The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist

January 2017

Together we can make a difference!

Stand-Up for Safety and Civility — Hands Around the Pond
at Belmont’s Clay Pit Pond


It was a remarkable day – a day when you feel great about living in the community where you live.

If you missed reading about it of if you just can’t get enough of the good feeling you get when you read about it again. Here you go. What a great way to start the new year.


The First Church of Belmont Unitarian Universalist was a
Co-Sponsor of this Event.


Grow Clinic!

Generosity is a gift from the heart.
A heartfelt thank you to our First Church community for your amazing display of generosity for the Grow Clinic patients and their families.

At the Multi-Generational Service we collected 16 bags of food
and $1,356.90.

We wish you a healthy and happy new year ahead!




“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” ( MMRP)
will be performed on
February 17 and 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Tickets $15.00 available on Eventbrite

MMRP is a collection of essays solicited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle, written by well known public figures, that tell the stories of women who have experienced violence and abuse. These stories will be performed by local residents including: a Belmont selectman, a Belmont Police Officer, a professional dancer, a Vice- Principal, members of First Church of Belmont, Unitarian Universalist, and local semi-professional performers.

Tickets available on Eventbrite or at the door – $15.00 and at
coffee hour on February 5th and 12th.

The designated beneficiary for the proceeds from the ticket sales is
“New Beginnings Reentry Services. Inc.”
a program for women leaving prison based in the Boston area. It’s the first of it’s kind in Massachusetts and will offer a fully comprehensive residential program with the following services –
Job Readiness/Training
Finding and Maintaining Suitable Employment
Individual Counseling and Therapy
Case Management
Family Reunification
Relapse Prevention for Substance Abuse
HIV Education and Prevention
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Transformation

Stacey Borden, the Founder and Director of New Beginnings will be at First Church Coffee hours on Feb. 5th and 12th. Please stop by the table to say hello and learn more about this unique and ever so needed program.

Donate Your Shoes to New Beginnings Reentry Services

If New Beginnings can collect 3000 pairs of gently worn or new pairs of shoes which they in turn donate to Funds2org. so they will be awarded a check for $5000. A bin for collecting your gently worn or possibly some new shoes has been set up next to the social action table in the meeting hall. And don’t forget to ask your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to donate too!

For more information about New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc. please visit our website:

Contact: Kristin Phillps – 781-929-9638



Boston Women’s March
on Washington DC

January 21, 2017

Join us on
Boston Common from
11 AM to 5 PM

Arrangements for the Boston Women’s March for America are coming together. Women who have registered as part of the First Church Belmont Group will meet in the First Church parking lot at 8:30 AM on the morning of January 21st to carpool to Alewife where we will catch the T.

The program on Boston Common is scheduled from 11 AM to 3 PM. You may view details on the following link:

If you haven’t already registered you may do so by clicking on the link below.
If you have questions Contact Frederica Frost –

Register at the following site.
Be sure to click on the First Church Belmont group page:


Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural
and Racial Separations

Sunday, January 29, 7pm, Library

Please join Belmont Against Racism, The First Church in Belmont Social Action Committee, the Belmont Religious Council, the Belmont police department and graduates of Youth Build as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world.


Film and Discussion

Sunday, January 29,
4pm, Parish Hall

Before the Flood is the new movie created by filmmaker Fisher Stevens and actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio about the dramatic changes now occurring around the world because of climate change –
the most pressing challenge of our time.

The film follows DiCaprio as he travels to 5 continents and the Arctic, speaking to scientists,world leaders, activists and local residents to gain a deeper understanding of this complex issue.

This 96 minute film will be followed by a guided discussion. Refreshments provided.

Co-sponsored by Belmont Mothers Out Front, First Church Belmont Green Committee and Adult Programs, and
Temple Beth El Climate Team.


UU Social Action Fund
Sam James

First Church has been given a $5000 grant and $7500 matching grant from the UU Social Action Fund to help with our Resettle Together program. On November 6, 2016 we scheduled a Sunday focused on refugees and corresponding programs with our partners the International Institute of New England (IINE). At that time we kicked off our challenge grant and asked members of the church to join us. The response has been overwhelming. In three weeks members of the church generously gave $11, 300 toward the challenge grant and helped us meet all conditions for claiming the funds. We are very grateful and personally I am very proud to be part of this community.

If you have not contributed and would like to, please let us know. Refugee resettlement is very expensive and we have become a trusted partner with IINE and we want to support them in their mission to help provide a new home for those who have fled their own.

First Church’s Refugee Resettlement Plan
We are in the process of interviewing 8 refugee resettlement directors or volunteer coordinators from around the country to determine best practices for volunteer engagement. There are many plans from organized engagements to tailored plans for a family’s specific needs. Each agency develops a volunteer plan based on their needs and the availability of volunteers. We are working closely with IINE to agree upon a plan for our congregation and they want to use First Church as a pilot site. In January, we will get back to the congregation with ideas for us to discuss and a strategy for getting started.

In the meantime there are multiple opportunities for individuals in the church to be engaged with IINE. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact me,

Welcome Dinners
IINE is scheduling welcoming dinners with new arrivals to Lowell. Two FCB families can meet with two new families in Lowell and share a dinner. We need to provide the dinner because refugee families’ funds are limited as well as go to Lowell to meet with the families. IINE will provide a facilitator and interpreter for the evening. These are dinners to say hello and welcome moms, dads, and kids who have been on a long journey. It is a great opportunity for FCB youth and children to also meet with families from around the world. If you would like to sign up to help co-host one of the dinners or if two families would like to host a dinner, please let me know.

On Call Interpreters
Many at FCB are fluent in several languages and IINE would like for us to help them with an experiment. There are times IINE needs an interpreter for 15 minutes, e.g., a doctor’s appointment, and the interpreter can be on the phone. They are creating a list of interpreters that they can send a text message stating they need a “French . . . Arabic . . . Farsi, etc. interpreter from 3:00 to 3:15 tomorrow.”
A text message will be sent only to the people who speak the language needed and he or she can respond if free to help. At times the needs will be immediate and if you cannot help, then you do not need to respond. If you are interested in being on a text interpreter’s list, please let me know.

Transportation Group
IINE has many tasks they perform for families that volunteers can assume. When we take care of a task, we free up a staff member to attend to needs the State Department will not allow us to address. Consequently, time management-a critical part of refugee resettlement-is better served. Peter Satti, IINE’s Volunteer Coordinator, is asking us to help fill ten time slots during the week to help transport family members. For instance, if you sign up for a Tuesday, you can drive a family member to needed appointments. These can range from doctor’s appointments to job interviews. These are very important engagements and provide an opportunity to get to know people and be of help when their resettlement is the most important. For more information or to sign up, please contact Peter Satti,

FCB’s Social Action Committee
Jackie Neel and Patricia Garcia are coordinating weekly needs with IINE in the Social Action Events and Volunteer Opportunities. If you have not seen it, you can stay up-to-date with volunteer opportunities.
Below are the latest listings:

International Institute of New England – Volunteer Opportunities
Below are the latest listings:

In addition to the volunteer roles that are listed below they are in need of individuals who speak any of the languages listed below and could be available on an “On-Call basis as interpreters


Employment Services Assistant
Responsibilities include assisting with crafting resumes and completing on-line and paper applications for refugee and asylee clients. Assistants will work with interpreters to apply past work experience to the needs of the positon sought by the client. Administration and or HR experience is helpful but not necessary. Training is provided.

ESOL Assistant
Working with Refugee and asylum clients whose first language is other than English. Volunteers would assist with one on one tutoring, guiding clients through lessons and facilitating conversation circles. An education or ESOL background is helpful but not necessary. Training will be provided.

Front Desk Assistant
This position involves assisting refugee and asylee clients at the front desk reception area of IINE-Lowell. This is a dynamic position which requires patience, problem solving and coordinating client requests between and among IINE-Lowell Program departments. Clerical requests like filing and copying are also a component of the position.

Training will be provided

Please contact Peter Saati- IINE Volunteer Coordinator


Contacts for the Social Action Committee

Patricia Garcia – co-chair (
Jackie Neel – co-chair (

The Social Action Committee welcomes your participation. There are lots of events/activities planned for this year. We are a fun and energetic group. The Committee meets on the last fourth Monday of each month. Our next meeting is Monday, January 23rd at 7pm in Classroom #5. We’d love to see you there!

Apologies to the Ben’s –
It was not Ben Crocker who was working on his Eagle Scout badge, it was Ben Ackerson.
Ben Ackerson with help from Karl Klasson, Jason Ackerson, Marcus Davidson and Chris McMullin, Wilder Manion, Steve McMullin and Lee Ackerson built Picnic Tables that they donated to the Urban Ministry.

Again apologies to the Ben’s and their families for the confusion.

Get Involved!

We can make a difference.

Links to important organizations for more information.

Unitarian Universalist Service Organization UUSC
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action UUMA
Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry UUUM

A few words from Nicholas Kristof…

I’m so impressed with Belmont! When I visited, I
could see the enthusiasm for making a difference,
but so often in my reporting around the country or
abroad I encounter apathy or meanspiritedness.

And what’s the antonym for mean spirited?
It is Belmont!

I love the idea that at a time when so
many people are vilifying refugees, you are helping
them. As a son of a refugee who was sponsored by
a church in Portland, Oregon, I thank you for that.

And keep on being a model for all of us!”


September – October 2016

Together we can make a difference!

8:30am – 12:30pm

The Social Action Committee has been asked to recruit volunteers to assist with registration at Belmont Serves on Monday, October 10, 2016 from 8-9 A.M. if you are interested please Your assistance will be very much appreciated.

Belmont Serves also needs someone to gather the Church easels and take them to St, Josephs or to the home of one of the organizers to be available by
8 AM on Monday, October 10th and then to pick them up and return them to the Church any time after 10AM.

Please join your neighbors in Belmont’s 8th annual day of service on the Monday of Columbus Day weekend. 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Meet at St. Joseph Parish Hall (corner of Common & School Streets) and proceed from there to project sites for a family-friendly day of community service.

Projects include: collecting & sorting donations for Belmont Food Pantry, Clay Pit Pond clean-up, sorting & labeling winter clothing for refugee assistance, and painting and other indoor & outdoor maintenance projects around town.

To register & for more information:


Belmont Serves makes it easy to donate to the Belmont Food Pantry.
Here’s how it works:
A grocery bag will be delivered to your door with instructions.
Fill the bag with non-perishable items (canned goods, paper items, toiletries).
Leave full bag on your doorstep/front porch before 8:30 a.m. on Monday Oct.10.
Volunteers will pick up the bag from your doorstep and deliver it to the Belmont Food Pantry!
Thanks for participating!!


Putting Our Dollars Where Our Values Are:
A Church-Wide Conversation on Fossil Fuel Divestment

FCB Green
Sunday, Oct. 23, 12:30pm, Monday, Nov. 7 at 7pm, Library

All members are urged to attend an informational session leading up to the congregational fossil fuel divestment vote. Panelists will discuss the decision processes and financial experiences of other divested UU congregations, as well as UU values in relation to divesting. The attendees will be able to ask questions.

Watch for more information and sign-up sheets at fall coffee hours.
Sunday, Oct. 23 at 12:30 and Monday Nov. 7 at 7pm (overlapping a children’s choir practice).


The Social Action Committee will be presenting our 2nd VDay event on February 17 and 18, 2017. V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls founded by Eve Ensler. Our last event, readings from ” A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” in 2014 was well received.

This year’s theme for the National VDay movement is “Solidarity”.

We are currently forming the Planning Committee. We anticipate that planning will begin in late October, early November, auditions in January with rehearsals starting until performance dates in February. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. If you are interested in being part of the Committee please contact Jackie Neel at


The Refugee Resettlement Project in Belmont is affiliated with the International Institute of New England (ILNE), which is the umbrella agency. It is anticipated that many families will be moving to New England in the next several weeks from countries including the following: Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Burma, Bhutan, Somalia, Eritrea, Nepal, and Honduras.

From Sam James:
Belmont and Beyond Resettle Together
Since the last posting there have been many changes for us as volunteers working with the International Institute of New England (IINE). I would like to bring you up to date.

No More Bins, Please!
First, please no more household bins. IINE received 36 bins in two weeks and they are swamped. In fact, one end of the gym at the local LDS church is overflowing with bins and household goods. In time they will be needed again and we will let you know when you can start to create more bins. One of the reason they were so swamped was the outpouring of people in our group that put them together. Bins are expensive and time consuming and neither was a deterrent for the groups that stepped forward and met the challenge.

Volunteers and IINE
IINE now has a volunteer coordinator, Peter Saati,
Immediate Needs-
Volunteers are needed to manage the front desk in the Lowell office. They are looking for volunteers who will commit to a regular four-hour shift, Monday-Friday from 9-1 or 1-5. This is great way to be involved with the families and help people adapt to life in Lowell. An orientation/training will be scheduled for all new volunteers. Contact Peter Saati at IINE,

Additional opportunities available for volunteers include: helping a family learn where available resources are in Lowell, and employment coaching. Send Peter an email if you have a general interest in volunteering.

Community Announcements:
Winter Clothing for Refugee Families
Our friends at Plymouth Congregational Church are coordinating a rummage sale and clothing drive in October for refugee families in Lowell. They will collect good, quality winter clothing ONLY for adults and children on Sunday, Oct. 2; donations can be brought to Plymouth Church between 10 am and 2 pm all week. On Monday, Oct. 10, during Belmont Serves, they will be processing and sorting clothing donations and volunteers are welcome. On Friday, Oct. 14, they will lay the clothes out so that the families can select what they need. Afterwards, they will host a light supper for the volunteers and families. All remaining clothing will be returned to Belmont for Plymouth’s annual rummage sale the next day, Saturday, Oct. 15. All proceeds from the rummage sale will be given to the International Institute of New England for refugee resettlement. Volunteers are needed and appreciated on Monday, Friday, and Saturday. There will also be opportunities Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to clean, repair, or continue to process donations

In our Belmont and Beyond group we also need help. If you are interested in helping develop a website or coordinating a Facebook Page, please let me know.

Grant from the Unitarian Universalists Social Action Fund. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Our group has been given a $5000 grant from the UUSAF and a matching grant for $7500. We are thrilled and these monies will help us have operating funds as we establish ourselves going forward. If you can help meet the matching grant, please do. This is a first dollar matching grant and funds will be collected from the UUSAF as we do our part. We do not have to reach the target $7500 before they will commit.
Please consider contributing, any amount, to help us reach our goals. All monies raised will be applied to our Resettle Together efforts and your contributions are tax deductible.

Make checks out to First Church Belmont and send either to First Church Belmont, 404 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478. please indicate it is for the matching Resettle Together Fund on the Memo line.

Sam James



There will be a Benefit Concert at FCB on
Saturday, October 1st at 7pm
in the Parish Hall
for Central American Families Seeking Asylum
in Massachusetts

with The Loomers,
The Blood Mountain Brothers and
The Yellow Room
(Jon Svetkey and Heather Quay)

Tickets will be $25 at the door;
buy tickets in advance:

Bev Freeman, a First Church member, and through the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force, is leading a project to help 86 Central American families. These are women and their children who are seeking asylum in the US, and were previously incarcerated in Texas after crossing the border. After their release from prison, these families have migrated to Massachusetts to join a family member or friend for temporary housing.

Bev’s goal is to raise $35,000 to support a case-manager position at the Irish International Immigrant Center, which has long-established relationships with resettlement non-profit agencies and other local services The case manager would immediately extend services to this population. Donations can be made here:

Bev is happy to hear from people who would like to help these women, especially if you are Spanish-speaking, and she seeks additional ideas and help concerning the fundraising. Donations to IIIC are welcome (see link) and she hopes to see many people at the benefit concert!

If you missed the article in last weeks’ Belmont Citizen Herald click on the link below.

Volunteers at the concert on Saturday are needed to :

Serve food,
Provide Childcare
Sell tickets
Help with donations.

Please contact Bev Freeman at


Grow Clinic!

Beginning First Church’s 32nd YEAR of supporting the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center! From your shopping cart to the homes of Failure To Thrive infants and children of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods:
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.

Contacts for the Social Action Committee

Patricia Garcia – co-chair (
Jackie Neel – co-chair (

The Social Action Committee welcomes your participation. There are lots of events/activities planned for this year. We are a fun and energetic group. The Committee meets on the last fourth Monday of each month. Our next meeting is on Monday, Oct. 24th at 7pm in Classroom #5. We’d love to see you there!

Get Involved!

We can make a difference.

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