This Wednesday members of King's Chapel met to envision what our social justice outreach should look like over the next three years.
This is the first of three session that will build upon work already undertaken by the Community Action Committee, who worked diligently over the past two years to narrow down our partnerships from twelve to six. Now the entire congregation is invited to look at the work in which the church is already engaged, and the organizations with which we are already partnered. The congregation will decide which of these partners we would like to deepen our relationship with and focus on over the next three-year period.
Choosing strategic partners for our social justice outreach will allow us to engage more deeply with the work: it is our hope that these partnerships will engage the entire congregation, from the church school to the pulpit and beyond. By our spring annual meeting we hope to have three strategic partnerships, chosen by the congregation, that reflect the values and identity we hold. We will present and vote on these priorities during the Annual Meeting.
Our first session was fun and productive, with chili, cookies and good ideas shared by all. The next session will be held December 10th, 12:30-1:00, following Morning Prayer. We hope to see you there!
230 years ago, King's Chapel ordained James Freeman and a new church was born in a new country. By that vote of the congregation, King's Chapel made a breath-taking commitment to religious tolerance, and as a result was called heretical by both Anglicans and Congregationalists, the dominant religious forces then in Boston. What let the people be comfortable with this change? How do new ways of thinking ever take hold?
The Rev. James Freeman was young - only 24 when he first arrived - and he was courageous. In that period of the New Republic being born, his energy and courage must have been part of his attraction. Freeman also was honest, and early in his tenure preached to his new congregation about his trouble with creeds, bishops, and the religious doctrine of the trinity. He set forth his own views: the right of all people to use their reason to understand God, Jesus and the Spirit, based on their reading of the Bible, and their own freedom of conscience. For Freeman, a people who had just overthrown a monarch during the Revolutionary War should now follow similar principles in church life.
The new Episcopal Church in the United States, which would replace the Anglican Church of England on this soil, should eschew not only allegiance to the King of England, but also to the English Archbishop, and any concomitant hierarchical, creedal structure. The congregation of King's Chapel heard Freeman out, and then exercised their own new-found freedom to vote line by line on his proposed changes to the Prayerbook, adopting some and disagreeing with others. Church members also steadfastly supported Freeman's insistence on religious tolerance in the ordination process: when no Episcopal Bishop would allow him to set aside the Anglican Church's trinitarian creed, the congregation took on the task themselves, and by a vote of their lay membership, ordained Freeman, to the outcry of other area churches.
Come learn more about this early legacy of openness to new ideas, for which we rejoice and give thanks.
230 years ago, King's Chapel made history. Over the past five years since arriving at King's Chapel as a lay reader in 1782, Freeman's several attempts to be ordained in the Episcopal Church were consistently denied. On Sunday November 18, 1787, King's Chapel took matters into their own hands. Following Evening Prayer, James Freeman was joined by Senior Warden Thomas Bulfinch, who led the congregation in a special service -- the lay ordination where James Freeman was elected minister of King's Chapel. What events made this ordination possible and what reasoning did Episcopal leaders give for denying to ordain Freeman? What influence did the American Revolution have on the culture and politics among the churches that contributed to this historic transition? Explore these questions and more this Sunday following Morning Prayer.
Join us at 12:30 PM on Sunday November 19 for a special lecture commemorating the 230th anniversary of Reverend James Freeman's ordination, presented by Samuel Learner. Learner received his BA in History from Bates College, writing a thesis titled "The Origins of American Unitarianism Reconsidered: Theophilus Lindsey, James Freeman, and the English Episcopal Reform Origins of American Unitarianism." Learner's presentation will explore Freeman's ideology, and society and culture at King's Chapel and the newly formed United States that paved the road for King's Chapel's transition into America's first Unitarian Church
70 years ago in 1947, Massachusetts Governor and King's Chapel Warden Robert F. Bradford urged the people of Massachusetts to think of those in need on Thanksgiving. Spearheading the American Silent Guest Committee in the years following World War II, Bradford encouraged Americans to invite a "silent guest" to their Thanksgiving table.
Accepting donations of the monetary equivalent required to feed an extra person at a Thanksgiving feast, the American Silent Guest Committee used to send CARE packages to families struggling to return to normalcy in post-war Europe. Since the 1940s, numerous institutions and organizations have adopted the "silent guest" ideology, developed by activist Iris Gabriel and brought to the nation over radiowaves by King's Chapel's own Governor Bradford. In honor of King's Chapel's tradition of reading Bradford's 1947 Thanksgiving Proclaimation each year, the Freedom Trail Program is hosting a special program exploring the history of the "silent guest" at Thanksgiving, and the connections of these efforts to the food history of the U.S. military.
Soldier Food and Gratitude: A Special Thanksgiving Program by Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, authorr of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way Your Eat
"When the last battle ends, the real fight begins: To return countries and their hungry or displaced citizens to normal life after the trauma of war. What simpler way to do so than to use soldier food as humanitarian rations? The practice began here, at King’s Chapel in Boston after World War II, when, following a 1944 recommendation by the American Friends Service Committee, Governor Bradford asked all Massachusetts residents to invite a “silent guest” to their Thanksgiving feasts. This talk will explore that history, the rations that made it possible, and the powerful connection forged by sharing food during or after wartime."
Last Sunday was one of the richest services conducted all year at King’s Chapel, celebrating All Saints and All Souls. The Durufle Requiem communion mass was our centerpiece, led by Music Director Heinrich Christensen, with the assistance of two choir members who also helped conduct: Brian Church and David Hughes. We recognized five members who died this year with the lighting of special candles: Robert Bradford, Susan Storey Lyman, James McNeely, Charles Perry and Wendy Thomson. Rev. Fallon’s sermon drew from New York Times columnist David Brooks, who has written about the difference between “resume virtues” and the ultimately more important “eulogy virtues.”
“Resume virtues” are the skills that enable us to advance, in a job or in our community standing. “Eulogy virtues” are aspects of a person’s character spoken of during his or her eulogy: whether they were kind, brave, generous, and knew how to love deeply. “Life is the gift of time enough to love,” said Rev. Fallon. A luncheon at the Parish House followed the service, where members could listen to one another about issues of deepest belief. Many thanks to all who made this special day possible.
We continue to hold in our prayers Jessica Schmidt, who is recovering from ankle surgery. She asks that we also pray for her husband Christopher and daughter, who are providing her care while she’s immobilized.
We hold in our prayers two families whose grandchildren and children were present in the recent attack in New York City along a city bike path where 8 persons were killed. We pray that all of them heal from the trauma and terror of that event which unfolded as the grandchildren were just leaving their schools.
We rejoice that Leo Johnson is recovering well at home in Dedham with his wife Dorothy. He is experiencing far less pain, and is becoming stronger and more mobile each day. Leo is grateful for all the support he has received from the congregation.
Memorial Service for Charles Perry | Saturday, November 25 | 2 PM | King's Chapel
A memorial service for Charles will be held at King's Chapel in Boston (corner of Tremont and School Sts) at 2 PM on Saturday, November 25th. The family requests that in lieu of flowers those who wish may make donations to King's Chapel in Boston or the Forest Society of Maine.
From Betsy Peterson, Chair of Parish Council: The parish is now considering several important updates to the by-laws for the Society of King's Chapel. This Sunday, at 12:30 at the Chapel, we'll have an opportunity to listen to each other's views. Members will vote on the by-laws proposals and the budget on January 28, 2018.
The covenant, and "the service of man”. The liveliest discussions have focused on the last phrase in our covenant: "In the love of truth and in the spirit of Jesus Christ, we unite for the worship of God and the service of man".
Because the meaning of “man” has changed in the last few decades, and many people no longer interpret it mean “all people,” the Parish Council and the Vestry have both affirmed the importance of considering different language.
The drafting team (Dan Taylor, Betsy Peterson, and Cliff Allen) suggested "the service of all", but the members will decide. Some people prefer "all people" or "humankind", others would like broader language, e.g. "all creation", and some would prefer to stay with the original language adopted in 1920 (“man”). The parish has struggled with these choices in the past without resolution. On January 28, members will vote on this issue for the first time since 1992.
To gather input and allow for discussion, church leaders are hosting “listening discussions” after each of our three services. On October 22, we heard from people after the 9 AM Morning Light Service. On Sunday we’ll gather in the sanctuary after our 11 AM Morning Prayer. A third session, after the Wednesday 6 PM service, will be held in January. We are also considering an online survey on this point.
Other proposals. The Chair of the Membership Committee, Cathy Price, urges us to eliminate the portion of our current by-law requiring prospective members to give written notice three months before joining. The three-month requirement - as if for a private club -- seems asynchronous in today's world, when we seek to welcome all and only offer the ceremony for new members twice a year. The Membership Committee and ministers get to know prospective members through their participation in church worship services and other events, in one on one conversations, and a dinner where they learn King’s Chapel history and governance structure.
Another significant proposal is to reconsider what percentage of members must vote in favor of calling a new Senior Minister. The current by-laws require 90%, which is higher than most other UU churches.
Want the Details? The proposals include other updates and edits. You can get a summary of the significant proposals and/or a copy of the by-laws showing proposed changes in a redline from the Parish Administrator.You are welcome also to send me any written comments or questions: email@example.com.
We are seeking volunteers to verge our Sunday Morning Light services. Our dear verger Carol Sentenne is no longer able to work with us, so we are actively seeking someone to fill her position. In the meantime, we are asking you to help if you can.
The Morning Light Verger's duties are from 8:00 - 11:30 each Sunday. This person assists in the set up of the worship service in the Little Chapel, set up for coffee hour after the service, greeting people as they come in for the service or other event or activity that morning, and assuring that all is cleaned and secured before leaving for the day.
If any of you can offer one or multiple Sundays in the next month or so, we feel that we can have coverage until a permanent verger is in place.
If you are interested or have questions, please contact Gretchen at
617-227-2155 x 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Members and Friends,
The flowers for our beautiful Chancel have traditionally been paid for by a combination of member donations for memorials and the Chancel Committee budget. Flowers are always on the Communion Table every week of the year, except during Lent.
Unfortunately, the cost of purchasing flowers each week has gone beyond the Chancel Committee’s resources. The Chancel Committee is seeking members and friends to help defray the Committees expenses by making a donation. The cost for an arrangement is $80, or members may provide their own arrangement if they prefer.
People in the past have had a number of motivations to give flowers; examples are: honoring a loved one, celebration for a new birth, an anniversary, in thanksgiving for parents, grand-parents grand-children. Flower mays also be given as living prayers and symbols for peace and hope. The donors and the names of those honored are always printed in the Order of Service.
The Committee will continue with the tradition of sending flowers to the sick, decorating the sanctuary during Advent and Easter, giving plants to children at Easter, and delivering to our shut-ins.
If you would like to donate flowers, or would like more information on how you can donate flowers for the Morning Prayer service, please contact me at email@example.com. I can also be reached at 781-383-9028.
Chancel Committee Chair
Join us following Morning Prayer on Sunday November 19 at 12:30 PM in commemorating the 230th anniversary of Reverend James Freeman's ordination. Samuel Learner received his BA in History from Bates College, writing a thesis titled "The Origins of American Unitarianism Reconsidered: Theophilus Lindsey, James Freeman, and the English Episcopal Reform Origins of American Unitarianism." Learner's presentation will explore Freeman's ideology, and society and culture at King's Chapel and the newly formed United States that paved the road for King's Chapel's transition into America's first Unitarian Church.