In the Wider World
An Open Letter to the Larger Community
from First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Medfield
Recent events have reminded us that racial injustice has existed in this country since before its founding and continues to this day. We at First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Medfield are shocked and saddened by these events as they come to light. We choose to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and anyone who is working to create a more inclusive future.
Our Unitarian Universalist faith is based on principles that identify our relationship to the world and to each other. As Unitarian Universalists, we cannot be silent or inactive while racial injustice continues to pervade our society. Such injustice runs counter to so many elements of the principles we hold dear.
- Our first principle affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Injustices against people of color such as race-profiling, disparities in healthcare and education, environmental inequities, police bias, and racism woven into our legal system starkly violate this principle.
- Our second principle teaches us to seek justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. When communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the unequal burden of pollution in minority neighborhoods, excessive incarceration, voting restrictions, financial redlining, and other institutionally engrained obstacles, the second principle teaches us to stand up for change.
- At the same time, our third principle promotes acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth, guiding us to be kind to ourselves and each other during difficult times, to encourage spiritual growth in ourselves and others, and to accept one another’s differences in our congregation and our world. We pledge to help each other wherever we are on our personal journeys, as we navigate the often heart-wrenching events of our times.
- Finally, our seventh principle asserts the need for respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part. We strive to build a world where there is a level playing field and where institutional racism has been eliminated.
We realize we don’t have a solution to our society’s embedded racial injustices. We believe it is necessary to spend time learning, listening, and acting in accordance with our principles. Our hope is that by educating ourselves, we will be better prepared to effect and participate in positive change. By listening to the voices of those who have been historically marginalized, we resolve to become better allies in the struggle to create a more fair society. By seeking out ways to advocate for and make change, we can realize a more just world.
First Parish will publicize our future actions and invite anyone interested to join with us.
First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Medfield
Green Sanctuary Committee
NEWS: FPUU wins “Cool Congregations Challenge”
In December 2018, our Green Sanctuary Committee entered a contest—the “Cool Congregations Challenge” put on by the Interfaith Power and Light, a nation-wide organization that mobilizes a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. We entered the Community Inspiration category (there were five categories) and featured the Medfield anti-idling initiative that was done in 2016-17.
On March 5 we were notified that we won in the Community Inspiration category! The prize is a check for $1000 for FPUU. Read about us on the Interfaith Power & Light website as well as the other winning congregations, one of which is another UU congregation in Iowa. They are all inspiring. The GSC and your Board of Directors will be discussing how this money will be used. And… let’s all who drive automobiles of the gasoline-consuming kind practice what we preach. Please observe the MA anti-idling law!
The Green Sanctuary Committee seeks to affirm and promote our Seventh Principle, which asks us to behave with “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” In accordance with the goals of the UUA’s Green Sanctuary program, we aim to:
•raise consciousness about environmental issues, and specifically global warming;
•motivate members to undertake personal lifestyle changes;
•generate commitment to community action on environmental issues;
•address and seek to prevent environmental injustices.
Some of the issues we have taken on include a town-wide anti-idling initiative, recycling, Earth Day cleanup, a “Talking Climate” TV show, Green services, sustainability, interfaith climate actions, and environmental awareness campaigns.
In 2017, First Parish became a Green Sanctuary after five years of challenging ourselves to live up to the implications of our UU principles. Our work now is to be a religious community whose way of living is grounded in sound environmental policies and practices. We are committed to connecting spiritual practice and environmental consciousness. The GS Committee helps develop programs for all ages to shape attitudes and build practices that are sustainable and spiritually-grounded. We connect with other groups in order to identify environmental injustices. And as a congregation and as individual households, we work at treating the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make.
To learn more, please visit our blog.
What has the Green Sanctuary Committee been up to?
Climate Ribbon Project:
Participated in the Climate Strike September 20, 2019
Church members are involved in several projects in the area that provide support and advocate for people in difficult circumstances, including:
NewLife Home Refurnishings, a Medfield-based ministry of recycling
For people coming out of difficult times with limited resources, it is often very difficult to find the household items needed to set up living in an apartment. The mission of NewLife Home Refurnishing is to distribute “gently used” household goods at no cost to individuals and families who need help to rebuild their lives. Our clients come to us through referrals from social service and government agencies, as well as area clergy.
Our goal is to treat our clients with dignity, providing them with a “shopping” opportunity to furnish their new home with the basic necessities from our inventory.
NewLife relies on the generosity of residents of Medfield and the surrounding towns. We accept most basic furniture and household items in good condition. Those who are downsizing or redecorating can recycle their items, knowing they will be put to good use and kept out of landfills. Donations are tax deductible.
To arrange a donation or to volunteer with others from our church, sign up on the sheet in the vestry or speak with Duncan Glover; for more information go to www.newlifehr.org.
The Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, located in Roxbury Massachusetts, works every day to create a more fair and equitable society. Over its 190-year history, the Urban Ministry has created many channels to conduct its work in addressing social issues, including settlement houses and chapels, affordable housing, community centers and service programs. Today, approximately 50 Unitarian Universalist congregations provide both financial and volunteer support, viewing this ministry as one of their social action arms in Boston. First Parish has supported the UUUM financially and through various volunteer service projects. See their web site.
One project that members of First Parish have participated in recently is Fair Foods at the U.U. Urban Ministry. Fair Foods is a non-profit food rescue organization dedicated to providing surplus goods at low or no cost to those in need. Since 1988, they have rescued and delivered millions of pounds of fresh produce to low income communities throughout New England and around the world. Volunteers from First Parish have traveled to the UU Urban Ministry each month to help sort, bag, and distribute produce to folks who often have poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Medfield Food Cupboard
The Medfield Food Cupboard provides assistance to residents of Medfield who are in need of supplemental or emergency food. The Food Cupboard is generously supported by the residents of Medfield, the town’s churches, and various community organizations. First Parish collects food items for the Medfield Food Cupboard and every week a youth volunteer delivers it to the Food Cupboard.
Food is distributed approximately every two weeks at the Food Cupboard home: the United Church of Christ, 496 Main Street, Medfield. If you need the services of the Food Cupboard, please call 508-359-4958 and leave a message.
Donations of non-perishable, unopened, unexpired food items may be dropped off in the narthex. Donations of canned tuna and chicken, canned pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, applesauce, juice, pasta sauces, paper products (paper towels, Kleenex, and toilet paper), cleaning products, and health and beauty aids such as shampoo, toothpaste, and shaving razors or refills, are always welcome. Financial donations may be mailed to the Medfield Food Cupboard at PO Box 172, Medfield, MA 02052. Financial donations are used to supplement food contributions by purchasing meats, cheese, frozen items, and any item in short supply.
Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts.
First Parish members participate annually in The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country. Watch for information in the Spring.