The Unitarian – Summer 2016

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

Sunday Worship — Lay-Led Summer Services

July 24 — Alice Trexler and Downing Cless
Air, Earth, Fire, and Water
Hymns, poetry, stories, images, and reflections on these essential elements of our environment.

July 31 — Charlotte Lehmann
It’s a Party Line!
In this service, we contemplate the value of unmediated prayer and experience the power of communal meditation, through which we may feel emotional connection and renewal.

August 7 — Livia Racz and Lynn Read
Reflections from the 2016 Partner Church trip to Désfalva
Reflections, thoughts, things learned, etc. by some of those who visited Désfalva, our sister congregation in Transylvania, Romania this summer. We’ll have a few photos from the trip and some of the music performed there as well.

August 14 — Eleanor Hobbs
The Heavenly Messengers
How contemplation of what Buddhists call “The Heavenly Messengers” can promote spiritual growth and bring greater awareness and joy into your everyday life. The service will include a short guided meditation, readings and a teaching about the heavenly messengers.

August 21 — Jen Deaderick
All Men Would Be Tyrants
The religious roots of women’s exclusion and participation in the public sphere.

August 28 — Valentin Frank
A Study in the Paraguayan Art of Unwinding

September 4 — Bruce Kozuma
Faking It: Forging a life when you feel like you just may be, occasionally, out of your depth
In my daily work, I often have no idea of what others are talking about as their job is to push the bounds of what is known and possible as fast as possible. As I’ve figured out how to deal with that reality, I thought some of what I’ve learned might also be applicable to other aspects of life and just maybe to others as well.

Sunday, September 11: Multigenerational Service

Our services on September 11, at 9 and 11 a.m., will be a multigenerational water Ingathering. We will celebrate the opening of the church year with a ceremony in which we each pour a small amount of water into a common vessel. The water we bring represents a part of our summer that we are bringing into the new church year.
     Whether you go on an exotic journey or vacation in your backyard, bring a small amount of water to represent your summer’s spiritual journeys.

Impromptu Summer Concert — Sunday, July 24

We’re throwing a benefit show @ First Church as part of the Machine Listener/Matthew Ryals East Coast tour. Looking forward to this familial hang and reunion featuring:


  • Sunday, July 24 in the First Church Parish Hall
  • Doors open at 7 p.m.
  • $10 admission — all funds to benefit First Church.

Welcome Back Reception, September 8

The Fellowship Committee and the Parish Board invite you to reconnect with your friends after a long summer break, meet & greet staff, officers, and new church members, and socialize at this informal gathering!

  • 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall
  • Appetizers and light refreshments
  • Bring a bottle of wine to share
  • Childcare and entertainment for young kids

Registration for the children’s choir is now open!

The children’s choir program at the First Church in Belmont is a vibrant and fun opportunity for children to learn to make music together. In the fall, the children present a full-length musical theater production, in which every single singer plays a role. This year’s musical will be The Magic Flute, by Mozart.
     For the rest of the year, the choirs learn songs in many different styles and languages, performing numerous times throughout the year. They also form an integral part of the Christmas Eve services each year. Join us for a wonderful year of music!

From the Membership Committee: New Name Tags for all in September

After over 20 years we are no longer able to obtain supplies to maintain our existing name tag system.  A new system with new name tags for everyone will be in place when the new church year begins in September.

Désfalva and Belmont – A visit from across the ocean and nearly a quarter century of partnership

Article in Unitarian Monthly Newsletter, Kolozsvár, Transylvania, submitted by Rev. Tamás Szabolcs Pálffy, Marosszentgyörgy-Szászregén, to Dr. Szabolcs Czire, editor

The partnership of the Unitarian congregation of Désfalva and the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Belmont can look back with pride at its 24-year history, says the Rev. Sándor Szentgyörgyi, minister in Désfalva and Dean of the Kis-Küküll district. Rev. Szentgyörgyi had, already back in 1994, welcomed visiting friends from Belmont, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, and he took on the lion’s share of the work involved with planning of this year’s visit, as well. “In my experience,” said Rev. Szentgyörgyi, when we caught up with him outside his church, “partnerships work well if there is at least one enthusiastic person in the U.S. congregation who has some kind of ties to Europe, or Transylvania, or the Hungarian language. Our partnership emphasizes the personal side, the relationships, friendships, and personal contact that can only come from visits, because these are the elements that enrich both congregations.”

Left to right, back row: Jeanne Mooney, John Little, Pam Andrews, János Kiss, Sarah Calkins, Ottó Rátz Sr., Ian Garvie, Livia Racz, Chuck Claus, Bruce Kozuma, Ottó Rátz Jr., László Kiss, Charlotte Lehmann, Tünde Ildikó Szentgyörgyi, Rev. Sándor Szentgyörgyi. Left to right, bottom row: Molly Calkins, Hanna Racz-Kozuma, Eleanor Hobbs, Emma Racz-Kozuma

     It was on June 30th that a thirteen-person group of our co-religionists arrived in Kolozsvár. The next day, while we were having our annual meeting of the Unitarians ministers of Greater Hungary in the bishop’s conference room, the pilgrims had the opportunity to visit a few of the city’s treasures. After traveling to Désfalva the next day, the group split into two different age groups. The children in the Désfalva religious education program had the chance to participate in an all-day music camp led by teachers and soloists Charles Claus, Ian Garvie, and Livia Racz from Belmont, while the rest of the guests visited our shut-ins and sick. Many of these long-suffering, elderly, and ill members of the congregation have not been out of their homes in several years, and were incredibly moved by the caring and attention of our partners. Their heart-wrenching stories were difficult to hear, yet even in their suffering they did not fail to offer spring water and refreshments at every stop, which the intense heat of the day made very welcome.
     The next day, we had the great privilege of being part of an uplifting Sunday service. The host minister’s words were followed by personal introductions, remarks by the Rev. Charlotte Lehmann, presentation of gifts, and the musical program from the previous day. It was impossible not to be mesmerized by the music of the children and their teachers, including their home music teacher, Miklós Molnár of Désfalva. The commitment and love of all teachers and students shone through; and their playing and singing brought tears to our eyes. The program concluded with the singing of the Hungarian National Anthem, accompanied on organ by Ian Garvie, after which everyone went outside to Hans de Muinck Keizer’s kopjafa, a memorial to the founder of the Belmont-Désfalva partnership, to commemorate the occasion with hundreds of photographs. 
    A celebratory lunch for the whole village followed the service, underscored by yet more music, this time provided by the quartet who had just then arrived from the village of Szászcsávás. After the main course, while the ladies of the village waited for several hundred homemade yeast doughnuts to rise, Zoltán Béres, lay leader of the reformed church and village shepherd, suggested an outing to the countryside to sample his freshly-made dairy products. Although an all-terrain vehicle would have been useful, everyone made it there and back without mishap. We visited the animals and sampled the cheeses, and of course took yet more pictures.
     Upon our return to the church hall, we found the musicians still playing to the empty room. The return of their audience re-energized them to such an extent that, despite the fact that their paid time had been over for hours, they kept the music going until midnight. Many pairs of feet, both young and old, from both Désfalva and Belmont, spun around in spontaneous dancing, and voices were lifted together in song.
     The next day consisted of visits to the Unitarian church of Magyarsáros, including a peek at their village museum, and the churches of Kükülldombó, and Dicsszentmárton, where the host ministers happily became tour guides. In the afternoon, we visited the ministerless congregation of Harangláb, now a “little sister” congregation of Désfalva, where Rev. Szentgyörgyi preaches. The ladies of the village provided a lovely dinner of filled crepes and salad, which gave our visitors a welcome break from our meat-heavy celebratory dishes. Father Vasile Ghira, the Romanian orthodox priest of Harangláb, who unexpectedly hosted a group from Belmont in 2010, was ready for them this time with fresh honey from his beehives. Our visit to his church served a dual purpose: in addition to seeing the beauty of his sanctuary, which he built with his own two hands, the several hundred steps that we had to climb to get there helped us digest the prodigious amount of food that we had just eaten.
     After saying their goodbyes in Désfalva, the pilgrims from Belmont continued on their travels, accompanied by the ministers from Désfalva and Magyarsáros, visiting Marosvásárhely-Kövesdomb, the salt caves of Parajd, followed by Korond, Székelykeresztúr, Bözödújfalu, Torda, and back to Kolozsvár. On July 9th, the group gathered at the airport for their voyage back across the ocean, enriched with new experiences and new friendships. On Sunday, July 10th, we heard from Rev. Szentgyörgyi that our new friends arrived in good health and were pleased with the time that we spent together. Rev. Szentgyörgyi praised the hard work of his lay leaders and congregation, and thanked all of the hosts for their hospitality to our guests.
     May the partnership of Désfalva and Belmont continue to bring blessings, mutual growth, and mutual joy in service and prayer to its participants.

Purchase next year’s Coffeehouse Season Ticket NOW and save 20%

After two decades at the same rates, we are raising our price at the door and the price of our (two-people for the price of one) Season Tickets by 20%. This is still lower than comparable venues but closer to the norm.
     As a gesture of gratitude to our loyal supporters, and in an attempt to shorten our fall Season Ticket sales season, we are offering 2016-2017 Season Tickets to early bird purchasers at 2015-2016 rates from now until midnight August 31st.
     Coming to a Sunday lay-led service? You can leave a check for $99 (admits two!) in the box by Janice’s office and she’ll mail you the ticket. Don’t miss out on this great bargain on great music and your chance to support ten great beneficiaries!

12th Annual Sandy Island Retreat, September 16-18, 2016

The boathouse at Sandy Island.
The boathouse at Sandy Island.

The Fellowship Committee would like to invite you to join us for the popular First Church Sandy Island Retreat. This is a wonderful opportunity to kick back, relax, and meet new and old friends after a long summer. Sandy Island offers recreational opportunities for people of all interests and ages.
     Information and the registration link are online:
     Questions? Contact Ariane Frank and Martin Plass at


Adult Programs News

The following Adult Program groups continue to meet over the summer:

  • Meditation — James Hencke; Mondays, 8 – 9 p.m., Library or Parlor
  • Jobseeker Buddy Group — Martin Plass; Tuesdays, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Conference Room
  • Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey; Last Wednesday of each month – July 27, August 31, 7:30 p.m., Parlor

Belmont UU Alliance Concord Boat Cruise & Lunch

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 — limited to 20!
Please join us for the Belmont UU Alliance Concord River Boat Cruise & Lunch on Wednesday, September 21. Make your reservation early as we are limited to 20 seats.
     We will carpool from the Church at 12 noon; the cruise leaves the dock at 1:00 p.m. from the South Bridge Boat House, 496 Main St. (route 62), Concord.
     Please contact First Church Administrator, Janice Zazinski, at or 617-484-1054 for reservations by September 10th. Inform Janice of your sandwich choice for lunch: chicken or tuna salad, ham & cheese, sliced turkey, vegetarian. Lunch also includes salad, fruit, dessert and drink.
     Please make your $30 check payable to the Belmont Unitarian Alliance and deliver or mail it to the Church at First Church Belmont, P.O. Box 113, Belmont, MA 02478. Call Pat Hawkins at 617-489-2058 or email with questions.

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

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next Issue: September 6
Please send your announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, August 31. Please note that items may be edited for space and clarity.

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;
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

Summer office hours, June 20 – September 2: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9 – 2
The church office will be closed August 15 – 19.

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

Parish Board, 2016 – 2017
President: Ana Hammock —
Vice President: Catherine Claypoole —
Treasurer: Penny Schafer —
Clerk: Downing Cless —
Ex-Officio President: Todd Schatzki —


  • Lauren Corning
  • Deveaux Duckworth
  • Peter Guthrie
  • Jackie James
  • Eloise McGaw
  • Sara Oaklander
  • Marion Westgate

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

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