The Unitarian – October 11, 2016

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Sunday Worship — October 16

Tending the Flame — Andrea Spencer-Linzie

The Flaming Chalice unites our members and symbolizes the spirit of our work. The flame of the chalice lives in us, representing our own spiritual “spark.” How can we tend this spark over time, for ourselves and others? How does our spark help create authentic community? What is our role in passing the flame on to others?

Prelude: Prelude in C sharp minor, J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750)
9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: A Time for All Things, Douglas E. Wagner (b. 1952)
11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: TBA
Postlude: TBA
The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Frederica Frost.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

I am writing this on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. You will recall that St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. It is said of him that he could and did talk with animals.
     I am not comparing myself to St. Francis, but I have found that if you do speak to animals they listen. And they respond. And since most communication is non-verbal, there is some mutual understanding.
     I have said many times in the past that we are more like other animals than we pretend. Human beings like to think of themselves as halfway between animals and angels; but we are merely somewhat more intelligent than most other creatures.
     Because of our intelligence, which we can use to override our instincts, we are more able to make choices than other creatures. A cat — whether a lion, a panther or a domestic cat — is going to hunt and is going to eat meat. Though we have evolved from hunting creatures we can choose what we will eat. We can choose to eat meat, or a mixed diet, or to be vegetarian.
     Being more able to make choices means that we are individually responsible and accountable for our actions, more so than other animals. [There are major exceptions to this in my mind.]
     This fact of responsibility is both liberating and burdensome.
     The “judge” that each of us believes in may be ourselves, our community or our God.
     At any time of year, but for some of us more particularly in this season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is right to ask ourselves the question: what are the choices that I will make today? And as I stand before my judge — self, community or God — how will I be seen?
     May we each act according to our highest ideals.

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

So, I’ve been reading a bit about the desert monastics lately. In an interesting article by L. Roger Owens, it seems that the desert monastics, such as John Cassian, who lived in the 4th-5th centuries CE, might be able to offer a lesson in discernment for today’s congregations.
     In a conversation of ministerial students, they found helpful guidance from the 5th century texts they were reading. One student commented that “Abba Moses says that discernment holds all the virtues together — it’s the most important …This makes me wonder whether practicing discernment can become the guiding center of activity in our congregations.”
     In further discussion they learned that the “virtue of discernment is not one that can be ‘seized… merely by human effort…..” It is ours as a gift from the universe, but at the same time we must “do the utmost to acquire it.” A bit of a paradox.
     So, the “gift” of discernment must be learned and sharpened. Discernment is a “deliberative process” that is a way of being together, of listening to that which is sacred, and that making decisions can be practiced and improved over time.
     One of the messages that I most appreciated is that “discernment helps us see and name what spirit is moving us.” What spirits move us? Do they move us to positive action or negative reaction? To discern the answers to these questions, we need to be willing to notice and respond to the movement of the spirit. And perhaps most importantly, to understand — both ourselves and the spirits.

Adult Programs News

The Fall 2016 Adult Programs brochure is online.

Folk Music in the Digital Age — Jim Wooster and Scott Alarik
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Jim Wooster, Executive Director of Passim in Harvard Square will be joined by veteran folk music reporter Scott Alarik for a discussion on how folk music has changed over the past sixty years, from the folk revival of the nineteen sixties to the modern, digital music industry. This will be a chance to hear from two people who have a keen understanding of the subject from the inside. Refreshments.

Spiritual Pilgrimages — Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom
Sunday, Oct. 16, 12:30 p.m., Library
Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom is an author, mystic, investor, entrepreneur, and ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. While on sabbatical he engaged in spiritual pilgrimages with Sufis in Turkey and Taoists in China. He has tales to tell from those travels.

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch and Tour — Tufts Art Gallery
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 11:45 a.m., Upper Hall
All Women and Men Welcome!
Bring a sandwich and contribution of $1 towards the remainder of the meal. After lunch we’ll carpool to the nearby Tufts Art Gallery to view “Mortal Things: Portraits Look Back and Forth,” an exhibition about the changing role of artists and subjects and portraiture as a means for examining individual, social, and institutional identities. R.s.v.p. to or call at 617-484-1054, ext. 201.

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, Oct. 20, 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.

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Thursday, October 20, 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.

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
 We will meet to discuss Eugen Herrigel’s “Zen in the Art of Archery”. This book, written by a westerner in Japan studying archery under a master, explores achieving an experiential understanding of Zen, with themes of discipline, focused practice, the student/master relationship, and the “thoughtless” control of one’s body via the breath. Please contact Ken ( ) if you wish to be placed on our list.

Potluck and Program with Simon Andrews — Adult Programs Committee
Friday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
Join the Adult Programs Committee for an all-church potluck supper. RSVP with what you’ll bring to Our program speaker is our new organist, Simon Andrews. He’ll share with us a little of what inspires him, musically and professionally.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m., Library
Does your child have special challenges? Has he/she been diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD, or sensory problems? We will offer support and share experience in a non-judgmental space. Childcare upon request. Snacks provided.

Putting Our Dollars Where Our Values Are: A Church-Wide Conversation on Fossil Fuel Divestment — FCB Green
Sunday, Oct. 23, 12:30 p.m., Library
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.

Approaching the Election — Mike Widmer
Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
As we approach the denouement of these past crazy months of election campaigning, Mike Widmer, who has had a long career in politics and government, will reflect on what he sees and how he interprets the current political landscape. What might the election results be and what can we anticipate in a new presidency?
     Following his remarks, there will be time for discussion.

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey and friends
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
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, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., Library
Our October selection, Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes, was designated by the New York Times as a Best Book of the Year.
     Barnes gives us a memoir on mortality that touches on faith and science and family as well as a rich array of exemplary figures who over the centuries have confronted the same questions he now poses about the most basic fact of life: its inevitable extinction.
     If the fear of death is “the most rational thing in the world,” how does one contend with it? An atheist at twenty, an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for and against and with God, and at the bloodline whose archivist, following his parents’ death, he has become — another realm of mystery, wherein a drawer of mementos and his own memories (not to mention those of his philosopher brother) often fail to connect.
     Deadly serious, masterfully playful, and surprisingly hilarious, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a riveting display of how this supremely gifted writer goes about his business and a highly personal tour of the human condition and what might follow the final diagnosis.
     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!

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee
Sunday, October 30, 7 p.m., Library
Please join members of the Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Against Racism, the Belmont police department, First Church Belmont Social Action Committee and graduates of YouthBuild as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world.

Program and Committee News & Events

Seeking Artisans for the Social Action Fair
First Church’s Social Action Committee is seeking artisans from the First Church community who would like to offer their work for sale at this year’s social action gift fair on December 4. Participation will allow you to market your work at the fair while at the same time supporting the work of the Social Action Committee by sharing the proceeds in a 50/50 split.
     If you’d like to be considered for this opportunity, please submit a letter of application by October 14 with photos of your work to the gift fair co-coordinators, Evelyn Corsini ( and Sara Oaklander (, and we will be happy to consider your participation as we seek to put together a good mix of art work for sale at the fair. Thank you!

Coffeehouse Season Ticket Sales Entering Home Stretch!
This wonderful FCB family has purchased 56 tickets, closing in on our goal of 70! Warmest thanks from our beneficiaries and from the Coffeehouse Committee! Now is the time for us to really rock and roll and sell those last 14 tickets before the end of October. Imagine the safer, better-fed, healthier people with dramatically improved access to justice and brighter futures that your purchase of a ticket will support. And imagine coming to church in November knowing this sales drive is complete! You can help make it happen!

  • 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.
  • Please include your contact information (name, address, email, phone).  P.S. Do it now, as soon as you can! Thanks!
  • Click here for an updated schedule and list of beneficiaries.

October Coffeehouse to benefit The Barton Center
The October 14th Second Friday Coffeehouse is a benefit for The Barton Center, whose mission is to improve the lives of children with insulin-dependent diabetes through education, recreation, and support programs which inspire and empower. Performing are two dynamic Singer-Songwriters, both of whom are returning to the Coffeehouse:


Carl Chaco

Carl Cacho

is a Boston Music Award Nominee, Rose Garden Coffeehouse Singer/Songwriter Competition Winner, and finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival, Telluride Troubadour and Boston Folk Festival songwriter contests. His album was one of the Top 10 on Folk Radio.

Brian Doser

Brian Doser

Brian Doser is equally at home playing rousing, upbeat songs or tender, wistful lullabies, Brian will pull you into his world with his rich, gruff baritone voice, expressive guitar playing and wry sense of humor.


Belmont Re-Settle Together
Your help is needed in October to support refugee families who are re-settling in Lowell. Please consider assisting neighboring families by attending the rummage sale: Saturday, October 15th, 9 to 2, Plymouth Church. Questions? Contact Katharine Canfield,

October 1 Benefit Concert Recap
Bev Freeman writes about benefit concert experience:
     The benefit concert for asylum-women and children — now 93 families in the Commonwealth — was held Saturday, Oct. 1. The music by The Loomers, Blood Mountain Brothers and Yellow Room was beyond energizing and beautiful. It was a delight to see people dancing following a sobering presentation about the circumstances of the women and their children.
     The audience of 200 saw a video about the history of detention and the campaign to help them. A woman from Honduras spoke about her journey to the US border with her six-year old, which involved four different attempts to leave her country, finally concluding with her detention in Texas for almost a year. The memory of her experience still haunts. With our financial support, she can hope for help from the Irish International Immigrant Center, which — once we meet our goal — will hire a case manager dedicated to these families. Frank Johnson, a lawyer from Chin & Curtis, spoke of the about the organized volunteer-legal efforts to help the women, still being detained in Texas, to gain their freedom.
     I am happy to say we raised $6,000 from ticket sales and donations made at the concert. My deepest thanks to all who came. We are still short of our goal by $8,800. Visit — kindly view the video, donate if you have not already, and send this to friends.

Celebrate the Bard of Avon with Musica Sacra
Have you gone the entire year without realizing this year is the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare’s death? Musica Sacra, directed by Mary Beekman, will honor the bard with settings of his works in their concert In music is such art, taking place Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8pm at 1st Church Congregational, 11 Garden St. in Cambridge. Tickets are available at or by calling Mary Beekman.

Looking for Elder Companion
Bea de Muinck Keizer’s daughter is looking for someone who can be a companion to Bea once or twice a week.
     This spring Bea moved into assisted living at Neville Place in Cambridge and although she likes her new home, she does not drive anymore and is looking for additional companionship during the week.
     She would very much enjoy someone who is engaging, has patience with her forgetfulness, and who has a car, to come by for 2 to 3 hours, 2 days a week, and either keep her company or take her where she might like to go (grocery store, bank, CVS, library, etc).
     Hours are flexible, but should be during the day (before 5 p.m.). Ideal part-time job for a college student, retiree or a parent who may have some time during the day when kids are at school.
     Hourly rate $15/hr. plus gas mileage (at federal mileage rate). Please contact her daughter Juliana Spofford via or call 508-735-6011 if you are interested or know of someone who might be.

From the Membership Committee
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
“Children you have never seen and who have never seen you owe the recovery of their bodies and brains and chance for a better life to your kindness.”  Dr. Debbie Frank, Grow Clinic Founder

  • 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. ]

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: October 18

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, October 18. Please send announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, October 12. Submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

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 Upper Gathering Hall bulletin board.

Reverend Bryce’s Spring 2017 Sabbatical
Please visit for details about pulpit and pastoral coverage while Rev. Bryce is away, from January to June 30, 2017.

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