The Unitarian – January 19, 2016

Click to download a printable copy of The Unitarian (pdf file)

Sunday Worship — January 24

Sermon: What Do We Really Need? — Rev. David Bryce

This morning our Chalice Lighting will be words from a member of our partner church in Transylvania. For me they raise the question, “What, really, do we need?” What are the important things in life, and do we appreciate them when we have them?

Prelude: Hungarian Peasant Song by Béla Bartók (1888 – 1945); Dylan Sauerwald, piano

Postlude: Hej, tulipán [Hey, tulip (Traditional)]; Livia Racz, citera

9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: Csillagos ég (Starry Sky); Lajos Bárdos (1899 – 1986)

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Sanctus from Missa Brevis; Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967)

Offertory: Hazám, hazám (My home, my home), Ferencz Erkel (1810 – 93); Livia Racz, soprano

Aria from Hungarian opera, Bánk Bán, in which the main character, who is in exile, vows to go home and serve the land and people.

Welcome and Announcements: 9 a.m. Sara Oaklander; 11 a.m. Deveaux Duckworth

Ushers: 9 a.m.: Ana Hammock & Kathy Lind; 11 a.m.: Judy McSwain & Laurie Graham

Lay Pastoral Care: 9 a.m. Tom Neel; 11 a.m. Martha Spaulding

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Pegeen Wright and Charlie Hubbard in loving memory of their brothers — Keith, Timothy and Ted Wright and Ron Hubbard.

  • Services 9 & 11 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sunday, January 31: Why This Community is Needed — Rev. David Bryce
  • Sermon archive

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

I had lunch with a colleague today, a fellow Unitarian Universalist minister, and we shared our “journeys” into (and within) Unitarian Universalism and into ministry.

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

     I have experienced a number of changes in theology over the years, from Theist to non-Theist to my current Humanist and Universalist paradox (there is no God and we will all spend eternity in heaven with God).
     In any other western religious tradition — and in many non-western religious traditions — each of these changes would have required that I “hide” my theology or that I leave my current tradition and find another one. Part of my gratitude to Unitarian Universalism, part of what I hold dear and most deeply cherish, is that through my theological growth and journey, no matter what my thinking was at any given time, I was still always welcome as a UU.
     That to me is one of our strengths: that we can hold within our circle people of varying beliefs.
     I once shared our open theological stance —including our encompassing of Humanism, Theism, Paganism, Buddhism and more —.with a young man who happened to be Muslim (though he could have been of any other faith and had the same reaction). His comment to me was, “But that is nothing!” My unspoken thought in response was, “No, that is everything!”
     One of the reasons we can have such a wide range of theologies within our tradition is that we believe in people; we believe in the human potential to think, feel and theologize for ourselves. As a tradition (though this varies from congregation to congregation) we recognize that there is no “final answer.” We are all searchers, or are at least open to the possibility of searching. And so we do not exclude those who do not think exactly as we do on matters of theology.
     That is not to say there are no limits; but that is for another time.

Annual Piano Celebration — Saturday, January 23

This Saturday, January 23rd at 8:00 p m., The First Church in Belmont 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 p.m.)

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

Wendy Conroy and I are excited to share with you that FCB will be field testing the Unitarian Universalist newest curriculum: Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators. Workshops will be offered on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month from 7-9 pm in the FCB Library, starting January 26 and running through May 24. We encourage you to attend as many workshops as you can.
     This program is especially helpful for parents/caregivers of tweens and teens but we welcome anyone who wishes to participate. You may register for the class using the following link:
     The program is grounded in Unitarian Universalist values, and will provide parents and caregivers a unique understanding about tweens/teens, sexuality, and parenting. The program offers information, skill building, and broad perspectives on specific topics related to sexuality with parent-youth communication as the primary focus. Our goal is to support parents and caregivers who are their children’s primary sexuality educators.
     The curriculum addresses many topics covered in the Our Whole Lives (OWL) programs for children and youth. If your child has or will be taking OWL, this is a great opportunity to learn skills to continue those valuable discussions at home.
     Scheduled sessions will include many of the following workshop topics: Hopes and Concerns, Communication, Sexual Health, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Relationship Constellations, Decision Making, Consent Education, Social Media, and Pornography.
     If you are interested, whether you are currently parenting tween/teens or not, please register. Register even if you cannot attend all nine (9) sessions on our schedule so we know who will be part of this exciting opportunity at FCB!

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: com/go/409044ca9ad2aa02-nursery. 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 of the FCB website ( 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 Education

Office 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

Welcome to FCB’s new Office Assistant

Alexandra Nichipor has recently started as our Office Assistant. She already works as the lead teacher in the pre-K/Kindergarten classroom for the CRE program, and is excited to serve First Church in a new capacity.
     Alex received her Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and philosophy from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. In addition to her work at First Church, she is also a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
     Working with Janice Zazinski, Alex will produce the weekly Order of Service, the Unitarian, other print and online communications, and handle a variety of administrative duties and projects.
     Her work space is in the Tinkham Room and you can reach her at or 617-484-1054, ext. 207, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 – 4.

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

Click here to download the Winter 2016 Adult Programs Brochure (pdf file)

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, 12 noon, 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 meet 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; with 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

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations – Social Action Committee; Sunday, January 31, 7 p.m., Library

Please join members of the Social Action Committee, the Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Against Racism, the Belmont police department and graduates of YouthBuild as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world.

Learn to Make Italian Wedding Soup — Donna Ruvolo; Sunday, February 7, 1 – 3:30 p.m., Kitchen

Come in from the cold to a nice pot of soup! In this very basic, step by step class, participants will learn how to make Italian wedding soup (escarole, mini-meatballs and orzo) and its cousin, Polish wedding soup (kielbasas, kale and white bean) from scratch. Each participant will bring their own meatball ingredients and will go home with enough for two or three quick and easy pots of soup to make at home. Sample soups will be made in class for everyone to try.
     Limited to 10 students (or pairs of students, working together), ages 15 and above. Taught by First Church member Donna Ruvolo in the First Church kitchen. Students will receive a complete shopping list in advance from Donna, so make sure to provide an up to date email address when registering. (Note, the Super Bowl begins later in the day).
     Registration is required. Contact Lillian Anderson (

The complete events calendar is online.

Program & Committee News Universalist Service Committee Team of First Church

Monthly Note (Jan. 2016)

At the UUSC Guest at Your Table Sunday in November, contribution boxes and Stories of Hope were distributed to the congregation. We trust that these stories promoted conversation and reflection and that your box has become fuller and fuller over these weeks. As you remember, this year’s funds are going to refugees and displaced persons. This message is to remind you to send your donation by the end of January.
     Please write a check for the amount in your box or more, and use the form on the box or with the story booklet when you mail it (address on form). Or, you may donate directly through the Guest at Your Table page of $40 or more earns membership benefits, and $125 or more will be matched by another congregation.
     And there’s more — if our church is in the top 75 of fundraising totals or has more than 75% participation, we will be included in the 100th anniversary UUSC time capsule. Thank you for your tax deductible donation for refugees through this program!

~ Alice Trexler for the UUSC Team

Grow Clinic!alt

The GREAT JANUARY JAR RACE is coming to an end. Keep going. Keep loading jars and jars and packages and packages and boxes and boxes into to your shopping cart.

  • 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

FCBGreen Committee Survey Results and Announcement

In Spring 2015, the congregation was asked to participate in a survey related to the mission of FCBGreen (making our building more environmentally sustainable and initiating education events and actions related to the environment and global warming). Thank you to the 20% of church members who responded.

Major Results of The Survey
  • 70% of the survey responders consider that personal environmental actions taken in their lives are one way to live our UU values. And, another 29% were in the mostly or somewhat category on this question, making for 99% of the responses.
  • 89% of the survey responders consider that improving the energy efficiency of our facilities and further educating themselves is mostly or very important in acting on our “web of life” principle.
  • A number of people have offered to help FCBGreen by becoming a member, consulting, and (or) attending an education event. (We’ll make further contact with them this spring.)
  • There is strong support for FCBGreen’s mission.

Announcement: In its January meeting the Parish Board voted to endorse commit2respond, which is a global climate change initiative of the UUA and UUSC. Click on the link to read more about this exciting development which is supported by many UU congregations.

     The Committee is currently organizing discussions and actions related to solar, divestment, and an energy efficiency audit of the building. For more about FCBGreen, visit our webpage, see the posting board in the lower hall, contact John Kolterman (Chair), and (or) join us at the next meeting at 12:30 on Sunday, February 10.

~ Alice Trexler, FCBGreen Member

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.

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 Bryce

617-484-1054, ext. 202;


Minister Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Victor Carpenter



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;


Office Assistant

Alexandra Nichipor

617-484-1054, ext. 207;


Membership Coordinator

Jim Staton

617-484-1054, ext. 207;



Luis Carrion



Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3
617-484-1054 |

Street: 404 Concord Avenue, Belmont
Mailing: PO Box 113, Belmont, Mass. 02478

Parish Board, 2015 – 2016



Todd Schatzki


Vice President

Ana Hammock



Penny Schafer



Downing Cless


Ex-Officio President

Carolyn Howard



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

More ways to support & connect with FCB


When you shop at AmazonSmile, First Church in Belmont receives 0.5% of the purchase price.


Our Facebook page is regularly updated with news, events & programs – no account needed!

Next issue: January 26

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, January 26. Please send your submissions to by Wednesday, January 20.

Posted in Unitarian