The Unitarian – November 8, 2016

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

Road Race on November 13; possible delays on Concord Avenue
On Sunday, November 13, there will be a half marathon going through Belmont between 8:15 – 10 a.m.; the turnaround spot is right in front of the church. Police tell us that Concord Avenue will not be closed, but please give yourself extra time to get to church.

Sunday Worship — November 13

Election Reflections — Rev. David Bryce

This has been an unusual election cycle. It provides much fodder for thought and reflection, both social and religious, on the issues raised during the now-finished campaign.

Prelude: Andante in D Major, Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713 – 80); Ian Garvie, organ
11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: If ye love me, Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 85)
Offertory: “Come ever smiling Liberty,” from Judas Maccabeus, G.F. Handel (composed 1747); Melanie Salisbury, and Livia Racz, sopranos
Postlude: Prelude in D Minor, J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750); Ian Garvie, organ
The flowers on the Chancel Table this Sunday are given by Harold Michlewitz, in congratulations to State Representative Aaron Michlewitz on another successful election. Hoping your efforts as Chair of Finance Committee will have a positive impact for Massachusetts.

  • Services at 9 & 11 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sunday, November 20: Called to Give — Rev. David Bryce
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sermon archive:

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

In just two months I will be on sabbatical.
     Since it is two months away, it might seem early for me to write a column about it. But two months is really quite brief, and much of that time will be taken up with holiday preparations and events. In my life, somehow the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is always a bit of a blur.
     I am really looking forward to the activities I have planned for the sabbatical, the chaplaincy work I will be doing with people who are homeless, with people who are refugees and with people who are prisoners.
     Now one could read that last paragraph as a rather odd statement. It could be read as saying, “I am really looking forward to witnessing the pain of others.” I hope everyone reading this knows that my hope is for a world where there are no people who are homeless or prisoners, and for a world in which we are all at home anywhere and everywhere, and the concept of “refugee” disappears; and where the displacement of people has ended.
     But that is not the world we live in.
     Until such time as it is, I want to help if I can, learn as much as I can, speak as much as I can, and work towards a better world. These goals will not all be completed during my sabbatical; but I hope that a beginning will be made.
     I want to spend my sabbatical time serving, but also learning, acquiring knowledge that I may use later to serve in other ways. My long-term goal is to think about advocacy for the people whom I will be meeting in the coming year.
     As you know, I will be away; that is, I will be disconnected from the congregation.
     The work I would normally do here will be in the capable hands of the congregation’s leadership: Andrea Spencer-Linzie, supported by Rev. Doris Hunter; the other staff; the Sabbatical Committee; and the Parish Board will have things well in hand. We are blessed to have very capable people in all of these roles.
     The sabbatical brochure which was developed by the Sabbatical Committee has more information. You can find this on the congregation’s website.
     The sabbatical is a time of renewal for me, and also for the congregation.
     Let us use it wisely.

Worship Committee Seeking Leaders for Lay-Led Services on Christmas and New Year’s Day

As many of you know, there is traditionally a lay-led service planned in the time between Christmas and New Year. This year is unusual in that both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday. This has happened only twice in the last 20 years.
     Lay-Led Services have become an important aspect of our shared ministry. They provide opportunities to gather in less formal ways and smaller numbers to engage in worship led by members and friends of First Church.
     Either or both of the worship services could be followed by a potluck brunch; this is totally up to the organizers.
     If you are interested in leading a service or in partnering with someone else to develop a meaningful experience for fellow parishioners, please contact Ariane Frank at 617-484-2149 or

Error Correction on Coffeehouse Season Tickets — yes, you can still buy them!

Evidently, the end of Coffeehouse Season Ticket sales at the Coffee Hours has been confusing, and some people are thinking that it’s no longer possible to get a ticket. WRONG! We are still very much in business and selling right up to our goal or beyond! Sorry for any mix-ups! Tickets can be purchased by mail, by drop-off at church, in person to any Coffeehouse Committee member, and at the November 11th Coffeehouse! It is never too late to join in supporting this model music and social action initiative! Details below. Thanks!
     And thanks for remembering to include your contact information (name, address, email, phone). With our deepest gratitude, Richard Curzi, Lauraine Dalton, Kathy Dunlap, Jim Hall, Roger Miller, Anne Selman, Lanier Smythe, Jim Staton, Jim Sugarman, Jon Svetkey, and Deborah Youngman.

  • 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 it to Janice or a Coffeehouse Committee Member, or to the November 11 Coffeehouse.
  • 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 a schedule and list of beneficiaries.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Don’t forget! The First Church Children’s Choirs will be presenting Mozart’s Magic Flute on:

  • Thursday, 11/17 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, 11/18 and Saturday, 11/19 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11/20 at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets are still available, but are going fast! You can purchase tickets in advance online, through the link at, or at coffee hour this coming Sunday. Tickets will also be available at the door, though some of the nights may sell out.

Looking ahead
There is still time to join the choir for the December Major Music service. Bach’s Cantata #140 “Wachet Auf” is an incredible piece of music, and we have the opportunity to perform it with a professional orchestra. Please contact if you are interested in singing.

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 (

Second Friday Coffeehouse: November 1112604728_910383202411342_9173913897612380789_o

This Friday, November 11, at the Second Friday Coffeehouse, Jim Hall and Stuart Ferguson will perform on a split bill. Jim, a member of First Church and Coffeehouse founder and a regular performer at our Coffeehouse will entertain us with songs of the Folk Revival of the 50s and 60s. Stuart sings his own songs of personal and universal experience. The featured charity is Bristol Lodge. Tickets available at the door: $12 and $8 for students and seniors. We begin at 7:30; please join us.

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

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. This excerpt can be downloaded from the Sci & Spi drop site:
     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.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, Nov. 11, 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.

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

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday — November 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.

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!

Save The Dates!

  • Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey and friends; Wednesday, November 30, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
  • First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart; Wednesday, November 30, 7:30 p.m., Library; “Poetry of Walt Whitman”
  • Prequel to Major Music — Ian Garvie and Simon Andrews; Thursday, Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Parish Hall

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

Open Our Hearts Concert Update: Case Manager To Be Hired
October’s “Open Our Hearts” benefit concert raised $6,000, plus a subsequent anonymous donation of $10,000 from a concert-goer. Thus we met our goal to fund a case manager for mothers and children seeking asylum from violence in Central America.
     Many of the 200 attendees were from our church; thank you to all who came and who donated; a special thanks to the bands and volunteers. Visit (careers) for job details.
     Our next step is to identify immigration lawyers to take one pro bono case each. To assist with this effort, please email

Being a Muslim in the United States These Days
Thursday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.
Come learn how three Muslim Americans have experienced the past several months of political discourse, including the anti-Muslim sentiments stirred up during the presidential campaign.


  • Aishah Abdul-Musawwir, Library Media Specialist, Cambridge Public Schools, member of Masjid An-Nur, & Madinah Islamic School, Inc., Roxbury. Co-founder of Boston Islamic School, the first full-time Islamic elementary school in Boston.
  • Tahir Chaudhry, Former President, Islamic Center of Boston/Wayland, member Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association, Founding Member of BRIDGES (a forum of community and government representatives) and Project GEM (Girls’ Education Matters)
  • Saadia Ahmad, Master’s Degree Student in Conflict Resolution at the University of Massachusetts – Boston, specializing in religious conflict and interfaith dialogue


  • Maggie Herzig, Follen Church member and Founding Associate, Essential Partners (formerly Public Conversations Project)
  • Free and open to the public
  • Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington
  • Cosponsored by UU Mass Action

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 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
Children’s HealthWatch, the Grow Clinic’s research arm, identifies the need for additional services for children in pediatric emergency rooms with “food insecurity.” Please help us support these medically fragile babies in economically fragile homes. 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.

Committee News & Updates

Space at My Table
Thanksgiving is just around the corner! If you’re celebrating at home and have extra space at your table, the Fellowship Committee asks if you would be interested in hosting other members of the church? Or perhaps you’d love to join your fellow Unitarians on the holiday?
     Then sign up, either to host or be a guest, and we’ll get you connected with others in our community. Sign up at the coffee hour after services, or email

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 15
The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, November 15.
     Because the church office is closed Friday, November 11, please send submissions to by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. Submissions may be edited for space and clarity. A complete schedule of the year’s deadlines is online here.

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 — click here for directory

404 Concord Ave., Belmont | 617-484-1054 |
Office hours: Monday – Fri
day, 9 – 3. The church office will be closed Friday, November 11, for Veterans Day.

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.

Easy ways to support & stay in touch with FCB


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