsletter

Worship Schedule

- June 4, 2017 by David Driver
"Gratitude"

- June 11, 2018 by Kevin Carson
"Are We There Yet?”
This month, cities across America will celebrate LGBTQ identity with Pride marches and festivities, in a time when a climate of political uncertainty has created enormous anxiety within the LGBTQ community and their allies. I will share some thoughts on where we stand as a faith within this national conversation.

Sunday services begin at 9:30, childcare provided.


Principles in Action 

- June Principles in Action

We will be supporting our children’s Medicine Wheel Project in June.  Many thanks to all who donated plants, rocks and time to this project.  There are some items associated with the project such as compost that must be purchased and our contribution will make this possible.  The Board is also hoping to install an outside water faucet to make watering outside plants easier.


Religious Education Program (RE) 

- June // Medicine Wheel

We have been working on a short play, Pete Seeger's Abiyoyo, and we will share this with the congregation on June 11 during the children's time. 

The Medicine Wheel is moving along nicely.  Thanks to Laurel and Steve at Singing River Farm for donating rocks.  The families and children outlined the wheel and set up the fire circle on Wednesday, May 24. 

The installation, which involves mostly composting and planting, is scheduled to happen after the service on June 4.  We are hoping for this to be a great opportunity for the members of the congregation to participate with the children in the final phase of the medicine wheel.  All are invited and asked to join us after the service for this wonderful project.  We will need people to come with spades, gardening shovels and watering cans, as well as the plants you have previously offered if you have not already arranged for them to be dropped off.

Lisa Crocker and the RE Students outlined the Medicine Wheel with stones on June 4th.

Our final service on June 11 we will have our flower ceremony at the medicine wheel with a special dedication of the wheel as well.  It is our hope that this wheel will be enjoyed by the entire congregation.  The Wheel is located on the South Side of the church and the site would also be available as a location for church picnics, weddings, and other church activities and celebrations.  If anyone has any questions about all of this, please contact Lisa at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com or at church.  

The Medicine Wheel Great stone circles are considered feats of ritual or spiritual architecture. Many sacred circles can be found around the globe including, Europe, Africa, South America and North America. Many of these circles are thought to be over 5,000 years old. Some are thought to represent solar calendars that regulated work, hunting and even the return of animals for the people of their region. People to this day often travel thousands of miles to stand near a circle or wheel of stones. The most well-known medicine wheels come from Native American Tribes. Many Native tribes used their wheels for growing sacred herbal medicines to honor the ancestors, the seasons, and the cycle or circle of all things in nature and life.

There is evidence of Native tribes making yearly treks to these sacred wheels and making offerings of seeds, tobacco, sage, and more, to the directions, their ancestors and to nature. It is said that, the wise leaders or medicine people of the tribes would come to these sites for advice, visions or guidance on the healing of their people. And there are many stories through history that talk about these visions or experiences that happened within these circles. Many wheels represent the 4 directions of North, South, East and West. Within those directions, the elements are also honored. The elements being, North=Earth South=Fire East=Air and West=Water. Those elements and their colors can also change within various tribes and locations.

However, the symbol of the circle seemed to be honored within every tribe. The circle was and often is represented on their shields, on their horses, and on ceremonial clothing. In creating your own medicine wheel, you are honoring the ancestors before us, Mother Earth, Nature, the cycle of life and beauty within all things connected.

Please join us on June 11th for the flower ceremony in the Medicine wheel. With the presence of the members, we can honor and celebrate the sacred space of the new UU Medicine Wheel.

“Then I was standing on the highest Mountain of them all, and round about me was a whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle.” -- Black Elk

If anyone has any questions about all of this, please contact Lisa at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com or at church. If anyone has any questions about all of this, please contact Lisa at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com or at church.   


Church Events

- Church Picnic //  June 11 after church 
Liz and Bruce MacAdie are looking forward to hosting the annual picnic June 11, after church. Please plan to car pool from the church lot, as parking is tricky. Bring a dish to share and a chair, they will provide hot dogs and hamburgers. 

- Art // June 4
We are having a small showing of artwork today in the social room downstairs.  Take a look at some of the art we have created.  Pictures and a quilt are mounted on the walls and windows downstairs.  We will be having another show next year, so come join our group and be creative with us no matter what your medium.


Community Events

Protesting the Trump budget and support real health care reform! Peter, Susan, Steven, Melody and Mary on Friday afternoon May 26, Main Street in Chester. 

We have been invited to participate in the Saxtons River 4th of July parade by the S. R. Human Right Cafe/Indivisible group.  Wendy Regier and Melody Reed volunteered to make big puppets.  I will put them in touch with the folks in Saxtons River who are working on this.  We will schedule one or more puppet and sign making workshops in June.

The parade is in the morning of the Fourth and is always well attended and lots of fun.  Put it on your calendar. 

Aides for Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Representative Welch confirmed at the SEVCA event last week that their bosses appreciate our calls and emails of support.

  • Senator Patrick Leahy
    Burlington: (802) 863-2525
    DC: (202) 224-4242
  • Senator Bernie Sanders
    Burlington:  (802) 862-0697
    DC:  (202) 224-5141
  • Representative Peter Welch
    Burlington:  (802) 652-2450
    DC: (202) 225-4115
  • Your call might sound like this: "Thank you so much for taking my call. I wanted to thank ___________ for standing by our values in this budget fight. I know you are doing what you can to protect programs that make our country more equal, fairer, and more decent. I want you to know you have my support, and please let me know if I can do anything more to help."

- 19th Annual Spring Chester Craft Sale // June 3rd and 4th

- Butternut Ridge Trail Work and Trail Exploration Day // June 17th


Board News

Charlotte Edgar’s funeral on May 5 was a moving celebration of her life. Those of us who knew her during her many years in Chester found, through stories and photos, so many other aspects of her life. Her love for her family, especially her special bonds with her grandchildren, shone through in every remembrance.

On May 28, a farewell brunch was held after the regular service to honor David & Laura Driver for their dedication to our church since 2005. Through the years they have served on many committees and brought cultural events to our church and community.


Dates to Remember:

- Medicine Wheel Work Day // June 4

On June 4th we plan to have a brief work session, helping the RE children set out the foundation for their medicine wheel. They have done much study of the Indian traditions surrounding the structure and they designed and chose the herbs that will be planted in quadrants of the wheel. It is a nice opportunity to work with the children and help them achieve their goal. Later it will be a nice place for contemplation or quiet chats for all of us.

- Church Picnic // June 11

The annual church picnic will take place after church on June 11 at the home Liz Macadie. Please bring chairs and a dish to share. Hamburgers & hotdogs & beverages will be provided. This is always a great chance to chat with everyone, to talk about our individual summer plans, or to share ideas about what we’d like to see in the fall at our church.

Somehow our church year has almost ended. I hope we’ll enjoy sunny temperate days through the summer, maybe see one another here and there, and come back in the fall ready for fellowship, thoughtful sermons, and energy to carry out the ideas we believe in.  

Steph Row

May 5th First Parish Newsletter

May Worship

Sunday Services begin at 9:30
Childcare Provided

May 7, 2017 | Nick Boke
“A pebble from the shingle”: The opposing faces of science in the modern world.
The poet Robinson Jeffers concluded his poem “Science,” which was written in the 1930s, thus: “A little knowledge, a pebble from the shingle, /A drop from the oceans; who would have dreamed this infinitely little too much?” Cut to March 2017, when physicist Stephen Hawking told the Times of London that world government may be the only way to protect ourselves from the robots.

May 14, 2017 | Kevin Carson
“Welcome to the Anthropocene”
In August 2016, the scientific body that officially designates the names of geological strata
recommended that we call the current epoch of Earth’s history the “Anthropocene”– the age of humans. What does it mean to be human in “the age of humans”?

May 21, 2017 | Nancy Crumbine
"Bluets whiten the fields….”
A meditation on creativity, lilacs, persistence, and otters, with help from Thoreau, who saw the bluets, and Emerson who wrote: "What potent blood hath modest May.”

May 28, 2017 | Jane Dwinell
What Can We Do?
Rev. Jane Dwinell is just back from the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC and will share
some thoughts about what we can do in the face of climate change. She was the minister at the First Universalist Parish in Derby Line, VT and the Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community in Saranac Lake, NY, and worked as a small congregation consultant. She is mostly retired, and lives in Burlington, VT with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law where they love to play disc golf, Bridge, and grow lots of veggies.
 

May Principles in Action

Our May donation will go to the American Diabetes Association. The Heybryne family will be participating in the annual fundraising walk the first weekend in May that supports research efforts that one day may result in a cure for juvenile diabetes and help kids like Brielle and Sydney. Both girls have juvenile diabetes and the Heybyrne family has learned to give injections, count carbohydrates, and monitor blood sugar levels regularly. The girls pancreases are unable to produce the insulin needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into the energy needed to live. We all hope that the research being undertaken by The American Diabetes Association will result in a cure for juvenile diabetes one day in the near future.

Religious Exploration (RE) May-June

The RE kids will be very busy working this month on the Medicine Wheel and also putting together their service for June 4. The theme for the service will be "Peace" and we will have music and readings and a skit. This Sunday, the children will be going on a field trip to Jamie's dad's greenhouse where they will be planting seeds for the wheel. They have chosen what they would like to have in the wheel for plants and the design of the wheel. Now it is time for us to ask for your help! In order to keep costs down and involve the greater church community, we have put together a list of items and other help that we need for the wheel. Please review the list below and let Lisa know what you can help with, either by talking to her or emailing her at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com. Thanks!

For plants we are looking for the following:

Yarrow
Lemon Balm
Echinacea
marshmallow
Bee balm (monarda)
Mint
Sunflower seed packet
chives

For other items we will need or require help with....

*Transporting/truck rocks to build wheel with (from Rosie's or elsewhere)
*Top Soil/garden soil
*mulch
*compost
*tools to use like shovels and rakes
*and people willing to dig and move rocks!
*a couple stumps and a board for making a bench OR someone willing to make a simple wood bench
*people willing to help water once a schedule is made for the summer time

Honoring the Drivers and Saying Goodbye – May 28

The process of saying goodbye to active members of our congregation is always bittersweet. We are excited for David and Laura that they have purchased a new home in Amherst Massachusetts, close to their children and grandchildren. They expect to be relocating from Vermont over the summer, and we hope they will return for a visit every now and then. Their departure will leave a big empty spot here in Chester and we want to express our gratitude and appreciation for their many contributions over the last decade during our worship service on May 28th. There will be a brunch following the service and everyone is invited to bring a dish to share and to come and wish David and Laura the best as they begin a new chapter in their lives. They certainly will be missed.

Art at the Stone Church

Please join us Tuesday at 3PM in the parish community room for "ART". We meet weekly from 3-5 in a supportive, creative environment. Whatever artistic medium you practice; water color, oil, pastels, drawing, quilting, or jewelry design, you are welcome. Come every week or when you can. We are excited to produce and share our art. No need to sign up. Just show up.

From Melody Reed:
Calling Artist and Artsy friends!
 I want to hang an art show in my studio shop (inside the Moon Dog Cafe, Chester). I'm looking for mixed media pieces no larger than 16 x 20. The criteria: anything goes but must be a mixed media piece and MUST incorporate a vintage photo booth photo. The photo can be a copy, and does not have to be an original. If you have more questions PM me. Timetable, it's a quick turnaround; I'd love to have the work by the end of the month. I'd like to have at least a dozen pieces, the more the merrier. The show will hang at least a month, maybe longer. Please let me know if you're interested and spread the word! Thanks!

First Parish Special Notice March 31st

Charlotte Edgar's Funeral
Charlotte Edgar’s funeral will take place on Friday, May 5 at 11:00 am. at the First Universalist Parish Church.  A reception follows at the Fullerton Inn to which all are invited.

Religious Education at First Universalist Parish Church
The RE kids will be very busy working this month on the Medicine Wheel and also putting together their service for June 4.  The theme for the service will be "Peace" and we will have music and readings and a skit.

This Sunday, the children will be going on a field trip to Jamie's dad's greenhouse where they will be planting seeds for the wheel.  They have chosen what they would like to have in the wheel for plants and the design of the wheel.

Now it is time for us to ask for your help!  In order to keep costs down and involve the greater church community, we have put together a list of items and other help that we need for the wheel.  Please review the list below and let Lisa know what you can help with, either by talking to her or emailing her at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com.

For plants we are looking for the following

Yarrow
Lemon Balm
Echinacea
marshmallow
Bee balm (monarda)
Mint
sunflower seed packet
chives

For other items we will need or require help with....
*Transporting/truck rocks to build wheel with (from Rosie's or elsewhere)
*Top Soil/garden soil
*mulch
*compost
*tools to use like shovels and rakes
*and people willing to dig and move rocks!
*a couple stumps and a board for making a bench OR someone willing to make a simple wood bench
*people willing to help water once a schedule is made for the summer time

Religious Exploration Prepares for June Service and Medicine Wheel Progress

The RE kids will be very busy working this month on the Medicine Wheel and also putting together their service for June 4.  The theme for the service will be "Peace" and we will have music and readings and a skit.

This Sunday, the children will be going on a field trip to Jamie's dad's greenhouse where they will be planting seeds for the wheel.  They have chosen what they would like to have in the wheel for plants and the design of the wheel.

Now it is time for us to ask for your help!  In order to keep costs down and involve the greater church community, we have put together a list of items and other help that we need for the wheel.  Please review the list below and let Lisa know what you can help with, either by talking to her or emailing her at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com.

For plants we are looking for the following:

Yarrow
Lemon Balm
Echinacea
Marshmallow
Bee balm (monarda)
Mint
Sunflower seed packet
Chives

For other items we will need or require help with....

*Transporting/truck rocks to build wheel with (from Rosie's or elsewhere)
*Top Soil/garden soil
*mulch
*compost
*tools to use like shovels and rakes
*and people willing to dig and move rocks!
*a couple stumps and a board for making a bench OR someone willing to make a simple wood bench
*people willing to help water once a schedule is made for the summer time

April 17th Newsletter

Upcoming Services

April 23 , 2017 - by Kevin Carson: “In Praise of Diversity"
Our Unitarian Universalist faith is a celebration of diverse beliefs, and this is one of our great strengths in an increasingly diverse world.

April 30, 2017 – by Kevin Carson: “The Practice of Forgiveness”
How forgiving others and forgiving ourselves can transform our emotional and spiritual life.

Principles in Action: April

The April Principles in Action collection will go to the Vermont Eco Studies (VEC) Loon Conservation Project.

Art at FUP

Every Tuesday from 3-5:30pm the community room of our church is the meeting spot for a welcoming group of art enthusiasts. All are welcome! Learn about this group >

Community Events

Big Woods Voices
Will Danforth would like you all to know that his a cappella group, Big Woods Voices, will be performing at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River on Friday, April 28, at 7:30. 

“Bird Is A Verb” with The Bird Diva and The Nature Museum
Do you smile at the first sounds of the winged harbingers of spring like the Red-winged Blackbird or the American Woodcock? Does the evening song of the Hermit Thrush stop you in your tracks?

Join us for a spring tune-up just in time for bird migration season when The Nature Museum teams up with naturalist Bridget Butler, aka the “Bird Diva,” who is heard on VPR’s biannual Bird Show. Butler will present “Bird is a Verb” on Thursday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at NewsBank Conference Center at 352 Main Street in Chester, VT. Doors will open at 6:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets are available in advance online and at the door. 

Art at the FUP

by Nena Nanfeldt

Does your inner artist need a regular, supportive environment where you can “do” art? Every Tuesday from 3-5:30, the community room at the First Universalist Parish in Chester’s Stone Village is alternately buzzing or serene as artists pursue their creative art projects.

All are welcome; first timers, beginners and experienced artists. We represent a variety of artistic mediums including water color, oil, pastels, quilting and any other means by which you like to express your creativity.

Please call or email Nena Nanfeldt, 802-875-4309, nnanfeldt@gmail.com or Marilyn Mason, 802-875-4945, breeze@vermontel.net for information and to get on our email list. We will be sure you have table space and a chair. You need to bring your art supplies and a cover for your table space. Stop by for a visit on a Tuesday afternoon to meet the artists and check out our space, or bring your supplies and stay for art.

Whether you are an experienced artist or new to art, please join us. Our friendly, supportive environment will help your creativity flourish.

April 9th Newsletter

April 9th Service

Rev. David Robbins, D. Min.
“The Challenges Our Theologies Face. “


Today is Palm Sunday in the Christian calendar, and the day before Passover in the Jewish calendar. From these two holy days, and from our Unitarian Universalist theologies, streams the message to ground our faith in who and what we love. David Robins is retired from parish ministry in Peterborough, NH, Bloomington, Illinois, and Franklin, NH. He and his wife, Jean (a 4th grade public school teacher), live in Harrisville, NH.

Upcoming Services

April 16, 2017 - Nancy J. Crumbine

April 23, 2017 - Kevin Carson
“In Praise of Diversity’. Our Unitarian Universalist faith is a celebration of diverse beliefs, and this is one of our great strengths in an increasingly diverse world.

April 30, 2017 - Kevin Carson
“The Practice of Forgiveness”. How forgiving others and forgiving ourselves can transform our emotional and spiritual life.

Memorial Service April 8, 2017

Our hearts go out to Randy Wiggin on the recent death of his son, Tanner. A memorial service will be held at the church on Saturday, April 8th at 11AM. The congregation will host a reception following the service and congregants are requested to drop off finger food items (cheese/crackers, vegetables & dip, cookies/bars) between 10am and 11am on April 8th. Please let Nancy Davis know if you can help.

Tanner Gasco-Wiggin, born in Randolph, VT on July 3, 1990, grew up in the Springfield area and graduated from Springfield High School in 2008. He attended the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME, and he became an accomplished artist and printmaker. Tanner cared deeply about social and political causes and was a fierce advocate for freedom of expression. He was an avid reader, and enjoyed snowboarding, hiking, music of all kinds, and reading and writing poetry. He is survived by his father, Randall Wiggin and partner Marybeth Maloney of Chester, his mother Valerie Gasco and his step-father Jeff Lavin of Lehigh Acres, Florida; his paternal grandmother, Ruth Wiggin, of Rutland; his brother, Ian Gasco-Wiggin and sister, Siera Lavin, both of Boston, Mass; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends in New England and Florida. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Tanner’s memory to: the Vermont Arts Council, Outright Vermont, or the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center.

Notes from the Board

To members & Friends of the First Universalist Parish of Chester:

So much has happened in the last month–-wonderful events, sad news, and enhancements to our building.

• The month began with the film, “He Named Me Malawa.” Olivia Bernier introduced the movie, telling us how the movie affected her and what inspired her to share the story of a 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot during her fight for education for girls. She eventually received the Nobel Peace Prize.

• At mid-month we shared a soup supper, when we wrote postcards to our Congressional delegation and president, expressing our concerns about health care, equality, and protection of the environment. Young members wrote earnestly while their parents and other church members tried to fit their indignation and values on postcards.

• A dedication of the asylum seekers’ apartment at Singing River Farm was spiritually uplifting, with hymns and readings by Rev. Nancy Crumbine and the priest from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The pastors visited and blessed each room. A few days later the church presented a check for $800 from our Principles in Action fund to Steve Crofter and Laurel Green, who own Singing River Farm. They established the Community Asylum Seekers Project to welcome asylum seekers.

• On March 24 our religious education students put on an ice cream social. Lisa Crocker served ice cream, and then we proceeded down the table for hot fudge, Oreos, whipped cream, cherries and other toppings. Watching the students raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation was delightful.

• Also on March 24 Sam Lloyd, a long-time member of the church, passed away. In church two days later people recalled Sam reciting humorous poems or telling tales of his time in the Vermont Legislature. As you travel our billboard-free roads or return beverage cans for deposits, you can thank Sam, who was chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee when he persuaded his colleagues to protect Vermont’s environment.

• Another sad note is that former member Mary Lou Farr is being treated for terminal brain cancer. You may send cards to her at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

• Several members gathered two weeks ago to de-clutter the social hall, sorting historic papers and a jumble of office equipment, and discarding outdated materials. Please join us on Friday, March 31, at 9:30 a.m., if you’d like to help finish this task.

• If you drive by the church at night you may notice the stained glass windows glowing. Automatic timers now turn on a couple of low wattage lights in the sanctuary. We hope this will catch the attention of passing motorists, and be a welcoming sight to us when we attend evening programs.

• Lynn Way is recovering from a knee replacement surgery on April 4 and is at home in Wichita, KS. Her address is 3450 N. Ridgewood, Apt. 714, Wichita, KS 67220.

The events of our church life will always be wonderful or sad, mundane or uplifting. I hope we continue to weather them together in grace. Stephanie

April Principles in Action

The April Principles in Action collection will go to the Vermont Eco Studies (VEC) Loon Conservation Project. VEC partners with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and a corps of dedicated volunteers to provide monitoring, management, public education and research on common loons in Vermont. There are now 300-500 adult loons in Vermont and they will begin returning from their ocean wintering grounds off the New England Coast in April. Nests are built in May-June and both parents help incubate one to two eggs for 27-28 days. Chicks grow and learn to feed themselves and practice flying so they are ready to migrate to winter grounds by November. Loons can be found on many lakes in Vermont, including nearby Lowell Lake.

Religious Exploration (RE)

The RE kids started their Medicine Wheel project this month with guest naturalist and herbalist, Jamie Malouf. We had a full house that day! The kids got an introduction to native medicine wheels, saw pictures and learned about the different meanings they may convey. We discovered the endless possibilities for constructing, laying out and populating a medicine wheel, from flowers, medicinal and edible herbs and plants, rocks and wood. We discussed the possibility (probability) of installing a fire ring in the center, growing plants and herbs that lend themselves to further RE projects such as making herb pillows, salves and teas. After much discussion and viewing of sample medicine wheels, we began the process of imagining our own, with each child starting to draw their ideas for a medicine wheel. All in all, it was a great start to what will doubtless be an engaging, inspiring, creative venture that will offer nice opportunities for community-building and inter-generational engagement within our parish.

The children also are enjoying the opportunities to give back to the greater community by making food for the Greater Falls Warming shelter, one main dish and then a dessert, and by deciding to hold an Ice Cream Social fundraiser for this past month's Principles in Action cause, the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The children watched a short film portraying a little girl with serious health issues, what her life was like with these challenges and how her life was so brightened by having her wish come true. The difficulty this little girl faced was not lost on the children, and they were visibly affected by this story of struggle and hope. They were eager to contribute their efforts, ideas and energy to this cause. Almost all our kids showed up for this event and everyone participated fully and with joy. During the month of April, there will be RE every week except April 16. Thanks for the opportunity to work with these amazing kids. Lisa Crocker

Church CommunityThe congregation extends deep sympathy to Barbara Lloyd and her family on the recent death of long-time First Universalist Parish member, Sam Lloyd. Sam was well known not only for his acting and dedication to the Weston Playhouse but for his great generosity and his wonderful sense of humor. You can learn more about Sam’s life by reading this article on Vermont Digger. You are bound to learn something new about this remarkable man. It was very special to witness people spontaneously sharing “Sam Stories” during our worship service on March 26th and to witness the outpouring of love than Sam engendered. Kudos to all our congregants who participated in the Wizard Of Oz production at GMUHS. Tuck Wunderle starred as the fabulous lion, Brielle Heyburn did some great dancing as a CAES Munchkin, and Olivia Bernier,

Ang Wunderle and Scott Wunderle made the pit band music rock. Saturday shows are at 2PM and 7PM at the high school and this is a show everyone will enjoy.

Art at the Stone Church

Main Street Arts in Saxton's River has three exciting ART opportunities on their spring calendar.

Playing Like Picasso - April 8
Life Drawing - Thursdays, April 13 - May 18
Watercolor; Mood and Water with Robert O'Brien, June 10

Community Events

“Vermont Wildlife: The Working Landscape Edition.”
Presented by The Nature Museum and the Windham Foundation

The Nature Museum and The Windham Foundation announce a celebratory event in honor of Earth Day. This special occasion will take place on Saturday, April 15, at 10:00 a.m. at the Phelps Barn, The Grafton Inn, in Grafton, Vermont. Musician and singer Will Danforth will get the show started with songs of nature before introducing the main event. Then enjoy a multi-media presentation with renowned wildlife expert Mike Clough complete with live wild animal guests from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum.

For more details> 


The Art of Bookmaking -- A note from Amber Paris local artist & teacherHave you ever wondered how hard it would be to make your own book? Have you tried other simple binding methods and found yourself ready to step it up a level? Do you love learning new creative skills? Come join me at The Community Art Garden and learn how to make homemade books using the Western Codex binding method. The next class is April 23rd! For more details > 

 

Religious Exploration Learns About Medicine Wheels with Jamie Maloof

The RE kids started their Medicine Wheel project this month with guest naturalist and herbalist, Jamie Maloof.  We had a full house that day!  The kids got an introduction to native medicine wheels, saw pictures and learned about the different meanings they may convey.  We discovered the endless possibilities for constructing, laying out and populating a medicine wheel, from flowers, medicinal and edible herbs and plants, rocks and wood.  We discussed the possibility (probability) of installing a fire ring in the center, growing plants and herbs that lend themselves to further RE projects such as making herb pillows, salves and teas.  After much discussion and viewing of sample medicine wheels, we began the process of imagining our own, with each child starting to draw their ideas for a medicine wheel.  All in all, it was a great start to what will doubtless be an engaging, inspiring, creative venture that will offer nice opportunities for community-building and inter-generational engagement within our parish.

The children also are enjoying the opportunities to give back to the greater community by making food for the Greater Falls Warming shelter, one main dish and then a dessert, and by deciding to hold an Ice Cream Social fundraiser for this past month's Principles in Action cause, the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  The children watched a short film portraying a little girl with serious health issues, what her life was like with these challenges and how her life was so brightened by having her wish come true.  The difficulty this little girl faced was not lost on the children, and they were visibly affected by this story of struggle and hope.  They were eager to contribute their efforts, ideas and energy to this cause.  Almost all our kids showed up for this event and everyone participated fully and with joy.  

During the month of April, there will be RE every week except April 16.  Thanks for the opportunity to work with these amazing kids.

March 18th - Newsletter

Church Events

Sunday Services begin at 9:30; childcare provided. 

Services

March 19, 2017
Led by Calvin Dame
"To Bless the World"

March 26, 2017
Led by Kevin Carson
"Freeze Dried Religion"

Principles in Action March

Our March PIA collection will go to the High Fives Organization that supports the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness. It also provides resources and inspiration to those who suffer from life changing injuries. Mike Swartz has been involved in this program and was featured in the 2014 award winning "Helmets are Cool" video, partially filmed in Chester.

Community Events
 

Ice Cream Social - March 24th

Our ice cream social to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation is going to be held on March 24 from 6:30 - 7:30. Children should arrive at 6:00 to set up. 

Prom Wear Sale at the Chester Andover Family Center

The Chester Andover Family Center is hosting a Community Service Event for area teens to find their perfect Prom Outfit. On Thursday, April 6, 2017, the CAFC will open its doors from 3-7PM for Prom Shopping. We have a large selection of Prom Wear for girls and guys, including over 100 dresses, suits and tuxedos. All are either new or in “like new” condition. You can also shop for accessories such as shoes, shirts, ties, handbags and jewelry to complete your “look”.

All teen shoppers can enter a FREE raffle to win prom flowers or manicure gift certificates donated by local businesses; Chester Flowers, Halladay’s, Salon 2000, Seventh Heaven Salon, Woodbury Florist and E-Clipz Salon. At a suggested donation of $20, prom goers can put together a dress or tux outfit with all the accessories. Please join us on April 6, from 3-7, for a fun and affordable shopping spree. We will have the music going and dressing rooms set up. The Chester Andover Family Center is located at 908 VT 103 in Chester. Follow us on Facebook or call the Center at 802-875-3236. Contact Information: Nena Nanfeldt, 802 875-4309, nnanfeldt@gmail.com

Two Rivers Indivisible Trump-Care Protest March – March 12, 2017

The protest was followed by a talk by Walter Wallace about Trump-Care at the Two Rivers meeting at the Church.

March Newsletter

Church Events

Sunday Services begin at 9:30; childcare provided. Religious education for youth will be provided each Sunday during service except for March 19th's service.

This Month's Services

Sunday, March 5, 2017 Service
Led by Reverend Nick Boke
"Cultures Clash"
This sermon will be made up of vignettes from my several recent weeks working with Syrian, Lebanese and Ivorian teachers, encouraging them to revise their understandings of the nature of teaching and learning.

February 12, 2017
Led by Nancy J. Crumbine
"I Circle Around God"  
I’ve been circling for thousands of years…” Seeking help from Rilke, and a few other poets, in remembering the wisdom of serenity and the promise of rebirth, even in the darkest times. With a few inspiring stories thrown in….Keep the faith!

February 19, 2017
Led by Calvin Dame
"To Bless the World"

February 26, 2017
Led by Kevin Carson
"Freeze Dried Religion"

From the Board

There will be a board meeting Sunday, March 12, 2017. All are welcome to attend the Board Meeting, they will be held after the social hour in the Parish social hall downstairs. Principles in Action March - Our March PIA collection will go to the High Fives Organization that supports the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness. It also provides resources and inspiration to those who suffer from life changing injuries. Mike Swartz has been involved in this program and was featured in the 2014 award winning "Helmets are Cool" video, partially filmed in Chester.

Religious Education Program (RE) March

This upcoming month promises to be very inspiring, educational, rewarding and fun. On March 5 we will be making food for the North Springfield Warming Shelter. We are on the books for a main dish and we are planning a vegetable pot pie. Hopefully there will be enough biscuits left over for us! The most exciting news is that we will be beginning a series of sessions with Jamie Malouf, who is going to work with the children to create a medicine wheel on the property of the church, creating a permanent, sacred space of the children's own design. We anticipate this to take at least two to three sessions just in learning about medicine wheels, exploring possible designs, deciding on a design and what shall go in the medicine wheel (rocks, flowers, herbs, etc.), starting seeds, etc.

The first two sessions will take place on March 12 and March 26, so don't miss it!! (As previously planned, there will be no RE on March 19.) Finally, our ice cream social to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation is going to be held on March 24 from 6:30 - 7:30. Children should arrive at 6:00 to set up. I am going to be in charge of procuring the ice cream, and the children are each being assigned a topping to bring. Look for a separate email about that next week. I am very excited about this new project with Jamie and I hope your children will be too! In joy and gratitude, Lisa


Art

Tuesday from 2:00 to 5:00 Hello All, Doors at the UU will open for ART on Tuesday at @2PM this week. Come early if your schedule permits. Nena

Medicine Wheel Unit with Jamie Maloof and Other RE Happenings

by Lisa Crocker, Religious Education Leader

This upcoming month promises to be very inspiring, educational, rewarding and fun.  On March 5 we will be making food for the North Springfield Warming Shelter.  We are on the books for a main dish and we are planning a vegetable pot pie. Hopefully there will be enough biscuits left over for us!

The most exciting news is that we will be beginning a series of sessions with Jamie Malouf, who is going to work with the children to create a medicine wheel on the property of the church, creating a permanent, sacred space of the children's own design. We anticipate this to take at least two to three sessions just in learning about medicine wheels, exploring possible designs, deciding on a design and what shall go in the medicine wheel (rocks, flowers, herbs, etc.), starting seeds, etc.  The first two sessions will take place on March 12 and March 19, so don't miss it!! (As previously planned, there will be no RE on March 26.)

Finally, our ice cream social to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation is going to be held on March 24 from 6:30 - 7:30.  Children should arrive at 6:00 to set up.  I am going to be in charge of procuring the ice cream, and the children are each being assigned a topping to bring.  Look for a separate email about that next week.  

I am very excited about this new project with Jamie and I hope your children will be too!

Church Family Night, March 3rd - Come out!

There will be a church family night on Friday, March 3 with postcard writing, soup and games. Start time at 5:30 p.m. Please contact Meg Minehan (mminehan@vermontel.net or 802-875-2487) if you are willing to bring soup or bread to share.

 If you have any favorite games bring them along; we will have Rummy Kube, Clue, The Game of Life and a few others on hand but the more the merrier.

From Barbara Windham

This notice was omitted from the last First Parish Newsletter so I am sending out a special notice of the planned “family night”. I received the notice below from my brother-in-law who lives in Olympia, WA about postcard writing. This explains who we are writing, when we are sending it etc. So bring along a few postcards and we can write out a few to send to our president on March 15.

"On March 15th, each of us will mail Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure.  We will show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means.  And most importantly, we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s fired. Each of us — every protester from every march, each congress calling citizen, every boycotter, volunteer, donor, and petition signer — if each of us writes even a single postcard and we put them all in the mail on the same day, March 15th, well: you do the math. 

No alternative fact or Russian translation will explain away our record-breaking, officially-verifiable, warehouse-filling flood of fury.  Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year.  We’re hoping to set a new record: over a million pieces in a day, with not a single nice thing to say.

So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and see if your sincerest ill-wishes can pierce Donald’s famously thin skin.

Prepare for March 15th, 2017, a day hereafter to be known as #TheIdesOfTrump

Write one postcard.  Write a dozen!  Take a picture and post it on social media tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump.  Spread the word! Everyone on Earth should let Donald know how he’s doing.  They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.

On March 15th, mail your messages to:
President (for now) Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

It might just be enough to make him crack.  Not my original post but someone else's great idea!"

If you can't come to the family night you can still fill out a postcard and post it on March 15. And give some to your friends and neighbors to fill out and send also.

Thanks and hope to see you all on Friday March 3. I am making some pumpkin rising bread (A King Arthur Recipe) which I tried last month and hope everyone will enjoy it.

 

 

Painting the Safe Haven at Singing River Farm

The painting of the safe-haven offers the members and friends of the First Universalist Parish a way to show our support for this most worthwhile endeavor to provide a home in the United States for families seeking asylum. Many people have been hard at work since late summer putting up studs and walls and installing heating and plumbing. Now we at First Parish have been given the opportunity to make our contribution to the community effort to build a home for displaced families.

Learn more about the safe haven project at Singing River Farm.

Steve Crofter thinks we will be ready in a couple of weeks to gather with paint, brushes, rollers and enthusiasm to contribute the finishing work of this very special home.

Needed are: primer, paint, (light colors), drop clothes, rollers, brushes, sticks for stirring….any and all the equipment that you have on hand for a painting project. We hope to receive gallons of latex paint, or near-gallons, that you will not be using. The colors need to be light; the paint may need to be mixed so we have enough of one color to complete a room.

Please call Gretchen McCabe if you have painting supplies or paint or if you would like to sign up for the actual painting. The apartment size will accommodate six (6) painters at one time. If you have a group of one, two or more who want to paint on the same day we can schedule you in for the day you are available.

Box lunches will be served to painters. Please let me know if you would like to help assemble the lunches.

If you are interested in helping, please contact us and we will put you in touch with Gretchen. 

Will Danforth and Big Woods Voices

Will Danforth would like to spread the word that Big Woods Voices, his a cappella group, will be performing at the Old Parish Church in Weston, VT, as part of their Hearts and Voices series, on Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm. Admission is a $10 suggested donation to benefit the community fuel assistance-plus initiative, “Just Neighbors”.

Also that same weekend, if you feel drawn to First Friday in Brattleboro, they'll be performing in the parlor of the Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main Street, at 8p.m. on March 3rd. This is a benefit for the Brattleboro Women's Chorus, and for admission donations of $10-25 are requested.

Waffle Breakfast to Celebrate the End of Our Pledge Drive

After this past Sunday's service, we all gathered downstairs for a delicious waffle brunch. Thanks to everyone who was at the helm of the Belgian waffle makers. The whipped cream went fast! It was a wonderful way to end our successful pledge drive. 

Thank you to the pledge committee and everyone else who played a part in setting up the breakfast and prepping the waffles, including Steven Davis, Dick Andrews, Melody Reed, Stephanie Rowe, Nancy Davis and Scott Wunderle.

Happenings in Religious Exploration: February-March

By Lisa Crocker, Editor of RE at Chester Universalist

The RE program is embarking on a series of programs that teach the children about the UU Principles.  Last week, we began with Principle 1, the inherent worth and dignity of every person, explained to the children as we believe that each and every person is important.  The principle was illustrated with stories and games and lots of discussion about what makes us valuable, material things vs. human qualities.  The children had a great grasp of this principle! 

We also have incorporated a time at the end of each program for Worship.  During this time, we set up a special worship center, light a chalice, sing a prayer for peace, perhaps have a reading or a song, and close by holding hands in our circle and reciting the principle we just learned.  This is a wonderful time of peace and unity among us.

I would like to create more intergenerational opportunities within the program.  One way I can do this is by having a weekly RE volunteer from the congregation who comes down with the children and simply participates with the children, offering a helping hand when needed.  This would be an easy, stress-free way to experience the RE program while getting to engage with our amazing children. 

If you would like to choose a week to volunteer, just email me at lisaarlenecrocker@gmail.com and I will put you in the slot.  Right now, we have no volunteers, so the schedule is open for you to choose a Sunday that works for you or has a topic you are interested in exploring with the children. 

RE SCHEDULE FOR NEXT 7 WEEKS:

Sunday, 2/5
Principle 2:  Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
 - We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.

Sunday, 2/12
Make A Wish Fundraiser

Sunday, 2/19
No RE

Sunday, 2/26
Fundraiser Prep

Sunday, 3/5
Warming Shelter Main Course

Sunday, 3/12
Principle 3:  Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
- We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.

Sunday, 3/19
No RE

 

Pro-Refugee Rally Planned in Ludlow

Say "Yes" to Immigration and Refugees and "No" to Trump’s Ban

When: Saturday, February 4th, 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.
Where: On sidewalk in front of Ludlow's public library (opposite the town green) on Rte. 103 at the south end of town
Signs: Please make and bring signs in favor of welcoming immigrants and refugees to Vermont and the US, against the Trump ban, against Secure Communities (will allow/encourage local law enforcement across the US to work as border agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE), in favor of the VT immigrant community, farm workers, refugees…. This rally can also be an opportunity to express your indignation over the many pressing issues we face: the environment, cabinet appointments, shutting down the free press and other causes important to YOU. Feel free to pass this on to others.