The Unitarian – January 6, 2017

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

At the time of publication, the church’s telephone system continues to be out of service and unable to receive incoming or make outgoing calls. In an emergency you can leave a voicemail at 617-484-1054, which will be retrieved once or twice daily during business hours. We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and apologize for the inconvenience. Please email with any questions; our Internet service is operating.

Sunday Worship – January 8

Where the Lights Enters — Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, UU Urban Ministry

Rev. Mary Margaret Earl

Rev. Mary Margaret Earl

As we face a new national landscape, and grapple with the fears and anxieties in a divided country, we look toward our UU faith as a guide forward.

Prelude: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

9 a.m. Nova Choir: A New Year’s Carol, by Benjamin Britten

11 a.m. Senior Choir: Neujahrslied, by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Postlude: Postlude on Italian Hymn, by Paul Laubengayer (contemporary)

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Margaret Eklind and Thomas Schieber in celebration of all the members of our Church community with blessings for the New Year 2017.

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • This week’s offering will benefit the UU Urban Ministry
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, January 15 — Rev. Doris Hunter
  • Sermon archive:

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Do You Need a Fresh Start?
January 1st. It’s just a date, but for many of us each year it symbolizes a fresh start, another chance, time to try something new, a blank page to be filled in.
     There’s no magic in the date, but it is a reminder each year that we always have the opportunity to be innovative, creative, different from what we’ve been or done before.
     The New Year also gives us an opportunity to shed some of the things that might actually be good for us to shed. I’m not just talking pounds here. Although, for some us we might need to shed some of those to be healthier.
     What I’m getting at here is that there may be things that have travelled with you for a long time, maybe even haunting you. Maybe it’s time to shed that weight. There are times that I look back on things that I’ve said or done, and I literally cringe. How could I have been so thoughtless, cruel, or mean? Perhaps you have experienced the same in remembering past deeds or thoughts.
     To tell you the truth, I’m tired of carrying the extra weight of blame and self-recrimination. None of us are perfect, certainly not me. Sometimes it seems as if I must carry the burdens of my past forever.
     This new year I’ve decided that I’ll shed the weight of those burdens and forgive myself.
     It’s time for me to accept that I am good enough to receive forgiveness. Even when I mess up, I’m still worthy of forgiveness. I can learn lessons from my past experiences, but I don’t have to carry the negative weight of them any more. I release the negative energy, and so release myself from the psychic burden.
     I choose to move forward, to risk, to love myself and others, to forgive myself and others.
     In this time of renewal and fresh starts, what may you choose?

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!

Christmas Offering

Thank you for your generosity! The Christmas Charities offering raised more than $3,500 for this year’s recipients, Renewal House and YouthBuild.


 “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

And so do guys. Especially during the long dark days of winter, when the holidays are over and the first daffodils are many weeks away. Happily, we have some fun to look forward to before then: “Back for the Future: An ‘80s Extravaganza,” First Church’s 2017 auction, will take place Saturday, February 4 (snow date February 5). 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. A $50 ticket buys you 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! Go to to register, buy your tickets, and donate items—or stop by the Auction table at coffee hour.
     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 Coffee House – tonight!

Join 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,

What’s Going on in West Virginia? An Awareness Event: Sunday, January 29

Join the Youth Group, Social Action Committee and Adult Programs for a community dialogue abowvirginiamap2ut Appalachian culture and the challenges communities face in West Virginia.
     First Church Belmont members Bethany Allen and Karsten Kueppenbender, and other guests, will share stories of growing up in West Virginia and what’s at stake for the vulnerable communities living there today.

  • Sunday, January 29th 12:30- 2:00 in the Parish Hall
  • All donations collected at the event will benefit the Youth Group Service Trip to West Virginia in February.
  • Contact Sana Saeed for more information at:

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.

Annual MLK Breakfast: Monday, January 16, featuring FCB member Dorothy Stoneman

All are invited to the Town of Belmont’s 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast:

  • Monday, January 16, 2017, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Belmont High School Cafeteria, 221 Concord Avenue
  • Featuring: Dorothy Stoneman, Founder of YouthBuild, Civil Rights Activist and BHS Graduate, and a Panel of METCO Alumni and Friends
  • $5 per person/$10 per family (at the door)
  • A multi-generational community gathering with children’s activities. Advance registration requested but not required by emailing, or by calling 617-993-2795. Continental breakfast. Proceeds to benefit Belmont’s METCO support fund and late day transportation.

Snow Shoveler available

First Church youth Josh Crocker is available for snow shoveling in the Grove Street Park area. Contact by phone or email(preferred) or call 617-651-6312.

Adult Programs News

Women’s Retreat: March 31 – April 2
Information available during coffee hour.

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.

Creative 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
The program will be a screening of Alvin Ailey’s choreographic masterpiece, “Revelations”. Alice Trexler will introduce the choreography and offer some comments after. R.s.v.p. to Janice Zazinski at, or 617-484-1054, ext. 201.
     Bring a sandwich; the Alliance will provide soup, fruit and dessert. The suggested donation for the meal is $2.

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, January 19, 7:00 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.
     Please join us on a path of living positively and boldly in the New Year. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, January 19, 7:30 p.m., Conf. Room
Edwin Taylor will lead a discussion on the book Tribe by Sebastian Junger. Why did colonists captured by Native Americans refuse to return home, while Native Americans captured by colonists returned to their tribes when released? CAUTION: A couple of pages in this reading may be too graphic for children. A selection of pages from Tribe is online at

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday, Jan. 5, 8 p.m., Location TBD
Enjoy the fun and fellowship of crafting with a genial group. 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. Email with any questions.

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.

Serenity in the Age of Trump — Edwin Taylor, Will Brownsberger, James Hencke, Eleanor Hobbs
Sunday, January 22, 12:30 p.m., Parish Hall
The election of Donald Trump is one sign of a new Age, a national and international political turn away from some current visions of governance. Our session will NOT be about this turn, but rather about our individual response: how much to participate, how much to hibernate; in any case, how do we establish and maintain equanimity? Refreshments served.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Sundays, beginning January 22, 2:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Mindful yoga for adults of all ages, abilities, and experience levels. Jess is a registered yoga instructor with a lifetime of practice to share. Just bring a mat, and a twin-sized blanket, if you have them, and a curious mind. Drop-in. To be continued if there is interest. For more information contact

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, January 25, 7:30 p.m., Library
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey
Wednesday, January 25, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations
Sunday, January 29, 7 p.m., Library
Please join Belmont Against Racism, the First Church Social Action Committee, the Belmont Religious Council, the Belmont police department and graduates of Youth Build as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world.

Before the Flood: Film and Discussion — FCB Green/Adult Programs
Sunday, January 29, 4 p.m., Parish Hall
Before the Flood is the new movie created by filmmaker Fisher Stevens and actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio about the dramatic changes now occurring around the world because of climate change—the most pressing challenge of our time.
     The film follows DiCaprio as he travels to 5 continents and the Arctic, speaking to scientists, world leaders, activists and local residents to gain a deeper understanding of this complex issue.
     This 96 minute film will be followed by a guided discussion. Refreshments provided. Co-sponsored by Belmont Mothers Out Front, and Temple Beth El Climate Team.

Social Action News

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

Boston Women’s March on Washington DC
Join us on Boston Common from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Arrangements for the Boston Women’s March for America on the Boston Common are coming together. Women who have registered as part of the First Church Belmont Group will meet in the First Church parking lot at 8:30 AM on the morning of January 21st to carpool to Alewife where we will catch the T.
     The program on Boston Common is 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.:
     Questions? Contact Frederica Frost:
     Register at the following site; be sure to click on the First Church Belmont group page:

“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” (MMRP) will be performed on February 17 and 18, 7:30 p.m.
MMRP is a collection of essays solicited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle , written by well known public figures, that tell the stories of women who have experienced violence and abuse. These stories will be performed by local residents including: a Belmont selectman, a Belmont Police Officer, a professional dancer, a Vice Principal, members of First Church of Belmont, Unitarian Universalist, and local semi-professional performers.
     Tickets available on Eventbrite or at the door – $15.00 and at coffee hour on Feb. 5th and 12th.
     The designated beneficiary for the proceeds from the ticket sales is New Beginnings Reentry Services Inc., a program for women leaving prison based in the Boston area. It’s the first of its kind in Massachusetts and will offer a fully comprehensive residential program with the following services:

  • Job Readiness/Training
  • Skill-Building
  • Finding and Maintaining Suitable Employment
  • Individual Counseling and Therapy
  • Case Management
  • Family Reunification
  • Relapse Prevention for Substance Abuse
  • HIV Education and Prevention
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Transformation

     Stacey Borden, the founder and Director of New Beginnings, will be at First Church Coffee hours on Feb. 5th and 12th. Please stop by the table to say hello and learn more about this unique and ever so needed program.

Donate Your Shoes to New Beginnings Reentry Services
If New Beginnings can collect 3000 pairs of gently worn or new pairs of shoes which they in turn donate to Funds2org, they will be awarded a check for $5,000.
     A bin for collecting gently worn or new shoes has been set up next to the social action table in the meeting hall. And don’t forget to ask your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to donate too! Deadline for dropping off shoes is January 31.
     For more information visit:
     Contact: Kristin Phillips -781-929-9638 or

Grow Clinic!alt
Help us start off the New Year with the 9th Annual GREAT JANUARY JAR RACE. How many jars of BABY FOOD can First Church collect by the end of the month? A small jar can make a big difference.
January and February: The Great January Jar Race: Baby Foods of All Kinds!
There are collection baskets in the Lower Hall and the vestibule outside the Sanctuary.
Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

UUSC Team Monthly Note (Jan. 2017):
In his end-of-the-year message, Tom Andrews, President/CEO of UUSC, discussed the creation of hate-free zones in schools, town, states, etc. The UUSC is now laying the groundwork for a “Hate-Free-Action Network,” and it is this activity that is supported by the Guest at Your Table (GAYT) program this time.
     In November, church members received their GAYT boxes, including stories of hope and a donation envelope. It’s now time to convert all of those overfull boxes to checks or online donations to support “defying hate” which aims to carry forth the Sharpe’s (UUSC founders) legacy by protecting the rights of marginalized peoples in the US and abroad.
     Please do not return boxes of cash and coins to the church. Instead, donate online at or write your check to UUSC (GAYT), PO Box 808, Newark, NJ 07101. All donations are tax-deductible, and all over $125 are matched by the UU Shelter Rock congregation. Membership benefits begin at $40. Your most generous tax-deductible contributions before the end of January are greatly needed and appreciated.
~ Alice Trexler for the FCB UUSC Team

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 $5,000 grant and $7,500 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.

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. Every six months the Lost & Found contents are given to a donation center, so don’t wait too long to look, or contact Janice at 617-484-1054, ext. 201 /

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: January 13, 2017

The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, January 13, 2017. Please email items to by noon on Wednesday, January 11. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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 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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