The Unitarian – January 12, 2016

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Sunday Worship — January 17

Sermon: The Confederate Flag, Ongoing Discrimination and Black Lives Matter — Rev. David Bryce

More than 150 years after the end of the Civil War and more than 50 years after Selma discrimination continues in our nation. But there is also ongoing hope.

Prelude: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, J.S. Bach (1685-1750); Dylan Sauerwald, organ

Postlude: Fugue in G minor by J.S. Bach; Dylan Sauerwald, organ

Senior Choir Anthem: Go Down Moses, a traditional spiritual

Offertory: “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” from South Pacific, Richard Rogers (1902 – 79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960); Chuck Claus, Baritone

Note: South Pacific received scrutiny for its commentary regarding relationships between different races and ethnic groups. In particular, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” was subject to widespread criticism, judged by some to be too controversial or downright inappropriate for the musical stage. Sung by the character Lieutenant Cable, the song is preceded by a line saying racism is “not born in you! It happens after you’re born …”

Welcome and Announcements: 9 a.m. Jack Weis; 11 a.m. Deveaux Duckworth

Ushers: 9 a.m.: Ana Hammock & Martha Read; 11 a.m.: Lanier Smythe & Margaret Marks

Lay Pastoral Care: 9 a.m. TBA; 11 a.m. James Hencke

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Patricia Garcia in celebration of friends, family, and the First Church Community.

  • Services 9 & 11 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sunday, January 24 — Our Partner Church/Wheel of Life — Rev. David Bryce & Partner Church Committee
  • Sermon archive

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Religion and State

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

A few weeks ago I received a message on my voice mail from someone in the town of Belmont. She had seen our rainbow flag flying over the front door and was calling to urge that we fly the American flag. She did not say whether she wanted this in addition to or instead of the rainbow flag.
     I am uncomfortable whenever I am in the building of any religious community and see an American flag, whether that is over the doorway, on an outside pole or in a stand in the Sanctuary or the Fellowship Hall. There is, for me, such a clear separation of religion and state that having a national flag on the property of a religious congregation seems inappropriate.
     Religion claims to represent or reach for something that transcends mere nationalism. It claims to represent something that (in Western thinking, at least) stands above and encompasses all nations and groups.
     Paradoxically, from the point of view of the nation, the nation rightly encompasses people of all faiths and so our country should not have an official religion. And that is a belief I have about all nations.
     I am aware that there are some groups who would intertwine religion and state in such ways that they are inseparable. Always their own religion, of course. But that is wrong.     Our human freedoms arise from the fact that these are separate. If someone can choose which God you will worship no other rights really exist because God will tell them what rights you are allowed—and that will almost always be the “right” to submit to their will.
     The separation of religion and state protects our human rights. I hope that we will always maintain it.

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

On Sunday, January 3rd, our fourth and final UU Visitor came through the Time Machine (that the kids built in September). The combined classes in grades 1-4 met with Fannie Barrier Williams to learn about her life and significance to us as Unitarian Universalists. Here is a short report of what they learned from her.
     Francis Barrier was born in 1855 in upstate New York. Her parents were free blacks. Her siblings called her Fannie and she always went by that name. She grew up in the Baptist Church and music was always very important to her. After the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, she was able to go to college. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from her college. Now that African-Americans could go to school, there was a big need for teachers. So Fannie became a teacher in the South, and experienced racial discrimination for the first time in her life.
     Fannie decided to pursue her love of painting and drawing and enrolled at an art school in Washington, D.C. Here again she experienced racism because they put screens around her so that the white students wouldn’t see her. Fannie decided to leave the art school because of this discrimination. Later, after she had moved to Boston, she thought she would go to the New England Conservatory of Music and improve her piano skills. This time, she was told by the administration that she would have to leave because the Southern white students were threatening to quit, because Fannie was black.
     Fannie married her husband, Samuel Laing Williams, when she was 37 years old and soon after they moved to Chicago. In Chicago, the Williams’ joined the All Soul’s (Unitarian) Church, where all people were welcome. Unitarian beliefs meshed well with Fannie’s worldview. The Williams’ never had any children of their own, but Fannie cared for young and old alike through her many public service endeavors.
     Fannie was passionate about civil rights and women’s rights. Fannie wanted the world to know how far African Americans had come since the end of the Civil War, and although African American women were not allowed to have a venue at the Chicago World’s Fair (the Columbian Exposition), Fannie was allowed to deliver two controversial speeches there during that year (1893). Fannie helped establish a hospital in Chicago that allowed black doctors to work alongside white doctors. A nursing school to train African American women as nurses was also founded. Fannie was the first African American member of the Chicago Women’s Club and helped to found the NAACP. She worked tirelessly to obtain women’s suffrage. Fannie continued her activism throughout the rest of her life. She died in Chicago in 1944.
     The (Women’s) Alliance at First Church may have an opportunity to learn more about Fannie Barrier Williams later this spring. Keep a watch out for the chance to learn even more about this amazing Unitarian woman.

Special Activities for families in January

January 31: “Children and Technology” program for parents and other interested adults, between services (10:15-11:00 am); childcare provided. Facilitated by Diana Dill. Offered by Adult Programs.

CRE Opportunities for All at FCB

  • Would your family like to lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday this year? CRE is coordinating this effort to involve families in this element of the worship service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Click on this link to sign-up: You will receive an e-mail reminder.
  • Non-parent teacher-volunteers are needed to assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 am each Sunday. You can easily sign-up for this volunteer opportunity here: You will receive an e-mail reminder.

Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information

If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page ( which allows you to register children from birth through 12thgrade. All children must be registered for CRE.

~ Charlotte Lehmann, Acting Director of Children’s Religious EducationOffice hours: Mon-Tues-Weds, 10am-6 p.m. E-mail:

Winter Clothing Drive, January 3 – 24

Donation boxes are in the Lower Hall.

The 9th grade COA group will be volunteering with homeless people in the Boston area and learning about poverty and homelessness in January.  Please help us with a clothing drive in advance!

Used items for men and women including:

  • Winter coats
  • Sweat shirts and sweat pants (especially hooded sweatshirts)
  • Sweaters, Long-sleeve shirts, T-shirts
  • Jeans, khakis, other casual pants and belts
  • Waterproof boots, comfortable shoes and sneakers
  • Hats, waterproof gloves, scarves
  • All kinds of carrying cases such as backpacks, tote bags, fanny packs and small suitcases with wheels (in good condition)
  • Sleeping bags and blankets (clean & in good condition)

New items for men and women, including:

  • New white socks
  • New underwear – size L, XL, XXL

Travel Sized Toiletries, including:

  • Soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, Chapstick, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream and razors. (Please no aftershave or mouthwash containing alcohol.)

*Please NO children’s clothes, dress clothes, slippers, bathrobes, pajamas or out-of-season clothing.

For questions, please contact Julie Ennis at

January 18: Belmont’s 22nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Community Breakfast

Please join the community at Belmont High School, for this multi-age gathering, of community, conversation and celebration. RSVP at or at

Annual Piano Celebration

On Saturday, January 23rd at 8:00 p.m., The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist is hosting its 21st Annual Piano Celebration. The program will be followed by a reception and refreshments. 
     This year’s eclectic program will include music from a wide variety of styles and genres, including Baroque, Classical, Impressionist, Jazz, Popular, and more.  Music will be performed by talented members of the First Church community.  Pianists are Ian Garvie, Richard Curzi, Nina Grimaldi, Mariko Findell, and others.  Joining them are Rick Dimino on bass, Jerry Twomey on guitar, Mark Kohler on percussion, Dylan Sauerwald on organ and harpsichord, and other surprise guests.
     Concert proceeds will be used to carry on the maintenance of the First Church grand pianos, fine Casavant pipe organ, and harpsichord. Tickets for the performance are $10 each and can be purchased in advance at the church office or at the door on performance evening.  For more information, please call 781-646-2123.  (Snowdate: Sunday, January 24th, 7:00 pm)  

All-Church Potluck/Game Night — Saturday, Feb. 6, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Parish Hall

Brush off the winter blues and come to the All-Church Potluck and Game Night. This will be a wonderful opportunity to kick back, relax, and have fun.
     Savor a diversity of cuisines as varied as our congregation. Bring your favorite dish and bottle of wine to share, and a healthy appetite. Show off your culinary talents, secret recipe, or bring a pizza. Enjoy an evening of fine food and conversation at this fun evening together!
     There will also be games for all ages — cards, board games, poker, Twister. Bring along a favorite game you’d like to play! Potluck begins at 5:30 p.m. and games begin at 6:30 p.m. Questions, contact or see us at coffee hour.

Please wear your name tags Sunday morning!

They greatly help us to get to know each other. You do not need to be a book-signed “official” church member to have a name tag, just that you hope to be attending First Church more than 1 or 2 Sundays. If you are a guest, we have temporary stick-on name tags we welcome you to use. The name tag sign-up sheet is located by the tag board in the front foyer. You may also email Jim Staton at: These name tags are for adults only. Children have a different style tag provided through the RE and music programs.

Adult Programs News

Our Adult Programs Committee Winter Brochure (click here to download the pdf file) is packed with really interesting programs — both ongoing and specials. We urge you to participate when you can and please contact Debbie Dobbins, chair, at if you’d like to join the committee to help create these programs.

Spiritual Renewal through Poetry – Peter Guthrie

Sundays, January 24, 31, Feb. 7, 3 p.m., Parlor

Robert Frost once defined a poem as a “momentary stay against confusion.” Good poems can help us see ourselves and our lives more clearly, trigger moments of epiphany, and cut through the confusion of life to what truly matters. We will read and discuss poems that deal with spiritual issues in the broadest sense of the term.

Small Group Ministry – Welcoming New Members; Robert Donaghey and Joan Loewenburg

Wednesdays, January 13 and 27, 7:30 p.m., Library and Parlor

Small group ministry is a vital part of our First Church community as it is in many UU congregations. In this group you will have the opportunity to get to know others and yourself during discussion of significant life topics. Themes such as Gratitude, The Gifts We Already Possess, Prayer, Family Communication are a few examples of topics. On January 13 the group will be suggesting and choosing discussion topics for the coming year and would welcome your participation.
     If you are interested in attending Small Group Ministry but are unable to attend on Wednesdays we also have other groups that meet regularly on Thursday evenings or Friday afternoons. For more information contact Lillian Anderson at

Belmont UU Alliance Program and Lunch

Wednesday, January 20, 12noon, Upper Hall

Bring your own sandwich; we will provide beverages, chopped fruit, and dessert. The suggested lunch donation is $1.00 per person. Mary Carter, Belmont Library Reference Librarian will speak about new books and the use of the library web-site. All are welcome for lunch, conversation and discussion. Contact Janice Zazinski if you are planning to attend at 617-484-1054, x.201 or

Living Positively (formerly known as “Living with Serious Illness”) — Kathy Lind

Thursday, January 21, 7 p.m., Tinkham Room

We welcome you to join our ongoing group as we explore ways to live bravely while facing health challenges – either of our own, or of loved ones for whom we act as caregivers. Our group provides a safe place for us to talk about our concerns and our ideas for moving forward. We share strategies for setting goals and living positively with the medical issues in front of us. By nurturing our connections, we comfort and support each other. Through compassionate listening, we help one another understand his or her own challenges. Please join us on a path of living positively and boldly in the New Year. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Science and Spirituality — Ken Bernstein and Edwin Taylor

Thursday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room

Jack Dennis will lead a discussion on Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff. Subjects: Between Human and Machine; A Tough Year for the Human Race; Masters, Slaves, or Partners? Download the reading from:

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas

Thursday, Jan. 21, 8 p.m., Location TBD

Enjoy the fun and fellowship of crafting with a genial group on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month. If you knit, crochet, quilt, bead or dabble in other low-mess crafts, please come join us. Projects could include creating items for non-profit organizations such as Caps for Kids, making small gifts for the Holiday Fair or working on personal projects. Everyone is welcome and no commitment is necessary. Contact Eva at for the location.

The Conversation Project – Part 2 — Rick Hawkins

Sunday, Jan. 24, 12:30 p.m., Library

This 2-part workshop began with identifying the concerns and values that will guide decision making and practice in how to begin The Conversation with a loved one. In part two, participants will share the experience of starting The Conversation and consider the next steps they need to take to insure that their wishes will be respected. For more information visit the website:

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey and friends

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Library

Are you a closet guitar hero with no band? A great shower singer? Have you ever wanted to just sit around the porch with a bunch of friends singing and strumming songs that you (mostly!) know? Then we’ve got just the thing for you: a good old fashioned hootenanny! Bring along your portable acoustic instrument (i.e., guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, shaker, suitcase, jaw harp, spoons..), your voice or just yourself and — most of all — bring your enthusiasm. Bring your iPads, iPhones etc. so we can access words to the songs. All levels encouraged! We will meeting on the last Wednesday of every month. Mark your calendars (Feb. 24, March 30, April 27).

Parenting Concerns – “Children and Technology”

Sunday, January 31, 10:15 – 11 a.m., Classroom 5

This program is an opportunity to briefly explore concerns and issues and connect with other parents or interested members of the congregation. We will pose some questions, share information and have a facilitated discussion. Childcare will be provided so let us know of your interest.

Theatre Discussion Series – Waiting for Godot

Downing Cless, Jane Minasian, Debbie Dobbins — Sunday, January 31, 12:30 p.m., Library

Join Downing and others as we read Samuel Beckett’s first and most famous play which launched the movement known as Theatre of the Absurd. Two tramps in a void exchange humorous banter and existential queries as they day-after-day wait for the arrival of Mr. Godot, a continuous no-show. We’ll read the play together and then discuss it. Please bring a copy of the play with you if possible. Our next discussions will be about plays from the current Boston theatre scene which we will attend in our own time. The following plays will be explored:

  • The Convert at the Underground Railway Theatre playing from January 28-February 28th – discussion on Sunday, March 6, 3 p.m., Library
  • Bootycandy at the SpeakEasy Stage Company playing from March 10 – April 9th – discussion on Sunday, April 10, 3 p.m., Library

The complete events calendar is online.

Program & Committee News

Grow Clinic!

Your contributions of baby food will go directly from our baskets to the high chairs of malnourished babies whose families cannot always afford food for their children.alt

January: The Great Jar Race
  • Baby Foods of All Kinds!

There are collection baskets in the Lower Hall and the vestibule outside the Sanctuary.

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Caring Connection

The Caring Connection provides support to members of our community who need short-term help. Please let us know if you or someone you know would benefit from our support. Contact Laurie Graham at or Janice at the Church, 617-484-1054, ext. 201.

Lay Pastoral Care Team

The Lay Pastoral Care Team works with and supports the senior minister in reaching out to members and friends of the First Church who are adjusting to change, loss, illness or death. We share in moments of celebration and happiness. We reach out to those who are unable to get out and who would like a visit. Please contact us through the Web site or the church office if we might be of help or comfort.

The Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights is continuing to accept winter clothing, especially outerwear for adults. To arrange pickup, please contact Diana Dill at

UU Urban Ministry Anti-Racism Summit, Jan. 23

What:          Anti-Racism Summit

Where:        UU Urban Ministry (10 Putnam Street Roxbury, Mass.)

When:         Saturday, January 23, 2016

Time:           10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Coffee and registration at 9:30 a.m.)

Featuring a panel discussion with representatives from Black Lives Matter Boston and the Muslim Justice League.

This summit for Unitarian Universalists engaged in and thinking about Racial Justice will provide an opportunity for UU groups to be together, meet others fighting for racial equality, and share best practices and ideas. Come learn how to be a more effective ally and stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Boston and the Muslim community in Boston.

A list of all church committees & groups is online. }

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Church Staff

  • Senior Minister………………….. Rev. David M. Bryce; 617-484-1054, ext. 202;
  • Minister Emeritus……….. Rev. Dr. Victor Carpenter; 617-676-6186;
  • Minister of Music Emerita….. Rev. Alfa Joy Radford;
  • Director of Music…………………………….. Ian Garvie; 617-484-1054, ext. 206;
  • Organist & Assistant Music Director: …Dylan Sauerwald; 617-484-1054, ext. 206;
  • Acting Director of CRE…………. Charlotte Lehmann; 617-484-1054, ext. 205;
  • Director of Youth Programs………………. Julie Ennis; 617-484-1054, ext. 204;
  • Adult Programs Advisor……………. Lillian Anderson; 617-484-1054, ext. 207;
  • Church Administrator………………… Janice Zazinski; 617-484-1054, ext. 201;
  • Membership Coordinator…………………. Jim Staton; 617-484-1054, ext. 207;
  • Sexton………………………………………… Luis Carrion 617-484-1054
  • Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3. The church office will be closed on Monday, January 18, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
  • 617-484-1054 |
  • Street: 404 Concord Ave., Belmont
  • Mailing: PO Box 113, Belmont, Mass. 02478

Parish Board, 2015 – 2016


  • Catherine Claypoole
  • Deveaux Duckworth
  • Betsy George
  • Peter Guthrie
  • Jackie James
  • Sarah Oaklander
  • Jack Weis

Parish Board minutes are available online and are posted on the Lower Hall bulletin board.

More ways to support & connect with FCB


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Next issue: January 19

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, January 19. Please send your submissions to Janice Zazinski at by Wednesday, January 13.

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