First Universalist Church of Essex

Weekly Update

Beloved UU Essex Community, 

Times are confusing and scary, and it is just these times that we long to be in our church with the comfort of its familiar woodwork, firm pews, glowing candles and cheery faces. Sadly, we have decided to make the forward thinking decision to shift all activities from in-person to online. The Board has a special meeting last night, and felt unanimous that it is imperative that we do all we can to "flatten the curve" of the spread of the corona virus, and its resulting burden on our medical community. We will re-examine this in a couple weeks time, but for March all church functions will online. It may sound like an impossible hurtle to be a church online. But it is made a lot easier by a special software called Zoom! 

I know this will be a relief to some, and a disappointment to some . . . and perhaps a bit of both to most of us. Our time together is quite special. So we will be working hard to find ways to be together using technology. 

We will all get to practice becoming Zoom experts in the coming weeks and perhaps months ahead. But for now, know that there will be a link that you can click on using your laptop, tablet or cell phone, that will take you to a screen where you can see people's faces and talk with them in a way that can be really quite satisfying. Best of all, for those who don't have any screens in their life, it also works with telephone service. You will be able to hear what is going on.  Zoom does not require that you download an app. But it will add some features if you all the app to your laptop, screen or cell phone. 

Our Zoom service has one link that we will use at scheduled times. The same link will work for all of our events. And the link will be posted on the church calendar, so you can find your way to your event by looking at the calendar. 

First up: FRIDAY NIGHT HANG-OUT.  Join Bethany and Eva for a chance to practice with Zoom and see some familiar faces.

Next up: ZOOM SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE. Join us as focus on Community. We will have coffee hour afterwards, with a chance to be in small groups to chat. BYO Mug!

I plan on having Coffee with Eva, as well as some other gathering through out the week as a chance to check-in. I'll send a more robust schedule soon. Allison is working on RE opportunities for our children. And Molly and Tori are working on Zoom activities for our Youth and Small Groups. Kim is reaching out to our new Chalice Circle chairs to figure out ways that we can serve people in need as the virus makes its rounds. We are still here for each other. And can be more so. Let me know if you think of an activity that might work well with Zoom and we can schedule it! And are a creative and brilliant bunch--we will find ways to connect, share love, and keep each other going through these times. 

Please don't hesitate to write, call, text or email with thoughts or concerns, or ways to help out. 

With love, 

Eva, with the UU Essex Board 

Community and Care Coming to YOU:  Introducing Chalice

     The newly formed Chalice Community and Care Network grew out of a need to make sure we can all stay connected and supported by our congregation. Under the Chalice umbrella, each town or region is represented by a “Neighborhood” group. These Neighborhoods have the opportunity to meet, socialize, and plan support.  

     Your Chalice Neighborhood representative will be reaching out to you, if they haven't already.  Join in the online socializing and the pro-active community care.  Please reach out to Kim Tompkins, 978-816-8773 or Eva with any questions you may have.  

Here is a current list of Neighborhood Facilitators: 

Essex: Tom and Peggy Duff, Isabel and Bob Parlee

Hamilton/Wenham: Carol and Bill Thedford

Beverly/Prides Crossing: Amy and Gordon Morrison

Rowley/Byfield/Newbury: Max Schenk

Peabody/Salem: Art and Melanie McDonald

Ipswich: Tudy Bartlett and Liz Raycroft

Manchester: Kim Tompkins

Gloucester: Rev. Eva Cameron and Debbie Frontierro

-Kim Tompkins, Chair

 Zoom Friday Hang-Out TONIGHT!

Time: Mar 13, 2020 06:00 PM

Meeting ID: 904 203 4298

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This Sunday:

Rev. Eva will lead a Zoom Service on the topic of Community.

Please look for an Order of Service, with hymns attached, and other details in an upcoming email. 

Offertory: please write out checks and give generously in this time. We will need your extra support to sustain our community, and meet emergency needs that will surely arise. 

No choir rehearsal

Hospitality by each one of you. Everyone plan that we will have some small group hang-out time after the service. You will be invited to join a small group of people after the service for more ready chatting. Bring your own mug of coffee!

Upcoming events held on Zoom:

3/13 (Fri) at 6:00pm Hang Out

3/15 (Sun) at 10:00am Sunday Service

3/15 (Sun) at 6:00pm UBU

3/15 (Sun) at 6:30pm Writers Group

3/16 (Mon) at 9:00am

Coffee with Eva

3/16 (Mon) at 7:00pm Intergenerational Planning Committee

3/18 (Wed) at 6:45pm Board Meeting

3/18 (Wed) at 7:00pm Lent Meditation

Visit our online calendar and click on the event to access the Zoom link and join us in community!

Prayer List... In Our Thoughts and Prayers:

Mike Attridge, is having some trouble with pain, and eating is still an issue, BUT he is happy to report that his tumor is shrinking. He is thankful for all the prayers and support. 

To all of those in our congregation, and to their loved ones, we send sincere, heartfelt messages of healing and comfort.  

Please let us know if you would like to be added to this list, or have a loved one to add. 

Need Help Due to Corona Virus?

Ken, Debbie or Neil from our Board are willing to help you have groceries delivered to your door. Please contact your Chalice Circle chair, or Kim for additional needs. We know that not everyone will have had time, resources, or knowledge to prepare properly. Please lean on us if you need help. 

Our Work in the Community

We are all adjusting to life that is rapidly changing due to the Pandemic. It is clear that those who live life on the edge will face even greater challenges. So we plan to continue to serve the community as best we can. We will take the lead from those in charge of each program we work with. If you have questions about Grace Center, Family Promise, Open Door, etc. . . . Please contact your church leaders, or stay tuned here for any adjustments to activities. 

Inviting Knitters, Alerting Bidders

A group of us plan to knit the covers for a dozen cushions for the church pews; they will be available at our Auction early in May.   If you are a knitter, please contact Diana for the pattern. 

Diana, 978-369-8649

Lenten Activities

Join Art and Eva via Zoom each Wednesday evening at 7pm for a Meditative Service.

Facebook UU Lent group has a word a day for focus and photo sharing. 

Rev. Eva has written a UU Stations of Cross Prayerbook, you are welcome to use at any church that is doing Stations of the Cross. 

Antisemitism Here and Now

Temple Ahavat Achim book group invites you to join them in reading their next selection Antisemitism Here and Now which they will discuss in late April. Professor Lipstadt is scheduled to visit the North Shore to speak to all participants on May 19th.


Ecco's Sanctuary Coalition's Volunteer Systems Team is offering an exciting new way for congregation members to contribute critical skills toward making the sanctuary efforts possible by launching its 'presence volunteer' infrastructure. If you are interested in volunteering, a team is now being formed. The initial gathering is March 25th. Contact Debbie for more info.

General Assembly

The UUA General Assembly takes place in Providence, RI June 24-28, 2020. Early bird rates end on March 15th.

This event is still tentatively happening. 

UU for a Just Economic Community

The UUJEC 2020 Newsletter is available online to support our justice work. Contact Karla Chew, Editor:


Interested in Membership or learning more about the UU Faith? Please see Rev. Eva to schedule an appointment.

Google Calendar 

Click here to access the church calendar from a web browser. If you are a user of Google Calendar, you can enter ID: and add our calendar to your line-up of calendars (on your phone or on a browser). We welcome suggestions on how church events and information are shared. Please email Laurel 


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

--Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Publishing Information: 

The Weekly Update is sent out by Eva each week.  Please send information about events and happenings to Laurel by Wednesday.

First Universalist Church of Essex

59 Main Street

Essex, MA 01929