The Unitarian – November 1, 2016

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

Daylight Savings Time Ends Sunday, November 6 — Turn your clocks back one hour on Saturday evening.

Sunday Worship — November 6

Refugees — Rev. David Bryce
Prelude: TBA
11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal, a traditional hymn, arr. Alice Parker (b. 1925)
Postlude: Italian Hymn, Paul Laubengayer
The flowers on the Chancel Table this Sunday are given by Lanier Smythe in memory of Richard Curry Marius (July 29, 1933 – November 5, 1999).

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

Can’t We Find Ourselves Another God?

I don’t call to him as my mother. I don’t call to him as my father.
I thought it would be enough to call him my lord — but he pretends I don’t exist, doesn’t show an ounce of mercy.
If that lord who dwells in Paccilacciramam, surrounded by pools
filled with geese, postpones the mercies meant for his devotees—can’t we find some other god? —Cuntarar, eighth century CE

The quotation above is from the Hindu tradition. Cuntarar was a worshipper of Shiva.
     While it is tempting to read that quote as a rejection of Shiva, it is in the tradition sometimes called “Blame Praise”; it is the writing of an angry devotee. He may feel abandoned, but he is not abandoning his God.
     That sense abandonment expressed in the poem does capture the feelings of many believers in varied traditions. Sometimes it results in angry rejection—as in Cuntarar, sometimes it results in despair (“My God, My God; why hast thou forsaken me”)
     It need not be a god, or a divine being. Sometimes it is a more amorphous abandonment. By the Universe, perhaps, or by the rightful order of things.
     That sense of things being off kilter, of not being heard by or heeded by the-powers-that-be can lead to a desire for a reset: for a new god, a new government, a new way of being.
     But so often that that desire is subsumed in connection, the connection of love or loyalty.
     I have felt something similar when I look at the world and see all of the suffering in it, all of the pain and sorrow. Who would wish for such woe? What intelligent being would create such a world?
     And from somewhere in my soul rises the cry, “Can’t we find another world?”
     Yet that feeling is based in a “knowledge” of what ought to be, and the very idea of an “ought” means that I hold to love of and connection to the world.
     May our love for our world, for our universe, for whatever is our own higher power, lead us to a deepening connection to each.

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

To be sensual…. Is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread. — James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Touch is the first sense that we acquire, and it is as important in our communication as talking and listening. In a DePauw University study, the researchers “demonstrated that we have an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone.”[1] Further, touch has as much benefit to the one touching as the one who is touched. Strangers are more apt to help someone if the request is accompanied by a touch. A human touch reminds us that we are social animals. Many time in the studies that participants didn’t even remembered being touched, just that they felt more connected, that they are a person.
     Touching bonds us to each other. “Touch strengthens relationships and is a marker of closeness…. It increases cooperation….”[2] On top of that, “when you stimulate the pressure receptors in the skin, you lower stress hormones.”[3]
     Try it out, within your comfort zone. Shake a hand, pat a back, squeeze an arm. See what happens. Perhaps you will decrease some stress, or even “Rejoice in the force of life.”

[1] See “The Power of Touch” by Rick Chillot.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Among Us

Our deepest sympathies to the family of former member Christine Sullivan, who died suddenly on October 25. A member of FCB in the 1980s and 90s, Christine, husband John Neely, and family relocated to Salem, where she was very active in the community. Click here for an article in the Salem News.

Second Friday Season Tickets Update

As promised, active Coffeehouse Season Ticket sales at Coffee Hours will end Oct. 30! This wonderful FCB family has shown its characteristic responsiveness and generosity, and we are within about $200 of our Season Ticket income last year. Bravo and many heartfelt thanks!
     Of note, if we include last year’s $1500 anonymous matching gift, the $200 gap becomes $1700. So we’re still really hoping to sell those last nine (only 9!) tickets, reach our 70 ticket sales goal, and get us within $500 of last year’s amazing ticket income record and beneficiary donations.
     Sales will continue, and you can buy a ticket, convince a friend to buy one, buy one for a friend or as a holiday gift, make an anonymous donation , etc., etc. via snail mail or the drop box outside the office. (Details below.) Or walk up to any Coffeehouse Committee member and ask them to get in touch with Anne Selman and she’ll get you a ticket.
     We know everyone has lots of good options for charitable giving, and we feel honored and grateful when one of our FCB friends decides to put the Coffeehouse on their list. We want to get as close as we can to giving to at the level we achieved last year. And don’t forget the music! And as we approach the holiday season, let’s all be thankful!

  • 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, or hand it to Janice or a Coffeehouse Committee Member.
  • And as always, Bravo and Many MANY THANKS to our wonderful FCB Family for participation in this model social action and musical tradition!
  • Click here for an updated schedule and list of beneficiaries.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Thank you to Louise Brownsberger for a wonderful offertory on October 23rd, and to Melanie Bacaling for the beautiful song on the 30th. I’m so grateful to have such talented musicians in the church community!
     Mark your calendars! The First Church Children’s Choirs will be presenting Mozart’s Magic Flute on Thursday, November 17 at 5:30 p.m., Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19 at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 20 at 3:00 p.m.
     The Magic Flute is the 38th annual children’s musical, and is guaranteed to be a great time for all! Tickets will be available at Coffee Hour Sunday November 6 and November 13, as well as online (
     On Sunday, December 11th at 10:30 a.m., the First Church will continue its annual Major Music tradition with the incredible Bach Cantata BWV140, “Wachet Auf.” This incredible work hasn’t been performed here in 20 years, and I’m excited to be able to program it. The Senior Choir will be joined by a professional orchestra led by Ken Stalberg. If you would like to join the choir for this wonderful opportunity, please contact me at
     The Senior Choir Anthem on November 6 will be “Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal,” a traditional hymn arranged by Alice Parker.

CRE asks: Love Working With Kids?

This fall, the CRE program is looking for enthusiastic congregants to join the temporary teaching rotation for the Preschool/Kindergarten class, during both the 9 a.m. & 11 a.m. services. This is a temporary commitment, while we search for a permanent teacher.
     Volunteer-teachers are not required to teach on a weekly basis, but serve at least one Sunday a month. If interested, please contact Nate Sellers ( or Wendy Conroy (

Youth Group’s Annual Odd Jobs & Leaf-Raking Fundraiser is here

leafrakingNeed help navigating Facebook or learning to use your iPhone? Cleaning? Moving heavy items? Youth Group members can help! Sign up for leaf-raking and other odd jobs during coffee hour or contact Sana Saeed (Youth Director) at

UU Mass Action Presents: The Third Annual Story Slam (like the “Moth” on NPR)

  • When: Saturday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: First Parish UU Arlington, 630 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington
  • Theme: Millennials in the Pulpit!
  • The Story Slam is UU Mass Action’s annual fundraising event — come for a night of fun and support UU justice building in Massachusetts at the same time! Tickets:

Second Friday Coffeehouse: November 1112604728_910383202411342_9173913897612380789_o

Please mark your calendars for November 11 when Jim Hall and Stuart Ferguson will perform on a split bill at the Second Friday Coffeehouse. The featured charity is Bristol Lodge.

Adult Programs News

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War DVD
We have two copies to borrow at the church office — contact Janice to see if they’re available before coming by (617-484-1054, ext. 201; If you have a “WGBH Passport,” you can view the program online at

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Thursday, November 3, 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
Meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday — next is November 3 and 17, 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, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room — Please note date change from third Thursday to second Thursday!
Paul Estin will examine “God and the Limbic System” from Phantoms in the Brain by V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee.
     Ramachandran examines the phenomenon of temporal lobe epilepsy patients who undergo religious experiences and then investigates various hypotheses as to how religious experience might relate to the way that the human brain has evolved. He looks at the links between sensory centers and the amygdala, which control emotional significance of events in the world; I’d like to discuss the interplay between “cognitive” and “emotional” centers of the brain, not just with regard to religion but how we experience and explain all aspects of “meaning” in life. Ramachandran posits the even more speculative idea that humans have evolved specialized neural circuitry for mediating religious experience.

Buddhist Spiritual Practices — Eleanor Hobbs
Sunday, November 13, 12:30 p.m., Library
Are you interested in understanding Buddhist practice of meditation or Buddhist retreats? Eleanor Hobbs will lead a short presentation followed by a Q&A about issues related to beginning and sustaining a Buddhist meditation practice and her 3 month silent meditation retreat in the fall of 2015.

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch and Documentary — All Women and Men Welcome
Wednesday, Nov. 16 — 12 noon lunch Upper Hall; 12:45 p.m., documentary, Library
Please join us on Wednesday, November 16, for lunch and a documentary film. Bring a sandwich — soup, fruit and dessert will be provided. The suggested donation for the meal is $1-2.
     After socializing over lunch, the documentary, Merchants of Doubt, will be shown in the Library at 12:45 p.m., with a brief intermission at 2 p.m. when you can leave or stay for the last 20 minutes.
     Last spring, a coalition of groups, including FCBGreen, presented this fun and educational documentary to a full house at Temple Beth El. Don’t miss the chance to learn how paid pundits have presented themselves as scientific spokesmen in important national debates. You will be amazed at the facts and the entertainment values packed into this film. R.s.v.p. to

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m., at Kathy Lind’s house.
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. Contact

Theatre Discussion Series of The Scottsboro Boys — Jane Minasian, Downing Cless, Debbie Dobbins
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
We are pleased to have cast member Maurice Parent with us to discuss this very interesting play. For more information contact

The Scottsboro Boys at Speakeasy Theatre performs Oct. 21 – Nov. 20
In this, their final collaboration, legendary songwriting team John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago) bring to light one of the most infamous events in American history: the shocking true story of nine African American boys jailed in Alabama in 1931 for a crime they did not commit. Featuring a mix of gospel, jazz, and vaudeville, this audacious musical uses the construct of a minstrel show to tell the harrowing true story that provoked a national outrage and helped launch the American civil rights movement. Approximate running time: 1 hour 45 minutes; no intermission. Tickets are going fast!

Social Action News

Click here to sign up for the Social Action e-newsletter.

Belmont Resettle Together — Clothing Drive Update
Many thanks to all who contributed to the winter clothing drive for refugee families in Lowell. While we were able to meet most of the needs of the children, a handful of adults are still in need of warm clothing.
     If you are able to donate the following items, please leave them in the marked boxes outside Janice’s office by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9.
     Questions? Contact Katharine Canfield at Thank you.

  • 3 Women’s Coats Size Large
  • 2 Men’s Coats Size Medium
  • 2 Warm Men’s Hats
  • 2 Medium Men’s Gloves
  • 3 Women’s Hats
  • 3 Women’s Medium Gloves
  • 12 pairs Kids’ Mittens, ages 4-12

Refugee Resettlement and First Church
Sunday, November 6; 10:15 a.m., Parlor; 12:30 p.m., Parish Hall
According to the UN there are 65.5 million refugees in the world, the most since WW II and we can help. On Sunday, November 6, 2016, Rev. Bryce will preach on Refugees and he will be joined by Cheryl Hamilton, Director of Partner Engagement with the International Institute of New England (IINE).
     After the 9:00 service there will be a question and answer meeting with Cheryl in the Parlor for those who would like to learn more. After the 11:00 service we will host a meeting in the Parish Hall for members who would like to learn more about refugee resettlement and what we can do as a congregation.
     Many First Church members are actively engaged with IINE and the families in Lowell. If you would like to learn more and join us in these efforts, please attend the worship service and one of the follow up meetings.

VDAY 2017
The Social Action Committee will be presenting our 2nd VDay event on February 16 and 17 or 17 and 18, 2017. V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls founded by Eve Ensler. Our 2014 event, readings from A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, was well received.
     This year’s theme for the National VDay movement is “Solidarity”.
     We are currently forming the Planning Committee. If you are interested in supporting expanding awareness of violence /abuse against women this is the place for you. The meetings are fun, productive and informative. We anticipate that planning meetings will begin in late October, early November.
     Auditions will consist of readings from the essays in the book A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle. These will be scheduled in January with rehearsals beginning soon after, continuing periodically until the performance dates in February. No experience necessary.
     If you are interested in being part of the Committee please contact Jackie Neel at Both men and women are welcome.

Social Action Gift Fair — December 4
First Church’s Social Action Committee is seeking artisans from the First Church community to offer their work for sale at this year’s social action gift fair.
     Participation will allow you to market your work while supporting the work of the Social Action Committee by sharing the proceeds in a 50/50 split.
     If you’d like to be considered, please submit a letter of application by November 4th with photos of your work to the gift fair co-coordinators at 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!

Continuing Volunteer Opportunity — Grow Clinicalt
“At Boston Medical Center we cannot forget that Economic Conditions and Public Policy are written on the bodies of our children.” Dr. Debbie Frank, Grow Clinic Founder. Please pick up a shopping list or bring a Special Request:

  • November and December: Start the Day Strong (Infant rice cereal, cold and hot non-sugared cereals, Flintstone chewable vitamins, Polyvisol with Iron liquid vitamins)      
  • Collection baskets are in the Lower Hall and Sanctuary vestibule.
  • Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Team Monthly Note (November 2016);
Many of us at First Church recently viewed Defying the Nazis, a documentary about the work of Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharpe in World War II Europe. This compelling story connects to the 1940 origins of the Unitarian Service Committee located at our church.
     This organization evolved into the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee which, from then to now, continues to be on the front line of disasters and hot spots and to implement social justice campaigns.
     Go to to read about Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew and the organization’s actions to aid those who are most likely to be overlooked by traditional relief efforts. You can donate to this specific work on the site as well as signing a petition to DHS Secretary Johnson to stop the deportation of Haitian families from the US back into disastrous conditions.

Housing Needed
Katherine Canfield writes: A young man I know is looking for a room to rent in a neighborhood along the bus line to Harvard Square. Joseph, 23, is from Uganda, is legally
 in the U.S., is fluent in English, and has a job. He is lovely, soft-spoken, hard-working and honest. He was a serious amateur soccer player in Uganda.
     The most he can afford for housing is $600 per month. If you know anyone who would be willing to share their home or apartment — or have any suggestions about how to find something (most places, including those on Craigslist, are too expensive), I’d appreciate any leads. Katharine Canfield,

Committee News & Updates

Volunteer Sign-Up Form
Share your time, talent and interest with our church community. Volunteer opportunities can be one-time activities, limited short-term projects or serving on an on-going committee.
     Click on this link and take a minute to complete the survey so the Membership Committee can match your interests and talents with volunteer opportunities at the church. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Membership Committee at

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: November 8
The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, November 8. Please send announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, November 2. Submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

New Publication Schedule for The Unitarian
Recently, the Program Council voted to distribute The Unitarian only by e-mail, beginning with the January 6, 2017 issue. This e-mail will now be sent on Fridays, rather than Tuesdays. Print copies of The Unitarian will still be available in the church and a printable version will continue to be online.
     This new production schedule will allow a timelier edition of the newsletter to be sent and have The Unitarian deadline coincide with the Order of Worship announcements deadline.
     The deadline is still Wednesday at noon and will now be for events, news, and programs that will occur in the next few days/subsequent week, rather than 10 days in the future. Please click here for an updated production schedule (PDF file). Please contact Janice at with any questions.

Church Staff
Senior Minister: Rev. David Bryce — 617-484-1054, ext. 202;
Ministerian Intern: 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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