December 20, 2021

Dear members and friends of FPD,

On Sunday we announced that we are about to embark on this process together. Here are all of the details we promised. Please take a look. Mark your calendars. You can address questions to any of us. Your voice is important to this process! 


Rev. Elka and the FPD Board of Trustees

Sustainability and Stewardship

January – June 2022


In May 2020, our congregation voted to sell our parking lot to the City of Boston for 1.1 million dollars, with the understanding that we as a congregation would decide together what is to be done with this money. Since the sale went through , the 1.1 million has not been touched except to recently move it into a low-stakes investment account as agreed upon during our May 2020 meeting. (The minutes from the May 2020 Special Meeting are available here.

The Board of Trustees has been in deep discernment about what a process that allows our congregation to make these decisions about the 1.1 million dollars, and make these decisions fully and truly together, should look like. At their April 2021 Board Meeting, the Board assigned the development of a plan to a Task Force. This group was originally Althea Smith, Dayo Hall, Laura Maltby, Melissa Wender (from the Board), Sherman Zemler Wu (from the Finance Committee) and Rev. Elizabeth. As Dayo has completed her time on the board and moved away, Lou Whiting has since joined this task force. 

This past summer, the Task Force proposed some options to the board, including the possibility of bringing in  outside facilitators with experience in leading difficult conversations to help us shape and guide us through our decision-making process. . The Board approved one of those options, which includes hiring two facilitators, Donna Bivens and Elizabeth Magill, who will work together as a team to guide our conversations as we move forward. More information about Donna and LIz is available at the end of this handout.

The Process

Over the course of the rest of the church year (January – June 2022) we as a congregation will engage in a process together to come to some decisions about the best way forward for the 1.1 million dollars we have received in exchange for our parking lot. This process will begin in January and will include many opportunities and many different ways for all members of our congregation to participate. At the conclusion of this process, we will emerge with a clear sense of mission and some plans that will move us towards our goals. We will vote together for how to manage the 1.1 million dollars to best serve our shared mission. . 

Part 1: Our FPD Mission

Because we have not engaged in mission conversations formally for some time, we determined that we should start with this conversation. Talking about our mission will help us ground our decisions in who we are, what we value and who we aspire to be.


First, we will dive into who we are, who we want to be and where we want to go through a series of 90 minute meetings throughout the month of January.  At these meetings, we will gather data together that will inform the mission conversation. 

Two of our meetings will be designated as affinity spaces. Identity based affinity spaces are commonly used in processes and conversations like this one. You can find more information here. 

You are invited to come to any ONE of these meetings that works for you and your identity: 

Tuesday, January 47:00 PM
Open to all
Facilitated by Liz
Thursday, January 137:00 PM
Hybrid in-person/Zoom
White folks meeting
Facilitated by Liz
Sunday, January 161:00 PM
Open to all
Facilitated by Donna
Sunday, January 30th1:00 PM
Hybrid In-person/Zoom
BIPOC meeting
Facilitated by Donna

To participate in zoom or hybrid meetings through zoom, please use the same link we use for worship: 

In person and hybrid meetings will take place in the Parish Hall.


Then, at our February Board Meeting on February 15, the Board will look at, synthesize, and organize everything we heard and discussed during those 4 meetings. . We will bring that synthesized data to a Congregational Retreat, to which all are invited. During this retreat, our congregation will create a mission statement together. This is perhaps the most important step of the whole process, so please mark your calendars:

Sunday, February 202:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Congregational retreat to craft FPD mission statement together
Hybrid in-person/Zoom
Open to all
Facilitated by Donna and Liz

Part 2: Our Meetinghouse Hill Community

The next phase of the process will be around understanding the context of our parish more deeply — who are our neighbors? How can we connect with them? What kind of relationship do we want to have with our neighborhood? By understanding more deeply where our mission dovetails with the needs of the community, we can be intentional in our next steps. 

We will do some community organizing and research into understanding where we are situated and what that means as we determine how to best live our mission in this context. 

We will begin with a meeting (open to all who are interested) on March 1 at 7 pm, led by both facilitators. (We may have a second meeting on April 5 at 7 pm on this same topic as needed.) These gatherings will prepare people to do learning and meet one-on-one with community leaders throughout March and April.

Tuesday, March 1, 20227:00 PM
Hybrid in-person/Zoom (subject to change for safety)
Open to all
(POSSIBLE) Tuesday, April 5th, 20227:00 PM
Hybrid in-person/Zoom (subject to change for safety)
Open to all

On Saturday, April 30, we will host a Stakeholders Meeting at 9 am. This will be a time for us to listen to our community partners about the context we are in here in Dorchester. Understanding the needs, goals and stories of the people of our neighborhood – especially as it informs our understanding of the human impact of various kinds of oppression. Alignment of mission and tactics with partners who are working towards a more equitable world together will increase all of our abilities to be effective in our work. This is a summit of those we want to work with and be in relationship with in our work. 

At 10 am we will break for some fellowship time with our partners. At 11 am we will reconvene for a Congregational conversation debriefing what we heard from our partners. This event will be hybrid and led by both facilitators.

Saturday, April 30th9:00 AMStakeholders meeting with community partners
10:00 AM Fellowship time with community partners
11:00 AMCongregational Conversation debriefing what we heard from community partners
Hybrid in-person/Zoom 
Open to all

Part 3: Our Proposal and Decisions on the $1.1 Million

At our May Board Meeting, on May 17, the Board will summarize and make proposals for areas of overlap between our mission, the needs of our parish, and the needs of our community. The Board will look at the results of the entire process thus far in hopes of making recommendations that we can all get excited about! 

The Board will host 3 Congregational Conversations in May during which we will present these proposals for congregational feedback. You are invited to come to any ONE conversation. 

Thursday, May 19 7:00 PM
Open to all
Sunday, May 221:00 PM
Hybrid in-person/Zoom
Open to all
Tuesday, May 317:00 PM
Open to all

These conversations will help shape impact the final proposal, which will be presented to the congregation for vote. 

Sunday, June 5 – 1 pm – Meeting to Vote 

Our Facilitators: Donna Bivens and  Elizabeth Magill 

Donna Bivens is a diversity, inclusion and equity consultant and trainer. As Co-Director of Women’s Theological Center (WTC) in Boston for over 20 years, Donna consulted with scores of organizations around the country to facilitate their creation of shared ownership, leadership and benefit across divides of racism and other systemic oppressions. She currently does consulting, training and coaching in collaboration with Community Change Inc. and Greater Good Consulting. Her innovative work on internalized racism has included Loves Herself. Regardless. programs for women of African descent, as well as training and consulting with individuals and organizations.  Most recently, Donna’s work at WTC focused on leadership development for working across difference—including spiritual leadership as well as the more commonly addressed problem-solving and facilitative leadership. Complementing other aspects of leadership, spiritual leadership interrupts practices that crush the human spirit and is defined as the practice of living on purpose, in spirit, and for justice. In her consulting work, Donna has integrated the spiritual leadership model into a variety of tools for working across difference, building learning communities, and creating high-performance teams.

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Mae Magill (Liz) is a writer, pastor, and workshop leader living in Berlin, Massachusetts. Her passion is small churches and how they are connected to their local communities. She is the author of Five Loaves, Two Fish, Twelve Volunteers:  Growing Relational Food Ministries. She earned her MDiv in 2002 from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA and her DMin 2017 from Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth,TX. Ordained with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) she works as Pastor/founder of the Small Church Collaborative of the United Church of Christ in Massachusetts. Liz loves crafts, music, skiing, travel, and her husband Ken.