Year-End Letter to the Congregation from Council
Dear United Parish Family -
As 2021 draws to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect on the incredible efforts of our staff and ministry teams, and the amazing ways God has moved among us these past twelve months.
For many of us it has been a trying year, and this is not where we expected or hoped to be nearly two years into the pandemic. We did not anticipate another Christmas Eve with virtual worship as a new variant surges, filling our hospitals and making it harder to gather and travel.
And yet, and still, God is with us and we have so much to be grateful for.
Through all these difficulties our staff have continued to meet each new challenge with extraordinary flexibility and grace. At a time when preserving what we have would have been enough, they have moved us forward in ways that are creative and healing.
Whether we have met on Zoom, YouTube or in person, worship has been meaningful, spirit-filled and bursting with magnificent music. Our children and youth have been engaged and lovingly cared for through an inventive and adaptable church school program. Our ministers have provided encouragement and lifted our spirits during our difficult times. We have received faithful and clear communications about all that is happening in our church community and how to get involved. Our finances have been carefully tended and our bills have been paid. Repairs have been made and planned to care for our beautiful old building. Preparations were made to welcome and support the Brookline Food Pantry’s move to United Parish. Our interior spaces are clean and have been carefully set up to safely resume in-person activities. And so much more.
We are truly blessed by the work and dedication of our entire staff team:
Kent French, Senior Pastor
Amy Norton, Associate Pastor
Susan DeSelms, Minister of Music
Thomas Mitchell & Katharine Henry, Seminarians
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Parish Administrator
David Dunphy, Facilities Manager
Ed Thompson & Tom Lou, Sextons
Don Firth, Accounting Administrator
Jenna Bergquist, Nursery Supervisor
Teaira Perry, Multimedia Producer
Jason Yu, Video Editor
Helen Hassinger, Margot Wegman, Nick Duffin & Yunus Akbas, Choir Section Leaders
We are also grateful for the continued dedication of our vibrant Ministry Teams who continue to inspire us to imagine new ways to “be” and “do” church.
- For Exalting - uplifting us in worship and through music, and launching the Negro Spirituals Royalties Project to recognize and honor the musical legacy of enslaved African Americans.
- For our Deepening teams - giving all of us (children, youth and adults) opportunities to deepen our understanding of our faith and connect in small groups, whether we live near or far.
- For our Gathering teams - keeping connections between us, caring for those in need, and communicating the work of our church.
- For our Stretching teams - working for justice, facilitating our participation in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, advocating for affordable housing, clothing our neighbors through Thrifty Threads, and providing support to organizations in our community and across the globe.
- For our Stewarding teams - ensuring that we have sufficient financial resources for our ministries, addressing our long-term financial needs, supporting our staff, searching for an interim pastor for Kent’s upcoming sabbatical, caring for our church building and grounds, and strategically planning for the future.
We cannot predict what lies ahead in 2022, but we put our faith in God to guide us. We pray for the patience, courage and strength to listen for God’s call and to boldly follow.
Happy New Year!
United Parish Church Council