Members of First Parish in Concord gather for a wide variety of reasons. The congregation has affinity groups for social action, the arts, spiritual enrichment, pastoral care, learning, and fun. If a member has an idea for an affinity group, they can see if there are others in the congregation who are also interested in the idea. If there are enough people who want to gather around this idea for it to be a viable program, filling out a simple form makes it official. Likewise, when an affinity group ceases to meet, it is allowed to disappear. Naturally, all affinity groups must fit within the mission of First Parish and within Unitarian Universalist principles. Here are some of the current affinity groups:
Jewish Awareness Affinity Group
Contact: Dana Snyder-Grant
The Jewish Awareness affinity group is a place to share questions (and on more rare occasions, answers) about Judaism in a Unitarian Universalist context. Questions include: Can I be Jewish and Unitarian Universalist at the same time? What can I learn from Judaism that will help me as a Unitarian Universalist? How can I share what I know about Jewish history and culture? We gather and share some wine and challah, exchange stories, and explore and laugh together. Sometimes we watch a movie, eat a meal, or take a field trip. All Jews, non-Jews, allies of Jews, and those just plain curious are welcome. We usually meet at 7:00 PM on the third Friday of the month.
Women’s Goddess Covenant Circle
Contact: Bozena Smith
The Women’s Goddess Covenant Circle of First Parish in Concord focuses on the feminine aspects of earth-centered spirituality, gathering two to three times a month to celebrate the Wheel of the Year and a shared understanding of the Feminine Divine in its many manifestations. Membership includes an orientation / familiarization period and a commitment to attendance, active participation in shared leadership, and to the relationships within the group.
Tibetan Buddhist Group
Contact Bill Seaver
Everyone is invited to attend either of these weekly gatherings and share the spirit of community with old friends and new. Regardless of your familiarity with Buddhist teachings (even if it’s “none”), or even if you haven’t been in active practice for a while, come join our community. Each session starts with a short meditation, followed by discussions on various dharma texts, talks or videos. Meetings are held Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:00 AM and Thursday evenings from 7:30-9:00 PM in the Chapel.
First Tuesday 65+ Group
Contact: Berni Jenkins via email or at 978-369-2876
Each meeting includes a time of focused sharing and a topic for facilitated discussion. The Tuesday Group meets the first Tuesday of the month 1:30-3:00 p.m., don’t worry about your age, all welcome, you determine whether the topic is for you. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday Group Steering Committee: Berni Jenkins, Bob Andrews, Mary Clark, Dave Dawson, Susan Dobbie, Patricia Ellis, Bill Maxwell, Jack Nevison and Virginia Taylor
Mom’s Night Out
The First Parish Mom’s Night Out (FP MNO) group connects mothers in friendly and fun ways and meets monthly. The FP MNO group provides a forum for sharing wisdom and inspiration for raising children and meaningful living, and serves as a subset of the Women’s Parish Association (WPA) in an effort to weave multiple generations of women at First Parish. In addition to our casual get-togethers, we are organizing hikes, group music outings, yoga, cooking demos and more. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm to MNO! For information about MNO get-togethers, events and activities, contact Melissa or Val.
Sign up to receive information about this group here.
Photography Club, Affinity Group
If you enjoy taking pictures and can see the beauty of nature all around you, join us in integrating the interdependent web into our lives with photographic images. Our goal is to have fun with photography and learn a little each month. We are a non-competitive, informally oriented group for First Parish adults – novice to professional. We have demos, portfolios, projects, travelogues, critiques, slide shows, and a monthly opportunity for everyone to display their pictures for advice, gentle critique, and admiration We have tutorials to learn more about such topics as copywriting, Photoshop, printing, matting and framing, lighting, depth of field, composition, back lighting, low light photography, RAW, and many others.
Field trips are optional – but fun – and have included: trips ranging from Rockport, Boston at night, Old North Bridge, state parks, Bare Hill Pond, the Quabbin , Quebec City, Acadia, and Utah.
Meet at 9:00 AM on the second Saturday of every month.
Women’s AM/PM Book Group
Contact: Darien Smith
All women of First Parish are warmly invited to read the current book and join one or both discussions. Please note that we are always open for drop-in, and you never need to sign up to attend. If you’d like to join the discussion one month, just come to either the Monday evening session, 7:30-9:00 p.m., or the Tuesday morning session 9:30-11:00 a.m. The meetings are held at First Parish in the Brooks Room. Discussions are usually the 4th or 5th Monday and Tuesday of the month, with a few exceptions as indicated in the date list below. The morning session is facilitated by Darien Smith and the evening by Siri Smedvig. If you would like to be added to the Women’s Book Group email list, please contact Darien Smith.
Spanish Speakers Affinity Group
Contact: Laurie Van Loon
This is an informal social group for people in our congregation who speak Spanish or want to speak it better. Is goal is to encourage and embrace the use of Spanish as a first or second language and to explore topics and expereinces related to Spanish-speaking world. We gaather mothly for a sared evening meal at members’ houses, usually with a previously decided theme. Fluency is not required. Though most conversation is conducted in Spanish, someone is always willing to translate.