Our Secret Garden Preschool is enrolling children from 2.5 to 5 years of age. Find out more...
Sunday School News
Due to vacation, there is no Sunday School on Dec. 29th. Sunday School will resume on Jan. 5th at 9:45 AM when we will learn about the "journey of the wisemen" as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew chapter II.
Rev. Jeff MacDonald to be Installed at First Parish on Jan. 12th
Representatives from the Essex Association will join us at our 10 AM Sunday morning worship on Jan. 12 to install Rev. Jeff as Minister of First Parish. It will be an exciting day! Plan to attend to take part in what will be an act of the entire congregation and our sister churches of the Essex Association, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ.
Come join us on any Sunday for 10 AM services at 20 High Road (Route 1A) in Newbury, just south of the Newburyport line. We will be celebrating the 12-day Christmas season and Epiphany through January and February.
Bible study continues at 8:30 AM on select Sundays. Dates to be announced in early January.
Come enrich your understanding of Scripture in an open discussion format led by Rev. Jeff. Prior attendance not required.
Sunday School Happenings
The First Parish Church Sunday School studied Psalm 100 in November. They decorated large paper shopping bags with verses from Psalm 100 and added seasonal Thanksgiving drawings of leaves, acorns, turkeys, etc. The bags were given to the congregation during a church service who took them home to fill them with non-perishable foods. The bags of food were collected in church on Sunday November 22. There were 16 bags filled with shelf-stable foods that are needed by food pantries to distribute to people in need. The bags were taken to the Salvation Army after church where they were received with many thanks. The Salvation Army officers were very appreciative of the decorations from Psalm 100 and were intent on distributing the bags with the food to give a scriptural message of hope along with the food. “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.” Psalm 100:1
Eco Book Club
The season's introductory meeting was a good one, enabling us to find and share connections we felt to the author's humbling and humorous experiences.
Farris Bennett offered to host the next group Thursday, January 16th, 7:30 P.M., at her home. She lives at 270 Main Street, West Newbury (across from the food mart...3rd house on the right after the pizza house, heading west). Participants chose The Story of Stuff (see following review) to discuss at the next meeting. The topic should be fun, relevant to many of us, and representative of the group. The author, Annie Leonard, believes, “We have a problem with Stuff. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, we’re consuming 30 percent of the world’s resources and creating 30 percent of the world’s waste. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, we would need three to five planets!”
According to an Amazon reviewer, www.amazon.com “This alarming fact drove Annie Leonard to create the Internet film sensation, The Story of Stuff which has been viewed over 10 million times by people around the world. In her sweeping, groundbreaking book of the same name, Leonard tracks the life of the Stuff we use every day—where our cotton T-shirts, laptop computers, and aluminum cans come from, how they are produced, distributed, and consumed, and where they go when we throw them out. Like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, The Story of Stuff is a landmark book that will change the way people think—and the way they live.”
Please let Edwina or Erin know if you can attend this meeting.
New Eden Gardens
New Eden Organic Garden has concluded the 2013 growing season with a full roster of garden plots rented, with 6 new gardeners joining us. In spite of the rainy June and hot July, the season did produce wonderful food for our member gardeners - early gardeners had beets and greens and peas, and tomatoes were abundant this year, in spite of the weather and a few pests.
We will be inviting gardeners to recommit to their plots in January and hope to close out registrations by the end of February. Fees will be $85 for small plots and $185 for large plots. This is the first fee increase in over 5 years and is necessary to pay for increased costs of seasonal water usage and occasional repairs to the water system and fencing. We will be accepting inquiries from new gardeners at the end of the member registration period in February. You may contact Patty McDermott, Director of New Eden Organic Gardens, if you are an existing gardener and want to secure your plot for next year, or if you are a new gardener interested in joining a nice community of people interested in growing their own food in an organic garden. Email: email@example.com for more information
For information about the New Eden Gardens, click the link below:
Our Secret Garden Preschool
As we began the 2013/14 school year, we welcomed old friends and new for many exciting learning adventures. The children used their 5 senses to explore the fall season spotting changes in garden plants and trees, the activity of backyard wildlife, weather, and much more. We gathered our own harvest from our veggie, pumpkin and sunflower gardens and prepared and tasted foods associated with the season (toasted pumpkin seeds, applesauce, etc.) and enjoyed a “listening walk” to discover the sounds of our own outdoor space and neighborhood
The children also enjoyed our farmstand area, which many of you may have seen if you pass through our classrooms on Sundays. This was made possible through the generous donations of our dedicated families and has enabled the children to role play and build language and math skills while working with natural materials.
Our nature center has also been re-designed and in addition to our beloved turtle ”Chica” and our frogs, toads, goldfish and guinea pigs, it is now home for many new young fish swimming in schools at 3 different levels and a very pampered bearded dragon named “Gerald”. The center is still growing and will include some terrarium life as well.
Thank you to our dedicated teacher Sarah Guard for her support and help in creating a colorful and interactive environment, which the children are very curious about.
As we grow and update the learning environments, we are in need of the following materials:
Wooden shelving of all sizes for children’s materials
Metal shelving and cabinets for storage
Thank you to Chuck Mead and family for their donation of the microwave and the algae eating fish which has now joined our nature center. Thank you also to the Mead family for your help with all our recycling as well! We appreciate your support as we develop a responsibility for protecting the earth with our students.
We all look forward to November which will bring continued opportunities to explore the natural world around us, bring nature indoors and a visit from Joppa Flats teaching staff to explore animal tracking. We will also explore early American life and turn our hearts toward home and our own families, reflecting on all that we are grateful for.
Ellie and the OSG staff
UCC News Feeds
Rev. Jeff MacDonald's Message for Fall 2013
Greetings members & friends of First Parish Church,
How great it is to be serving as your new minister! The prophet Isaiah says: “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19). A new thing indeed is happening at First Parish, and I’m delighted to be part of it. I feel I’ve arrived at a church where uncommon vision and courage are ripe to bear new fruit, starting in this harvest season. Organic gardens in the backyard teem with fresh vegetables. We recently gathered for a potluck lunch that featured delicious vegetarian fare. These are signs we’re building community around healthy habits of body, mind and soul.
Early fall has reenergized a number of our core ministries, especially in the areas of education and pastoral care. Deacons Mike Chesla and Jane Merrow are keeping tabs on who needs prayer or other types of assistance. Sunday school welcomes all children through the generous ministry of Bert and Sayre Noyes. In our 8:30 a.m. Sunday Bible study, we’ve been reading 1 John, where we hear that “God is love.” Where else but at First Parish do people of Roman Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Christian Science and hippie backgrounds gather ‘round a table and seek together what it really means to love our neighbors? If we don’t see a multi-layered “new thing” happening in our midst, we must not have our eyes open.
Perhaps it’s time to explore how the “new thing” might include establishing avenues for spiritual growth. People in our community (including ourselves) need pathways to connect. We can provide such pathways by adopting one or two monthly routines, just like we’ve done with the Bible study.
This might include a monthly meal, such as a potluck that reflects our values, or a healthy reinvention of the traditional bean supper (see me for more thoughts on this). Or maybe it would be a monthly mission activity, such as serving dinner at the Salvation Army in Newburyport, or cleaning up a local beach, or tackling an environmental or injustice problem that concerns us. What’s important is that the church 1) offers something simple and meaningful to do outside of worship; 2) addresses a real need while reinforcing our defining values and habits of the heart; and 3) regularly invites family, friends and acquaintances to take part. None of this would have to involve a lot of time or effort. It would be a matter of redirecting a little of our “church time,” maybe an hour or two a month, outward for the common good.
We have much to celebrate here at First Parish, and we give God thanks for sustaining the ministry begun here so long ago. May the Holy Spirit encourage us to keeping taking new steps in Christ’s name and see what unfolds.
Yours in Christ,
First Parish Church of Newbury
20 High Road - Rt. 1A
Newbury, MA 01951
Do you have questions or comments? Then email the webmaster.