The Communications Committee’s purpose is to facilitate communication within the First Parish community and to serve as a conduit of information from First Parish to the outside world. The committee’s intended role is not to be the voice of the parish, but rather to make that voice heard in a manner consistent with the mission of First Parish and with Unitarian Universalist guiding principles.
What is “Denominational Affairs” and Why the heck should I be interested in it?
While First Parish Bedford is a great place with lots of activities and opportunities for spiritual growth, there is more to us that just what goes on in Bedford. Certainly, our Church is excellent at getting us outside the building to places where we can help promote social justice, tolerance, and other good work. Beyond that though, there is a whole world of opportunity for sharing of ideas, knowledge, and good work.
Denominational Affairs is a committee that seeks to tie our Congregation into that larger world of other UU Congregations.
A Little Background:
The Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches (UUA) was formed in 1961 through the consolidation of the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association. Today the UUA is a faith community of more than 1,000 congregations that support each other and bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance and social justice.
First Parish sends annual dues to the UU Urban Ministry and contributes a per member payment each year to the UUA and the now combined Massachusetts Bay District/Clara Barton District (MBD/CBD) in the full amount requested making us an "honor society". In return we receive support through presentations, workshops, and services that help improve local church planning, programming and administrative operation.
Denominational Affairs acts as liaison between First Parish Bedford and the Massachusetts Bay District (MBD) which serves 55 Eastern Massachusetts congregations. Denominational Affairs also recruits delegates to represent First Parish at General Assembly, and MBD/CBD and UU Urban Ministry Annual Meetings, and collects input from members of the Congregation for the annual poll of issues to be discussed at GA.
For more information about the Committee and how you might get involved, contact anyone on the list. Even if you don’t feel you can commit to becoming a Committee Member, you should feel free to let us know about ideas or opportunities you feel are relevant. You may also volunteer as a Delegate to GA, and of course, input for GA is always welcome.
Funding for workshops, events, and GA is available.
In order to facilitate management of the church’s endowment funds, there is an Endowment Committee of the Parish reporting to the Parish Board, acting in spirit much like "trustees" for the endowment, but subject to the Parish Board and the final authority of the congregation. It is a standing committee, with members appointed by the Parish Board.
The Finance Committee consists of six (6) or seven (7) members, to include a Chairperson, Treasurer as ex officio, Chairpersons of the Canvass Committee and Investment Advisory Committees, and one (1) or two (2) members-at-large.
The Finance Committee oversees the financial matters of the Parish, under the oversight of the Parish Committee.
Oversees all special First Parish fundraising events and activities. This includes events such as the Rummage Sale, Plant Fair, Talent Auction and other events to raise money, but does not include the Annual Canvass. The committee is not responsible for organizing or implementing these events; rather, it gathers ideas for new events, reviews the list of events to find ways to improve them or eliminate unproductive events, and recruits leaders for events. The primary goal of these events is to provide a reasonable financial gain for the community effort expended. Secondary goals include out-reach, goodwill, community service, and camaraderie. The committee will consist of three or more members.
The Interiors Committee members meet regularly to assess possibilities to enhance the visual beauty and comfort of the interior space of the church. When there is something identified that needs attention, or when an addition such as art work, furniture, rugs, etc. is thought to be a valuable addition, the committee researches quality, quantity, cost, and whatever else is important and helpful for making decisions. The Interiors Committee is responsible for considering gifts and loans within the guidelines of First Parish policies.
First Parish in Bedford strives to be a loving community that provides support and care for each other through both the best and the most difficult of times. Trained and supervised by the ministers and professional lay leaders, the Lay Pastoral Care Team promotes a spirit and means of ongoing care and concern offered within the church community, among peers. Based on the first UU principle, to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the Lay Pastoral Care Team provides a readiness to reach out, listen, and support everyone in our community.
If you or someone you care about is in need of support, contact any of the Lay Pastoral Care Committee members or the call the church office at 781-275-7994 to get in touch. Current Lay Pastoral Care Team Members: Jeannie Balfour (co-chair), Maria Green (co-chair), Reverend John Gibbons, Reverend Megan Lynes, Bob Batt, Sandy Boczenowski, Diane Brown King, Nancy Daugherty, Sharon McDonald and Tina Nappi.
The Membership Committee welcomes new friends; encourages new, prospective and current members to participate in the life of the Parish; provides orientation and integration of potential members through communications and programs; and leads parishioners as a welcoming community.
The committee on ministry supports the overall ministry of First Parish and the specific work of its ministers. The committee reflects, shares and discusses pertinent issues related to ministerial work in both the church community and in the local community. The committee offers support and guidance to the ministers when needed and acts as a conduit for information between the congregation and the ministers.
Members: John Laferriere, Dot Ellis, and Judi Curcio
The Music Committee (MuCom) supports the Music Department staff, promotes excellence in our music programs, and conducts several music fundraising events each church year. Staff support includes assisting in annual budget planning, evaluation of music programs, performing searches for vacant staff positions, and acting as vox populi in dealing with issues involving msical life at First Parish. It should have as members no fewer than five parishioners that represent the musical interests of the congregation, in addition to the Music Director/Choir Director, Youth Choir Director, and Accompanist as ex officio, non-voting members.
The purpose of the Partner Church Committee is to support the relationship between First Parish in Bedford and our partner church in Abasfalva, Transylvania (Romania). The committee actively supports First Parish’s membership in the Abasfalva Association (comprised of the Unitarian church in Abasfalva, the Landowner’s Association in the village, and First Parish in Bedford), and in the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council which promotes connecting Unitarian and Universalist congregations around the world.
The Peace & Justice Group's mission is to study, educate, and take action upon social justice and peace issues pertinent to our Unitarian Universalist values. Additionally this group works to promote the social justice campaigns of both the UUSC and the UUA’s Congregational Study Action Issues and Statements of Conscience.
To advocate for the inclusion of UU principles in the exercise of the Parish’s responsibilities as employer;
To provide the Parish Committee (representing the Parish as employer) and staff (as employ-ees) with advice and guidance for the establishment and implementation of responsible per-sonnel policies and practices;
To monitor and report on the implementation of policies and programs.
The Physical Plant Committee plans and supervises the maintenance, repair, and improvement of the church, the parsonage, and grounds of each; supervises maintenance of equipment and fixtures of each. It proposes long-range plans for the maintenance and enhancement of the properties to the Parish Committee and the Parish, and works with the Parish Committee on capital budget planning.
In conjunction with the Director of Religious Education, the committee plans, organizes and coordi-nates a general program of religious education for children and youth. It recruits, trains, and provides support to volunteer teachers, and provides curricula and other materials needed. Members serve as liaisons to specific grade levels and/or interest groups that are consistent with the mission of the Religious Education program.
The Safe Congregations Task Force is committed to the safety and well-being of the First Parish of Bedford community and its visitors to First Parish worship and programming. It includes representatives from the following areas: Communications, Interiors, Personnel, Physical Plant, Religious Education, Lay Pastoral Care, and a member of the board.
We recognize that preventing sexual misconduct, physical abuse and harassment in our church community and in society is complex, and that providing a safe space and building is a congregational effort. Prevention, education, training, careful hiring, and safety procedures are concrete steps toward creating a safer environment for all concerned. The task force is currently working on a comprehensive policy.
The goal of the Social Responsibility Council is to act on behalf of the parish to coordinate and fund projects that express Unitarian Universalist values within our community. The Council recognizes four basic facets of social action:
We are all stewards of First Parish, and as such, our role is to take care of our beloved community so that it can continue to make a difference in our lives and those of future generations. The Stewardship Committee works towards bringing our time, talents and treasure together to enable First Parish to fully achieve its four fundamental concepts of spirit, justice, community, and sustainability.
The purpose of the Welcoming Committee is to serve the needs of The First Parish in Bedford as a Welcoming Congregation consistent with the guidelines of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We actively welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as full participants in the life of the church. The committee sponsors educational activities and events through Social Outreach in a way that promotes First Parish and UU values in society while respecting diversity within the Parish and providing a safe space for the GLBT communities.
For more information, please visit http://uubedford.org/community-life/welcoming-congregation.html
Chair: Diana Finer