First Parish in Framingham

24 Vernon Street
Framingham, MA 01701

(508) 872-3111






Councils and Committees

The Board of Assessors, the Board of Trustees, councils and numerous committees govern, run, and/or are responsible for most of the wide-ranging programs and activities at First Parish.

Boards

name-tag rack, in parish hall

Board of Assessors
One of the most important groups of volunteers within the church is the Board of Assessors, which is the elected governing body of the church. It consists of ten assessors, who serve three-year, rolling terms; a treasurer; and a clerk.

The Board works with the ministers and staff. It is responsible for the business affairs of the church, including praparing and reviewing the annual budget; personnel issues; the annual parish meeting; and defining and implementing First Parish policies and directions, in accordance with the bylaws and wishes of the congregation. The Board meets on the second Thursday of each month.

Board members serve as liaisons to the various committees and councils to assess the overall health of the congregation.

Members of the congregation are invited to contact the chair or another Board member with any questions or concerns about First Parish business matters.

Board of Trustees
The First Parish Trustees are responsible for the First Parish Endowment. The Endowment consists of a general fund and several smaller sub-funds, each donated for specific long-term purposes. The Trustees invest the assets of the endowment for long-term growth and income. The goal is to make the assets increase and to provide a growing stream of annual contributions to the operations of First Parish.

The Councils

The Maintenance Council
The Maintenance Council consists of a group of lay leaders and a staff member responsible for extending through repair and/or component replacement the useful life of First Parish's facilities to prevent premature capital outlay for replacement.

Religious Exploration Council
The Religious Exploration Council oversees the operation of the church school and youth groups. It works with the Director of Religious Exploration to establish policies and budget, welcome new families, support the contributions of the volunteer teaching staff and advisors, and to review curricula.

The Council sponsors several annual events, such as intergenerational social gatherings, the December Intergenerational Service, the Undecorate the Christmas Tree Project, the Intergenerational Holiday Service, and the Eighth Grade Statements of Belief.

Social Justice Coordinating Council
The Social Justice Coordinating Council is an overarching council that coordinates communications, Share-the-Plate donations, volunteer recruitment and volunteer recognition for the social action working groups. The SJCC meets monthly, and is open to newcomers who are interested in learning more about the existing working groups, or in starting a new social action project.

Worship and Arts Council
The Worship and Arts Council consults with the minister and music director in supporting Sunday morning worship services through the year. The Council sponsors Sunday services when the ministerial staff is not in the pulpit. The Council is comprised of the following committees.

Sunday Morning Ushers and Greeters ensure that the Meeting House is ready, greet parishioners and visitors and direct them to their seats, distribute the Order of Service, and close the Meeting House after services.

Christmas Eve Meeting House Decorations Committee decorates the Meeting House for the holiday season.

Sunday Morning Chancel Decorations Coordinator offers an opportunity for individuals, families, or groups in First Parish to provide Sunday service flowers or other decorations in memory or honor of a loved one, a celebration, or an event. This is noted in the week’s Order of Service. Parishioners are invited to reserve a Sunday during the year through an online form.

Summer Sundays are lay-led services on a wide range of topics at 10 am on Sunday mornings, followed by a social hour.

 



Committees

Canvass Committee
The Canvass Committee organizes the yearly pledge drive. The type of Canvass campaign varies from year to year (Celebration Sunday event, parishioner-to-parishioner contact, small group dinners) but the goal is always the same: to obtain a commitment of financial support from all our members. Pledges from our members fund 80% of our operating budget. The team welcomes volunteers to assist in its efforts.

Bylaws Committee
The Bylaws Committee publishes the Bylaws in proper form and recommends Bylaws amendments to the Parish.

Music Committee
The Music Committee meets monthly with the goal of integrating music more completely into the life of First Parish. The committee’s responsibilities include advocating for the Music Director and parishioners, publicizing music activities and the goals of the music program, soliciting opinions from the parishioners, recruiting for the adult and children’s choirs, and working with the Worship and Arts Council in planning services through the year.

Nominating Committee
A six-member elected Nominating Committee meets during the year to identify and recruit nominees to present at the next annual meeting, as required, for the positions of Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Collector, Canvass Chair, Registrar, Historian, Assessors, Trustees, Auditor, Bylaws Committee Chairperson, and members of the Nominating Committee. The committee also fills vacancies that have occurred during the previous year.

Pies on the Common Committee
Pies on the Common is our annual church fair held on Framingham Centre Common on the first Saturday following Columbus Day in October.  Pies on the Common was conceived during a coffee hour in 1991.  A few members were discussing ways to augment the annual church budget.  One of the women suggested using the Common to sell home baked pies.  The idea was to raise some extra money from people other than parishioners, involve First Parish members in a united volunteer effort, and have some fun at the same time.  Each year we sell over 500 home baked pies.

Other popular attractions include Kids’ Corner, with children’s games and crafts; hot drinks and breads at the Coffee Shop; the Food Court which sells hot dogs, sausages and more for lunch and the Candy Shop offering homemade fudge, novelty candies and treats for every age group.  Renting space to over 50 local crafters is another source of income for the church.

Each year more than a hundred First Parish members and friends volunteer in the effort, making the quilt, baking pies, selling raffle tickets, setting up tents, and working at the fair.  The committee holds early planning meetings once or twice in the spring, but we really swing into gear in September.  All parishioners at every level are invited to join in helping to make this major fundraising event a huge success.  It’s a wonderful way to make friends and deepen your connection to the church community.

 For more information, read the notices in church bulletins, visit the Committee table during Sunday Coffee Hour, call the church office at 508-872-3111, or contact the Pies chairman at pies@uuframingham.org. 

Talent and Treasure Auction Committee
Each spring, First Parish holds an annual fundraiser called the Talent and Treasure Auction.

The live and silent auctions feature items donated by parishioners and local businesses. The items offered have been as diverse as weekend getaways, handcrafted items, writing wills, dinners on the town, and homemade biscuits for a dog.

Themed baskets, created by church councils and committees, are raffled during the evening. Each year, a Pay It Forward item is chosen, to benefit a worthy program, and a significant amount is raised from the many contributions, small and large. All this is enjoyed in Scott Hall, with entertainment, wine, dinner, and dessert. For the unfortunate souls who are unable to attend the event, proxy bidding is available.

This significant fundraiser for First Parish rivals only Pies On The Common for monetary success. The committee is growing every year and help is needed in many areas, big and small. It is a fun event to plan and attend!







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