The Unitarian – December 6, 2016

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

Sunday Worship — December 11, one service at 10:30 a.m.

This Sunday the Senior Choir will continue the glorious Major Music tradition at the church, with a single service at 10:30 a.m.15202597_1343446632361852_5937708131237476317_n
     They will be joined by a professional orchestra led by Ken Stalberg containing strings, horn, bassoon, two oboes, English Horn, and more. The repertoire chosen for the service is perhaps one of the most iconic pieces by J.S. Bach, the cantata “Wachet Auf.”
     Written for the Sunday right before Advent, it contains a hymn written in 1599, and texts taken from the Song of Solomon. It is a joyful, celebratory piece asking Jerusalem, and by extension the whole world, to get ready for the coming of Jesus on Christmas. Please join us for this spectacular work!

Homily: Waiting for Joy — Rev. David Bryce

Prelude: Vom Himmel Hoch; Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau (1663 – 1712)

Postlude: Fugue in B flat major; J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750)

The flowers on the Chancel Table this Sunday are given by Sarah Cliffe and Peter Guthrie.

  • One service at 10:30 a.m.; childcare is provided.
  • Sermon archive:
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, December 18: Multigenerational Service; Rev. David Bryce; services at 9 & 11 a.m.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

A selection from Ad Herennius, a writing sometimes attributed to Cicero:

It is a good principle which our ancestors established, of not putting to death any king captured by force of arms.
     Why is this so?
     Because it were unfair to use the advantage vouchsafed to us by fortune to punish those whom the same fortune had but recently placed in the highest station.
     But what of the fact that he has led an army against us?
     I refuse to recall it.
     Because it is characteristic of a brave man to regard rivals for victory as enemies, but when they have been vanquished to consider them as fellow men, in order that his bravery may avail to put an end to the war, and his humanity to advance peace.
     But had that king prevailed, he would not, would he, have done the same?
     No, no doubt he would have been less wise.
     Why, then, do you spare him?
     Because it is my habit to scorn, not emulate, such folly.

 The words of the author of this statement ring true to me, and seem too often ignored.
     We too quickly mete out to others a kind of “justice” we would find wrong if done to ourselves.
     Whether in war or politics, in national or in personal interactions, when we say of people “they deserved it,” and then engage in wrongful acts, we are lessening our own moral fiber, and are yielding our own ethical and moral standards. And when we do that, we lose.
     I see this happen in political tit for tat, in the imposition of capital punishment, and in those who angrily act against their neighbors or former friends.
     In my better moments, I prefer to hold to my own code of morality and ethics, not allowing that to be shaped by those who have acted in bad or improper ways towards me.
     That is not easy. Anger, physical hurt, emotional pain, these all seem to stir up within me a wish for the other to feel the same pain—maybe more.
     As it says in the Book of Psalms, Be angry, but do not sin!
     What I ought to wish for those who harm me is peace, goodness and happiness.
     I believe that if they had these things, they would behave differently.
     May I always be true to my own self, to my own moral code, to my own principles and beliefs.
     So let it be.

First Church’s Biennial Auction

What do fingerless gloves, leggings, and high-top fades have in common? They’re all fashion statements from the 1980s. The Auction theme for 2017 is “Back for the Future: An ‘80s Extravaganza,” and the party will take place on Saturday, February 4 (snow date Sunday the 5th). We’re going back to the Decade of Excess for the future of our church.
     Tickets ($50 each) will go on sale December 11—Major Music Sunday—and they sell out fast, so be sure to get yours early. Meanwhile, think about what you can donate: A week in a vacation home? A dinner at your house? Tickets to a game or the ballet?
     And think about what you’d like to bid on: A clutter buddy to clear out your closet, attic, or basement? Some financial advice? Handyman work around the house? Visit the Auction Table at either coffee hour for suggestions about what to donate.
     We need volunteers and ideas as well as donations: Contact Ariane Frank, the Auction chair, or Bev Gillette and Sara Oaklander, the Silent & Live Auction chairs, at

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.
     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

Youth Group Babysitting Fundraiser

Saturday, Dec. 10th or Saturday, Dec. 17th — Have a date night or tackle some of that holiday shopping!
Attention parents! The Youth Group is organizing a babysitting fundraiser. If you sign-up, two members of the YG will come to your house at a pre-arranged time on Saturday, December 10th or Saturday, December 17th to care for your children for 2-6 hours; you choose! Cost is $15/hr. Proceeds benefit the Youth Group’s Service Trip to West Virginia this February.  To sign-up contact Sana Saeed, Director of Youth Programs, at

A Quick Reminder! Now Is The Time!

As the holiday season picks up steam, thoughts arise of the many opportunities we have to help those who need help most. A Coffeehouse Season Ticket supports ten wonderful beneficiaries (see below) with one quick check.
     There are a number of folks out there who told us they definitely wanted to get a ticket. (You know who you are!) Now is your chance to do it! You’ll help us reach our goal, make a significant difference in hundreds of lives, and still receive discounted admission for two to six more shows this season. You’ll feel even happier than Santa!
     Thanks to all our Coffeehouse supporters and safe happy holidays to the FCB family and to so many more!
     2016-17 Beneficiaries: The Transylvania Archives Project, The Barton Center for Diabetes Education, The Bristol Lodge Network of Shelters and Kitchens, Youth Build, The Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee, Berklee City Music Boston, The Judith K. Record Memorial Conservation Fund, Belmont Against Racism, Renewal House Shelter, and The Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center.
     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 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.
  • Face-to-face: Give your check (or cash) to Janice or a Coffeehouse Committee Member. Please include your contact information.
  • 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

Second Friday Coffeehouse presents A Very Special Holiday Rock Concert for All Ages: Saturday, December 10, 1 p.m.

Jonny Kringle and The Wondaland Band — featuring FCB favorites Heather Quay on vocals, Jon Svetkey on vocals and guitar, Jim Wooster on guitar and Richard Curzi on keyboards along with Everett Pendleton on bass and Tom Maher on drums — will be performing a collection of fun, upbeat holiday rock and roll songs for everyone.
     Bring the family, one new and unwrapped toy (or two, or three!), and sing along, dance and enjoy this very special Second Friday Coffeehouse all ages holiday concert. 

Adult Programs News

Info Session about Driving an Electric Vehicle in Belmont
Sunday, December 11, 12-1 p.m., Parish Hall
Switching to an EV can cut your household’s greenhouse gas emissions almost in half and save you money too! Please come to this short info session in the Parish Hall after the major music service to learn about the Belmont Drives Electric program, a new community run program that aims to switch people over to electric cars and help reduce our carbon footprint in Belmont.
     The program will be hosted by FCBGreen group members Phil Thayer, Martin Plass & John Koltermann and will provide valuable information about:

  • The Belmont Drives Electric (BDE) program
  • Environmental advantages of EV’s
  • Economics of EVs (cheaper than almost any other gasoline car)
  • Current State and Federal Incentives (up to $10,000) and Group Buying Discounts (up to $7000)
  • Belmont Light incentives for EV-chargers and off-peak charging
  • Experiences from EV owners (Fahrvergnuegen, practicality, range anxiety, maintenance, charging, winter driving, …)
  • How to arrange for test drives right from your home
  • Q&A session with EV owners
  • Please check out the BDE website for more information, to arrange a test drive or to get in touch with one of us:

You can also call an EV coach at 617-855-5405 with any questions or email us at:

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch & Program — All Women & Men Welcome
Wednesday, Dec. 14: 12:00 Lunch; 1 p.m. Program
Please join us on Wednesday, December 14 for the Alliance lunch and program. Bring a sandwich — soup, fruit and dessert will be provided. The suggested donation for the meal is $1-2.
     Nicole Bernstein will present “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain for Artists and Non-Artists.” The participants will be shown how to see differently when they draw pictures leading to results they might not have expected. Please bring a photo of a person whose image you would like to create.
     R.s.v.p. to Janice Zazinski at or call 617-484-1054 (ext. 201).

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, Dec. 15, 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.

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Bill Zinn will lead the discussion based on excerpts from Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt. The author interviewed scientists, philosophers, and theologians to answer the question posed by the title. We will focus on the views of one scholar who seeks to use his deep faith in the existence of God to explain the scientific evidence of the origins of the universe. The excerpts can be downloaded from the Sci & Spi drop site at:

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday — December 15, 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.

Social Action News

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

In the spirit of the season, please join in the Holiday Gift Program…
The Social Action Committee is pleased to sponsor the Holiday Gift Program. The program benefits children and adults at four different organizations:

  • Heading Home – serving homeless adults through housing and support services that lead to self-sufficiency
  • Bristol Lodge – serving homeless in various sites
  • Mary’s House – serving homeless families with children
  • The Grow Clinic – serving failure to thrive kids and their families at Boston Medical Center.

     Gifts are due on Sunday, December 11. Don’t miss this chance to involve your kids in giving to other kids! For more information, contact Joan Stoddard at 617-347-3037 or We look forward to your participation and seeing those gifts piled high! Happy Holidays!

Collecting travel-sized items for Bristol Lodge
First Church is collecting unused/unopened travel-size or hotel-type toiletries for Bristol Lodge Homeless Shelters, where they are greatly appreciated by Bristol Lodge clients. A collection basket is on our Social Action table. Thanks!!!

VDAY 2017: Performance Dates are February 17 and 18, 2017.
VDay Open Auditions for “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer”

  • Friday, December 9, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, 2-6 p.m.
  • Sides will be provided, no preparation required; audition sheets provided at auditions
  • Youth and Adults, men and women are encouraged to audition.
  • Email Jackie Neel — — for more information. 

     If you are interested in assisting in the organization and the development of the production, as well as promoting the awareness of violence against women, we would love to have you participate on the planning committee.
     The meetings are fun, productive and informative. Planning Committee Members may also be interested in becoming readers. If you are interested in being part of the Committee please contact Jackie Neel at Both Men and Women WELCOME.
     We are thrilled to have Caitlin Inglis and Carmen Cohen on board as co-directors. Carmen performed in our last production and in several directed by Caitlin who has directed several Eve Ensler plays in the past. In addition, several of the people who did readings in our last performance have indicated their interest in being part of this year’s production as well.

Women’s March for America- January 21, 2017
After much effort by Frederica Frost to try and secure a bus to take a group from First Church to the March in Washington with no success it was discussed and decided by the Social Action Committee to organize a group to participate in the BOSTON WOMEN’S MARCH FOR AMERICA to be held on the Boston Common on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 12 noon – 3 p.m.
     The group will gather at First Church and travel to Alewife to take the T into Boston. Details will follow. Contact: Frederica Frost:

The Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry — Volunteer opportunities in Roxbury now
We need volunteers for:

  • Jericho Road Roxbury
  • Fair Foods on Saturdays from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM. This is a great opportunity for congregation teams and families!
  • We need congregations to prepare and serve a meal for a Christmas season dinner for elders in December; for our Spirit and Action series in January, February or March.
  • Clean up our grounds on Saturday mornings!
  • Assist our Chef to prepare meals for our young people.
  • Mentor a young person at Timilty Middle School for one hour per week.
  • Donate supplies to support Renewal House and Bethany House.
  • Contact – Marvin L. Venay, Director of Congregational and Volunteer Engagement, 10 Putnam St., Roxbury; 617-318-6010 x 214.

Resettle Together and First Church Update
By Sam James
The International Institute of New England is hosting a “meet and greet” at their Lowell office, 15-17 Warren Street, on Wednesday, December 7 from 6-7 p.m. If you did not get a chance to meet the Director Cheryl Hamilton when she came to First Church, this is a great opportunity to not only meet her but to visit the office and meet some of the clients. Cheryl is very inspiring.
     Suzi Marcus is interested in going to Lowell for the Meet and Greet on December 7 and would be happy to take others with her. If interested please contact
     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 had 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 $10, 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.

Needed: Second First Church Delegate to Belmont Religious Council (BRC)
The Belmont Religious Council is a coalition of all Belmont Faith Communities. It provides a means for their congregations, clergy and staff to communicate with one another and share ideas and concerns relevant to our Town. The BRC also organizes community service projects and provides a way for people of different faiths to come together in support of common goals. The BRC runs Belmont Serves, an annual day of community service. Every other year the BRC takes a group of interfaith high school students on a mission trip during February school vacation to help with construction projects in underserved communities (most recently in Birmingham, Alabama).
     The BRC also provides support for Town wide initiatives led by area churches, for example the two Belmont Gun Buybacks in 2016 and 2014 and the recent Resettle Together initiative connecting Belmont congregations with agencies helping welcome and resettle arriving refugees. And it has provided important support for the Belmont “A Path Appears” program. In the past year, it has co-sponsored panels on homelessness and on “Muslims in America: What We Can Do to Counter Bigotry.”
     Priscilla Cobb is a First Church delegate to the BRC. A second delegate is needed. Now, more than ever, interfaith groups that bring people together on issues of common concern should be supported. It meets once every other month. If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Priscilla Cobb: Thank you!

Continuing Volunteer Opportunity — Grow Clinicalt
We are often asked about monetary donations to the Grow Clinic. What a welcome holiday gift! The Grow Clinic’s critical services of home visits, nutritional supplements and multilingual outreach cannot be billed to insurance. The Clinic relies on philanthropic gifts for two-thirds of its budget: Grow Clinic for Children, Boston Medical Center, 771 Albany St., Boston, Mass. 02118. 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

Membership Committee Updates

Newcomers Breakfast December 11 at 9:15 — All are welcome!
If you are a newcomer to First Church or would like to meet and welcome a newcomer, come enjoy a bagel and coffee at the Newcomers Breakfast in the Parish Hall at 9:15 before the Major Music service on December 11. For more information, contact Mark Thurber at

Winter Ushers Needed
Ushers are needed to welcome our church community to the winter Sunday services and to light our way into the holidays. You can sign up online at, on the ushering sign up poster at coffee hour, or by contacting Mark Thurber 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: December 13

The next issue of The Unitarian is Tuesday, December 13. Please email items to by noon on Wednesday, December 7; submissions may be edited for space and clarity. Below is the deadline for the final issue of the calendar year. Please also include information for the week of December 26 – January 6, including lay-led services; the church office is closed that week.

  • Issue: Tuesday, December 20
    • Deadline: noon on Wednesday, December 14
      • Note: this is the last issue of the calendar year. Include information for events from December 15 through January 6, including both lay-led services; office closed that week.

  • First issue of 2017: Friday, January 6
    • Deadline at noon on Wednesday, January 4

New Publication Schedule for The Unitarian begins in January 2017
This fall, the Program Council voted to distribute The Unitarian only by e-mail, beginning with the January 6, 2017 issue. This e-mail will 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.
     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 – Friday, 9 – 3

Parish Board, 2016 – 2017 — click here
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


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.


Second Friday Coffeehouse is on Facebook! Like the page, check out upcoming shows and “share” great music for great causes with your friends!

Posted in Unitarian