First Universalist Church of Essex


November/December 2019

Rev. Eva Cameron

From our Minister

(Excerpted from her sermon delivered Sept 15th 2019. 2 of 3 part series)

Re-Centering ourSelves Personally

The second meaning for Re-centering . . . is that in this time of deep cultural divides-- politics, race, religion, class—we can personally look at how to Re-center ourselves in the face of all these attacks to our personal values. How do we stay strong? How do we speak our truth with love? How do we not despair? 

Re-Centering Ourselves can help in lots of ways:

Building Determination

Maintaining Poise

Managing Emotions

Improving Concentration

Building Resilience

Improving Self-talk

Focusing Beyond Distractions

Building Courage

Recovering From Mistakes

Becoming Mentally Tough

Channeling Performance Energy

There are many techniques to re-center. 

We will explore some this year. I’ll be posting some in the Weekly Update so be on the look out. And I think that we will find we are more able to listen to the voices of others those who haven’t been in the center when we, ourselves, breathe deeply, and know our center. 

Tai Chi Class is being held each Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the basement of our church. Beginners are welcome. Often referred to as “meditation in motion”, Tai Chi movements are done slowly, in combination with mindful breath patterns, mental focus and relaxation. 


Feel free to stop by just to observe if you’d like.  For more information contact:

        Jenney Harkness @ 978-768-6630 or email me at

Writer's Group 

UU Essex Writer's Group hard at work

Last month we worked with the theme of "tears." Did you know that our tears have different chemical composition depending on our feelings? Poet, writer, and photographer, Rose-Lynn Fisher explored this in her book, The Topography of Tears where she photographed her tears under a microscope and accompanied them with poetic musings. We looked at some of her photos and wrote based on what they generated for us! Join us on December 8th for our next gathering. All are welcome! Contact Lacey or Tori for more information. 

Board of Trustees News:

Your Board of Trustees has been working on many things.  

 Among them, setting up the new Wild Apricot system which will integrate our website, directory, newsletter, weekly update and email system.   Please see Ken or Alex if you are having trouble with our online system.

We have also been working on developing “regional groups” based on places of residence.   These groups will each have a captain to help coordinate needs.   For example: rides needed to church or medical appointments; help with a household chore; assistance during an illness, etc.    This is part of a larger effort to form a Care Committee.   

Our new fire detection system is installed!   Please consider contributing to the cost.   Alex will be collecting donations.

Remember, your Board of Trustees represents all of you!   Contact any of us if you have any questions or concerns:

Debbie Frontierro 

Robyn Rogers-Brown

Becky Axelrod

Neil Bassom

Lyn Town-Smith

Ken Swanson 

Alex Marks

Tori Rosati

Tom Duff

Snow shovelers needed

Please see Neil Bassom to sign up to help shovel this winter!

Our own Reverend Emeritus

Art McDonald publishes book

In the summer of 1966, one year after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, a group of nineteen Roman Catholic priests met clandestinely in a church hall in a suburb of Pittsburgh to discuss forming an independent group of ordained clergy. Fearful that meeting publicly might be viewed as a threat to the authority of the local bishop, thus potentially risking sanctioning from him, they used numbers, not names, when circulating the minutes of the first two meetings. Once the word spread among the local clergy that such a group was meeting, and they realized there was widespread interest, they went public and invited all of Pittsburgh’s Catholic clergy, including the bishop, to their third meeting. They chose a name, the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP), and the group was launched.
Shortly after forming, and with interest from among over two-hundred clergy, APP began advocating for major church renewal and involvement in any number of social justice issues. Regarding church renewal, they grounded themselves in the documents of Vatican II, most especially Gaudium et Spes, Church in the Modern World, and soon lobbied for optional celibacy and married priesthood, women’s ordination, lay empowerment, including the promotion of the early church notion of the priesthood and prophethood of all believers. To this day, APP remains a force for change in the church and in society, ever true to its initial intuition to fully implement the renewal of church and society called for by the bishops at Vatican II.

 Eva and Art will lead three Advent meditation services on Wednesdays in December at 7 p.m. on the 4, 11 and 18. 

Family Promise

Stop and think a moment how it can feel to have the holidays coming up. Your first reaction might be, "Oh no, here we go again."  TO DO lists multiply.  Stress levels rise. Maybe all the young children with their wishes for toys and joys make you feel unequal to the tasks ahead. But eventually we somehow rally and just get started. Take a breath. Make a plan. Take the first step.  

Now imagine how it would feel if you currently had no secure home.  If your temporary shelter changed each and every week.  If a van arrived to pick you and your children up each weekday morning at 6 am. 

These are the circumstances that the adults in the Family Promise resident program have to deal with as the holidays approach. But you can help!  Each year at this time, a Holiday Store for the families is set up.  Volunteers can buy gifts from the children's wish lists and donate them to the store.  Other volunteers are needed to help set up the store or wrap the gifts that the parents select.  Please consider joining this effort on December 11 or 12.  Learn about all the ways you could help by clicking on this link.

Closer to home, we have a need for a trained volunteer to help host the families on Wednesday, December 18 when our church helps the First Congregationalist Church of Essex.  Please help by filling this spot.

Many thanks.

Becky and Debbie

Ask Art for details

Spiritual Parenting

Last month we were lucky to have Jerry Gould facilitate a conversation for us on fear. It was a powerful conversation and study of this emotion and how it manifests in our lives. Join us December 28th to talk about resilience! A potluck meal will follow our discussion. Contact Deedee or Tori for more information! 

The Spiritual Parenting group wanted to share this poem they've enjoyed with the congregation. 


There is a trough in waves,
A low spot
Where horizon disappears
And only sky
And water
Are our company.

And there we lose our way
We rest, knowing the wave will bring us
To its crest again.

There we may drown
If we let fear
Hold us within its grip and shake us
Side to side,
And leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.

But if we rest there
In the trough,
Are silent,
Being with
The low part of the wave,
Our energy and
Noticing the shape of things,
The flow,
Then time alone
Will bring us to another
Where we can see
Horizon, see the land again,
Regain our sense
Of where
We are,
And where we need to swim.

~ Judy Brown

From "The Sea Accepts All Rivers"

First Universalist Church of Essex

59 Main Street, Essex, MA  01929