Martha Bird’s first love is basket weaving. In 1994, she enrolled in a basket class and fell in love with the materials and wove her way into activity and health, after a back injury. Her art-making has expanded over the years into a personal exploration that utilizes a variety of mediums. Her basket weaving, though, has brought her many new opportunities, including traveling to Ireland and exhibiting across the United States. “Finding Focus” is an exhibit that features her work with willow from her travels and will be on display in the Social Hall at church from Aug. 15–Oct. 1, 2017. Attend an artist’s reception on Sunday, Oct.1, after both services for an opportunity to meet the artist and see more of her history in basketry. Martha is a long-time member of First Universalist Church.
First Universalist Church will be hosting families from Beacon’s Families Moving Forward August 20 through September 3. During this time, we provide shelter, meals, and comfortable sleeping quarters for families in transition, allowing them to concentrate their energies on finding affordable housing and employment that will sustain them.
The set-up team of volunteers transforms the Religious Education rooms from classrooms to bedrooms, complete with matching sheets, toiletry items, soft lighting and flowers on the table. Families of all configurations arrive at our church around 5:45 p.m. each evening, share a meal with us prepared by volunteers, and engage in activities ranging from family games to age specific activities for children. As our guests prepare to depart at 6:30 a.m. each day, they are greeted by our overnight hosts and offered breakfast.
Your presence matters! We need approximately 60 volunteers each week. Each night we ask for 3 volunteers to prepare the dinner meal, 3 volunteers to engage in evening activities, and 2 volunteers to spend the night (comfortable beds and the opportunity to sleep are provided). We need 12 volunteers to engage in transforming the classrooms to bedrooms and then return them to classrooms at the end of the stay.
Please know that you can be creative in your service. Volunteers have offered to wash sheets from “accidents’ mid-week, prepare a hot breakfast on Saturday morning when our guests can stay longer, or scramble to rearrange a bedroom as one family transitions out and another comes in mid-week.
This is multi-generational hospitality! Families from our congregation have had wonderful experiences spending the evening, whether it be meal prep and/or evening activities. We have observed 10-year olds helping 6-year olds read, 13-year olds turning fingernails and toenails into works of art, 60-year olds and 14-year olds orchestrating a full-blown game of kickball. Come one, come all!
We welcome all people interested to visit the table in the Social Hall following services on Sundays, Aug. 6 and 13. Volunteers can sign up directly online here.