I am thankful for all the times I have been able to travel: to visit family and friends, for work, for relaxation, for adventure. It is during these times away from home, where I break from my daily routine and familiar surroundings, that I feel the world is fresh with possibilities and challenges.
I am thankful for all the inspiration that comes with these new experiences – the new art, new food, exposure to different life attitudes that seems to fit better than my own at home.
I am thankful for all the times I have returned home with refreshed gratitude for my family, my community, my country.
The effort of putting time and distance between me and my normal day helps me see, with new perspective, not only the world around me but also myself. I am more aware of what can be, for better or for worse, and I feel more apart of and responsible to the world beyond my safe home base.
But when daily responsibilities, finances, or health make travel impossible, and the distance and time that can come so naturally through packing a suitcase and getting in the car or on an airplane, I am ever grateful for the spaces close to home that provide a space to reset and gain perspective – a church, a sand dune, a friend, and on somedays, a good book.
Thank you God for all the opportunities to travel, and when we cannot, for the gift of our local retreats. Amen
The First Parish in Lincoln holds a unique, fascinating history, dating back before the Revolutionary War. The current church originated from both the Unitarian Church and the United Church of Christ.
Back in the 1730s, the residents of what eventually became Lincoln did not have their own church, and they grew tired of travelling to churches in Concord, Lexington and Weston. They petitioned the court to be declared a separate township. On April 24, 1746, the Second Precinct of Concord was incorporated. The United Church of Christ organized one year later. A meetinghouse for worship was then built in the area where the “Stone Church” now stands.
In the 18th century, Sunday services were an all-day affair, comprised of both morning and afternoon services and an eagerly anticipated “nooning” in-between. The reverend’s sermons each lasted for a full hour.
Following the lengthy tenures of Rev. William Lawrence and Rev. Charles Stearns, Elijah Desmond presided over a rocky five years at the church. He held rigid theological beliefs, and many parishioners left the United Church of Christ for neighboring churches. After three years, the town dismissed an article intended to fund Desmond’s salary, and two years later, he left the church.
Parishioners alienated by the Desmond years joined Unitarian churches in Concord and Lexington. Some Unitarians wanted to worship in the Lincoln meetinghouse, but were unable to get approval from town meeting to do so. The Unitarians then decided to build their own meetinghouse, and today’s Sanctuary was built in 1842.
For many years, the Unitarian church had no resident minister, and reverends from nearby towns led the services. In 1922, Dudley DeForest Zuver became the first employed Unitarian Minister. For the congregation’s musical needs, John Pierce donated an organ in 1901, which was replaced in 1970 by a Noack organ.
Meanwhile, a fire destroyed the original Congregational church in 1859. A second church was then erected. In the 1880s, parishioners rejected repairing the second church in favor of new construction. In 1892, today’s Parish House or “Stone Church” was built. This church acquired a Hutchings organ, long preserved and still used to this day.
Though it took time for a union to come to fruition, the Unitarian and Congregational churches held united services as early as 1920. In 1928, Rev. Charles N. Thorp was called to serve the Congregational Church in 1928. After he resigned in 1934, the churches adopted a trial federation.
Rev. Charles Styron assumed responsibility as minister for the federated churches in February 1936. The First Parish in Lincoln’s parishioners formally began worship in their united church on May 25, 1942.
The congregation agreed to worship in the former Unitarian Church, and retained the former Congregational Church as a Parish House that provides office and classroom space.
On Sunday, April 3rd we launched our 2016 – 2017 Stewardship Campaign. We take this opportunity annually to grow our Stewardship involvement amongst our members and friends. You will receive a letter and pledge information from the Committee in the mail soon. This year we have so many reasons to celebrate our church; the work we do and hope to do in the coming year. Your Stewardship pledge is just one of the many ways we will continue to build a thriving and caring spiritual community. Thank you.
-The Stewardship Committee
The First Parish is like a co-op in that we all chip in. While there is a core staff in place to provide the essentials, we rely on our members and friends to come together and support the church in whatever way they are able. In addition to financial support, this can include singing in the choir, arranging flowers for the pulpit, serving on a committee, teaching Sunday School, and helping with a special event.
If you have an interest, there is an avenue to fulfill it at FPL! Some of the committees you can join include: Parish Committee, Personnel, Stewardship, Finance, Deacons, Nominating, Facilities, Building, Membership, Outreach, Youth Programs, Ministerial Intern, and more!
Feel free to submit events and notices to The Parish News, FPL’s monthly publication, and weekly e-mail news briefs. E-mail email@example.com
First Parish in Lincoln’s Communications Policy
We are a community church with a covenant relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Both of these churches promote church polity, which means that self-government and self-determination form the foundation of what we do and how we do it.
[lg_slideshow folder=”/lg”] Our members and friends come from more than 25 different denominations and religious traditions—as well as from no tradition at all. Accordingly, denominational labels are less expressive of our identity than our goal and purpose of responding to the needs and reflecting the aspirations of our congregation and community.
To this end, our essential characteristic is a deep respect for our own and other religious traditions, which informs our choice of prayers, the words we elect to use, the hymns we sing, the rituals we celebrate, the study groups we form.
We represent varied and vocal opinions on spirituality, ethics, politics, and social responsibility. For example, we choose to give a significant portion (approximately 20%) of our annual budget to outreach, which is given to a variety of social projects for local, national and international causes researched and carefully chosen by our Outreach Committee. We also roll up our sleeves and perform service projects, as well as actively support the initiatives of our Faith in Action groups.
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Visitors are welcome at anytime. Our regular worship services are held every Sunday at 10:00. When you arrive at the church, feel free to introduce yourself to one of our ushers or greeters, if you wish.
If you have any questions, any member of the congregation will be glad to help you.
Members of the congregation who have a smiley face on their nametags are particularly interested in helping visitors.
We have “coffee hour” after our service, an ideal time to get information about our church and meet the ministers and members of the congregation.
If you would like more information about becoming a member of the church, contact Kathy Harvey-Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Continue reading “For Visitors”