First Church Somerville UCC
First Church Somerville UCC


Mother of All Living

Posted by Jeff on 7 May 2015

Hi Beloved,

Watching some PBS celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, I was floored by this math: There are more stars in the observable universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches and all the deserts of the world. And it's not like 2 or 3 more stars than grains. It's like 5 or 10 times more stars than grains of sand!

The universe is a big place. 

And a beautiful one. Hubble has opened our eyes to just how beautiful. Take this image of the "Pillars of Creation":

The Pillars are called a stellar nursery - a birthplace of stars and planets and who knows what else. We were once - all of us - a bunch of star dust floating in space in an image that would have looked much like this one.

In a sense, this picture is like tracing back our family tree, down through our mothers, back through human history, back beyond the first stirrings of life, all the way to the very beginnings of things - our Star Mother.

It's Mothers' Day on Sunday! And in the Easter Season we will remember some Mothers we all share in common. Jeff will preach a NICE, non-misogynistic sermon about Eve. In the Bible she's called "the Mother of All Living!" Kind of like that picture up there. Are we really gonna try to pin the whole mess on her? Eve needs some love from us kids on Mothers' Day! The choir will sing to another powerful Mother from Christian tradition - Mary, called "the Mother of God." Sarah G. is our liturgist. Megan and Molly will read scripture and pray.

After church, there's coffee hour! And that's it! So come downstairs and relax. Yum!


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New Blog Entry

Posted by on 1 May 2015

Hi Beloved!
I'm back from a little vacation this week and looking forward to worship with all of you. Bonnie and I spent last weekend in New York City at Judson Memorial Church - the church that made me (partially) the wild pastor I am today. We were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ordination of my mentor Rev. Donna Schaper. It was a wonderful reunion and a great refresher course in all she has taught to so many of us. One of those lessons is the importance of CELEBRATING the good things. In light of that, this week was also the three-year ordination anniversary of yours truly. So, TBT:
That was a great day!

And, as Judson was a place that mentored and taught me, I'm also excited to let you know that while we'll miss Student Minister Megan Snell, whose last Sunday will be May 31st, we've hired on a new student minister, Casey Guet, from Andover Newton Theological Seminary. You'll be hearing more about Casey this summer and getting to know her beginning this Fall. AND this year we're looking to add a second "learning" minister to our staff. They may or may not be a student; they could be someone who has recently graduated from seminary and is trying to find their way (as I was when Donna and Judson took me under their tutelage.) If you know anyone who's interested in learning about Real Good Church from an amazing congregation and -ahem- staff, please send them my way!

It's Communion Sunday this week so the celebration continues. And in worship we'll be celebrating the life, the challenge, and the lessons of the Ethiopian Eunuch - a man who was baptized into the very earliest Church just as he was.

Jeff's preaching, Molly will pray, Megan's heading up communion, Andrew is our liturgist, and the Comstock Boys will pluck n strum. There will be a special golden moment of blessing for all of you who shoveled this winter - just in time to get you excited for the Spring All-Church Workday! Wear some work clothes to church and help us get ready for Spring and Summer inside the church and out - there will be fun jobs for all. And don't miss the Church Swap, Open Studios, and the New Members' Gathering this Sunday - see below for more info.




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Standing Naked Before God

Posted by molly on 23 April 2015

Hi Beloved!

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Baptism Sunday and Earth Day

Posted by molly on 16 April 2015

Hi Beloved!
I'm just back from California, where the third year of drought is making people very anxious, to Boston, where the snowiest winter on record is still melting into spring. This week is Heat Week at Harvard--when climate activists are turning up the heat on the administration, pressuring them to divest from the fossil fuel industry which is wrecking the planet. And next week is Earth Day. 

This Sunday, in between, we will meet in our lovely sanctuary. We will bless and baptize Will, Tommy, Olive, Avery and Alexander. We will make promises to teach them, protect them, and raise them up to adulthood, in the way of Jesus. 

I wonder, does keeping those promises mean making some changes in how we use (and misuse) the earth that is our home--and that will be their home long after we are gone? How can we turn up the heat on ourselves, on our own earth stewardship and climate activism? 

I'll be preaching on these questions and more. Heather W. is our able liturgist! Rev. Jeff is on vacation for two weeks, and Megan S. will pray with us. 

In the middle of worship: you can jump on your bike and ride off into the sun with other climate activists! see sidebar below. After worship: Big Meeting Brunch! If you're not already on a committee, come and eavesdrop on what is happening at deeper levels of leadership and activism in our life together (this week, Fellowship, Mission & Justice and Music Team will meet). You're so welcome--really.


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Science & Spirituality & Communion

Posted by on 9 April 2015

Hi Beloved!
This Sunday is our traditional Science & Spirituality Sunday in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival. You're invited to wear anything that makes you look like a scientist - lab coats, particle accelerators, and tin foil hats. Even babies can get in on the act.

Our own John Olson - who made it into Molly's Easter sermon as "the atheist who doesn't believe much, BUT..." will be preaching on good old Doubting Thomas, what we believe, and the role of Mystery in spirituality and science.

Helping John bring the Word: Kathleen will be our liturgist, Josephine our accompanist, and 
Rev. Jeff will be reading and telling a bit of scripture.

It's also Communion Sunday, so feel free to bring canned and dry goods for the Somerville Homeless Coalition. 


All this week's announcments are HERE.

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Easter Sunday

Posted by molly on 2 April 2015

Hi Beloved!

I am not a person who likes rides. I hate the feeling when I’m way up there and my stomach is all the way down there. I have aging middle ears, and get dizzy easily. And it’s just plain scary. I don’t understand why people ride roller coasters for fun.

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Holy Week Services

Posted by molly on 31 March 2015

Here is a complete listing of our Holy Week services: each one a distinct, unique part of the holy roller coaster that is the emotional arc of this week in the life of Jesus. Please come join us for all of them--children welcome!

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Palm Sunday Worship

Posted by molly on 26 March 2015

Hi Beloved!

A young pastor friend of mine asked me the other day what Palm Sunday means to me. “I know all about the political level,” she said. “But what about the personal?”

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Holy Week at FCS

Posted by molly on 22 March 2015


Is something nudging you to deeper resonance with spring?

Is it not enough to eat Cadbury crème eggs and watch the crocuses bloom on your daily commute?

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Lent IV

Posted by molly on 12 March 2015

Hi Beloved!
Can I get an amen? For birds singing, and rivers of snowmelt running down College Ave, and the church garden slowly revealing the glory that is to come.
But here’s the rub: yesterday felt like shorts weather. Today the temp is hovering back around the freezing mark. How do we trust that it’s ok to come out, actually? When we’ve been imprisoned in snow and ice so long? We’ve been tricked before. How do we really KNOW?
This week’s scripture and sermon is a toughie. It’s a more ample reading of the scripture that usually appears on posterboard at football games: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that She gave her only Child, so that everyone who believes in that one may not perish but may have eternal life…those who do believe in that one are not condemned, but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believe in the name of the only Child of God.”
Uh, what? “condemned already” for not believing? That is SO not First Church. Right?
But what if we actually do have an important decision to make about Jesus and following him? What if making this decision actually made our lives a lot better? What if we could make this decision without feeling like we were trashing other religions or becoming a total weirdo, someone our families and friends didn't recognize? 
I’m going to tell a story—a couple of stories—about how to trust our God, that it’s time to unfurl from our tiny ball, from the little cave that has held us imprisoned, and follow the voice of Jesus. The stories may make this scripture not only palatable, but sensible, meaningful, TRUE for us.
Mike R. is our able liturgist. Melissa and choir are cooking something good up, and kids will sing also! Jeff and Megan will pray and scripture us real good.
Blessings and peace and rivers of snowmelt,

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