As part of my work with our Immigrant Ministry, I volunteered to contact individuals working with Sanctuary Congregations. On Saturday, Oct. 7, I spoke with Rev. Chris Jimmerson, who serves as the Minister for Program Development at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Texas. In this role, he has overseen the Sanctuary project at the parish. Rev. Jimmerson shared that this is the second time the parish has hosted someone in Sanctuary. As a Level 1 Sanctuary, the parish is supported by a network of other organizations, including churches as well as non-profit organizations. Through conversing with Chris, I learned that certain volunteer needs are always necessary when supporting someone in Sanctuary, but there are also unique needs based upon the individual living in Sanctuary.
Basic needs include food shopping and other typical outside errands that are part of daily life, such as mailing letters, picking up medications if necessary, etc. Because the Austin church does not have laundry facilities on site, there are volunteers who provide off-site laundry service each week. Unique needs may be based on the person’s preference, such as whether they prefer to pass the time with visits and company or through more solitary pursuits such as reading or other hobbies. The current guest at the Austin church has been doing fitness activities with individual parishioners to help cope with the stress associated with fear of deportation.
In an effort to better understand how our own members might be invited to support a Level 1 Sanctuary Parish, I asked him if he could categorize the service areas needed in his church. He suggested the following:
Medical/Emotional Needs: Examples might include fitness equipment or training; volunteer counseling and/or support groups, such as with volunteer therapists; transportation for family members who may wish to visit; on-site doctors visits.
Basic Needs: Laundry, groceries, social interaction as desired, mailing letters, retrieving mail, picking up and returning library books, picking up medications.
Volunteer Coordination: Provide training for volunteers; serve as support to volunteer teams; help resolve issues that arise; provide reflection opportunities.
Media Campaign: In conjunction with ongoing efforts by area sanctuary sites to pressure ICE to withdraw the threat of deportation, tasks may include attending area meetings; posting/monitoring social media; outreach to other groups.
Security: Depending on whether site has means to control access to the building, protocols may be needed to screen who is entering the building, so multiple attendants for multiple access points may be needed.
Each sanctuary church and immigrant in sanctuary will have unique needs. Please use the above as suggestions rather than requirements.
On November 19, at 12pm in the sanctuary, the Immigrant Ministry will host a town hall discussion and Q&A about the upcoming vote on First Parish becoming a sanctuary supporting congregation. Please join us and know all questions and comments welcome.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
An evening of food and fun as we celebrate and raise money for our church programs. We will have silent and live auctions featuring many exciting items — from delicious food deliveries, to dinner parties, fun nights out, stays in vacation homes and more!
We kick the silent auction off at 6 pm with sumptuous appetizers and an open bar, followed by delicious and decadent desserts and the live auction. Don’t miss the 50/50 bowl and raffle too! Tickets are $35 per person. Buy your tickets at the auction table at Social Hour or online at Brown Paper Tickets (a small fee applies). Please contact Rev. Catie if the ticket cost is a barrier to your attendance.
Saturday, October 28th, 11am service in the Sanctuary
12pm reception in the Parish Hall
Rev. Catie will officiate a memorial celebration of Bridie Sheehan, longtime friend of First Parish and mother of church member Geri Sheehan. All are welcome at the memorial service and for the luncheon reception afterwards.
The Immigrant Ministry is leading an effort to have First Parish vote on becoming a level 2 sanctuary in November. To help people prepare for that decision, the Immigrant Ministry prepared the attached FAQ document on what becoming a Sanctuary congregation would mean for First Parish. (Many people have seen the shorter poster board version at social hour and/or received a paper copy.) If you have questions, please contact Will Rico — and stay tuned for more information!
In these disheartening times of climate disruption, how do we convert informed anxiety into effective action? Join veteran climate activist Rev. Fred Small at an interactive multi-faith workshop on Sunday, November 12 from 2-4:30pm, in Parish Hall. He will lead participants in meditation, reflection, conversation, and song to strengthen our spirits in the struggle for climate justice. The workshop, co-sponsored by six other MetroWest houses of worship, will conclude with inspiring stories illustrating how all of us can make a difference. Registration is free, with a suggested donation of $10 at the event. Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/GiveLightWorkshop
First Parish shares it’s plate collection each Sunday. Most weeks we split the collection, 50-50 between First Parish and another organization chosen by the Social Action Committee. Occasionally, as with hurricane relief this season, we give the entire collection away. Continue reading…
Join First Parish Members Jim Leffingwell and Bob Smart on Sunday, October 22nd at noon in the parlor for a workshop on legacy giving. Jim and Bob are both part of the Legacy Giving Committee.
Jim will lead the workshop based on his years of experience in planned giving. After many years as a pastor and non-profit executive, Jim entered the professional world of planned giving and worked for 2 independent schools and later as the New England Representative of the American Baptist Foundation. He conducted many workshops on planned giving during his 10 years there. Jim retired from the Foundation in 2000.
Bob is a well-known local attorney. He will be there to support Jim and answer questions such as how to create a will and a codicil.
Please RSVP to Jim at email@example.com so that he can plan for handouts.
The Green Congregation Committee is sponsoring a Vegetarian Potluck Dinner on September 24th at 5:30 in Parish Hall! It will be an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company at the beginning of the church year, and to encourage all of us to eat more meatless meals and more locally sourced food, such as from the Needham Farmer’s Market now located in front of the Needham Town Hall. Look for an invitation shortly! Our committee is gathering vegetarian and vegan recipes to be part of an online cookbook. Please submit to Susan McGarvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Legacy Giving Committee is delighted with the interest in the Challenge Campaign. Over the coming weeks we will be sharing stories and ideas for including First Parish in your estate plan.
Many of you may not know of the generous bequest that Roberta Crocker recently made. Roberta and her husband David raised their children at First Parish and were members for over 50 years. When she died last spring, Reverend Catie received word of her bequest. We wish that we could have thanked Roberta while she was living. Her gift will make a lasting impact.
Including First Parish in your estate plan does not have to be complicated. Our own Jim Leffingwell (a retired planned giving professional) will tell you how at a Planned Giving Workshop after church on October 22nd. More information will follow but mark your calendar now!
If you have questions, reach out to the Legacy Giving Committee – Katie Barnett, Jim Leffingwell, Nancy Simpson-Banker, Eileen and Rick Vincent. Ad hoc members: Bob Rands and Bob Smart.