2024 Pledge Campaign – Jane Fisher

Good morning. I’m Jane Fisher and I am delighted to share with you what First Parish means to me.

Tom and I came to First Parish in September 1996, when our daughter Lydia was in first grade. We had friends who were UUs. They told us we were too, but we just hadn’t realized it yet. They were right.

I was a little wary about this religion that I didn’t really understand, and I had to check the hymnal the first day to make sure that all my favorite Christmas carols were in it. But I also found myself impressed with the warmth of the service and the community.

Over the years I taught RE, participated in a couple of the Beck plays and had the opportunity to go to Transylvania twice. I served on committees, including the Intern Committee. It was rewarding to work with talented people as they progressed on their path to ministry. Once we have a settled minister, I hope First Parish will once again support ministerial interns.

I always enjoyed the choir and the music, and in 2006 when Lydia spent a year as an exchange student in Portugal, I decided to join the choir. I figured I’d do it for a year or so. 18 years later the choir is my most important connection to First Parish.

Our choir is outstanding. Much of this is due to the wonderful leadership of Beth Norton. In addition to the “normal” music we provide at services, over the years we’ve offered such things as Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia; the Bach Magnificat; John Rutter’s lovely Requiem; and many more. On May 19 you’ll get to hear Spiritsong by Clif Hardin. It is so rewarding for singers to be able to learn these masterpieces, and wonderful for the congregation to hear them. And how many other choirs sing in Hungarian, Latin, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Lakota, and who knows what other languages? The music we provide enhances and deepens the messages of the services. It is an honor to sing in the First Parish Choir. We work hard, we care, and we also have a lot of fun.

Another aspect of music at First Parish that has become very important to me is the By Your Side Singers. Started about 15 years ago, we learn hymns, chants, soothing songs, and more so we can sing at the bedside of parishioners who are ill or housebound. We go out in groups of 3 or 4 to sing for and with people. Sometimes it is a person recovering from surgery or an illness; sometimes it’s someone in a nursing home who just can’t get out. Most moving are the times we have sung for people who are near death. It is a privilege to share that time with them and to bring them caring music.

We have evolved and now also do group sings at places like Concord Park and Care One for Concord. By Your Side Singers is not a choir. You don’t have to audition, you don’t even have to read music, so if youre interested join us. We’re having a retreat on May 23 to plan for the future, so now is a great time to get involved.

I guess you can tell that music means a lot to me, and being able to make music in these different ways at First Parish is an essential part of who I am and why I support this church. We have increased our pledge this year, as we have been fortunate enough to do most years. If you have already pledged, thank you. If you have not, I hope you will soon, and increase your pledge as much as you are able. Think about what First Parish means to you, and how you would like to support the institution and our amazing staff, who give so much.