The Unitarian – February 9, 2016

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Sunday Worship — February 14

Sermon: Love — Rev. David Bryce

Today we celebrate love in its aspect of love for other people, love for other living beings, love for life. We begin with the legends of Saint Valentine.

Welcome and Announcements: 9 a.m. Betsy George; 11 a.m. Penny Schafer

Ushers: 9 a.m.: Bruce Logan & Marianne Leahy; 11 a.m.: Pam Andrews & John Little

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

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Alice Trexler and Downing Cless, with gratitude on Valentine’s Day to the staff, committee members, and teachers/volunteers who work so hard on behalf of Children’s Religious Education.

  • Services 9 & 11 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sunday, February 21: Does Religion Matter? — Rev. Doris Hunter
  • Sermon archive

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

You will receive this on Fat Tuesday, the day just before the Christian Lenten season. (My King Cake is scheduled for delivery on the day I write this column.)
     This week is the time of the Spring Festival in China (including what we call “Chinese New Year”) and Vasant Panchami, the Indian festival of spring.
     We, of course, have not yet really had winter yet. There have been a few minor snowfalls, but so far nothing like last year’s record snows. For us, winter tends to last until March. And so it seems odd to think that others are already celebrating the beginning of spring.
     We are a bit “off kilter” from the experience of others. (The definition of “off kilter” from the Merriam Webster Dictionary: “different from the ordinary, usual, or expected”.)
     I sometimes find myself feeling off kilter from the experience of other people. That can lead to a feeling of not just difference from others, but of isolation from others. And that is not comfortable.
     That, of course, is why some of us left our previous religious affiliations and became Unitarian Universalist; we felt different from other people within that tradition, different enough in some way that we no longer felt welcome—or no longer wished to feel welcome.
     Yet it is human nature to want to be part of a group. We are, for the most part, social creatures. We seek to join clubs or religious communities, to feel part of our neighborhood or peer group, to have a sense of nationalism or tribalism.
     We crave a sense of belonging, though we are often skeptical about what we must either yield to a group or hide from that group in order to belong.
     And sometimes that identity with a group goes awry and becomes more about excluding others than about including those we are with. A healthy sense of belonging gives us a place to be grounded while moving out beyond that grounding group.
     I hope each of you has that healthy sense of belonging here in this congregation.
     Ultimately, I suppose, the real sense of belonging that we seek is when we feel we belong in and on this world, and therefore in some way feel identified with all people and all life. Some of us might use secular language for that, some of us might use more particularly religious language; but I believe we are speaking from the same place.
     May you belong to and feel connected with Earth, the Universe, the Goddess or God. And may that give you the ability to see any differences you may have from others as a source of wonder and of strength.

2016 March Stewardship Drive

stewardship logoOur March Stewardship Drive is approaching! This is how we fund the worship services, programs, and operations of First Church. The annual budget is over $700,000, and pledges from all of us, Members and Friends, provide about 80% of the church’s revenue. To help each of us decide our level of commitment for the July 2016-June 2017 church year, our campaign unfolds in three phases:

  • LEARN and REFLECT (during February): How can we all be stewards of our church? What is my connection to the church? What are all the types of ministry, programs, and intangible benefits First Church provides to me, my family, and our community? Please reflect on David Bryce’s January 31 Stewardship sermon and Todd Schatzki’s Feb. 4 email to the congregation. The Stewardship Committee shortly will provide information on our webpage outlining the church’s finances.
  • DECIDE (late February): Your pledge packet, including pledge form and envelope, will arrive in the mail during the last week of February. Do not put it aside! We ask all of you to pledge generously to sustain our valuable church operations and programs for the 2016 – 2017 year. Generous increased pledges each year are essential to the success of the Stewardship Drive. On the pledge form, you will be able to select a payment schedule that works best for you.
  • RESPOND (Celebration Sunday, February 28): We ask you to make your pledge as promptly as possible. We invite all of you to bring your pledges to church on Sunday, February 28 and to come forward with your pledge envelopes during the Offertory. It will be a memorable worship service and musical celebration as we gather together. At coffee hour, enjoy special treats from Quebrada Bakery!

     We seek a very strong response on February 28. If you are unable to pledge by that date, we ask that you make your pledge no later than March 13. On-time pledging is essential, as the Parish Board has to finalize the budget in April for the congregation to approve in May. We request your timely response to our annual March Stewardship Drive, which we hope will be as generous as possible. Our church depends on all of us.
     Thank you for your careful consideration of these important calendar dates and the church’s financial needs.

The First Church Stewardship Committee — Roger Read, Chair

Thank you, Kathy Dunlap

Years ago, we had a tradition in the church of acknowledging “unsung heroes” at the Annual Meeting. If that tradition were to be revived, the House Committee would like to nominate Kathy Dunlap.
     Kathy designed and made the new bulletin boards in the Lower Gathering Hall. While in the church to install them, she learned that Charlotte Lehmann needed cork strips for displaying work in the CRE hallway, so she went back to her shop and designed and made those.
     We are grateful for her ideas, her labor (all gratis), and her willingness to take on these projects. Thank you, Kathy.

Submitted by the House Committee — Ed Bing, ML Landfried, and Lanier Smythe

 Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

A very large number of parents and caregivers registered for our field test of the new UUA curriculum Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators. The class is at maximum capacity. The first session was well attended and it is evident from the conversations that continued in the hallway before people departed for home that it is off to a great start.
     In addition, the large attendance by parents and caregivers at the Adult Programs between services offering of “Children & Technology,” facilitated by Diana Dill with assistance from Stefan Frank and Wendy Conroy, points to a very real need in this congregation for programming aimed at parenting issues and offered at times that parents and caregivers can attend. CRE and Adult Programs is hearing this need loud and clear, and will do what they can to address this need as best they can, but they will need your help. Please let both programs know what you want to see in the future.
     It is gratifying to see the enthusiasm and energy for educational and social events that involve children and families. CRE is grateful that other program areas are recognizing the benefits of multigenerational events and have suggested ways to collaborate on activities such as the Pre-Halloween Party and the Fall Family Hike.
     Along with offering programs and activities, being able to provide childcare to parents and caregivers would go a long way to making it possible for them to be involved in the life of this congregation. Unfortunately, fielding enough teachers as well as an assistant nursery caregiver to help with the CRE program on Sunday mornings still proves to be a significant challenge for the CRE program. How can the congregation fill these needs?

Special Activities of interest this winter:

  • Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators continues on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month through May 24th. This program is especially helpful for parents/caregivers of tweens and teens but we welcome anyone who wishes to participate. Offered by CRE. For more information, and to register for the class, use the following link: com/gpv273y.

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 12th grade. All children must be registered for CRE.

CRE Volunteer Opportunities for All at FCB

  • Teach any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using this form:
  • 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 to sign-up: tinyurlcom/chalicelighting. 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. Click here: You will receive an e-mail reminder.

~ Charlotte Lehmann, Acting Director of Children’s Religious Education

Office hours: Tues-Weds, 10am-6pm. E-mail:

CoffeeHouseHeaderSecond Friday Coffeehouse features Jim Infantino and Holm, Miller & Greene

Jim Infantino

Jim Infantino

This week the Second Friday Coffeehouse is proud to present one new performer and a group of old friends. Jim Infantino has collaborated with our own Jon Svetkey in End Construction and performed for many years with his own band, Jim’s Big Ego. We are excited to present Jim this month, offering his distinctive style of song writing and performing. The old friends returning to our stage are First Church’s own Roger Miller, Chris Holm on guitar and vocals, and Chuck Greene on bass. This trio has performed at Second Friday several times and we look forward to welcoming them back. So join us at First Church and support our featured beneficiary and long-time associate, Bristol Lodge.
     Check out the complete schedule at

Belmont Open Sings — February 21

Come hear Irina Kareva in Mozart’s stirring Requiem; and, even better, get to sing the choral parts too, when Mary Beekman conducts Belmont Open Sings on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
     This is the last piece Mozart wrote, and in it you can hear his uncertainty as to whether God will judge him as a sheep or a goat.
     The reading takes place at Payson Park Church, 365 Belmont St. and $10 gets you a seat, a score, a full orchestra and fine soloists, and even a cookie or two! Hope to see you there!

Looking for a summer rental/home exchange

Greetings from Tina Tomlow-de Muinck Keizer
I am the daughter of Bea de Muinck Keizer … I live in the Netherlands with my husband and three growing children. We would love to visit my mother over the summer and are looking for lodging in the greater Belmont area. We are looking for a summer rental for 1-3 weeks for a reasonable price in the period from mid-July to mid- August. We can also offer our home in the centre of the Netherlands as a home exchange. This is something we are experienced with. Please contact me at You can call Bea if you have any questions, at 617-489-1781. Thank you!

Adult Programs News

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch and Program — Wednesday, Feb. 17, 12 noon, Upper Hall

Bring your own sandwich; we will provide beverages, fruit, and dessert. The suggested lunch donation is $1.00 per person. This month’s program features Joe Cornish, president of the New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and past president of the Belmont Historical Society who will speak about historic architecture/17th century homes in Belmont. R.s.v.p. to Janice Zazinski: 617-484-1054, x.201 or

Science and Spirituality — Ken Bernstein and Edwin Taylor; Thursday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room

Jeff Speller will lead the discussion of a reading from The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. Our brains are plastic and ready for learning at any age. Is this true? What is the evidence? How can this ability change our lives? Download the reading from:

Living Positively (formerly Living with Serious Illness) — Kathy Lind; Thursday, Feb. 18, 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. 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.

Fiber Arts — Eva Patalas; Thursday, Feb. 18, 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. Everyone is welcome and no commitment is necessary. Contact for location.

Understanding Hospice — Adult Programs Committee; Tuesday, February 23 and March 8, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall

In this two-part series we will provide useful information to anyone who might need hospice services for themselves or their loved ones in the future. A panel representing roles on the hospice team will help us grapple with some of the more complex issues. Each session will include time for questions.

Breast Cancer Wellness Journey — Melanie Deveikas; Wednesdays, Feb.24, Mar. 9 and 23, April 6, 7:30 p.m., Parlor

An educational series focusing on life and wellness during and after breast cancer treatment. Each week there will be an education topic for discussion as well as an opportunity for sharing your breast cancer journey and related concerns through and beyond treatment. For more information or to sign up please contact Melanie at

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey; Wednesday, February 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Parish Hall

Bring your instruments, your voice and your enthusiasm to sing the songs we all know and love. No experience required. Bring your iPads or iPhones so we can find the lyrics.

Our UU Principles and Purposes — Doris Hunter & Edwin Taylor; Sunday, February 28, 12:30 p.m., Library

“Unitarian Universalists can believe anything they want to believe.” WAIT! That is not true. Let’s look at our Principles and recognize again the religious demand they place on our lives. Refreshments served.

Film & Discussion – “Lena: My 100 Children” with Miriam Baker; Monday, February 29, 7:00 p.m., Parish Hall

This film, which stars Linda Lavin, tells the true story of Lena Kuchler who at the end of World War II took on the care of 100 Jewish refugee children in Poland. This group was subjected to continued persecution and deprivation. There is a First Church connection to this story as one of the children was adopted by Miriam Baker’s parents.

The complete calendar of events is online.

Program & Committee News

First Church and Refugee Resettlement

At First Church we are exploring the possibility of working with a resettlement agency to help resettle refugees coming to the US. The process began as an outreach to Syrians fleeing their country but in all probability they will not be in the US for resettlement until late 2017 or early 2018.
     Just the same, there are many others who need help finding a home in the US. If you would like to be part of this discussion, please send me, Sam James, with your e-mail address and I will add your name to the distribution list. My e-mail address is We are working to initiate a town wide response with all congregations participating in this effort. So please join us. The first step is to send an e-mail and we will place you on the list.

Grow Clinic!

Wouldn’t you like to Put Some LOVE in Your Cart this Valentine Holiday with a few extras for the infants and toddlers at the Grow Clinic? Pick up a food list for shopping or bring a Special Request.

  • February Special Request: Baby Food and Formula

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

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Belmont Food Pantry Volunteers

First Church members staff the opening of the Belmont Food Pantry on the second Tuesday of every month. There will be a sign-up table after Sunday’s service to recruit volunteers for the months of February through May. Volunteers work for about 90 minutes, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please stop by the sign-up table in the Gathering Hall today to volunteer to help out one evening during the upcoming months.

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.

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 — 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;
Office Assistant: Alexandra Nichipor — 617-484-1054, ext. 207;
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 Monday, February 15, for Presidents’ Day.

617-484-1054 |
Street:       404 Concord Ave., Belmont
Mailing:   PO Box 113, Belmont, Mass. 02478

Parish Board, 2015 – 2016

President: Todd Schatzki —
Vice President: Ana Hammock —
Treasurer: Penny Schafer —
Clerk: Downing Cless —
Ex-Officio President: Carolyn Howard —


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

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Next issue: February 16

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, February 16. Please send your announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, February 10.

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