Building the Beloved Community
First Church Somerville UCC

This Week at First Church

Advent I: Light Gets In

I am insanely excited for Advent. For 14 years of parish ministry, Advent for me has meant low-level panic. “How will I manage to make that old old story new? What can I say or do to make it exciting and fresh? What new bells and whistles do I have to decorate the Nativity?”
Meanwhile, God has been off to the side, tapping Her toe. Smiling to herself, that I think it All Depends On Me, somehow. God has been doing Advent and Christmas for 2,000 years, but no, if we don’t preach it/teach it/buy it/sell it/pipe it perfectly onto an insanely elaborate template with an insanely small pastry tip, it will somehow Not Happen. Anyone feel me?
I don’t know why, but this year is different. I don’t feel that anxiety, that nervous energy. Just excitement. Just wonder, at what God will do next. On the lookout, for where Advent is going to bust through—because it will, anywhere, everywhere, especially if we’re wide awake and waiting for it. Which is all Jesus says we need to do to receive it.
The theme for this year’s Advent is Light Gets In. No matter what walls we throw up, what boxes we climb in or that circumstances put us in—Light gets in. Light will have its way.
This Sunday in worship, I’ll be preaching on the walls humans throw up that block out Christ’s light. We’ll begin building an actual wall in the sanctuary, that will grow each week up until Christmas Eve, when the Light will get in. Will you bring cardboard boxes to church anytime you show up, and leave them on the chancel, and help us duct-tape them together to build our Babel-wall up toward heaven and obscure the cross?
New members Leigh Wilmot and Mike McLaughlin will light the advent wreath. Liz Danner is our able liturgist. It’s a Communion Sunday and a Recovery Sunday, with themes from the 12-step movement woven into the sermon—so invite friends for whom this might be meaningful. Bobby will lead our prayers. The music will be amazing!
We have a number of nice, easy upcoming Advent activities you can participate in to be excited instead of panicked, to know it depends on God and not upon you. Here is one: before church on Sunday, spend a quiet hour in marinating yourself in Luke’s birth narrative with Bobby and others, in the Parlor from 9:00-9:45. He’s bringing donuts too!
Here is another:  after church on Sunday we are holding an all-ages Advent Devotional workshop. Come and write simple reflections or make art with other good souls. We’ll post one “devotional” a day on our Advent blog, starting Sunday:
[Thanks to Jamie Thompson for being our blogmistress, and to Allison Sichling for creating the banner art!]
I’ll also be handing out this year’s Alternative Advent Calendar on Sunday, offering a stress-free, prop-free, easy-way-every-day to let God, let Jesus in, let Light in.

Advent Devotional Workshop
Sunday, December 2

Advent Devoional Workshop

Shore up your spiritual immune system against the onslaught of Christmas hype: on Sunday December 2, we'll gather in the sanctuary after worship to make art and write poems, meditations and prayers for a First Church Group Advent Blog. With easy writing prompts and fun art materials, this event is suitable for all ages and skill levels. Blog entries will emerge one each day through the season of Advent and Christmas (better for you than chocolate, and more delicious!). For more info, email Jamie Thompson at

Advent Lectio Divina:
The Gospel of Luke

Shepherds & Angels

Student Minister Bobby Hyde will lead three sessions of Advent Lectio Divina exploring the birth narratives in the Gospel of Luke.  Lectio Divina or "Divine Reading" is a prayerful and meditative way of encountering Scripture as the Living Word.  The prayer group will meet at 9 AM in the Parlor before worship on Sunday, December 2, December 9, and December 16.  For more info contact Bobby at

Coming Up...

Thursday, November 29
7p - Living the Questions, at church - contact Bobby Hyde:

Saturday, December 1
12-4p - Drop off for Rummage Sale and School Kits
6p - FCS Choir performs at the Salem Christmas Tree Lighting/World AIDS Day Remembrance - 118 Washington Street, Salem, MA

Sunday, December 2
9a - Choir Practice
9a - Lectio Divina on Luke in the Parlor
10a - Worship — Rev. Molly Baskette, preaching
11a - Coffee Hour
11:30a - Advent Devotional Workshop, Parlor
11:30a-3:30p - Charity Rug & Rummage Sale
11:30a - Junior Choir
12p - Resounding Joy Bell Choir Rehearsal
Wednesday, December 5
8:30a - Visit with Molly at the Diesel Café

Thursday, December 6
8:30a - Visit with Jeff at the Diesel Café

Saturday, December 8
4-7pm - Parents' Night Out
6:30pm - Christmas Caroling Party at John Olson's house

Sunday, December 9
9a - Choir Practice
9a - Lectio Divina on Luke in the Parlor
10a - Worship — Rev. Jeff Mansfield, preaching
11a - Coffee Hour
11:30a - Junior Choir
12p - Resounding Joy Bell Choir Rehearsal

Rug & Rummage Sale

Sun. Dec. 2, 11:30 am - 3:30 pm!  Give joy to those in need this holiday season.  Please bring your gently used treasures (clothing, books, household goods, etc.) for the Rummage Sale to Duhamel Hall on Sat. Dec. 1 from 12-4 pm. Spread the word that the best shopping in town will be at FCS on Sun. Dec. 2 for gorgeous NEW handmade oriental rugs!  Proceeds will benefit Casa San Jose Orphanage in Mexico, Healthy Tomorrow in Mali, Stop River Blindness in the Congo, ans Women's and Children's Clinic in Zambia.  To volunteer and for more info please call Polly Laurelchild-Hertzig at 339-203-0886.

School Kits

Church World Service and the MA Area Conference of the UCC have asked for our help in putting together school kits for children in refugee camps around the world.  We're hoping to assemble 10+ kits on Sun. Dec. 2.  If you'd like to donate supplies for the kits, please bring new / unused items to church on Sat. Dec. 1 from 12-4 pm.  We need: 
  • Blunt metal scissors
  • 70-count spiral notebooks or notebooks totaling 200-210 pages
  • 30-centimeter rulers (12")
  • Hand-held pencil sharpeners
  • Large erasers
  • New pencils with erasers
  • Boxes of 24 crayons
  • 12" x 14" to 14" x 17" finished size cotton or lightweight canvas tote bags with cloth handles.
If you have any questions, please contact Polly Hamlen at

Spiritual Gifts Inventory
Beloved, it's been a little while since we have sent around the Spiritual Gifts Inventory. The Inventory is your chance to tell us where your unique gifts and talents lie so we can connect you with opportunities in your church. Filling it out just got awesomer - it's now online!  Simply click HERE!

Living the Questions

Confused about what it means to be progressive AND a Christian? Have you been afraid to "come out" to your non-Christian friends as a person of faith? Wrestle with these and other questions at our fall series, Living the Questions, every Thursday night at 7pm with Bobby Hyde and Rev. Jeff. Food and holy friends provided!  11/29 location TBD- contact Bobby Hyde:

Mission Trip 2013!

Some of you have heard about our biennial Mexico Mission Trip and felt regret that you couldn't go. Well, we're going to start doing a mission trip EVERY year! On odd years we'll go to a US site. This winter, we'll visit First Churcher Katie Bedard in Miami, Florida where we will spend a week working with Habitat for Humanity and worshipping with our sisters and brothers at Coral Gables UCC. Want to get away from the New England cold, forge strong bonds with new First Church friends, all while following Jesus to serve the vulnerable? Bobby Hyde will be our fearless leader. To RSVP or get more info, email Bobby.

Pastoral Care & Emergency

Need a pastor?  Give a call to Molly & Jeff at 617-863-6485. 
Our mailing address is:
First Church Somerville UCC
89 College Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144-1904

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