The Unitarian – February 23, 2016

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Sunday Worship — February 28

Sermon: Celebration Sunday — Rev. David Bryce

Let us gather to celebrate our congregation, our community, our history and our future.

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Cry Out with Joy, Christopher Walker (b. 1947)

Offertory: Every Time I Feel the Spirit, African-American Spiritual; Davron Monroe, tenor, and Richard Curzi, piano

Solo: When the Saints go Marching In, arranged and performed by Richard Curzi

Welcome and Announcements: 9 a.m. Sara Oaklander; 11 a.m. Jackie James

9 a.m. Ushers: Peter Guthrie & Mark Thurber

11 a.m. Ushers: Alan Cantor & Margaret Marks

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

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Mary Harrison in celebration of and gratitude for her five grandchildren and their parents.

  • Services 9 & 11 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sunday, March 6:
    9 a.m. — Rev. David Bryce
    11 a.m. — Guest preacher
  • Sermon archive

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

I have just begun reading a history of China. The book speaks of a cavern which was quite large (500 feet by 150 feet with a ceiling 120 feet high in one section). This cavern was used by people (Homo erectus) beginning somewhere around 400,000 years ago. Two points struck particularly struck me about this cavern.
     The first point is that the cavern was continuously inhabited for about 200,000 years.
     That is an immense period of time.
     Might there have been a time when there was a hiatus of fifty years with no one in the cave? Or 100 years? Or even 1,000 years? I suspect this is possible. However, let us assume that it was, indeed, continuous habitation. Astonishing. For the people living there, this had “forever” been home.
     Second, the cavern was inhabited “until the interior was completely filled up with layers of their debris.” They literally garbaged themselves out of their home. That fact ought to challenge any romantic notions that our ancestors knew how to live with nature. They were just as messy as us. Maybe more so.
     The debris included animal bones, human bones and other items beloved by archaeologists; a reminder that one person’s garbage is another’s treasure.
     Of course, “debris” is not necessarily garbage. Really, it can be anything that one does not fully recognize or appreciate. We human beings become used to what we do and to the things around us and take them for granted. That is just human nature.
     This got me to wondering what “debris” we leave behind in our lives. What are the unknown treasures —physical or emotional — that we are casting off around us right now that will give joy, comfort and knowledge to others in the future?
     And what “debris” is our spiritual community leaving behind that will do the same?
     That is, what are the things about this our congregation and our religious tradition that we have become so used to that we take them for granted when they really are special and valuable treasures?
     Look round, I think you will find them.

2016 March Stewardship Drive

Stewardship 2016 – Celebration Sunday, Feb. 28 – Please Make Your Pledgestewardship logo

Hi everyone – Did your pledge form and supporting materials just arrive in your mail? Please keep them handy, as this week is the time to decide on your pledge for the coming church year. As you decide on your pledge, please remember the following:

  • Our pledge target is $601,000. Please especially consider increasing your pledge over last year, which will strengthen our church’s financial foundation immeasurably and lead us forward with an expanded base of support.
  • Our pledging kick-off is this Sunday, Feb. 28, Celebration Sunday! Please join us at the festive and uplifting Sunday morning services when all are invited to present their pledge envelopes during the Offertory.
  • You can also mail your pledge, or pledge online here.
    And if you are not able to make a pledge by this Sunday, please do so no later than Thursday, March 10. Regardless of how you choose to pledge, we hope you’ll join in for Celebration Sunday services and a special coffee hour featuring treats thanks to Kay Wiggin of Quebrada Bakery.
  • For more information, visit a Pledge Online Now!

Thank you for giving high priority to supporting First Church. − The Stewardship Committee

Appeal from the Social Action Committee, the Partner Church Committee, and the Stained-Glass Committee

After 75 years, this year the Rummage Sale is in jeopardy; a few key Sale Committee members are unable to take a leadership role in 2016.
     We’re looking for a few people to step into vacant leadership roles and to step up to managing the Sale! (Finance, publicity, and organizational leaders are currently in place.)
     The Sale has built FCB community, provided useful goods to many local non-profits, and recycled a large quantity of donated items to buyers and agencies.
     Over the last 24 years, the Rummage Sale has also raised $65,000 for the work of The First Church (much of it “outside” money), funding leaded-glass and stained-glass repair, Partner Church exchanges, and social action outreach.
     Please consider volunteering for this important work. See Patricia Garcia, SAC Chair, or email Patricia Garcia at

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

I grew up in a UU congregation in the Upper Midwest. For complicated reasons, I went to “Sunday School” only into the sixth grade; so I missed out on a UU history class, About Your Sexuality (AYS) and the experience of youth group – although I did go along on some LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) camping trips and other events that my older siblings went to because my mother was a parent-chaperone. I imagine that my life would have been different somehow if I’d continued to be involved with our local UU congregation, but I know that those six years of religious education profoundly shaped my life, what I am doing, and my reflections on how I might do things even better.
     In addition to my job at FCB, I am completing a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) unit at St. Vincent’s Catholic Hospital in Worcester this year. CPE is a professional development training in spiritual care or chaplaincy. Basically, it involves taking a small but diverse group of people who are interested in pastoral care, giving them hands-on experience in providing spiritual care to patients, loved ones and (medical) staff, and then reflecting on these experiences as a group in order to go deeper or do better next time.
     As difficult as it is to witness and accompany people who are in medical, emotional or spiritual crisis, sometimes it feels like the interpersonal group dynamics are even more challenging. As a UU, I am in the minority in terms of my religious beliefs. Add to that other aspects of myself that are still considered outside the norm in our 21st century culture and I seem very different to my CPE peer group. It’s easy to feel like an outsider in this system.
     But having been raised a UU, I respect people’s differences and I work always to make the circle wide, striving at all times to include others. Healthy groups, regardless of size, are those that can accept and appreciate difference. And so I draw the circle wider still.
     This is at the root of our religious education programming at First Church in Belmont. I wonder how you and your children or grandchildren are working to be agents of inclusivity in our world?
     The spring multigenerational worship service on March 13th has as its theme: “Celebrating Our Differences.” In this worship service we will hear some personal experiences with being different from others in some way, including ways that others are not aware of. We already have volunteers who will reflect on being different, however I am looking for 3-4 readers at each service to help with the Story for All Ages.
     That same day, the annual youth multigenerational event will take place from 12:30-2:30 pm. The event theme was selected by the youth. I hope you will mark your calendars and plan to attend “Transcending the Gender Binary: How to be an Ally and an Activist.”

Mark Your Calendars – Family Friendly Fun

  • Hootenanny on 2/24 at 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall. Bring an instrument and your voice to the circle for lots of fun singing your favorite songs. Sponsored by Adult Programs.
  • OWL 5/6 begins on 2/28. Children meet at 9 am in classroom (TBD). Mandatory parent-child orientation session follows from 10-11 am. Please register, if you haven’t already, by contacting
  • Parenting Concerns, 3/6 presented by Adult Programs between services from 10:15-11:00 am. FMI: contact Lillian Anderson.
  • Spring multigenerational worship service on 3/13. Readers needed. All FCB choirs sing this morning. Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins, turn clocks forward the night before.
  • “Transcending the Gender Binary: How to be an Ally and an Activist” – a Youth Programs multigenerational event on 3/13 in the Parish Hall from 12:30-2:30 pm. FMI: contact Julie Ennis.
  • Beyond Shelter annual “picnic” on 3/26 – FMI: please contact CRE or Patricia Garcia. This is Easter weekend.

CRE Volunteer Opportunities for All at FCB

  • Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line:
  • 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: com/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. You can easily sign-up for this volunteer opportunity here: com/sundaynursery. 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: Tues-Weds, 10am-6pm. E-mail:

Can you help with a UUUM youth service project?

From Ben Ackerson:

I am working on a youth service project at the UU Urban Ministry in Roxbury. Reverend Hinds from the Ministry has asked me to build a fence and a firm foundation to hide a dumpster from view and keep it from wrecking the ground. I have a team of friends and some adult helpers lined up to do the work this spring. I just need an experienced builder or landscape architect who is willing to do some volunteer work to help me write up the plans. I expect that the commitment would be:

  1. A trip to the Urban Ministry one weekday afternoon or one weekend day to view the site;
  2. Help writing up a plan or diagram and coming up with a list of required materials.

If you are able to help, please contact me at, my dad (Lee Ackerson) at, or my home at 617-484-1910. Thanks, Ben Ackerson

If you use the church’s linens …

Please remember that if you use any of the church’s tablecloths or dishtowels, you are responsible for washing and returning them soon after your event. We’ve had to throw away some mildewed linens that had been used but not washed. Thank you!

Youth Group Multigenerational Event, March 13

Transcending the Gender Binary: How to be an Ally and an Activist; Facilitated by – Sunday, March 13, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Parish Hall

How do you gender yourself and others? This workshop utilizes experiential activities to investigate the gender binary through informative conversation and an introductory deconstruction of interlocking forms of systemic oppression.
     We will explore the connections among gender identity, biological sex, and sexuality in an effort to unravel the complexities and meanings of gender. Participants will be offered tools to aid them in becoming an activist and an ally in the gender justice movement. Light refreshments will be served.

Hang onto your hats!CoffeeHouseHeader

Friday, March 11 is Berklee College of Music Night at the Coffeehouse! Once again, the ever genial and generous Roger Brown has lined up a truly phenomenal act for us. Ellie Buckland and Isa Burke, of Lula Wiles, a band of roots songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, will deliver original music with fearless energy, heart, and depth. Featured beneficiary is Bristol Lodge. Mark your calendar now!

FCB to host UU MassAction event on Feb. 27; attend for free by helping out at the event

In preparation for Advocacy Day, UU Mass Action is running a skill-building workshop led by Rev. Stephen Schick here at the First Church.
     “Speaking Your Truth: The Art of Being a Voice for Justice“ will provide the opportunity to improve your ability to speak from the heart and encourage others to take action on the justice issues about which you are most passionate.
     The event organizers request a few helping hands with setting up and tidying after the event. Helpers can attend for free! Contact Executive Director Laura Wagner at to assist.

Adult Programs News

Breast Cancer Wellness Journey — Melanie Deveikas; Wednesdays, Feb.24, Mar. 9, 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: “Unitarian Universalists can believe anything they want to believe” — Doris Hunter and Edwin Taylor; Sunday, Feb. 28 and March 13, 12:30 p.m., Library

WAIT! That is not true. What are UU principles, and what do they demand of us? Who remembers any but number one: the worth and dignity of every person. There are five more. What are they? We “Affirm and Promote” these principles. What does that mean? Who enforces these principles? Discuss! — while you enjoy refreshments.

Solar Information Workshop – Sunday, February 28, 12:30pm, Parish Hall

Learn about the status of solar energy technology, when it makes sense to add a solar system to your house, the economics of going solar, the inside of the current Belmont Goes Solar campaign, experiences from solar owners, and how we can add a solar system to FCB. Solar energy is a great way to help reduce our carbon footprint without having to give up the things we are so fond off, and every small system does make a difference for the planet.
     The workshop will be hosted by FCB members and friends (Martin Plass, Phil Thayer, Darrell King and Mark Davis) who are experienced in Solar Energy and will show people how to jump on the solar bandwagon. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session. Topics to be covered are:-Solar Energy resources and potentials, growth of solar-Rooftop solar: when it makes sense, benefits, costs, potential savings – Experiences with solar systems by homeowners that have done it already – Background and information on the current Belmont Goes Solar campaign -Alternatives to owning your own solar system (Mothers-Out-Front, Yeloha, energy savings)

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee; Sunday, Feb. 28, 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.

Film & Discussion – “Lena: My 100 Children” —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.

A Real World Perspective on the Presidential Campaign — Mike Widmer; Thursday, March 3, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall

Mike Widmer, who has a long career in politics and government, will speak briefly about what he sees and how he interprets the current political landscape. How did we get here and what is the current status of the Republican and Democratic parties, and where is our nation headed? Following his remarks, there will be time for open discussion.

Parenting Discussion — Adult Programs Committee and CRE; Sunday, March 6, 10:15-11 a.m., Library

Join other interested parents and members of the congregation in a facilitated discussion.

“A Brush with the Past: Painting in the Boston School Tradition” — Jean Lightman/Laurie Noble; Sunday, March 6, 12:30 p.m., Library

The Boston School of Painting combines the drawing and design of the 19th Century European academies with the vibrant color and light of the French Impressionists. Jean Lightman will talk briefly about the founders: Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson, Joseph DeCamp, and William Paxton; and the European masters who inspired them: Vermeer, Velasquez and Chardin; and their painting descendants from the early 20th Century until the present time. She will discuss her painting process that incorporates the principles of the Boston School tradition and show one of her own paintings photographed from blank canvas to finished painting.

Theatre Discussion Series: The Convert — Downing Cless, Jane Minasian; Sunday, March 6, 4pm, Parlor

See or read the play and join us for an interesting discussion!

The Convert tells a powerful tale set in Southern Africa in 1895 during the height of colonization and missionary action. A young Shona girl escapes an arranged marriage by converting to Christianity, becoming a servant and student to an African evangelical. As anti-European sentiments spread throughout the native population, she is forced to choose between her family’s traditions and new newfound faith. Look at for a fuller description of the play and some background information. The Convert runs January 28 through February 28. Use the promotional code DOWNING to receive a 25% discount.

The complete calendar of events is online.alt

Program & Committee News

Grow Clinic!

As February comes to an end, you still have a chance to Put Some LOVE in Your Cart by remembering the Grow babies, toddlers and their families. Thanks!

  • 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 — Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Team Monthly Note

We are delighted that First Church member, Sara Oaklander, became a full-time Executive Assistant at the UUSC on February 16. As an integral part of the Programs, Advocacy, and Action Department, she provides administrative, personnel, budgetary, technical, and logistical support to the Vice President/Chief Program Officer.
     Before joining UUSC, Sara worked for 11 years with the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC), where she provided content and project management services to IISC and IISC’s social sector clients. Sara’s new position adds to the special bond we already experience with UUSC in relation to its founding.
     Also, go to to read more about Tom Andrews, former Congressman and human rights advocate, who has been appointed new President and CEO of UUSC.

~ Alice Trexler for the UUSC Team

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.

From the UU Urban Ministry

  • Spirit and Action: A Three-Part Series on Structural Racism in Boston
    Beginning March 1, “Spirit and Action” creates a sacred space for participants to learn about, and engage in, issues surrounding income inequality, environmental racism, and the impacts of urban renewal and gentrification on low-income communities. All sessions at the UUUM.
  • For details on this and other UU Urban Ministry events, visit

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

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

More ways to support & connect with FCB


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Next issue: March 1

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, March 1. Please send your announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, February 24.

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