Pastoral Care

As a large and vital church, there are many ways we care for one another at First Parish.

The Ministers

The ministers offer counseling, hospital or home visits, phone calls, and are always available to respond when called. Please call the church office (978-369-9602) to schedule an appointment or email the ministers directly:

Rev. Marion Visel, Minister for Pastoral Care, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rev. Howard N. Dana, Senior Minister, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pastoral Care Council

The mission of the Pastoral Care Council is to work with the pastoral care minister and promote the pastoral care networks of First Parish to extend and strengthen their reach. Council members work in collaboration with the Senior Minister, Minister for Pastoral Care and the Ministerial Intern to ensure that the pastoral care ministries at First Parish are vital and strong. For information contact Judy Dembsey, chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Pastoral Care Lay Ministers

The ministers are assisted by the Pastoral Care Lay Ministers, who companion parishioners who are in need of spiritual and emotional support during hospitalizations, bereavement, and long-term illness; they offer support for elders, caregivers, and families in crisis. The Pastoral Lay Ministers are selected by the ministers. They receive significant training and meet monthly for supervision, reflection and support. Contact Rev. Marion Visel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Caring Connection

The Caring Connection provides concrete assistance to parishioners by preparing and delivering meals, offering rides, writing personal notes, welcoming new babies with gifts and a meal, and providing opportunities for parishioners to reach out to others through card writing, shawl ministries, and friendly visits. Contact Anne Fortier, Caring Connection Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to volunteer. 

  • Food Preparation: Anne Fortier, Caring Connection Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Food Delivery: Bev Bringle, Petra Betts, Marion Stanley, and Pat Kane
  • Notes: Kitsy Rothermel
  • New Baby Welcomers: Louisa Paushter and Bridget Neale Paris
  • Pastoral "Thinking of You" Note Cards: Kathleen Elcox
  • New Baby Blankets: created by Kitsy Rothermel
  • Shawl Ministries: Regina Hugendubler
  • Rides: Suzanne Hogan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact the church office
  • Friendly Visitors: Friendly Visitors make regular contact with members and friends of First Parish that they are referred to and matched with. Friendly Visitors choose one or more people to visit socially, and to send cards or emails. Contact Rev. Marion Visel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on being or receiving a Friendly Visitor.

Shawl Ministry

The Shawl Ministry offers shawls to members and friends of the congregation in order to provide congregational comfort and support to those who are experiencing a time of loss, difficult transition, illness or injury. Many hands can be involved in creating a “Share a Shawl” which works well for those just starting out (lessons are offered at the Tuesday gatherings) or with limited time, but most shawls and lap blankets are knit by individuals. Some folks attend the Shawl Ministry monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in the Brooks Room. Others knit or crochet shawls or blankets on their own. Shawls/blankets are created with the intention of kindness, fellowship, support and love. All are welcome to the monthly group meetings, or to contribute a shawl by contacting Regina Hugendubler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 802-310-9507. If you would like a shawl, please contact Rev. Marion Visel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Memorial Wreath

Beginning the first Sunday of Advent through the month of December, a memorial wreath stands in front of the Sanctuary. Parishioners are invited attach ribbons to acknowledge a loved one who has died.

Educational Events

Pastoral Care offers workshops on aging, preparing for death, living well and communicating with compassion. See the Meetinghouse News for more information.

Pastoral Note Cards

Note cards are available during the Sunday coffee hour in the Parlor. Parishioners can take the opportunity to write a caring note to a congregant who was remembered on the Pastoral List prior to silent meditation during the Sunday service. It will be mailed for you.

Pastoral Care Lending Library

The Pastoral Care Lending Library is a self-serve library, located in the hallway leading to the Peter Bulkeley room, available to all parishioners. The Library List of its contents is posted on this website.

Pastoral Care On-Line Resource Library

The Pastoral Care On-Line Resource Library on this website, provides links to resources for individuals, families and caregivers.

My Religious Faith Is Important to Me

If part of conveying your wishes is making sure that First Parish in Concord is contacted in case of your bereavement, serious illness, hospitalization, or death, then you should communicate your wishes to your loved ones or representatives who will speak for you. To facilitate that process we’ve developed a simple form, “My Faith Community is Important to Me.” 

Download this form, print it out, fill it out, and save it with your other important documents. If you reside in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility make this form available to your caregivers there.

The form provides those who care for and about you with the contact information for First Parish in Concord. It will be easy for them to let us know of your situation, and we will follow up with you.

pdfMy_Faith_Community_is_Important_to_ME

Small Group Ministry Program and Covenant Groups

Small Group Ministry and the Covenant Groups provide a safe and caring way for small groups of members and friends of the congregation to come together and explore the greater meanings of our life. 

The Small Group Ministry Program will begin in October 2015. Small Group Ministry groups will meet during a term of four months with a trained facilitator. At the core of each meeting is a topic or activity that serves as a spring-board for reflection on deeper issues of who we are and what gives our lives meaning. Topics cover a range of spiritual and experiential themes such as Forgiveness, Creativity, Mentors, Conscious Consuming, Gratitude, Doubt.

Covenants Groups are established long-term groups that have been meeting for years. For additional information on existing Covenant Groups see the listing on the Spiritual Deepening and Fellowship of this website.

First Tuesday 65+ Group

Each meeting includes a time of focused sharing and a topic for facilitated discussion. The Tuesday Group meets the first Tuesday of the month 1:30-3:00 p.m., don’t worry about your age, all welcome, you determine whether the topic is for you. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday Group Steering Committee: Berni Jenkins, Bob Andrews, Mary Clark, Dave Dawson, Susan Dobbie, Patricia Ellis, Bill Maxwell, Jack Nevison and Virginia Taylor
Contact: Berni Jenkins This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 978/369-2876

By Your Side Singers

Singing and pastoral care join together in the By Your Side Singing group. The group meets the first and third Thursdays at First Parish from 7:30 to 9:00 PM under the direction of Beth Norton, Music Director. You do not need to be a member of the Adult Choir to participate. The By Your Side Singers provide pastoral care through life’s transitions by singing rounds, chants, lullabies, choral music, hymns and spirituals to parishioners in their homes or at the hospital.

How Can You Be Involved?

You are encouraged to let us know, through the ministers, the church office, or one of the groups above, when you or someone you know is in need of support.

If you would like to volunteer to help with pastoral care or the Caring Connection, please contact Rev. Marion Visel, Minister for Pastoral Care, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the front office.