Four years ago this month the world turned upside down
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
4M ago
Four years ago today we held our last in-person service as the world turned upside down and the Pandemic took over every aspect of our lives.  In the days that led up to March 15, 2020 it became abundantly clear that humanity was threatened by a new, mysterious airborne respiratory virus that appeared to be unstoppable.  While no one knew what might happen in the coming days and weeks, it became clear that we needed to shut down our in-person operations and services. So we decided to host one final service, outside in our Memorial Garden.  I lit our chalice, offered a brief ..read more
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Affordable Housing in Weston? Is that an oxymoron?
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
5M ago
We have met the enemy and they are us! ~ Pogo Last night I attended the Weston Housing Roundtable and Discussion at the Library. There were several members of First Parish Church in attendance, including Nancy Piedra who helped organize and host the event, and Tom Palmer who is one of three Select Board Members for the Town. The various presentations by local leaders all confirmed what many of us already know: there is an affordable housing crisis here in the Greater Boston area with a growing number of people finding themselves unable to afford decent or even acceptable housing.&nbs ..read more
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T’was the Day after Thanksgiving – a poem
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
8M ago
Last Sunday, I began my sermon with an abbreviated parody of that most famous of holiday poems, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore. I have received so many requests for copies of my version that I am posting it here.  Perhaps that is proof that being stuck in Black Friday “mall traffic” really CAN lead to some productive outcome.  Or not.  Sigh…. T’was the Day After Thanksgiving By the Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell   Twas the day after Thanksgiving, and all through the Mall Throngs of Shoppers were stirring, in stores wall to wall. The sale signs were hung by the do ..read more
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End of Year Reflections and What the Minister is Reading
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
This has been quite a year for many of us as we individually and collectively emerged out of (or into a new phase) of the Pandemic. There have been stories and events that left us sad and frustrated (like the invasion of Ukraine), and other developments that left us feeling exhilarated and engaged (like NASA’s new Webb Space Telescope, which has been beaming back breathtaking images of the Cosmos and changing our views of ourselves and our world.) Two insights are clear: 1) we are more powerful creatures than we realize, as we live our lives on this small, beautiful planet; and 2) ou ..read more
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Hey what’s with the Lawn Sign?
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
Last month was the hottest month around the world since modern measurements began. Wildfires are burning at never before seen levels in Canada, portions of Europe and Asia, and now even Hawaii! The water temperatures off the coast of Florida are hitting 100 F degrees, resulting in a historic eradication (bleaching) of coral reefs, which are essential to the rich diversity of aquatic life in that region.  We could go on. Scientists are terrified by the data they are observing this year, be it ocean surface or ambient air temperatures around the world.  There is an anticipation that fo ..read more
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Thoughts about the repeal of the Roe v. Wade Decision
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
Many years ago when I was on sabbatical I attended the State of the Planet conference at Columbia University in New York City. The gathering was convened by the well-known economist and scholar Jeffrey Sachs, whose work influenced theUN’s  Millennium Development Goals to address the dire living conditions of the 2 billion poorest people on the planet. The conference featured scholars and policy experts from all over the world presenting on a range of environmental and humanitarian issues. While I don’t remember a lot of the details, I do recall one trenchant point made by Dr. Sa ..read more
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A Reflection on the latest international climate meeting (COP 27)
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
Like some of you I am glad to see that the latest international climate meeting concluding in Egypt (on November 20) is now receiving some attention by media here in the US.  I have a degree in energy and climate policy so perhaps I am more inclined than others to pay attention to these Conference of Parties (COP) meetings.  At these gatherings (hosted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC) the nations of the world receive updates on the latest climate science, and then proceed to discuss and negotiate how they can work together to reduce emissions, stabilize ou ..read more
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Imagine for a moment that all commercial media out...
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
Imagine for a moment that all commercial media outlets in the United States are shut down summarily by our government. Both CNN and Fox News go dark and almost every newspaper is prevented from going to press. And then imagine that the President of the United States issues an executive order that makes reporting any news story that varies from the official government version of events punishable by up to 15 years in jail. While it is almost impossible to envision here (thank God!), this is the current reality in Russia. All independent news outlets have been shut down or in ..read more
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On Ukraine and finding ways to help
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
Sometimes our humanity is brought out by times of extremity.  That appears to be the case right now all over Europe and all over the world.  For example, the BBC had a report yesterday about the organized effort by people in Berlin to assist the thousands of Ukrainian families arriving by train every day right now.  Most of these are mothers and children since most fathers and husbands of fighting age are not allowed to leave the country at present.  When these Ukrainian families arrive at the train station in Berlin they are met by an organized crowd of Germans.  Some ..read more
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Update on COVID and the Ukraine Crisis
First Parish Church Weston Blog
by Jeff Barz-Snell
9M ago
Several people have asked me about our policies regarding COVID.  Currently the cases of the latest variant are increasing in the Boston area.  Given the number of local people who travel between here and Europe and Southeast Asia, we have decided for the time being to continue to ask people to wear a mask during our Sunday morning service and sit in alternating pews to ensure social distancing.  Given that we continue to sing in-person, we thought this was prudent. In addition, we continue to have fresh air measures in place, including keeping the doors open to the outside, fan ..read more
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