A Note from Your Board

November 17, 2022

Greetings from your Board of Assessors!  This will be the first monthly update my co-chair, Heather Sileo, and I will provide to ensure transparency and communication about your Board’s work and our vision for a healthy and vibrant church community.

Our church year began with a full slate of urgent issues for the Board to address, demanding much of our time, focus and energy:

  • Regathering amidst continuing COVID challenges,
  • Weighing options for an engineering assessment of our aging meeting house (launched this week!),
  • Preparing for the long-awaited installation for Reverend Aaron
  • Building our understanding of the significant, ongoing budget deficit First Parish faces.
  • We canceled our contract for our live stream technology and worked with volunteer Tom Ostfeld to achieve a stable internet connection, which we continue to improve upon with Tom’s guidance.
  • We also encouraged board members and parishioners to attend the UU New England Region’s training “Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership”, which we are hosting for three Sundays throughout the fall.

Throughout all of these challenges we have not lost sight of the vital importance of connection and community to First Parish.

Thanks to all those who have engaged and stepped in to help support and rebuild our community in so many ways.  September saw the wonderful celebration of Reverend Aaron’s installation, as well as the opportunity to work together in the “Keep Framingham Beautiful” clean-up day as the community service portion of the weekend.  October brought the amazing concert featuring our Music Director, Dean Arvidson, and Steve Greeley (which raised almost $1,000 for First Parish!).

In response to the deeply felt desire to increase connection within our congregation, a team led by Beth Walton took the initiative to brainstorm options and opportunities, leading to the heartwarming and joyous Community Breakfast this past Sunday morning.  What a joy it was to see friends, old and new, gathered around tables with delicious food and soul-nourishing conversation!

Other examples of engagement abound. We are grateful to the many members who provide leadership to Diversity and Equity Exploration, to the coordination of First Parish involvement in Family Promise, to our ongoing commitment to The Diaper Project, the transitioning Metrowest Free Medical Program, and our annual Undecorate the Tree, to name just a few examples of engagement.

We started our FY23 with a projected budget deficit of $58,000.  Because our fiscal challenges are a very real concern for the future of First Parish, they will need to remain in sharp focus. We will look for ways to balance the stresses around finances by offering different opportunities for parishioners to engage with the church.  Some fundraising opportunities will need the active participation of parishioners, such as the upcoming Holiday Bazaar on December 4. Others will simply require joining in, showing up, or helping out.  We will be limited only by our collective imagination.  We urge you to seek out those that align with your spiritual needs and individual passions.

The Board will be planning a Potluck Supper in the New Year.  Hope you will join us, more information to come!

A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all.  See you in church!

In faith,

Jan and Heather