Stove Letter

Seventh  in a series of letters to First Parish about this year’s pledge campaign and would normally have appeared as an insert in the April 5, Sunday order of service, but now will be sent via email. All are being posted on:

Good afternoon—

I figured you’d be aching for a little community about now. I am. We can’t be under the same roof, but we make it SMELL like we’re together. To me, the aroma of our First Parish Community is Meeting House Bouillon. I’m including the recipe for this delicious brew of tomato juice and bouillon steeped with cloves and cinnamon so you can mix it up on your own stove. Yum! This recipe is for 10 people so quarter it for a couple of mugs.

Doesn’t seeing Marian Wheeler’s (1917-2017) handwriting make you realize that we are all part of Concord history? Marian and Rusty Wheelers’ ancestors founded Concord in 1635. (Yes, they were related dozens of generations ago! They had a love so magnetic and fierce that to make their third date, Rusty braved the lashing rain and howling winds of the 1938 hurricane to walk from his home in Nine Acres Corner to her home on Elm Street. Parishioners with that kind of passion ignite my burners!)

Like succeeding generations, we continue to make the town

vibrant. Our Meeting House acts as a community center for

Concord and I’m missing the buzz of the 1570 events held here each year.

I’m missing the giggles and shouts of “I won” on Family Game Night, the kids escaping into the kitchen to look for the hot chocolate that’s served on Sundays. The hearty stews cooked on me for The Third Sunday Suppers feed me, too. When a rosemary roasted chicken with vegetables comes from my oven to feed more than 100 guests at Open Table and make frozen dinners for parishioners, it fills me up with the love and care of this congregation. I can feel that love when the Women’s Parish Association boils hot dogs for sale at the Craft & Flea Market. And, aren’t we due for a theatrical production? Isn’t someone going to bake a big batch of gingerbread cookies in here soon?

I know First Parish is important to you, too—and the pull you feel towards us. I loved hearing Mary Ann Barton’s pledge testimony about how a few years ago, she found solace in an empty Sanctuary when First Parish was under construction. “One weekday, hoping for comfort, I dropped in at church. The building was filled with the sound of carpenters hammering, but nobody was in sight. I made my way up to the sanctuary to stand beneath the pulpit and face the dark pews. Around the room, the pillars holding up the balcony looked round and sturdy, the way they always do. The sun shone through clear glass windows. ‘Thank you for being here,’ I said out loud, imagining you all listening from the pews. ‘I needed to be here today. My mother is going blind and she has dementia.’ Somehow, I felt encouraged to go on naming my sorrows out loud. I felt your attentive presence. It was deeply comforting.”

We make our communities and they enrich us. Tim Whitney spoke movingly about how First Parish’s partnership in Transylvania impacted his and his daughter’s lives. “The 2018 trip did change Anna’s and my lives. We became very close with our fellow pilgrims, and we gained so many new friends there as well. For me, it is through these deep human relations that the mysteries of life, and the challenges and opportunities, are best addressed, especially in these uncertain and difficult times. Human connection is the most important thing.”

It takes money to support a community. Right now, we’ve raised $725, 350 from 277 households or about 59% of our $1.225 million pledge goal for the 2020-2021 church year. We know members of the congregation are experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak. We appreciate your attention and any pledge is generous. First Parish is grateful for the ongoing financial support of the congregation.

The Annual Pledge Campaign ends shortly! Please hurry to pledge online via the Pledge Now button on the FP website, or call or email your pledge to Fifi Ball at 978-369-9602 x456 or

Please stay connected to First Parish by ‘attending’ Sunday morning video or phone-in worship services and participating in regular or special FP meetings via Zoom. We’re so grateful everyone at First Parish is doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by observing social distancing and cleanliness guidelines.


Ten-Burner Two-Oven Vulcan Gas Range