First Parish Ends Statement
An important role of the Standing Committee is to provide the Senior Minister with an Ends Statement, or set of short-term goals, for achieving the mission of First Parish. How to best accomplish, or operationalize, these goals is at the discretion of the Senior Minister and subject to approval by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Congregation.
The Standing Committee voted to approve the following Ends Statement in May 2023.
The Standing Committee, in consultation with the Senior Minister, will update this Ends Statement periodically as circumstances dictate.
2023 Ends Statement
May 10, 2023
Worship & Music
We ground our community in worship experiences that inspire, sustain, challenge, and embrace diverse beliefs and identities. Worship invites participation with head and heart through music and creative expression. Our worship provides a spiritual foundation for building community and working for justice in the wider world. Using applications of universal design, our services will be accessible to all.
Congregational Life & Spirituality
We foster connections within our congregation for spiritual care and sustenance. When one of us is hurting, the community, including ministers and pastoral care teams, will be there for support. Together, we explore our spirituality and religious beliefs in order to deepen our inner worlds and spark engagement in our wider world. We reach out to those who have not found us yet. Our community is inclusive of newcomers and longtime members alike, understanding “belonging” in anti-oppressive and liberatory ways.
That goal of collective liberation drives our work to engage more people both within and beyond the congregation to participate in civic life. The work within includes deepening our anti-oppression work in all its forms with opportunities for education and action. Our work in the larger community involves education, hands-on work and progressive policy change at the local, state and national level. We seek to support and defend democracy and widen the circle of concern.
Finance & Operations
We care responsibly for our staff and for our physical, electronic, and financial assets, providing pleasant, welcoming environments–both in person and online–and smooth, effective operations, supporting the congregation, our guests, and our visitors. We steward our finances to sustain work toward the goals addressed in our Ends Statement.
First Parish in Concord becomes known as a center for liberal religious education locally and in the Unitarian Universalist Association. As part of an intergenerational community, children, teens, and adults experience fun, friendship, and a deep sense of belonging while being encouraged to search for truth and to create a better world. Our young people learn skills associated with liberal religion, gain basic religious literacy, and grow into their identity as Unitarian Universalists. Our comprehensive sexuality and anti-racism education empowers youth and families to take ownership of their personal health and engage in their communities.
We transform into a church with truly shared ministry between the laity and the staff, where the congregation is empowered to lead and sustain events and programming. We are willing to make mistakes in public and learn together and share those learning with others. We are willing to engage in healthy conflict with patience, listening, and boundaries, and to forgive and move forward together when appropriate. We hold ourselves accountable and speak up when we see injustices within and outside our congregation. We treat one another with kindness, moving from relationships that value being nice to relationships that value authenticity and care. We engage in difficult conversations and learn from one another.
Adjusting to our New Normal
We come to grips with the changes that have been wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. We make any adjustments that are necessary to accommodate the smaller size of our membership. We acknowledge and embrace the continued need and desire for hybrid participation in First Parish services and events. We experiment and learn to use technology tools to increase our reach and effectiveness, and to improve the user experience of virtual participants.