The Unitarian – December 20, 2016

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

Saturday, December 24 — Christmas Eve Candlelight Services

  • 2 p.m.: Junior Choir; Lessons and Carols, Pageant
  • 4 p.m.: Chancel Choir; Lessons and Carols, Pageant
  • 6 p.m.: Youth Choir; Lessons and Carols, Pageant
  • 11 p.m.: Alumni Choir; Lessons and Carols

The Christmas greens & poinsettias that decorate our Church are given by the Farnham Memorial Fund.

  • Sermon archive:
  • Directions and parking information at
  • There will be no worship services on December 25 and January 1
  • January 8 — Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, UU Urban Ministry

Christmas Offering

We invite you to consider special gifts for the Christmas offering:
A gift to The First Church (“gift”), or

A gift to the charitable projects of the First Church (“Xmas Charities”):

  • The Social Action Committee has selected Renewal House, a domestic violence shelter for individuals and families who are fleeing violence or abuse. Since 1980, Renewal House has provided temporary emergency shelter and advocacy services to more than 1,000 individuals and families escaping domestic violence.
  • The Youth Group and the Program Council have selected YouthBuild, whose programs give low-income young people who have fallen off the edges of society the opportunity to transform their own lives, get back on track to adult responsibility, and give back to their communities.

Please make checks payable to First Church and note on memo line of your check “Xmas Charities” or “gift.”

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

Rev. David Bryce

Rev. David Bryce

This is my last “pre-Sabbatical” column.
     From January 1 to June 30 of 2017, Andrea Spencer-Linzie will be the “acting” minister for The First Church in Belmont.
     Those of you who have gotten to know Andrea will, I am sure, have full confidence in her abilities. She will have support from Rev. Doris Hunter and will also have guidance and support from the Intern Committee.
     Andrea will be coordinating Sunday morning services, will officiate at rites of passage (weddings, child dedications, memorial services) and will be present for pastoral care.
     I have full confidence in Andrea, in the staff, in the lay leadership of the congregation, and in all of you. I know that all will go well during this fairly brief six month period of time.
     I know that my time away will be good for me as it will be a time of activity and reflection, of growth and change–and will also be a time of reflection and growth for the congregation and for each of you.  
     I will be away until September of 2017 (though I will be on-call for pastoral care emergencies beginning August 1).  
     During my sabbatical all emails to me through the FCB website will be forwarded to Andrea, our Intern Minister, and emails to my professional email account ( will also be forwarded to Andrea.
     My RevDavid Bryce Facebook page will be in existence, but I will not visit it, or will do so only rarely; so, effectively, it will be inactive.
     I wish for you all joy and love.
     See you in September.

Save the Date for the Alfa Radford Celebratory Concert and Commemorative Plaque Unveiling!

On Saturday January 21 at 7:30 p.m., the First Church will be installing a commemorative plaque to honor Minister of Music Emerita Alfa Radford’s 55 wonderful years of service to this community. Marking the occasion will be a concert in the Sanctuary, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. Bring friends and family to this joyful celebration!


 “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This”

Could The Eurythmics have been thinking of the First Church Auction? It’s a chance to have fun with your friends while supporting our worship services, children’s RE, adult and youth programs, and much more. This year’s theme is “Back for the Future: An ‘80s Extravaganza” and your $50 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar), a delicious dinner with wine, musical entertainment, dancing, and most important, the excitement of the Live Auction! Mark your calendar now with the date: Saturday, February 4 (snow date February 5), and go to to register, buy your tickets, and donate items.
     We need volunteers and ideas as well as donations: contact Ariane Frank, the Auction chair, or to Bev Gillette and Sara Oaklander, the Silent & Live Auction chairs, at

Youth Group News!

Interested in a free trip to West Virginia? Join the Youth Group on a fun Service-learning trip to Appalachia in West Virginia from February 19th – February 26th.wvirginiamap2
     We’ll be helping repair homes, visiting a mountain-top removal site, meeting local activists, jamming out with a folk music workshop, having campfires and much, much more.
     We need more chaperones on the trip as we have a lot of eager youth signing up for our trip — and you don’t have to pay as a volunteer chaperone. If you’re interested send Sana an email at

The Second Friday Coffee House – Friday, January 6th at 7:30 p.m. in Parish Hall
coffeehouseopenmicJoin the youth group members for a fun night of skits, music, and other great acts!
     Our featured beneficiary is YouthBuild! In the United States, YouthBuild programs give low-income young people who have fallen off the edges of society the opportunity to transform their own lives, get back on track to adult responsibility, and give back to their communities. Founded by FCB member Dorothy Stoneman.
  Everyone is welcome to perform in addition to youth performances. Please come early to sign up! Contact Sana for more information,

Pizza & Game Night – Saturday, January 14, 2017 — 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Bring your kids and join us in a fun Pizza & Game night in the Parish Hall. From Twister to Poker, from board game to card game, there is something for every taste and every age.
     We will bring the Pizza and lemonade, you bring your favorite games and — if you like — a little snack or dessert. The event is free but pizza-money donations are welcome.
     RSVP to to help us track how much pizza we will need.

Snow Shoveler for Hire, Grove St. Park area

Hi I’m Josh Crocker, I am 15 years old and go to BHS. I was wondering if anyone would like help shoveling snow over the winter.
     I am looking for someone who lives within walking distance of Grove Street Park. Payment may vary depending on amount of snow and time spent working. If there is not much snow I will work for free.
     If you are interested you can reach me by phone or email(preferred); 617-651-6312.

Adult Programs News

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Thursday, Jan. 5, 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 — Jan. 5, 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.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, Jan. 6, 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. Snacks provided.

Writing Workshop — Joslyne Decker
Sunday, Jan. 8, 12:30 p.m., Library
This workshop will focus on generating new writing material from writing prompts. Participants are invited to share their work after each writing period and the group will be guided in offering positive feedback. Participants are never required to follow a prompt and there is no pressure to read aloud. Write what needs to be written. This is a supportive and safe environment to try out writing or to deepen your craft.
     Joslyne has been leading workshops for 5 years and is trained in the Amherst Writers and Artists method. The workshops are for everyone, from people who are terrified to pick up a pen to published authors. We all start from the same place — a blank page.

Spiritual Renewal Through Poetry — Peter Guthrie
Meets Sundays, Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29, 3-4 p.m., Parlor
Robert Frost once defined a poem as a “momentary stay against confusion.” Good poems can help us see ourselves and our lives more clearly, trigger moments of epiphany, and cut through the confusion of life to what truly matters. We will read and discuss poems that deal with spiritual issues in the broadest sense of the term.

Feminism and Reproductive Justice — Andrea Spencer-Linzie
Sunday, January 15, 12:30 p.m., Library
Join our ministerial intern as we examine these issues using feminist theology and our Unitarian Universalist principles as our guides. Refreshments served.

UU Belmont Alliance — Lunch and Program
Wednesday, January 18, 12 noon, Upper Hall; All Men and Women Welcome
Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” — film and discussion with Alice Trexler.

Poetry and Music — Richard Waring and Sam Waring
Friday, Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Enjoy the creative energy between father and son in this presentation of words and melodies. Richard will read from his book, “What Love Tells Me,” interspersed with classical pieces for oboe performed by Sam. Refreshments served.

Social Action News

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

VDAY 2017: Performance Dates are February 17 and 18, 2017.
If you are interested in assisting in the organization and the development 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.

Boston Women’s March on Washington – January 21, 2017
Join us on Boston Common from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. as we show our support for the Women’s March on Washington DC. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, our dignity and our families, recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
     Register at the following site — be sure to click on the First Church Belmont group page:
     We will meet at First Church Belmont that morning, then carpool to Alewife. Details to follow. Contact Frederica Frost at with questions.
     We know that some of you may feel disappointed that we are not hiring a bus to go to Washington but after much effort and research there just wasn’t any clear path for how to make it work. Alternatively we are lucky to have a State where we can voice our support so close to home.

img_7270We are knitting Pussyhats for the Women’s March on Washington DC on January 21, 2017. If you can help us knit for the FCB contingent that is going to Washington or to the Boston March, more information at; knit and crochet patterns are here:
     If you are going to either March and would like a hat, or if you can knit and donate a hat, please email Eva Patalas at

Looking for an Unusual Christmas Gift for that Special Woman in Your Life?
How about sending her to the First Church Women’s Retreat, March 31-April 2, where she’ll find fun, fellowship, and freedom from daily responsibilities? It’s a fitting indulgence for someone you love. For details, contact Lillian Anderson at

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
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.

Grow Clinicfullsizerender-20
Did you know giraffes can talk? At least our Grow Clinic Giraffe Gloria can talk. “WOW!” is what she said when she saw the 50+ gifts from the FCB Family for the Grow Clinic Holiday Party. The gifts were fabulous! Thank you for your amazing generosity. The gifts were transported to Boston Medical Center and are in transit to a fun-filled Holiday Party on Friday afternoon. So if you feel a ‘tingle’ between 3 and 5 that afternoon, you’ll know it’s coming from happy hearts of the Grow Clinic patients and their fullsizerender-21families. Thanks!!!

  • Food: One of the Most Important Medicines



Christmas Eve Ushers Needed
Ushers are needed to welcome our church community to Christmas Eve services. You can sign up online at 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. ]

In Case of Severe Weather
As winter approaches there maybe foul weather around service times. If a service is to be cancelled a message of the cancellation will be placed on the Church phone system, website, Facebook page, etc. However in any weather condition which concerns you or your family, it should be clear that no one should ever feel pressure to come to services if their travel conditions seem unsafe.
     Read the complete, updated weather policy here:

Lost & Found
The First Church Lost & Found items are in a large labeled box in the Lower Hall, outside the Church Administrator’s office. There you will find garments of all kinds and larger items that we’ve found. Small valuables such as purses, glasses, jewelry and wallets, are locked in the administrator’s office.
     Every six months the Lost & Found contents are given to a donation center, so if you are missing something, don’t wait too long to look, or contact Janice at 617-484-1054, ext. 201, or to see if it’s turned up.

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: January 6, 2017

The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, January 6, 2017. Please email items to by noon on Wednesday, January 4.

Church Staff — click here for directory

404 Concord Ave., Belmont | 617-484-1054 |
Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3. The church office will be closed from Monday, December 26 through Monday, January 2, 2017.

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.

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