Latest News Archive

Medicine Wheel Garden Ceremony for Mike Roberts   [ 2018-06-26 ]

On Sunday June 24, 2018, 1:00 pm, members of United Native American Cultural Center and the Morningstar Singers met in the Medicine Wheel Garden behind the Parish House. They led a simple ceremony of smudging, singing, and the offering of tobacco, along with prayers and spreading of some of Mike’s ashes in the garden he dreamed of and which he and church friends created. Click for some photos from the ceremony.

Kaitlin Kramer’s Reading   [ 2018-06-10 ]

On Sunday June 10 Kaitlin read a short piece she had written for the youth-led Soulful Service earlier this month. It was titled “We In This Earth We Share” and you can listen to it here.

Memorial Service for June Adams Johnson   [ 2018-06-05 ]

A celebration of June’s life was held on Saturday June 2, 2018, at First Parish. Follow the links below for the order of service and for audio of the testamonials and reflections spoken by June’s colleagues, friends, and family.

Memorial Order of Service (PDF)

Lighting of the Chalice: Barbara Rich
Words for Gathering: Rev. Elea Kemler
Telling the Story of June’s Life: Rev. Elea Kemler
Reflection: Jan Kuniholm
Reflection: Bob Pine
Reflection: Donna Nowak
Reflection: Gina Perini Benedict
Reflection: Ben Lieman
Reflection: Steve Lieman
Benediction: Rev. Elea Kemler


Emma’s Revolution in Concert   [ 2018-05-22 ]

Mark your calendars: on June 1, experience this powerful duo singing for social justice. The concert benefits cancer research in memory of June Adams Johnson. Get your tickets now — click on the badge in the upper left of the home page. (You may have to wait for it to come around on the guitar.)

Annual Meeting — Sunday, May 20   [ 2018-05-10 ]

The Annual Meeting of First Parish will take place on Sunday, May 20th at 11:30 am in the Vestry.

Childcare will be provided during the meeting. As always, it is extremely important that all members and friends stay after the service and participate.

Here are the proposed budget for FY19 and the Warrant and Slate of Officers for the meeting, in PDF format. Note: these links lead to the Members area; if you need the access credentials, please .


Mother’s Day Vigil, Sunday May 13 at Noon   [ 2018-05-03 ]

On Sunday, May 13, we will gather on the Common in front of First Parish Church of Groton for a Mother’s Day Vigil. We will gather in solidarity with mothers everywhere who have lost beloved children, young or old, to gun violence and in recognition of the true meaning of Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was established in 1870 as a Mother’s Day for Peace. (Follow the link for the text of the Mother’s Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe.)

All are welcome. You are invited to bring a sign with the name and/or photograph of someone who has died due to gun violence of any kind. Our vigil will be silent except for a public reading of some of the names of those who have died by gun violence in the United Stated so far in 2018, an average of 96 people every day. Many of their names are not public record, yet each life deserves to be recognized and remembered.

Contact Rev. Elea Kemler for more information. The Common is located on Main Street across from the public library.


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.


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