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Letter to the Editor: First Parish to re-dedicate steeple, honor Menino at two-day ceremony

Lift-off of the new First Parish steeple in August 2013.Lift-off of the new First Parish steeple in August 2013.To the Editor:

Over the last few months many people have approached me to say how wonderful it is that the steeple of First Parish Dorchester on Meetinghouse Hill has been restored and returned to its place atop our tower. Numerous people, some that I have never met before, have commented about the feelings that come over them when they see the steeple. One morning I got a call from a friend who was stuck in traffic on I-93 to say that it made his day a little brighter that he could see the sun shining off the gold leaf of the weathervane.

What is it about this beautiful steeple that touches people’s lives so profoundly? Perhaps we are all moved when anyone in our community accomplishes something grand. Perhaps we see that shining white steeple as a symbol of hope, peace and unity for the people of Dorchester, a sign that we can realize our dreams. Perhaps, we see the steeple as a prayer, rising in all its beauty to reach the heavens. I am not sure how it touches you but we at First Parish are very grateful for the support, prayers and donations from the community that has made this possible.

Next weekend we invite you to join us as we re-dedicate our glorious steeple. On Sat., Nov. 16, from 3-6 p.m. Mayor Thomas Menino has graciously agreed to join us for a gala fundraising event that we have titled “20 Bells for the Mayor.” Mayor Menino has said that the first debate during his first mayoral campaign was held at First Parish. Now he will join us toward the end of his tenure and we will ring the church bell twenty times to honor the mayor’s twenty years of service to our community. Tickets for this event are $100 and can be purchased on our website firstparishdorchester.org.

On Sun., Nov. 17, we will dedicate the steeple as a beacon of welcoming, strength and hope for the people of Dorchester at our 11 a.m. service. This congregation is continuing a proud legacy. Having founded Dorchester in 1630 as a group of immigrant settlers from England, we are deeply committed to helping to make Dorchester a place where every person, whatever their background, can find here acceptance and respect and the opportunity to have a fulfilling life.

This is a time of change. I write this on the eve before the mayoral and city council elections whose outcome will bring a new era to city. There is much that Mayor Menino has done for the people of Dorchester and there are many challenges ahead of us. Poverty, violence and racism remain strong here. Yet, I see many reasons for hope. People who live in Dorchester have a certain pride for this community and we can turn those good feelings into the kind of support and respect for our neighbors that will raise us all to new heights and new levels of compassion and understanding.

- Rev. Arthur Lavoie, First Parish Dorchester