Building the Beloved Community
First Church Somerville UCC

This Week at First Church

Regathering Sunday!

The Word this Week:

1 Timothy 1: 12-19

Dearly Beloved,
Let’s see: I have a wedding Friday, a funeral on Saturday, and I just held baby Aleah—at 8 days old, not even our newest First Church baby! (Nanani Lim was born the night before last: praise Jesus).
It brings to mind the old saw that the minister’s vocation is to hatch, match, and dispatch—though we don’t usually get to do all those tasks in such great proximity to one another.
Being let in to people’s lives at these most holy, liminal moments in life is a treasure. Having a church to do it in: priceless. Good churches know how to hold emotion—even the ugly or socially unacceptable emotions. Good churches know how to keep people company at the most intense moments of life (not just birth, marriage, death, but illness, divorce, moves, depressions, vocational shifts, and many many more)—and how to help people tell the WHOLE truth of what is going on, even when the ‘good times’ (like: birth, moves, vocational shifts...).
How many times have I heard one of you say: “I don’t know how I would have gotten through _____ if it weren’t for First Church. What do other people do?”
Thank God, we don’t have to find out, because we have this place, and this people.
Come all you people. Come from summer vacations and semester starts, from whirlwinds and workdays. Get your head out of your job, your book, your family crisis, your 5,000 emails, and come and rest and sing and pray with your people.
Come remember that what God deeply desires for you is Sabbath rest, every week, and holy friends on the spiritual journey.
This Sunday is Regathering Sunday. We will gather not once but TWICE, at 9am with Sunday school and 11am with Choir. Choir rehearsal happens at 10am, and if you’ve always secretly wanted to sing with the choir, now is your chance to slip into the stream!
Things went great at last week’s inaugural worship split! Melissa Shungu spent all morning at church, helping with Sunday school and later attending worship, and said “I loved every minute!” The coffee hour was a living organism: ebbing and flowing. Smaller worship meant more opportunities (especially for introverts!) to meet people in a less overwhelming setting. Remember, in these September Sunday when a lot of newcomers are shopping us, to look for and be kind to the stranger, the lost, the least, the lonely, the one with the sad or scared default face—you were once in that position!
Between worship services: Big Meeting Brunch meetings return us to the work of building the beloved community. After the 11am worship: First Churcher Chelsea Levy and one of her grad school professors would love to interview you on your views regarding faith and its relationship to gun control issues.
Beloved, whatever you’re going through: you’re not alone. Come Sunday, and remember that.
Bless you, and may you be a blessing,

Choir Retreat Sat. 10 AM - 3 PM

It might not have come across your radar that there is a Choir Retreat this Saturday from 10am-3pm, right here at our own church. 
It could be that you sing in the shower or in the car, and would never, ever consider singing in public--except from maybe, just maybe, within the safe confines of a 12-20-person volunteer choir such as ours. It's not performance after all: it's a gift (however imperfect) that we give back to God (yes, She loves it every time, no matter what), and a way we singers deepen our own experience of worship (plus then we don't have to worry about where to sit or who to sit with!). 
You don't have to come to the choir retreat to be able to sing with choir this year--but it's a good way to meet people, to learn a lot of music at once, and to feel more deeply a part of things. You won't be obligated to sing every week or even most weeks if you come to choir--lots of folks are sometimes singers, and we love them every bit as much as the regulars. If you think you'd like to come for all or part of the retreat, email Hugh at
I also wanted to say how excited I am for the changes in our music staff this year. Did you know that Hugh, our music director, is also the Director of campus music activities at Merrimack College? That he has a doctorate in piano performance from New England Conservatory, and that he is a founding member of the amazing Core Ensemble, that tours internationally? That he was raised United Methodist in Louisiana and LOVES his new church home, the UCC, bringing his lifelong spirituality and faith to bear among us? How blessed are we? 
Did you know that our incoming assistant music director, Marcus Mack, is a graduate of Berklee and a current student at Harvard Divinity School? That he plays percussion as well as piano, and that he writes film scores? That he was raised Pentecostal in Texas with a father who does Christian television programming, and LOVES his new church home, the UCC, bringing his lifelong church involvement and newly expanding theology to bear among us? How lucky are we? 
Hope that inspires you to think about finding a new pew/chair this year, one closer to the front!

Coming up...

Saturday, September 14
10a Choir Retreat
5p Parents’ Night Out
Sunday, September 15—ReGathering Sunday
9a Worship and Church School
      Rev. Molly Baskette, preaching
10a Coffee Hour
10a Big Meeting Brunch:
       Children’s Ministry and Safe Church meeting: Chapel
       Fellowship:   Church Office
       Finance:   Godly Play Sunday School Room
       Mission & Justice:   Parlor
11a Worship — Rev. Jeff Mansfield, preaching
12:15 Music Committee Meeting
Monday,  September 16
5p Project SOUP
Tuesday, September 17
7p Bible Study
Wednesday, September 18
8:30a Visit with Molly at the Diesel Café
7p Cook for the Homeless
7:15p Church Council
Thursday, September 19
8:30a Visit with Jeff at the Diesel Café
Sunday, September 15
9a    Worship and Church School
   Rev. Molly Baskette, preaching
10a Coffee Hour
10a Choir Rehearsal
11a Worship — Rev. Molly Baskette,  preaching
12:15 Resounding Joy Rehearsal

New Sunday School Year

A new church school year is upon us! This year we're asking all parents to register their children for Sunday school, as well as attend a brief Safe Church training on 9/15 or 9/29, and sign up for 3 slots (do it today to get your pick!) to help in Sunday School throughout the academic year. For more information, email Rev. Jeff at

New Worship Times for Fall!

Reminder that starting September 8, we will worship in Duhamel Hall at two separate times: 9am (with Sunday school, no choir), and 11am (with nursery care but no Sunday school, and yes choir). Coffee hour and choir rehearsal will happen between the two services! For questions email Molly at For pictures of the renovation, see the reno blog!

Parents' Night Out

Will be held at First Church from 5-8 pm Saturday, September 14, and on the 2nd Saturday of every month. First Church families can bring their children to church where 3-4 (more if needed) parent/volunteer grownups stay behind and watch all the children while the other parents go OUT. Together, the kids enjoy games, pizza, a family-friendly movie, and popcorn.  Let Sue Donnelly ( or 617-962-0553) know if you plan to attend, want to volunteer, or have any questions.

Bible Study

Tuesdays at 7 PM (check the calendar for exact location): The First Church Bible study meets to help folks go deeper into the scripture from the preceding Sunday's worship -- wrestling with questions that may have arisen during Sunday worship, and asking what the Spirit is saying in our lives today. For more information, email Elizabeth and check out the Bible Study blog.


Join us for a once-a-month midweek worship celebration on Wednesday 9/11 at 7 PM in Duhamel Hall.  Savor involves food, ritual, and telling our stories about Jesus (you can totally come even if you don't have stories about Jesus - we've got plenty to share.)  Please RSVP with Pastor Jeff.

Mexico Mission Trip Cinco!

Our fifth biennial work/play/love trip to the Casa San Jose orphanage in Colima, Mexico is coming up this February 2014. Are you interested in going?  Email Molly at for more details or to RSVP! 
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