Normally, in anticipation of Easter, the holiest time of the Christian year, my Beacon article would focus on the meaning of the Resurrection. But because of two important issues currently taking place, I feel obliged to address these.

The first has to do with our Memorial Garden, which requires pastoral mention. It is indeed a sad commentary that so much time has to be devoted to this issue, both for myself and others, in particular Lynn Carver, Mary Montgomery, and Bob Buchanan.

Most recently, on Wednesday, March 25, the Cabinet met with our lawyer, Barbara Huggins, who provided much needed answers to any number of questions. This information was then brought to the informational meeting on Sunday, March 29.

On that same Sunday a warrant was posted calling for a congregational meeting to be held on Sunday, April 12. At this meeting we will discuss Attorney Huggins’ counsel to proceed with a declaratory judgment from the Land Court in Boston. This, of course, would be a major expense and thus the Cabinet felt it incumbent to seek first the consent of the congregation. (A title search, authorized by the Cabinet, is already underway.)

Though this is not an action to be undertaken lightly, it is important for the congregation to understand the long hours as well as the reasoned, patient response of the church to the town since June 2013. In that time, the town has only hardened its position and is now demanding the Garden be moved, all 141 graves, that is!

As Lynn Carver reminded us awhile back, these are the remains of cherished souls, many of whom were our wives, husbands, sons, daughters, etc. These are souls with whom we worshipped, served on boards and committees with, whose memory remains sacred to us. We made a solemn promise to protect their memory and to insure the means of proper, respectful perpetual care.

Switching gears, regarding the other matter, much has been said (mostly by me) about the Study Group’s efforts for over a year now. Anticipation (and possibly even trepidation) exists as to how and when we will present our “findings.”

The group is planning to offer an informational meeting sometime in June, after our “snowbirds” have returned home. In our weekly meetings, we have had many epiphanies and shared many insights. We believe that what we will have to report is positive and encouraging as it relates to the future of First Church.

We are concerned that some may feel that our “findings” may highlight, to the contrary, negative things about which we should be overly concerned. Overall, as I say, we are optimistic about the church and feel there is much to celebrate, much to build upon and strengthen. In the same vein, we feel confident that there are some new ideas that may provide fodder for potential spiritual growth.

I would heartily encourage you to attend both meetings, the congregational meeting on April 12 as well as the informational offering from the Study Group in June.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Thomas C. Leinbach