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Weekly Update
Friday, May 12, 2023

This Sunday

May 7 - Welcome our Bridge Pastor, Rev. Jim Leavitt

Rev. Jim Leavitt preaching

Congregational Meeting and Luncheon following worship.

We are delighted to welcome Rev. Jim Leavitt as our Bridge Pastor from May to mid-August. Please join us this Sunday to welcome him and share Communion. Please plan to stay for the Congregational Meeting and Luncheon, along with an important gathering about UCW and our Care of Creation Ministries . Please see below for more details.
Zoom Link: HERE
Meeting ID: 826 8730 1128
Passcode: 386028
Dial in only: 1 646 558 8656

The bulletin is available HERE

Congregational Meeting
Care of Creation and Luncheon

Following Worship

Please plan to participate in the after church congregational luncheon meeting on May 7. We will welcome our new Bridge Pastor James Leavitt and after Bylaw business, will enjoy a presentation about a new Mission activity in Newton that is working on improving our environment. Our Bylaw business merits your consideration of important changes so that we can move ahead to prepare for our Annual Meeting and election of officers on June 4.

Based on recommendations of the Governance Task Force to increase involvement of the congregation in church activities, the Church Council proposes changes to the church Bylaws to:

a. increase number of congregational meetings,
b. reduce number of members of Council,
c. limit terms of leadership to increase opportunities for new members to take on roles, and
d. change membership of Nominating Committee to encourage more congregational involvement.

To review the changes that are recommended, see this link to the Bylaws: HERE

Many thanks to the members of the Governance Task Force: Alan Cody, Susan Gedrick, Karen Weisgerber, and Jaap van Reijendam.

If you are interested in serving as a church leader or on a committee, please let a member of the Nominating Committee know. See Pastor Amy Feldman, Jim MacDonald, Lisa Crockett, Jean MacDonald, Jenny Weisz, or Jaap van Reijendam.

Care of Creation Sunday

Come find hope for our future (and lunch too!)

Tell us, what is it we plan
to do to save our one wild
and precious planet

Join us downstairs after service to find some hope for our future (and lunch!) as we listen to and share ideas for how we all can commit to actions that help stave off the threats to God’s glorious creation.
After the bylaw vote, please stay for lunch, presentations, and discussions featuring:

Sarah Mausner, Newton’s 4 our Future
Dr. Nancy Zollers, Newton Interfaith Housing Coalition
Kevin Johnson, MC and Mission chair

We hope you will join us! -Mission Team!

Rev. Megan Berkowitz
Called as Our Senior Pastor

Rev. Megan Berkowitz
The whole weekend has been filled with the Holy Spirit bringing us together first at home of the Abbiati-Collins family for an open meet-and-greet, a Saturday afternoon and evening with various committees and youth and family, and ending again with that worship service.

If you have not been able to attend, we recommend watching the recording of the service on our website: HERE.

If you would like to learn more about our new senior pastor, you can find it on our website: HERE.

We would like to thank the Abbiati-Collins family for their hospitality on Friday, everyone who showed up on Saturday to meet Rev. Megan Berkowitz, and all who attended our worship service on Sunday. But of course we would not have been here if it wasn’t for our Search Committee and Transition Team. Their work over the last 15 months has brought us to this wonderful conclusion.
Jenny Weisz and Jaap van Reijendam (co-Moderators)
Buz Bedford and Carol Bascom-Slack (co-chairs Search Committee)

Upcoming Sundays

Sunday, May 14 - Mother's Day Sunday

Rev. Jim Leavitt will preach, as we remember those who have been as mothers to us, and the mothering nature of God.

Sunday, May 21- Ascension Sunday & Common Cathedral

Rev. Jim will share the story of Christ's Ascension, as we also prepare and bless the lunch we will bring to the Boston Common for our siblings of the Common Cathedral outdoor congregation.

Sunday, May 28 - Pentecost!

Rev. Amy will preach as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit - Remember to wear Red!

Church Matters

This Saturday - May 6 at 2:00 p. m.

Dedication of the Waban Common

Please join Pastor Amy at the Waban Common tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. to celebrate and dedicate the beautiful Waban Common. The Common has been such a blessing for our church, as we gathered there for worship during the pandemic, and for many outdoor services and events, including our Blessing of the Animals this year's egg hunt. We hope as many members as possible will come to express our gratitude and support for this wonderful space. Thanks!

UCW Tent at the Newton Family FunFEST on May 13

The Newton Family FunFEST on Saturday, May 13 from 10:00 - 4:00 p.m. is a celebration of art and community for all ages including live musical performances, carnival, arts & crafts workshops, a live public art event, vendor booths and more -- And UCW has a tent! We'll share photos and stories of UCW's offerings for children and youth, as well as our mission and service work. Most of all, we hope to connect with and listen to our neighbors, building relationships and learning about their needs and experiences. We'll also have face painting, crafts and activities for kids, and free baked goods!

We need your help to make the day a success! If you can help with the preparations, providing goodies, setting up, or being a welcoming face at the tent that day, please sign up below. We also love any youth to help with face painting and the kids' activities! With questions, please contact Linda Lynch ([email protected]) or Pastor Amy ([email protected])

What's Possible

What’s Possible? Stewardship Invitation

Hopefully you have received an invitation to invest in “What’s Possible?” through the ministry of Union Church in Waban. We hope you will prayerfully consider generously supporting the ministries God is making possible through us. View our campaign Letter HERE.

Make a Pledge Commitment HERE.

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO)

Celebrating Recent Successes

As mentioned last month, this year the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization is advocating for more funding for affordable housing and home ownership, for more safe and dignified public housing, and for quality housing for formerly incarcerated individuals. We are glad to be celebrating recent successes: the well-attended housing rally on the State House steps (3/17), the housing gatherings/actions in Brookline (4/13) and South Boston (4/20), and the large number of state representatives we were able to get to cosponsor Amendment #392 in support of our housing bills. We are also lamenting our recent budget disappointment: the House budget allocated only $102,000 million of the $184,000 million needed to fully fund our housing initiatives -- and Gov. Healey okayed just $92,000 million.
Now it is time to turn our attention to our state senators. We have one week left to flood their email inboxes and phone messages with requests to support GBIO’s housing initiatives and the budget necessary for them. Nancy Zollers ([email protected]) and Julie Heffernan ([email protected]) have handouts with all the necessary talking points and can provide email and phone call templates. According to our Union Church of Waban directory, our members live in 16 MA towns and 4 Boston neighborhoods – and that means that collectively we are represented by 19 of MA’s 40 state senators. Our UCW voices can reach just about half of our state’s senators! The pictures of horrific housing situations (vermin, rodents, black mold, falling plaster, dilapidated plumbing systems) shared at GBIO’s May 2 meeting clearly demonstrate why our housing initiatives and requested budget are so important and necessary. Please add your voice and ask our state senators to support GBIO’s full budget request so that our state can adequately address its urgent housing crisis.

Mission & Justice

Emergency Assistance Family Shelter at the Former Hotel Indigo !

Newton will likely welcome 59 families facing homelessness this fall to
399 Grove Street, the former Hotel Indigo.
The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is working with Catholic Charities of Boston and with Mark Development, owner of the currently closed Hotel Indigo on Grove Street in Newton next to the MBTA Riverside Station, to provide an Emergency Assistance Family Shelter for families experiencing homelessness with children (under 21) and pregnant women. The plan is for this facility to be temporary, with a 2-year timeline for its use in this way.
DHCD’s current plan calls for Mark Development to renovate portions of the hotel this spring and summer. DHCD’s goal is to have the hotel ready to accept 59 families sometime in late August or early fall of this year, 2023. The families who will reside there are currently experiencing homelessness and living in Greater Boston. The DHCD lease with Mark Development will run through August 2025 to help alleviate the acute shortage of emergency housing.

DHCD will be partnering with Catholic Charities of Boston to provide on-site 24/7 support and services for the families. This includes a variety of family supports, adult education, employment and training skill building, and individual case management. Catholic Charities has deep experience operating family emergency shelters. Representatives of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) are in discussions with staff from the Newton Public Schools to coordinate enrollment plans and to provide financial assistance to the district for any additional enrollees.

Good News about Housing🙏🏽🏠

Nine new apartments for chronically homeless people are built and ready for move-in! The new apartments are located close to us and the church, at Golda Meier on Washington St. and Stanton Ave.

Knowing our prayers and our support for these homes has been vigorous, we wanted you to know this breaking news:
Formerly homeless people have a lovely, new home with support. As we say here, Housing is everything!

These homes are the result of the Engine 6 HUD complaint of ten years ago when Newton housing was denied at the former Firehouse on Washington St and Beacon.

We will have many opportunities to welcome these new neighbors of ours. As a part of our initial welcome, please consider providing a few things that every new homeowner needs.

Place any of these new items on the porch at 19 Crofton Rd. Waban this week.
bath towels
dish towels
dishes, utensils, cups
coffee maker

(No furniture please)
With love and hope.
Any questions at all - contact Nancy; Dr. [email protected]

Thank You Church 💞⛪

Children Youth and Families

Children, Youth and Families - Spring is here!!

Join in the Eastertide Joy!

Sunday School Helpers Needed

During this interim time, as Pastor Amy will be supporting worship more frequently, we are in special need of some extra adult and/or teen helpers in May and June. If you are able to come hang out with our kiddos, please let Pastor Amy know ([email protected]). No teacher or other experience needed, just an orientation with Pastor Amy and a CORI background check.

Youth Team Calendar - A Great Spring!

We have a great spring ahead for our Youth Groups and church and we hope you'll be part of it. Please find a calendar of High School, Middle School, and combo events coming up (thanks Jane and Abel for the great format!)

View Spring Calendar HERE

  • Newton Fair
    Saturday, May 13.
    Please save the date and help out at the UCW tent at the Newton Fair! We're looking for teens to help with face painting and temporary tattoos! Please SIGN UP HERE or let Pastor Amy know you can help!
  • Common Cathedral
    Sunday, May 21.
    We will gather in the morning to prepare sandwiches and lunches for our unhoused siblings, and then travel to Boston Common to serve lunch and worship with the Common Cathedral community.

Newton Freedge

Newton Freedge: Volunteers Needed

Click the sign-up link below for time slots available.

Our team of volunteers helps keep Freedge running one Saturday a month. Please use the the link below, or reach out to Vinita Leslie, Karen O'Beirne or Erika Pond to learn more or to join our team.

You may also find us on our Facebook group - @newtonfreedge Facebook group for updates!

Despite Newton’s image as an affluent suburb, too many of our neighbors struggle to put food on their tables. The Newton Freedge is one way we can help. A free, 24/7 outdoor refrigerator and pantry, the Freedge provides free food and personal supplies to anyone who needs them.

Sunday Sign-Up


Sunday Reception Sign-Up

Every Sunday after worship we gather on the stage for a time of fellowship. This reception is hosted each Sunday by different members of the congregation.

Reception Sign-up: HERE Thank you!
Scipture-Reader-1 (1)

Scripture Reader Sign-Up

If you are joining our Sunday worship, please consider signing up as a Scripture Reader for any of our upcoming services.

Scripture Reader Sign-up: HERE Thank you!

Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care Connections

During this time of transition, please know that your church is here for you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to Pastor Jim or Pastor Amy for prayer or pastoral support:
Mondays are days off for both pastors. Pastor Amy also serves off-site on Thursdays, and may not be immediately available on that day.

Community & Partners

Riverside Children's Center Wants You to....


Riverside is turning 40! Support this wonderful partner in our church building, and help them celebrate by getting active and raising funds for our playground, so their kids can keep moving all year round!

Log as many miles as possible (Run, Ride, or Walk!) in May while you get sponsors to donate to your progress. Prizes for the top individuals and teams!

Click below to register and learn more:

Our Covenent

We, the members of The Union Church in Waban, true to our founding principle of being an inclusive church, covenant together to nourish and to sustain in our common life and practice a fully welcoming and affirming church for all persons. Welcoming all persons who seek to join with us in a commitment to love God and our neighbors, affirming the inclusive love of Jesus, we are open to all, without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, nationality, ability or economic circumstance. We invite all to full participation in our worship, membership, leadership and life of this church.
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