Latest News Archive

Great Circle Meeting on Church Finances, April 15   [ 2018-04-19 ]

Follow this link to the Members area for slides from the 2018-04-15 circle meeting on church finances. (If you have mislaid the login credentials, please email the .)

Photos from Michael Roberts Celebration of Life   [ 2018-03-25 ]

Bob Lotz has posted 53 photos from yesterday’s celebration of the life of Michael Roberts (March 24). They are available here on SmugMug without a password. If you have trouble accessing this page, please .

Chalice Lighting by Carol Bousquet   [ 2018-03-13 ]

On March 11 Carol Bousquet lit the chalice for International Women's Day and rededicated the embroidery that hangs in the East Wing, titled “Each Stitch a Thousand Prayers of Hope.” Here is the audio.

2018 Easter Week Services at First Parish   [ 2018-03-09 ]

Good Friday Healing Service — Friday March 30, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary

Join us for this service of reflection, silence and beautiful music as we reflect on the truths and lessons of Jesus’s last words and his death. This service is a chance to reflect on the reality that life and death, sorrow and joy are intertwined and to prepare ourselves for the rebirth and joy of Easter morning. All those who are grieving a loss or in need of healing are especially welcome for this simple, quiet, spacious service. This service is most appropriate for adults and older youth. Child Care will be provided. (Have dinner at Groton Community Dinners in the Vestry and then come upstairs for the service!)

Easter Sunrise Service — Sunday April 1, 6:15 am at 100 Hollis Street, Groton

All are welcome for the annual Easter Sunrise Service in the field behind Bob and Becky Pine’s house (100 Hollis Street, Groton, look for the sign and balloons) with a beautiful view of Gibbet Hill. Dress warmly, bring your coffee, and come greet Easter morning. This service is brief, informal, and full of the peace and beauty of sunrise on Easter morning. In case of heavy rain or snow (oy vey!) call the church office and listen to the outgoing recording or check the church website or Facebook page. But we will hope for clear skies and a beautiful sunrise.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt on the Common — Sunday April 1, 9:00 am on Minuteman Common (in front of church)

Do not miss the 8th Annual First Parish Easter Egg Hunt! Children of all ages from toddlers to middle-schoolers are welcome to come at 9:00 am to hunt for surprise-filled eggs on the common in front of the church (or in the Vestry if the snow piles are bad!) Bring boots for mud and your own basket if you like. The littlest ones and kids with mobility challenges or other special needs get extra time and we make sure there are plenty of eggs for all. There will be coffee and pastry for grown-ups too. All children are welcome regardless of whether they come to First Parish so feel free to invite neighbors and friends.

Easter Service for All Ages — Sunday April 1, 10:00 am in the Sanctuary

Join us for the joyful celebration of Easter. Our service focuses on the joy and mystery of Easter Morning and the celebration of renewal and rebirth and all are very welcome. There will be beautiful music from the Adult choir and childcare for babies and toddlers. Coffee Hour to follow and contributions of nut-free food are especially welcome.

First Parish Passover Seder — Saturday Night, April 7, 5:30–8:00 pm in the Vestry

All are welcome to our annual and well-loved celebration of the Jewish Festival of Liberation. Our Seder is for everyone — all ages, all beliefs, Jews and non-Jews alike. Family, friends and guests are invited and especially welcome. We tell the story of how the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt and we re-dedicate ourselves to the present day struggle for freedom for all people. If you have never been to a Seder before, this is a wonderful introduction. We explain all the rituals, translate the Hebrew so everyone understands what is being said, and focus on making a meaningful connection between this ancient story and our current circumstances and lives in a relaxed, lively, kid friendly atmosphere.

As has become our tradition, the meal is a potluck of nut-free, unleavened food based on the tradition of eating unleavened bread during Passover — come to the Seder to find out why! Children have lots of special jobs from asking four very important questions to searching for the hidden piece of matzah which gets exchanged for a prize.

The Seder is free of charge but donations will be gratefully accepted to cover the cost of wine and supplies. Each family is asked to bring a (nut-free) potluck dish to share and to contribute something for the Seder plates as able. You may sign up at Coffee Hour or by contacting Sara Woods (


Chalice Lighting by Marion and Brenton Stoddart   [ 2018-02-27 ]

On February 25 Marion Stoddart introduced her grandson Brenton, who is a member of the UU church at Harvard, in lighting the chalice to honor the youth who are standing up for justice and a better world. The audio is here.

Evening of Storytelling for Grown-ups in the News   [ 2018-02-10 ]

The Nashoba Valley Voice ran a brief story with a photo of our own Hannah Tellier telling her story “Wonderland” on Saturday January 28. You can catch Hannah’s story, and those of four other storytellers, on the FPCoG YouTube channel.

Videos from the Christmas 2017 Paper Bag Pageant   [ 2018-01-03 ]

Members and friends of FPCoG: go to the Members area of the website for a link to an unlisted YouTube playlist of videos from last month’s Paper Bag Pageant. In all there are nine videos of 2 or 3 minutes each. (If you have mislaid the login credentials, please email the .)

An Evening of Story Telling for Grown-ups, January 27   [ 2018-01-02 ]

Storytelling for Grown-ups is Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the vestry. We hope you’ll plan to join us! We’ve got a full slate of storytellers including featured guest, Rose Saia. Rose is a “Moth-style” true storyteller who has been featured at WGBH’s “Stories from the Stage”, The Life is Good Kids Foundation, the International Institute of New England’s Suitcase Stories, and at the legendary Brother Blue StorySpace. She is a two-time Moth and Massmouth StorySLAM winner and a Moth GrandSLAM 3rd place finalist. She’s a wonderful storyteller. Other storytellers include Clio Fisher, Eric Elbot, Hannah Tellier and Eric Fisher. We’re still seeking a few volunteers to help the night of the event. To volunteer please contact John Appleton, 508-572-6650. Otherwise, see you then and be sure to bring your friends!

Christmas and Holiday Services for 2017   [ 2017-12-14 ]

Wednesday, Dec. 20: Winter Solstice Celebration at 7:00 pm. All ages are welcome to this celebration of the passing of the longest night of the year and the return of the sun. There will be music, singing, stories, and lots and lots of light.

Sunday, December 24: Paper Bag Pageant at 10:00 am. Worship Service for all ages. The No Rehearsal, No Stress, Paper Bag Nativity Pageant! We will bring the Nativity story to joyous and chaotic life on the spot as we tell the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. There are roles and costumes for everyone big and small, and you are invited to wear or bring your own costume if you choose. Everyone is welcome at our stable!

Sunday, December 24: Carol Sing for all ages at 6:45 pm.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7:30 pm. This service includes music from the Adult Choir, a message from Rev. Kemler and the poignant passing of candle light from person to person as we fill the dark sanctuary with light and re-kindle our hope. Cookies and cider both before and after the service! All are welcome.

Sunday, December 31: Shelter Sandwich Making Service at 10:00 am. Join us for our annual service of lunch making for local shelters. After a brief gathering for inspiration, we make sandwiches and pack 200 bag lunches to be delivered to shelters in Lowell, Fitchburg, and Worcester. This event is for all ages. Start with new year with this simple act of service.


Great Circle Meeting on Finances   [ 2017-12-04 ]

Follow this link to the Members area for updated slides from the 2017-12-03 circle meeting and a link to a multimedia version of the presentation as given. (If you have mislaid the login credentials, please email the .)

Repaint! And Thin No More!   [ 2017-10-14 ]

The paint on our beloved Meetinghouse is breaking down. Soon it will be time to embark on Phase 2 of its restoration and renewal. Here are some photos of the current sorry condition of the building's paint.

By following that link you can pledge to help cover the costs of the Phase 2 Rehabilitation effort, or donate directly here.

Sermon 2017-10-08 (Transcript)   [ 2017-10-09 ]

The transcript from Elea’s Oct. 8 sermon has now been posted.

Technical difficulties have precluded posting the audio, but it will happen — watch this space.


Sermon 2017-10-01 (Now With Transcript)   [ 2017-10-01 ]

The audio from Elea’s sermon is posted here. Get yourself some Backside Redemption.

The transcript is now available.


That Sermon You Hated — Now With Transcript!   [ 2017-09-22 ]

Several people posted on Facebook how much they hated Rev. Kemler’s sermon on Sept. 17. She said she hated it herself! Very challenging theologically, and (in the opinion of your humble webmaster) exactly what we need to hear right now. Listen again, you may hear things you missed the first time around.

The transcript of that sermon has now been posted.


Words from the Gathering of the Water, 2017   [ 2017-09-22 ]

Every year in September, on the occasion of the first service of the church year, we hold a ceremony called the Gathering of the Water — the beginning of the process of making the holy water we will use throughout the year for many purposes, including blessing infants and sending young adults on their way. Each member of the community brings some water from somewhere their life has taken them over the summer.

We begin the ceremony by pouring some of last year’s holy water into a large vessel. This water contains traces of the water from each year before, stretching back now 18 years. Then each member of the community adds their water to the mix and speaks a single word. As we do every year, we have gathered these words together into a single image (click the link to open a new window). Larger words were spoken more frequently.

For comparison, here are our words from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008. (The words for 2012 were, alas, not recorded.)


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