April 8, Week 1
Reflections from Kathleen Hepler
The most meaningful moments in ministry are the connections with people over time; through pastoral care, small groups, teaching and especially being a companion in the gateway moments of life such as memorial services, weddings and child dedications. What a privilege it is to be with your during these transitions! Thank you for inviting me into these moments.
There is a lot of love here at First Parish in Framingham. It’s part of the systemic DNA. The women and men of Caritas are always ready to help in times of crises with rides, food and visits. The Women’s Alliance provides gracious receptions after a memorial service. Candles during the Sunday Moment of Sharing are often lit for others in celebration, gratitude and grief. People reach out to one another to support and encourage. There are conscious efforts to be inclusive, even when doing so is challenging.You know how to laugh and have fun together at events like Pies on the Common, the Talent Show and the Auction. I am frequently in awe of the generous giving of time, treasure and talent that First Parish members give to the ongoing health of the church.
There are not many places in American culture where people can be together over time doing life-sustaining things, practicing to be good human beings, and learning to love through difference. This community is a gift( and an antidote) to this fast-paced, competitive world. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Reflections from Pat Greeley
First Parish has always been a place for community for me. It is so much more than a home for Sunday worship. It is the place where I developed the deep connections to people who have sustained me through all of life’s changes. It is where Tony and I were truly known. And for Tony especially, it was his personal mission (and still his legacy) that every newcomer should be welcomed and known.
By committing my time in one place over so many years — to the choir, the Church School Council, the Nursery Committee, to Caritas, to Women’s Alliance, to Wellspring Wednesdays, and now to Prison Outreach — I have surrounded myself with people who offer me friendship and support. The people of this community were by my side during Tony’s early illness and recovery, through my own health problems and during Tony’s final years.
Kathleen’s presence with our family through the transitions of life, her particular strength in pastoral care, has provided me support when I needed it the most. Her background in social work and the depth of her understanding of families in all of their complexity, has been an important part of her ministry at First Parish.
In this community I have come to know that all people seek acceptance and understanding. I have experienced those things at First Parish, and I have found so many ways to give them back to others who are hurting, to people in need. To this day, it is the ability to help others, just as I have been helped that gives my life so much meaning.