On Anniversary Sunday, March 24, 2019, the youth invited members of the congregation to write a memory for this community that has impacted or transformed them in some way. If someone was visiting for the first time, they were invited to share what brought them to First Parish in Dorchester this morning: what was their path? (Spiritual or literal…)

Here are the memories and paths that were shared:

My memory is the summer cookout when the neighborhood joins us to celebrate the season.

Lay-led services

I remember when Victor was the interim minister and turned the place around

Religious freedom; welcoming and open arms; a feeling of home

The overnight – Katherine, Isaac, Eleanor

The energy of the community, and the welcoming attitude, especially at the evening with Police Commissioner Gross

I was welcomed

Helping an old community reach out to new neighbors; no growth, no church

I came with friends to celebrate this church community and pray for God’s blessings

I remember telling the Rev. Tricia hymns are painful for me to sing and I didn’t want to sing during the service. She was very kind and told me it was okay and I didn’t have to. I was surprised: ministers in the past had been very angry with me. I feel comfortable silently meditating instead.

I came because my daughter asked me to! She is a member also

Light streaming in when life sometimes feels dark

Barbecues with live music!

This congregation is the best gift a friend ever gave me. He brought me one Sunday, and I’ve returned every Sunday after.

When my daughter gave the sermon

A sermon by Tom Cunningham that had everyone in tears.

Becoming a member and feeling so connected to the community

My wedding here on June 16, 2007 – a beautiful, remarkable day

I had been coming to this church now for a few years and it is only where I want to be.

Warm smiles; open hearts; friendly, smiling eyes

I feel like family and welcomed in this church. Everyone is very nice.

Being welcomed for me and told that my gifts make a difference. A community of open arms who all take on the challenge of raising my children with me.

One memory: Tom in the turkey hat! Another (repeated): Ana tolerating silliness in choir

Tammy Tai brought me along with Jivan Tai-Dawson

The explicit commitment to racial justice and standing against oppression

Invitations to little dinners and a hand written note from Doug Shaheen

I appreciate that everyone is encouraged to participate in services.

Welcome warmth. Peace, happiness, freedom – healing justice. All lifes matter

I have only been coming to FP for a little over a year, and at first it felt very strange – until Ana Popa took me under her wing and welcomed me into the choir.

I spent many years being spiritual alone after growing up in a wonderful UU Congregation. The first time I came here, Victor Carpenter gave a sermon that was about being spiritual together. I had arrived very wounded that day. Those were the words I needed to hear.

I remember lighting the chalice

Playing with little kids

A sense of peace away from my seemingly out of control daily life

My memory is the smiles of the fair foods volunteers and customers every Friday

Memories of my husband and daughter brightening this church each time we joined in celebrating life.

I love that anyone can walk into First Parish and they will be welcomed

I remember feeling God’s presence in my heart when we sing together

To hope for the world

My first feeling of community in the church was the Little Dinner that Betsy invited me to. She didn’t tell me that others would be there, so I was pleasantly surprised!

Our beloved Lowell Kingsley whose light (and good directions) showed me the way to the Meeting House Community

First memory of community was watching a young adult brush the hair of my 7-year-old daughter before a children’s pageant.

Playing with Paris so long ago

Thanksgiving service wherein my daughter and I first lit the chalice at the invitation of Rev. Tricia. We felt very welcomed and accepted.