The Unitarian – September 20, 2016

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

Sunday Worship — September 25

Freedom to be Me and the Ties that Bind — Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern
This services centers on the spiritual work that we do for ourselves — to know and understand ourselves deeply, where we come from, what motivates and hinders us — so that we can be free to be authentically ourselves in community.

Prelude: Larghetto from Partita on “Deo Gratias,” Michael Burkhardt (b. 1957)

Senior Choir Anthem: Come Before the Lord with Singing, Dave Dunbar (contemp.)

Postlude: “Minuet Finale” from Music for the Royal Fireworks, G.F. Handel (1685 – 1759)

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Neal Winston.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

Each year at our Ingathering service in September, and again at our membership service in the spring, I make a point of reading our congregation’s Behavioral Covenant.
     Covenant is important in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. Most immediately we take the concept from our Puritan forebears; though it dates back at least to Biblical times. The Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association begin by stating, “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote…” (italics mine.)
     We UU’s are not held together on the basis of creed. We believe in “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning” by individuals. And we celebrate those life affirming truths that each of us find for ourselves.
     But we also function in community. We do not yield our individual beliefs, but we do agree to be with one another in particular ways.             
     Generally speaking, a congregation’s Mission states what it is and what it exists to do; it’s Vision Statement expresses what it hopes to be and achieve moving into the future; and its Covenant expresses how people will treat one another within the congregation. So: who we are, where we are going and how we will be with one another.
     A covenant is not a contract, it is a calling. When we fail to live up to a contract, the ties that connect us to others may be dissolved. When we fail to live up to a covenant, the ties remain and we are called to seek to re-establish good, healthy relationships.
     As Unitarian Universalists our goal is to live out the Principles of Unitarian Universalism and the Mission and Covenant of The First Church In Belmont within the congregation and—I would hope—in the world at large. May we do so intentionally and mindfully.

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

The way from God to a human heart is through a human heart. — Samuel Gordon[1]

God, Goddess, the divine, the great mystery, that which is sacred, can often feel unknowable, inscrutable, distant. Yet, we can and do experience the sacred, the divine, or the mystery in many ways.
     At least for me, my deepest experiences of the sacred are through the connection with other humans — as fallible, cranky, loving, humorous, friendly and unbearable as we are.
     A touch, a word, a hug, a connection of the eyes, a shared understanding, a letter, a laugh, a long conversation, a drive, a walk, a need fulfilled. This connection is sacred. Each of us embodies the divine. And to authentically connect with another is to experience the divine, to know that we are not alone, but a part of the sacred wholeness of life.
     Share your heart and experience the power of divine connection.

[1] Reading for Sept 20 in “Awakening the Soul: A Book of Daily Devotions,” edited by John C. Morgan.

Reverend Bryce’s Spring 2017 Sabbatical

This fall we begin preparations for our minister, David Bryce, to take a well-earned sabbatical leave, an established tradition for Unitarian Universalist clergy. The sabbatical is intended to offer an extended time for rest, renewal, reflection, and study for our minister.
     Please visit for details about its purpose, the schedule of services, and both pulpit and pastoral coverage while David is away, from January to June 30, 2017.

Among Us

Our best wishes for continued recovery to Mike and Jeanne Widmer, who were in a very serious automobile accident over Labor Day weekend. Mike and Jeanne would greatly appreciate “virtual visits” by e-mail and telephone.

Our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of former member Gladys Allen, who passed away on August 29.

Music Notes — Ian Garvie, Music Director

As rehearsals continue for The Magic Flute, I find myself thinking about music, and the impact it can have on both participants and listeners. Music can give people chills, it can make people laugh, cry, and dance. There has been a lot of research done about the effect music has on listeners.
     The now-debunked idea of the “Mozart Effect,” the idea that listening to classical music makes you smarter, has led to the release of numerous albums of music that will supposedly make your baby smarter, help your children get better grades, and help you succeed. However the question that interests me the most is what happens to the people participating in music, especially when we make music together?
     Dr. Daniel Levitin, author of This is your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs, suggests that making music together has a profound impact on people and may have even shaped the course of human history and evolution. Research indicates that when people play and sing music together, their neurons start firing in time to the beat. The like-mindedness that this creates could aid in the creation of friendships and social bonds, allowing people to live and work together more harmoniously and productively. Music can also be a collective expression of joy, or sometimes sorrow, that we share with those around us. When we sing a joyful song our bodies respond to the music, and when we sing it as a group that experience is shared.
     Dr. Levitin gave a TED talk summarizing his research at a conference in 2012, and you can watch the 15 minute video here:
     It’s a fascinating look at the many emotional and physiological effects that music can have on participants, and their wider implications. After watching it I, for one, am grateful to have music in my life.

Program and Committee News & Events

Second Friday Coffeehouse 2016 – 17 Season

WOW!!! What a start! As of September 12, 38 Coffeehouse Season Tickets have been sold!!! All we can say is super thanks from our beneficiaries and from the Coffeehouse Committee, AND ….. keep it up and remind your friends! With your help, we really want to hit our goal of 70 tickets and we really want to get there as fast as we can! If we can sell eight/week, we’ll be done in four weeks. October 16 could be an amazing new sales and speed record and a full moon to boot!
     Did we mention that the ticket admits two adults to all shows at roughly $100 off the price at the door? Here’s how to jump on the band wagon of unforgettable music and charitable giving made easy!
     Write a check (fully deductible) for $119 made out to First Church in Belmont with “Coffeehouse” written in the memo line. Submit it in one of three convenient ways:
Mail: Check to First Church in Belmont, 404 Concord Ave., P.O. Box 113, Belmont, MA 02478
Drop-off: In a clearly labeled envelope, put your check (or cash) into the secure drop-box immediately to the left of the door to the church office, Janice’s office.
Face-to-face: Bring your check (or cash) to any Coffee Hour in September or October or to the 10/14 Coffeehouse, or hand it to Janice or a Coffeehouse Committee Member.
     In any case, please include your contact information (name, address, email, phone).  P.S. Do it now, as soon as you can! Thanks! Click here for a full, updated schedule.

SAC to host benefit concert for asylum-seeking Central American Families: October 1

Angelica Reyes witnessed a child getting shot on the street in Honduras; because she took the victim to the hospital, she was targeted by area gangs. She and her son fled Honduras and were imprisoned in Texas for crossing the border.

Bev Freeman, who has helped organized the benefit concert, says, “Our church is the first organization in Boston area to raise funds for these families. They have to live “under the radar” and thus most people here are not even aware they exist. Previously incarcerated in Texas for crossing the border, Central American families like those now in Boston have recently been released, thanks to successful litigation in their behalf. Other families are still being detained in Texas and in a prison in Pennsylvania for the same reason.”
     The benefit concert will raise money for a case manager position, crucial to the 86 families now in the Boston area settling into their new lives here. Without support, the women can continue to feel isolated; missing their legal obligations around asylum status can put them at risk.
     We hope to see you Saturday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. We are delighted to present The Loomers with The Blood Mountain Brothers and a special guest appearance by The Yellow Room (Jon Svetkey and Heather Quay). Tickets will be $25 at the door. Donations will be requested.
     Donate online easily at: For more information, email Bev Freeman at

Interfaith Winter Clothing Drive and Rummage Sale for Refugee Families

  • Clothing Drive begins October 3
  • Rummage Sale: Saturday, October 15, 9am-2pm at the Plymouth Congregational Church, Pleasant Street, Belmont

The Belmont Religious Council, members of Plymouth Congregational Church and Belmont residents are holding a Rummage Sale and Winter Clothing Drive to support legal refugees who have settled in Massachusetts.
     By partnering with the International Institute of New England based in Lowell, we will be providing goods and resources directly to people and families who are now calling Massachusetts “home.” On October 14, volunteers will be delivering winter adult and children’s clothing to Lowell and inviting “shoppers” to join us for a potluck.
     How can you help? Volunteer! Donate gently worn winter clothing! Donate Rummage Sale items. Shop the rummage sale!

Have a couple of hours to spare in October? Like sorting clothing? Like thinking of little kids wearing warm winter clothes? Like to cook your favorite dessert? Looking for ways to support refugees? There are volunteer opportunities for everyone! Email Amanda Mujica at

Donation Drop-offs Begin Monday, October 3
New or gently worn donations gratefully accepted. All items should be in working condition and all clothing should be clean and free of rips and stains.
     Please bring donations to the Plymouth Congregational Church, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., starting October 3rd. Enter the Parish House/administration building and proceed to the Alexander Avenue doors to Gardner Hall and open them for unloading.
Items needed:

  • Winter coats — adults and children
  • Winter accessories: hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, warm socks — adults and children
  • Snow pants — children
  • Snow boots — adults and children
  • Winter clothing: turtlenecks, sweaters, corduroys — adults and children
  • Please size the items donated to the linens table (by pinning a label), such as, King size; 63” L curtain panels; 52” X 70”tablecloth, etc.
  • If not present on clothing labels, please note size of donated clothing, i.e., 40L blazer, 36” waist slacks; size 6 child snowsuit, etc.
  • Keep categories of donations separate, i.e., small box of books, bag of men’s clothing, basket of Christmas decorations, etc.
  • Do not donate computers, printers, TVs, air conditioners or skis. They do not sell and we must pay for their disposal. Also, no encyclopedias, outdated text books, dictionaries or outdated baby furniture/equipment that does not meet Consumer Product Safety Commission rules.
  • PLEASE label your donation bags “Clothing Drive” and/or “Rummage Sale”
  • For questions about the sale, types of donations accepted and volunteer opportunities, please contact Amanda Mujica at 

Embodied Speaking: The Art of Presenting with Heart, Mind, and Body, September 28

On September 28, FCB will host “Embodied Speaking,” a program for speakers, interfaith clergy, seminarians, social activists and religious leaders, in the Parish Hall from 9 – 3:30. Speaking without a manuscript, from the heart, is an essential art for communicating with authenticity and power. TED talks, Moth Story Hour, and Story Slams are examples. Fortunately, you can learn! Here’s your chance.

  • Wednesday, September 28, 9 – 3:30
  • First Church in Belmont Parish Hall
  • General registration $70
  • Students & seminarians $25
  • Bring a friend and both of you register for $70
  • Register at or by mail: PO Box 339, Bristol, VT 05443
  • Scholarships available.
  • This program made possible in part by a grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism.
  • Presenters: Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy & Rev. Stephen Shick

From the Membership Committee
New Name Tags
We have new name tags this fall and if you haven’t gotten yours yet, come by the Upper Gathering Hall where they are available on the Membership Table.

Ushers Needed
Please consider helping out with the worship services by signing up to be an usher. You can sign up online ( or on the Ushering sign up poster in the Upper Gathering Hall during coffee hour. Thanks for your help.

Grow Clinic!alt
Grow Clinic doctors write prescriptions for their patients to the Preventive Food Pantry for high calorie, protein rich foods. Pick up a food list for shopping or bring a Special Request:

  • September and October: Protein Power!!! (peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned stews, infant strained chicken/beef/turkey). Collection baskets are in the Lower Hall and Sanctuary vestibule.

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. ]

Adult Programs News

The Fall 2016 Adult Programs brochure is online.

Next Chapter Support/Discussion GroupNew program
Are you thinking about retirement, about to retire, are retired, or considering (or in) some other major transition in your life? The Next Chapter group will consider major emotional, social, and spiritual issues for those of us who are either considering or are in a major transition.
     We will explore our hopes, fears, losses, gains, surprises, barriers, and struggles throughout these transitions. The members of the group will decide on the topics for each session based on our life experiences. We will use a format similar to Small Group Ministries that will include a 2-4 minute check-in at the beginning of each session followed by individual sharing about one’s personal experiences regarding the topic.
     After everyone has had the opportunity to share we will have a more open, free flowing discussion regarding the topic and other issues raised as a result of the individual sharing.
     We will meet from October – June on the second Tuesday of each month for two hours from 7-9 PM. Facilitator: Rick Hawkins. For more information or to sign up contact Registration is required.

Defying the Nazis: the Sharps’ War — SAC, UUSC, & Adult Programs
Friday, September 23, 7 p.m., Parish Hall
A Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky film, released as a PBS documentary and airing on 9/20/16, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War is the story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, a young Unitarian minister and his wife who undertook secret missions in Nazi-occupied Europe to rescue Jews, dissidents and refugee children at great personal sacrifice. Those missions by the Sharps, in 1939 and 1940, were the first undertaken by the new Unitarian Service Committee – which was founded by members of The First Church in Belmont. That heroic rescue effort continued until the end of the war.
     This film is a powerful reminder of the never-ending refugee crisis which continues to cry out for our attention.
     Join the Social Action Committee, UUSC and the Adult Programs Committees for discussion and refreshments following the 90-minute film.

Belmont UU Alliance (for women and men) — Concord River Cruise — Wednesday, September 21
Meet to carpool from the Church at 12 noon
Please RSVP soon as seats are limited. Contact First Church Administrator, Janice Zazinski, at or 617-484-1054.

Reflections from UUA General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio — Alice Trexler, Lillian Anderson, Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Downing Cless
Sunday, September 25, 10:15 a.m., Parlor
Each year in June, UU congregations send members and delegates to participate in General Assembly. It is a way to share information and make collective decisions that affect all of us. Our impressions will give you some idea of the current issues and transmit our excitement about the impact on congregations. Join us in the parlor between services!

Together We Walk: Reflections on a Summer Pilgrimage — Transylvania Partner Church Committee
Sunday, September 25, 12:15 p.m., Parish Hall
On June 30th, thirteen First Church members and friends embarked together on what was to become a profoundly meaningful 10-day pilgrimage with our Transylvanian partners. We invite you to share this experience with us. Come join us for reflections, fellowship, and incriminating videos. Light refreshments provided and gratefully accepted.

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee
Sunday, September 25, 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.

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey and friends
Wed., Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Welcome back to the start of our fall singing! 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. We’ll have copies of “Rise Up Singing”. All levels encouraged!

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, September 28, 7:30 p.m., Library
Our September book will be Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, a slim but memorable and graceful book that will provide us with much to discuss.
     In Our Souls at Night, Haruf shows us two lonely neighbors who find unexpected companionship, share reflections on their lives, and scandalize the neighborhood. In developing the quiet story of Addie Moore and Louis Waters, Haruf provides an exquisite meditation on life’s meaning and its ending.
     The Book Group is always open to new members and does not require a continuing commitment. Please contact Anne Stuart at with questions and to confirm attendance. Happy reading!

Women’s Fall Potluck Supper — Adult Programs Committee
Friday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
Welcome back from summer. Please save the date for this opportunity to share food, talk and laughter with old friends and new. Bring an appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert + the beverage of your choice. No RSVP needed.

Theatre Discussion Group — Jane Minasian, Downing Cless, Debbie Dobbins
Sunday, Oct. 2, 3 p.m., Library
We will be reading aloud Jean Paul Sartre’s 90-minute play, No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 play rooted in his emerging philosophic principles of existentialism. In this 45-minute play, three damned souls are locked inside a very plain room in Hell. They had expected physical torture, but instead they discover that “Hell is other people,” as Sartre bluntly puts it.
     We will read aloud and then discuss this famous modern drama, sometimes translated as NO WAY OUT or VICIOUS CIRCLE or DEAD END.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Thursday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Many people are juggling jobs, families and their parents’ or other family members’ increasing medical needs, frequent emergencies and ongoing need for care. How do we cope with the needs of our loved ones and find some balance in our own lives? What do we need to learn as we take on this task? How do we find information and community? If you find yourself in this position, you are welcome at this group for discussion and support. This is a drop-in group so please attend when it is convenient for you.

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Thursday, October 6, 8:00 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 with questions and for location.

Men’s Fall Potluck Supper
Friday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
All men are welcome to join their friends for food, fun and discussion. Bring an appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert AND a beverage to share. No RSVP necessary but contact Jim Staton ( with any questions.

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: September 27

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, September 27. Please send your announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, September 21. Please note that announcements may be edited for space and clarity. Click here to download the 2016-17 editorial calendar.

Church Staff
Senior Minister: Rev. David Bryce — 617-484-1054, ext. 202;
Intern Minister: Andrea Spencer-Linzie — 617-484-1054, ext. 207;
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 and Assistant Music Director: Simon Andrews — 617-484-1054, ext. 206;
Acting Director of CRE: Nate Sellers — 617-484-1054, ext. 205;
Director of Youth Programs: Sana Saeed — 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

Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3

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.

Support & stay in touch 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.

Posted in Unitarian