The Unitarian – March 15, 2016

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Sunday Worship — March 20

Major Music Sunday presents Requiem K626, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

This requiem is Mozart’s last, unfinished composition. It is, perhaps, one of the greatest and most mysterious works in Western music. Because Mozart died so young while working on a mass for the dead, this music has attracted an unfair, though inevitable, amount of myth and popular drama. Join the Senior Choir and a professional orchestra for this truly incredible piece!

One service at 10:30 a.m. Childcare is provided.

Welcome and Announcements: Penny Schafer

Ushers: David Warner, Lauraine Dalton, and Hanspeter Pfister

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Anjali Kumar and Anthony Vagnucci to celebrate escaping winter’s wrath and the many spring birthdays in their family.

  • Sunday, March 27: Easter Sunday — Rev. David Bryce
  • Easter services at 9 & 11 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sermon archive

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

I am in the midst of reading a Charles Dickens novel called The Pickwick Papers. Many of you probably read it long ago.

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

     I cannot really tell you how far into I am other than to say somewhere near half way.
     Since I am reading it on an e-reader, I do not know how many pages it has or what page I am on, but I can tell you that I have about 6,000 locations more to read.
     The experience of reading this is interesting — not the book so much as my response. Clearly it is meant to be humorous, witty, etc. I have not laughed once; some of the references escape me as they are to early nineteenth century life, and I find myself to be mostly blasé about the story. If I were to be asked to write a review of the story — or to give my opinion of it to someone — I would be quite non-committal in my comments.
     And yet, each evening I look forward to picking it up and reading more. Odd. It is as if two very different portions of my brain are responding in different ways to what I am reading.
     I began to wonder about how often in the lived events of our life we think or feel in similar ways: speaking or consciously thinking of things as blasé, or having at best tepid words to say in reaction to them, and yet really liking them or finding them fascinating.
     Perhaps this does not apply to you. Well and good.
     But if it does, what is it that is happening? And how does it apply to such things as our spiritual paths?
     We know, of course, that the human brain is quite complex. We know, for example, that the frontal lobes are awash with emotions and “choose” which one or ones to respond to. (This seems to be a non-conscious choice; from the subjective perspective, it just happens. We feel what we feel because our frontal lobes have decided what we will feel. Perhaps some learn to “train” their lobes to respond in particular ways.)
     But this disconnect between competing feelings about events is something more than that — it is as if there are two choice centers in the brain each making a different assessment.
     Speaking in general terms, might this be why some people who say they are not spiritual or religious regularly attend worship services?
     Might that be why some who say they are deeply spiritual and desirous of community never attend worship services? (Note: I said “some”.)
     Might this be why some who claim no spirituality at all seem deeply connected to life, to the universe and to other people; while some who claim deep spirituality seem quite detached from all of that?
     In your spiritual search, is there unity and wholeness or is there this kind of separation? And if that separation exists, is it conflictual or complementary?
     Meanwhile, I look forward to reading the next chapter of The Pickwick Papers.

Stewardship Drive Update – Please Pledge Today!
stewardship logo

Make a Pledge Online Now!

With pledges from over 175 First Church families and individuals, the 2016 March Stewardship Drive has raised over $450,000 in pledges so far (about 75% of our target). But we still need $150,000 to reach our $601,000 pledge target. If you have not yet responded with your pledge, please do so as soon as possible and in any event by March 20.

     Many have already responded to the call to increase their pledge amounts over last year’s levels. Will you join them? Our total pledge dollars have actually dipped slightly during the past two years due to the loss of several generous long-time donors, so it takes increases from the rest of us, including new members and friends, to make up that difference and meet the increased budgetary demands for the 2016-17 church year.

Pledging is easy!

With thanks, The First Church Stewardship Committee – Roger Read, Chair

Easter Sunrise Service — March 27

colorful sunset

Come join our ritual of creating sacred space at sunrise at Habitat in Belmont. Meet in FCB parking lot at 5:45 or meet at the Habitat parking lot (10 Juniper Road, Belmont) at 6 a.m.
     Breakfast will be served at church following the service. All are warmly welcomed to be in fellowship with us. Questions: contact Kathy Crawley at or Kristin Phillips at

Children’s Religious Education: It Takes a Congregation

The presidential primary season always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth due to the rancorous debates and the negative/attack ads, but this year is the worst one I can remember in my adult life. The rallies filled with histrionics and slurs raise feelings in me of great concern for our society. As some dear friends of mine always used to say, “I love our country, but fear our government.” I’ll admit that I am more afraid of possible future leadership of our country now than I have ever been.
     Fear is a teacher. It can be a debilitating one, if we have been traumatized. As a first response, freeze, fight or flight ensures our initial safety. However, when fear only results in these responses, we are not effecting a change in our environment that will lead to growth and harmony.
     I learned early in my life to listen carefully when anxiety or fear arose in response to some situation I found myself in. What is the reason for my fear? What is this fear telling me? Is there something I need to watch out for? Do I proceed with caution but also with courage? Am I afraid to be different? Am I afraid to do something new? Am I afraid of being vulnerable?
     Years ago a friend of mine shared a story with me about a seminary classmate who was going for an important interview as a ministerial candidate. This woman lived with a psychological challenge and as she prepared for the interview, she struggled whether to tell the search committee about her diagnosis. One day, as she walked along a busy, Manhattan street, worrying on this question, she heard a voice — the voice of God — and it said this, “Go where the fear is.”
     That message has stuck with me. Go where the fear is. To me, this means not that we risk our physical and emotional safety, but that we risk being vulnerable with our fellow human beings. We risk connecting with each other. We risk communing with each other. We risk being our whole, authentic selves. We risk touching the lives of those near or far through compassion and caring.
     In so doing, we restore each other to humanity.
     May you hear the deeper message in your fears and go where it leads you.

     ~ Charlotte

Mark Your Calendars – Family Friendly Fun

  • 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: 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 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 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:

Youth Group News

UU College of Social Justice trainings
The UU College of Social Justice is offering three Activate youth justice trainings this summer! High schoolers can sign up for Activate Boston: Climate Justice (July 9 to 17), Activate Tucson: Immigration Justice (July 23 to 31), or Activate New Orleans: Racial Justice & Beloved Community (July 30 to August 7). Generous financial aid is available for those who need it. For more info visit

UU Urban Ministry hosts Youth Week in April — “Making Friends, Doing Justice”

What are you doing during April School Vacation Week? Join the Roxbury Youth Program for three days of service learning!

  • Tuesday, April 19, 10 – 5
  • Wednesday, April 20, 10 – 5
  • Thursday, April 21, 10 – 8, with a fun field trip planned for the evening!

Come learn about urban social justice issues, challenge oppression, roll up your sleeves and volunteer in the City of Boston! Click here for more.

Boost Your Children’s Brain Power: Children’s Choir Openings starting March 21st!

Did you know that singing stimulates activity across the two hemispheres? Singing in a choir also provides excellent ear training for any instrument you play. Children can try out Choir for the rest of the year by joining the weekly rehearsals on Monday, March 21st.
     E-mail Ian Garvie at, or speak to him after the choirs perform on March 13.

~ Catherine Stalberg, on behalf of the Music Committee

Rummage Sale Postponed to 2017

The Social Action Committee would like to inform our beloved community that, after 73 consecutive years, the annual First Church Rummage Sale is being postponed until May 2017. This decision was made due to the fact that we were unable to fill key leadership positions, without which we cannot host this dynamic and complicated fundraiser.
     But fear not! We have the leadership in place for a rummage sale in May of 2017 and are already looking forward to next year’s sale brimming with two years’ worth of amazing deals.
     At this time, we would like to acknowledge the many people who have provided outstanding leadership and countless hours of energy to make past rummage sales so successful. The First Church Rummage Sale has generated more than $65,000 in the last 14 years, providing much needed money for the Window Fund, for our Partner Church, and for social action project grants.
     We are beginning to formulate plans for an alternative fundraiser for these three beneficiaries and would love to hear your ideas. Please send them to Patricia Garcia at (617-866-9366). Thank you for your past support and stay tuned for news of how you can participate and help ensure that these important First Church initiatives continue to thrive.

Ushers needed for the spring term (3/20-6/12) for both the 9:00 and 11:00 o’clock services

Please consider signing up to usher. This key volunteer responsibility is a tremendous contribution to the smooth operation of our worship services. To select your dates now, sign up to usher on the bulletin board in the upper gathering area, sign up on the church website or contact Leslie Kolterman (, Martha Read (, David Warner ( or Mark Thurber ( Visit for information on being an usher and to sign up online.

Job Opportunities at The First Church

The church is looking to fill the following vacant positions; please share with any suitable candidates you may know:

  • Director of Youth Programs
  • Director of Children’s Religious Education
  • Part-time Nursery Assistant
  • Part-time Office Assistant — a good fit for a stay-at-home parent, as the hours are flexible and the summers are free

Descriptions of all the positions are online, at

Adult Programs News

Belmont U.U. Alliance Lunch & Program
Wed., March 16, 12:00 Noon — All Women and Men Welcome!
On Wednesday, March 16, the Alliance will meet at noon at the First Church in Belmont for our lunch and program. Bring your own sandwich and we will provide soup, beverages, chopped fruit, and cookies. The suggested lunch donation is $1.00 per person.
     After lunch, Marian Melnick will portray Fannie Barrier Williams (born 1855, died 1944) an African-American woman educator, political activist, and women’s rights advocate from New York.
     Please reply to Janice Zazinski in the church office (; 617-484-1054, ext. 201) that you will attend and the number of your guests.

Facing Illness Together (formerly “Living with Serious Illness”) — Kathy Lind
Thursday, March 17, 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.

Science and Spirituality — Ken Bernstein and Edwin Taylor
Thursday, March 17, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
The topic for discussion is Isaiah Berlin, once described as the greatest English intellect of the 20th century. Ken Bernstein will start the discussion with a SHORT biography of Berlin derived from the book by Michael Ignatieff. We will then discuss one of Berlin’s many essays (marked as Berlin.pdf) at Edwin Taylor’s drop site accessed through

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Thursday, March 17, 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 for location.

Five Wishes — Adult Programs Committee
Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
We will conclude our series on end of life issues by discussing the FIVE WISHES.
     This document includes many of the subjects we have explored in our previous programs (Understanding Hospice, The Conversation Project and Being Mortal).
     Eleanor Hobbs, who has used this document in her medical practice, will be available to clarify and answer medical questions.
     “Five Wishes is an easy-to-use legal document written in everyday language that lets adults of all ages plan how they want to be cared for in case they become seriously ill. It is America’s most popular living will with more than 23 million copies in circulation.
     Five Wishes helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it speaks to all a person’s needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Five Wishes also helps structure discussions with your family and physician.”

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, March 23, 7:30 p.m., Library
This month’s selection is The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for the Gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin by Daniel James Brown.
     The Book Group is always open to new members. There is no long term commitment. Feel free to join us for a single evening’s discussion or to become a regular participant. We ask only that you confirm your intention to attend on a particular evening by the Monday before each session.
     Please e-mail Anne Stuart at or Karl Klasson at if you are interested in participating or have any questions.

Breast Cancer Wellness Journey — Melanie Deveikas
Wednesdays, March 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

“Muslims in America: Hearing Their Story,” March 24
Thursday, March 24, 2016, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Avenue, Belmont (Parking lot entrance on Blanchard Road)
Sponsored by: Belmont Against Racism, Belmont Human Rights Commission, Belmont Religious Council, Beth El Temple Center Social Action Committee, & First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist Social Action Committee.


  • Ali Asani: Professor of Indo-Muslim & Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University
  • Shannon Erwin: Attorney & Executive Director, Muslim Justice League
  • Asif Razvi: Outreach Committee of the Islamic Center of Boston, Wayland

This event is free and open to the public. For more information:

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey
Wednesday, March 30, 7:30 p.m., Library
Are you a closet guitar hero with no band? A great shower singer?
     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. And your iPads, iPhones, etc. so we can access words to the songs. All levels encouraged!
Save the dates – there is a hootenanny the last Wednesday of every month!

UUA Tour and Refreshments — Adult Program Committee
Sunday, April 3, 12:30 p.m., Library
Our denomination, the Unitarian Universalist Association, has a new headquarters at 24 Farnsworth St., Boston. Previously located at 25 Beacon St., right next door to the State House, this move was necessary to provide for a wider range of services. Join David Bryce and Jim Staton for light refreshments at First Church before we carpool for the 2 p.m. tour of the building. Register by contacting Lillian Anderson (

UU Purposes and Principles — Doris Hunter and Edwin Taylor
Sunday, April 10, 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.

Theatre Discussion Series, with Downing Cless, Jane Minasian, and Debbie Dobbins
Sunday, April 10, 3 p.m., Library
Attend the theatre with friends or on your own and join an informed, lively discussion about the play. Our next discussion will be about the play listed below.
     Bootycandy is performing at the SpeakEasy Stage from March 12 – April 9.
     This unconventionally provocative play by Robert O’Hara is over-the-top and definitely bawdy but thought-provoking. Bootycandy was voted by the NY Times as one of the top 10 plays of 2014. The play contains strong language, mature themes and full nudity.

The complete calendar of events is online.

Program & Committee Updates

Grow Clinic!alt
Only a couple of weeks left to cap off a great campaign to make this an extra bountiful drive. Please remember to toss some MAC & CHEESE boxes into your shopping cart this week — leave the boxes in your car — then bring them to church this Sunday. Think MAC & CHEESE. Thanks so much! There are collection baskets in the Lower Hall and the vestibule outside the Sanctuary.

  • March Special Request: Mac & Cheese

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.

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

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

More ways to support & stay in touch with FCB

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

Next issue: March 22

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, March 22. Please send your announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, March 16. Please note that announcements may be edited for space and clarity.

Revised Deadlines for Week of March 21

Janice Zazinski, church administrator, will be on vacation from Wednesday, March 23 – Tuesday, March 29, so deadlines have changed for that week:

Order of Service and Announcement inserts for Sunday, March 27 (Easter)

  • Deadline at noon on Monday, March 21 (2 days early)

Tuesday, March 29 Unitarian (print and electronic version)

  • Deadline at noon on Monday, March 21 (2 days early)

Please note that this week, missed deadlines cannot be accommodated.

Reimbursements, bills, and other accounts payable checks (normally on Fridays)

  • Processed on Friday, March 18 and mailed by Monday, March 21
  • Processed on Wednesday, March 30 and mailed by Thursday, March 31

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
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