people sit in rows of blue chairs facing minister in robe at front of room

Sunday Reflection – Melinda Dennis – March 12th, 2023

Mar 13, 2023

I’ll start with a feeling. One morning after church I was sitting in my chair, not ready to leave the sanctuary to head home. This seems to be happening a lot to me these days at First Parish – this not wanting to leave here feeling. Something drew me into the Heart of the Matter discussion in the nearby room – and for those of you who are new – it’s a monthly get-together led by Rev Sophia to share what’s on your mind and to consider the topic of the month. It only took a little bit of sharing from Rev Sophia and the 6 other people and I left feeling like I had a new personal connection to explore with each one of them. A sense of community washed over me and I realized it was exactly what I needed right then. And it is truly the main reason I joined First Parish.

For me, sometimes what “community” is supposed to feel like in the body is a little hard to sense. How do I know I have community?  I know what it’s NOT. I did not feel it in high school. College was equally complicated.  In fact, most of my life I’ve hugged the corners of life, – whishing around the far edges of the ice skating rink (not the center where the bold kids skate), playing pick-up tennis instead of joining the college league, volunteering for one-time events, instead of weekly ones, so I could come and go as I please.  It’s partly my FOMO attitude – what am I going to miss out on if I commit? Being this way has allowed me to accomplish a lot and feel as if I’m in a million different places at once – but actually, it’s kind of exhausting, and can feel disconnected from others to a certain extent.  

Instead, First Parish is an entirely different experience for me. I like the feeling of laying down my roots here and committing to several FP committees. I like walking past First Parish on my way to the library and saying ‘THAT’s my church.’ I am more than fine declining a Sunday morning event somewhere else because I choose to be here.  I’m grateful for the zoom services when I’m traveling because I can touch down and ground.

There are too many ways to get involved here to list but for me, simply greeting people in the entryway, chatting while gardening in the Memorial Garden, and sharing deeper and deeper feelings in a Chalice Circle are high on my list. It was so fascinating to join the small group conversations about our new religious education program. Being part of the Membership committee to welcome newcomers and plan fun events has drawn me in here even deeper. The continuity feels fulfilling.  And sometimes when you’re making new friends, you just need a reason to talk to someone.

I am so thankful to be among you. A friend I brought to the piano concert said “your church is so down to earth, everyone is so REAL. I will continue to look for ways to connect with members here because I like who we are, too, and all of our passion to make a difference in the world.

If First Parish speaks to you and helps you with your life, please consider what and how you might like to give back with your time and/or pledge.  Pledges are made in March and often paid over the coming year.

I just wanted to say that I likely feel ok sharing some of my personal life in front of this big group because Rev Sophia is so open and generous with us, sharing from her heart each week. It makes me feel safe to do the same up here. Thank you!

Worship Committee
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The Worship Committee works with the Minister and the Music Director to ensure the spiritual needs of this congregation are met in the vision, structure, and tone of the worship services. The committee serves as the congregation’s means of actively participating in making its worship services meaningful and supportive or individual and communal spiritual growth and enhancement. The committee helps coordinate special services, lay-led services, and organizes lay-led summer services.

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