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New Series Starts Up with pre-screening of PBS Documentary

“In the new year, we want to do more.” 

Rev. Meg Soens, in her first year at First Parish Unitarian Universalist church of Medfield, says her New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to help her church give back to the surrounding communities.  “This church has so much to offer to the communities around us, and we want to do a better job of sharing some of our resources.  We decided to start with hosting events that are thought-provoking, or support people as they deal with different life struggles.”

This is the thinking behind the church’s new series of monthly events, called “Mondays at UU Medfield”.  Once a month, starting January 27th, the church will host an informative, interactive evening with regional experts on a variety of topics. 

The spring schedule is taking shape now, and will kick off on January 27th with a pre-screening of the new PBS/American Experience documentary, “The Amish: Shunned.”  Mark Samels, the executive producer of American Experience, will show the new documentary (scheduled to air on PBS stations on February 4).  He’ll also talk about the joys and challenges of making the film, and field questions from audience members.  As Mark describes the film,
“it is a poignant and penetrating look at what it means to be cut off from faith and family.  The film follows seven people who have chosen to leave their closed and tightly knit communities for the outside world, knowing that they may never return.  The former Amish find themselves struggling to make their way in modern America.  Interwoven with their stories are the voices of loyal Amish men and women who explain the importance of obedience, the strong ties and traditions that bind them together, and the heartbreak they feel when a loved one falls away.  Through its sympathetic portrayal of both sides, the film explores what is gained and what is lost when community and tradition are exchanged for individuality and freedom.”

The evening will start at 7pm and run until 9pm and all are welcome.

“Parenting With Cancer” is another planned evening in the Mondays at UU Medfield” series.  It that will feature Dr. Sarah Shea, a psychiatrist on the Massachusetts General PACT team (Parenting At Challenging Times).  The March 31 evening panel will also include Medfield resident Jeff Lloyd, who is himself is a parent with cancer.  Rev. Meg hopes this evening will give parents who are dealing either with their own or their spouses’ life-threatening illnesses the chance to explore some common issues they face, and to share with each other and to learn from experts.  There are so many questions for parents, she notes, such as ‘how do I talk with my children about my illness?  How do I ask for help?  How do I let others help me?” 

The other two Monday events are still in the planning stages, but as with the screening of “The Amish: Shunned”, and the “Parenting With Cancer” evenings, Rev. Meg is excited about what is in the works.  “I think we are going to have one workshop on “Finding Meaning in Your Life”, and one dealing with “Hope in a Time of Climate Change”, though we haven’t finalized things.  Stay tuned!”

All “Mondays at UUMedfield” events will be free of charge, open to the public, and begin at 7pm.  For more information, email admin@firstparishmedfield.org.

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