Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
This is the statue of General Joseph Hooker outside the State House. Hooker is a Massachusetts-born general who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Winter Walk BOSTON to End Homelessness

For the fifth year, a consortium of agencies, including Pine Street Inn, Women’s Lunch Place, St. Francis House, Boston Health Care for the Homeless and Common Cathedral, are sponsoring a two-mile awareness and fundraising walk through the streets of Boston to help end homelessness in Boston.

Participants will to take their own walk (independently or as a family or small team) between Friday, Jan. 29 and Sunday Feb. 7 and then gather at 3 p.m. on Feb. 7 for a special online presentation with stories shared from some of Greater Boston’s homeless community.

Visit www.winterwalkboston.org for more information, walk registration and other ways to volunteer.

Art journaling as a spiritual practice

LJ Boswell will lead art journaling workshops from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb.7 through March 14, hosted by the Beacon Hill Friends House.

Each class will begin with an introduction to a simple art lesson you can choose to incorporate into your art journaling time. Then relax into a guided meditation and the meditative flow of creation. From a space of listening, open to Spirit’s guidance as a way of creating what you most need to express or remember in this moment. The group will close with an opportunity for those who are inspired to share from your heart. If no one is moved to share, the group will simply enjoy the gifts of a meditative space.

Visit bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and registration (Investment: $25/workshop or $125/for the full series. Sliding scale rates available).

‘Will You Be My Valentine?’

Looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift? Make a valentine of your own from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8.

Using examples from the Athenæum's rich collection, Assistant Curator Dr. Christina Michelon will offer a brief history of the card, followed by a demonstration on how to make one using common materials. (A supply list will be circulated in advance.)

“Fancy" valentines – replete with paper lace, glossy hearts, and chubby cherubim – have a long history in Massachusetts, with major producers Esther Howland, Louis Prang, and George C. Whitney headquartered in the state. Michelon will share how exchanging valentines grew in popularity in the US and why the tradition has endured. Material tokens of love and friendship, valentines continue to be cherished objects in an increasingly digital world.

Go to www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

Book Talk: ‘The Lost Gutenberg’

Margaret Leslie Davis will talk about her book, The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book's Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey, from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 - hosted by the Boston Athenæum.

For rare-book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible – of which there are fewer than 50 in existence – represents the ultimate prize. Davis recounts five centuries in the life of one copy, from its creation by Johannes Gutenberg, through the hands of monks, an earl, the Worcestershire sauce king, and a nuclear physicist to its ultimate resting place, in a steel vault in Tokyo. Estelle Doheny, the first woman collector to add the book to her library and its last private owner, tipped the Bible onto a trajectory that forever changed our understanding of the first mechanically printed book.

Go to www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

Preventing social isolation during the pandemic

COVID-19 poses special challenges for older adults balancing their safety with the innate need to connect with other people.

Dr. McInnis-Dittrich will talk about the differences between being (happily) alone, the potentially dangerous state of being lonely and being just plain bored. She will discuss how to recognize when “alone-time” starts to become a problem and ways to confront the loneliness.

This presentation incorporates the current research on these significant mental health issues while offering concrete strategies for finding a more satisfying balance between staying safe this winter and maintaining (or developing) connections with others.

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with Beacon Hill Village from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 for this online program.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

‘The Happiness Project’: Book discussion for a happier life

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun, the author chronicles her adventures during the 12 months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rather than uprooting herself, Rubin focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about the results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts from Epicurus to Thoreau, Oprah to the Dalai Lama – to see what worked for her and what didn’t.

Following the book discussion that took place in January, the participants will meet monthly to discuss their personal resolutions, swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give encouragement, and – perhaps most importantly – hold each other accountable. Being part of a group is a terrific way to build friendships, have fun and figure out ways to make yourself happier.

The group will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays as follows:

- Feb. 10: Making resolutions

- March 3: Personal commandments

- April 7: Inspiration

- May 5: Happy memories

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Mother-Daughter Match

Match Day is one of the most important moments in a medical student’s journey with thousands waiting every year to see if and where they have been placed into a postgraduate residency program – a requirement for obtaining a medical license.

For Dr. Cynthia Kudji Sylvester and Dr. Jasmine Kudji, Match Day 2020 was extra special as the mother-daughter duo became one of the first-ever to graduate medical school at the same time and be matched to the same institution - the Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

Now, Dr. Jasmine Kudji, a general surgery resident at LSU Health in New Orleans, and Dr. Cynthia Kudji Sylvester, in residency in Family Medicine at LSU Health Lafayette, find themselves at a critical time in their careers facing an unprecedented moment in medical history as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge across the nation.

Join the Museum of Science for an intimate conversation between the two doctors to hear firsthand about their experiences on the front lines of the battle against the virus in their community, their journey navigating the medical field and system as women of color, and the power and importance of the bond between mother and daughter.

This virtual offering will stream live from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from the Museum of Science for registrants to enjoy at home.

Visit www.mos.org/explore/subspace/mother-daughter-match-dr-kudji for more information and registration (free - donations welcome).

Tai Chi for Wellness

Join the Boston Public Library from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 for an online introduction to Tai Chi, an ancient exercise rooted in China, which consists of postures that are gentle and flowing. Movements are slow and repetitive and are coupled with a focus on the breath.

Visit bpl.org/events more information and Zoom registration.

Science Book Club for the Curious

The Science Book Club for the Curious, created by the Museum of Science, is a reading group designed especially for those who are interested in science and technology and how it impacts our society.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 for a discussion of Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/275107604 for more information and registration.

Nichols after Dark: ‘Courtship and Corsets’

What did a typical romance look like in the Victorian Era? Did women wear “sexy” lingerie?

Whether as a date night activity with your significant other or a solo evening of bonbons and wine, Nichols after Dark invites everyone to an “arousing” Valentine’s program, Courtships and Corsets from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 in a virtual program with the Nichols House Museum.

They will discuss romantic relationships in the late 19th and early 20th century and showcase examples of period undergarments.

Go to nicholshousemuseum.org/programs-and-events for more information and registration ($13 for Museum members; $15 for non-members).

Book talk: ‘The Other Madisons’

Bettye Kearse will talk about her book, The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11.

For thousands of years, West African griots (men) and griottes (women) have recited the stories of their people. Without this tradition, Bettye Kearse would not have known that she is a descendant of President James Madison and his slave, and half-sister, Coreen.

In 1990, Kearse became the eighth-generation griotte for her family. Their credo – “Always remember – you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president” – was intended to be a source of pride, but for her, it echoed with abuses of slavery, including rape and incest.

Confronting those abuses, Kearse embarked on a journey of discovery – of her ancestors, the nation and herself. She learned that wherever African slaves walked, recorded history silenced their voices and buried their footsteps: beside a slave-holding fortress in Ghana; below a federal building in New York City; and under a brick walkway at James Madison’s Virginia plantation. When Kearse tried to confirm the information her ancestors had passed down, she encountered obstacles at every turn.

Part personal quest, part testimony, part historical correction, The Other Madisons is the saga of an extraordinary American family told by a griotte in search of the whole story.

Go to www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 to discuss House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds (virtually, of course).

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/275851383 for more information and registration.

This event is part of the Museum of Science, Boston SubSpace Adult Programs.

Community Read Book Group for Adults: ‘His Only Wife’

The Community Read Book Group for Adults will meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The librarian will moderate the discussion of His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Lyric Stage To-Go ‘The Walking Plays’

The Walking Plays is a new free audio play series of six short plays by Boston-based playwrights which unfold on a continuous route around the Back Bay, Downtown, and Theatre District neighborhoods.

The Walking Plays explore the private moments that we experience in public. Rediscover Boston through new eyes as you walk alongside intricate characters or experience these intimate stories in the comfort of your home.

The first two plays - On Paying Attention by David Valdes and Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus - are now available with four more being released in the spring.

Visit www.lyricstage.com/to-go/walking-plays for more information and access to the plays.

Simple morning meditation practice

Beacon Hill Friends holds a simple meditation practice that helps reduce stress and ease you into the morning. The meditation is 15 minutes long and begins and ends with a brief introduction to the practice. Orientation for newcomers begins at 8 a.m., and the practice begins at 8:10 a.m. on weekdays.

Join once or join regularly – this meditation is free and open to the public.

Go to bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and the Zoom link.

Music at Home from King’s Chapel

Music remains an important aspect to the virtual presence of King's Chapel. Here are a few offerings to enjoy:

- “Talk About Music!” – Music Director Heinrich Christensen hosts a weekly conversation on all things musical from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom. Topics announced on their website and social media.

- “Weekly Musical Meditations” – This virtual glimpse of King's Chapel is accompanied by soothing music performed by their talented musicians. Every Monday they will add a new musical meditation on their social media channels with the hashtag #MusicAndMeditationMonday and on their YouTube channel.

- “Music in the Time of Covid: A Series” – In this pandemic world, Music Director Heinrich Christensen with composer and videographer Graham Gordon Ramsay recorded a series of videos of new music after dark. Read the blog post on their website about their reflections on these Introspections

- Music from Virtual Worship Services – On King's Chapel YouTube channel, is a curated playlist of songs from their weekly online worship services.

Go to kings-chapel.org/musicfromhome.html for more information and links to enjoy.

Online ESL conversation groups

Practice speaking English with other adult learners in an informal and friendly group setting from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on most Mondays, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on most Tuesdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on most Wednesdays, and from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on most Fridays through Aug. 31. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

Online intermediate and advanced ESL classes are also offered at select times.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

Black Seed Writers Group

The Black Seed Writers Group typically meets from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on most Tuesdays in Upper Sproat Hall at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 138 Tremont St. to produce a steady stream of poetry, protest, memoire, prayer and reportage which will be featured in The Pilgrim literary magazine showcasing the work of hundreds of homeless, transitional and recently-housed writers.

Visit www.stpaulboston.org for more information.

Young Adults Cafes Zoom gatherings

The Park Street Church offers Young Adult Cafes from 7 to 9:15 p.m. on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays, open to all young adults in the Greater Boston area.

The Tuesday café is comprised of young adults in their late 20s and 30s while the Wednesday café is designed for youth in their early 20s.

The Cafes meet virtually to help people stay connected in a healthy and safe way during these challenging times. The participants meet in a large group for worship, bible study and/or and fellowship and then break up into a variety of small groups, including ones for newcomers.

For more information, visit www.parkstreet.org or email cafe@parkstreet.org.

‘Responding to the Call’

The Beacon Hill Friends House will present “Responding to the Call,” a two-month, weekly workshop to do critical work of climate justice, dismantling white supremacy and beginning reparations.

Slated through Tuesday, Feb. 23, the group will meet every other week from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in a whole group Zoom session, with alternating weeks dedicated to on-going small groups.

As the work of systems transformation – both the societal systems we engage with daily and ourselves as systems of change – is not purely academic, this workshop will use somatic and Quaker spiritual practices along with discussions, readings, and videos.

Visit bhfh.org/responding-to-the-call for more information and registration.

LRC: Self-Care Series

Self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. It means doing things to take care of your mind, body and soul by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Doing so enhances the ability to live fully, vibrantly and effectively. The practice of self-care also reminds people that their needs are valid and a priority.

Join this facilitated living room conversations from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays through Feb. 24.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including the weekly topics, and Zoom registration.

‘MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness’

The Beacon Hill Friends will host MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. This facilitated spiritual practice with Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos is open to everyone.

Go to bhfh.org/midweek for more information about the facilitators and the practices they offer along with program details and Zoom registration. These closed-captioned programs are free, although donations to support their work are welcome.

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga

Unwind with Gentle Yoga – sponsored by Hands to Heart Center and the Boston Public Library – will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The yoga classes are geared for beginners with plenty of options and modifications for all bodies and ability levels.

The class will be live-streamed on YouTube/Hand to Heart Center – Yoga for the People.

You can also get the link at bpl.org/online events. The recorded sessions will remain online.

Operation ABLE

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St. Fifth Floor) provides employment services and training programs to job seekers from economically, racially and occupationally diverse backgrounds.

All services, including distance learning, coaching, and wrap-around services, are being conducted remotely. Class enrollments are open for computer skills training and Health Care and Social Services training, among others.

Visit operationable.net for more information and registration.

‘Hatched: Breaking through the Silence’

The Esplanade Association will present Hatched: Breaking through the Silence, a multi-sensory winter illumination experience at the Hatch Shell in celebration of their 20th Anniversary.

The 15-minute visual and sound performance shaped specifically for the 80-year-old amphitheater will begin at 5 p.m. and re-start every 20 minutes until 9 p.m. through Sunday, Feb. 21.

Hatched is free and open to the public. Masks and physical distancing mandated.

Visit esplanade.org/hatched to learn more.

Blessing Barn Beacon Hill

The Blessing Barn at 122 Charles St. is a thrift and antique shop, as well as a self-described “sharing center,” that accepts donations of and sells new and gently used clothing, linens, home decor, furniture, kitchen items, toys, records, books and wall art, among myriad other items.

BBBH exists to provide simple, short term housing for patients and their support individuals needing medical care away from home. They are proud to provide a ROOM IN THE CITY.

Join them by giving in the following ways: Offer to be a host home; Pay for a room in the city for one night; Purchase items in their store; Give a monetary donation using their secure form.

Visit theblessingbarn.com for more information.

MOS at Home

Engage with Museum Educators Live at MOS at Home. Schedules change weekly and may include a weekly STEM challenge; virtual planetarium visits; live animal visits; science stories; science-related question and answer panels; and Sub-space events.

Visit www.mos.org and/or eventbrite.com for more information and reservations.

Hill House winter programming – online/onsite

Ready for a warm, safe and fun winter with Hill House, Inc., 127 Mount Vernon St.?

On-going registration for online/onsite winter programming that includes basketball, music, art, STEM and much more continues for all members and nonmembers.

Pod spots will be available for those looking for semi-private classes with their instructors.

Give to Hill House's 2020-2021 Fundraising Appeal to help keep programs running.

Visit www.hillhouseboston.org for more information and sign ups.

College Worship Communities

Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, the College Worship Communities invite undergraduate students from around Boston to join them at Park Street Church and in a ministry on campuses such as Cru Boston, Christian Union, InterVarsity and Navigators.

Students of all spiritual backgrounds are welcome to these groups to grow together in wisdom as they develop a deeper understanding of who God is on an intellectual and personal level.

The morning community at Park Street Church will stream the 11 a.m. (choir and organ) service and the evening community will stream the 4 p.m. (Sunday Night Band) service followed by fellowship, reflection and prayer. Each room opens 15 minutes prior.

Visit parkstreet.org/ministries/college for more information, including other college student-related events and groups.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information

Boston Eats will continue to provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth –

18 years of age and younger. No ID or registration required.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access/boston-eats or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations and other information. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens is also included.

Visit foodpantries.org for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.

Big Sister mentoring

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister, and Little sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit www.bigsister.org.

Boston Athenæum

Boston Athenæum offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond.

The Athenæum is open to members for book pick-up and drop-off in the lobby, and by appointment to use the reading rooms. Up to five Day Passes are now available for non-members each day.

Phone 617-720-7604 with questions and to reserve time in the building.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org/visit/covid-19-response for more information.

‘Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill’ books for sale

Beacon Hill Garden Club’s Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places is a combination wish book and reference book all in one. Throughout the book, people will discover the many solutions Beacon Hill’s gardeners have used to make their gardens appealing.

The 85th anniversary edition is a full-color, hard-bound book with more than 110 professional photographs by Peter Vanderwarker and Thomas Lingner. It is filled with pages offering practical solutions to a variety of garden conundrums: walls, paving, levels, gates and doors, ornaments, furniture, light and color.

In addition, there is an addendum listing common and Latin names of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs and rhizomes, wild plants and annuals that succeed in our gardens.

The book can be purchased at Blackstone’s at 46 Charles St. and Gary Drug at 59 Charles St.

Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org/our-book for more information.

MANNA Community Program at Cathedral Church of St. Paul

Although many other programs have closed during this pandemic, the feeding ministry of the MANNA Community at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 138 Tremont St. has expanded its ministry to accommodate the growing number of people in need.

In addition to the Monday Lunch Program, they are now serving breakfast and giving out water on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.

Serving these individually-packaged meals to a larger number of people in need comes at a greater expense to the church. Help keep this program alive by donating money to help purchase food and supplies.

Visit www.stpaulboston.org for more information.

Wednesday Night Supper Club – ‘Takeout Meal in a Sack’

The Wednesday Night Supper Club is held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Paulist Center Auditorium, 5 Park St. Place. At this time, they have shifted to a “takeout meal in a sack.”

The Paulist Center volunteers have been serving more than 200 people a week who don’t have access to a good hot meal. The program has been running for more than 50 years.

Visit www.paulistcenter.org to volunteer to help out in any way (cook, serve, clean up; donate supplies, food or money; etc.) or for more information.

Homeless Outreach Ministry and Engagement (H.O.M.E.)

Park Street Church’s Homeless Outreach Ministry and Engagement (H.O.M.E.), formerly "TNO," prepares hot meals and packages of socks, underwear and toiletries for men and women and then distributes them to their vulnerable neighbors who live on the streets of Boston from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday nights and from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays outside their church.

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation of money, food, toiletries or gift cards, or would like additional information on ways to make a difference, contact missions@parkstreet.org or visit www.parkstreet.org.

Support the parks – give the gift of membership

Give the gift of membership to ensure that the beloved parks - the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall - remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

Beacon Hill Garden Club – Donations welcome

Since its founding in 1928, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has encouraged the love of horticulture and urban gardening.

Even though the Beacon Hill Garden Club has canceled two of its most prestigious events last year – the Beacon Hill Garden Soiree and the BH Hidden Gardens Tour – they are still making donations to various organizations in Boston and Massachusetts, and they encourage you to do so in your local community to help organizations dedicated to horticulture, conservation and civic improvement.

Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org for more information.