The Unitarian – January 20, 2017

Click here to download a printable Unitarian (PDF)

The church now has a new phone service. Same number (617-484-1054), but new staff extensions. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sunday Worship – January 22

Partner Church Service in the Parish Hall
Our worship services this Sunday will be in multi-media format in the Parish Hall, bringing home the shared worship of First Church pilgrims with the Désfalva community this past summer. At this time of challenges in our own society, we feel that it is especially important to nurture ties with and learn from people who share our values. We hope you will join us this Sunday and find the experience meaningful. This week also represents the kickoff of our scholarship drive, which helps us support the education of students in our partner village. We will provide more information on Sunday and in upcoming weeks. Thank you for your support.
~ The First Church Pilgrims and Partner Church Committee

Please click here for information on The Transylvania Partner Church Education Fund

Prelude: Improvisation on American Songs, by Aaron Copland (1900 – 90); Ian Garvie, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir: Isten, áldd meg a magyart, by Erkel Ferenc (1810 – 93)

Offertory Hymn: Spirit of Life

Postlude: Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Lauren Crocker and Donna Ruvolo in honor of our partnership with the Unitarian Church congregation of Désfalva (Romania).

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sermon archive:
  • Sunday, January 29 — Laura Wagner, UU Mass Action

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

I attended the Martin Luther King, Jr breakfast and program on Monday January 16. I was inspired.
Dorothy Stoneman’s story of YouthBuild and how it has grown to provide for affordable homes around the country, and provides skills, dignity and honor for thousands of youth and communities is a testament to dreams coming true and the courage to make them happen.
     The stories that the students that participated in the METCO program shared demonstrated the courage to love, to be known, to know others, to build relationships and bridges among peoples of different backgrounds and culture.
     As we approach the inauguration of a new president, I am hoping that we have the courage in this time of fragmentation, anger, disappointment and despair to still dream dreams and to find a way to make them happen. That we, too, can build bridges across seemingly unbridgeable divides. Across the history of our country we have hoped for e pluribus unum, but we have also been divided…. by race, by gender, sexual identity, political party, land, wealth and the lack of it. Shall we be a people, a nation that continues to be defined by our walls and unbridgeable divides? I hope not. But it will take courage. Courage partnered with hope is a mighty force.
     Whether you voted for the president elect or not, we can still respect the office of president. And, we may join in meditation, prayer, marches, town meetings, public squares, halls and streets where decisions are made to make sure that we are building bridges, not walls. May we have sufficient hope and courage to be that mighty force that makes visions and dreams come true for ourselves and our brothers and sisters across the land.
     And when your hope or courage falters, and it usually does for most of us at some time, perhaps the words of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr will keep you afloat:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

     Dig for courage. Fan the fire of hope for each other. And, however you can, stand up, join up, reach out, speak up, offer a helping hand, or a comforting hug. Love one another. Love yourself. May we create a world where we recognize each person’s inherent worth and dignity and that every person is treated with justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

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

The Music Committee is thrilled to invite you to a musical celebration of the installation of the Alfa Radford Commemorative Plaque Unveiling and Concert. The plaque recognizes and memorializes Alfa Radford’s 55 years of bringing music and joy to this community.
     Please join us Saturday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. for an inspirational evening:
Unveiling of the bronze plaque, followed by musical performances by:

  • Nina Grimaldi, Piano
  • Kira Garvie, Organ
  • Simon Andrews, Organ
  • Alfa Radford, Piano
  • Chuck Claus, Baritone
  • Davron Monroe, Tenor
  • Irina Kareva, Mezzo-soprano
  • Robin Pyle, Trumpet
  • Ian Garvie, Piano

Reception in the Parish Hall
     Tickets are $10 at the door. All proceeds will go to the Alfa Radford Legacy Music Endowment, a fund that supports significant purchases that benefit the entire church community. Past purchases have included new robes for the Children’s Choirs, an upgraded sound and video system in the Parish Hall, microphones for the Sanctuary, and more. Additional donations are encouraged!
     It will be an unforgettable evening memorializing Alfa’s contribution to our lives, and to the lives of those to come.

Among Us

Our deepest sympathies to Richard Waring and family; Richard’s brother died unexpectedly a few days ago.


 “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!”

… will most certainly not be Saturday, February 4 (snow date: February 5), when the First Church Live Auction fills the Parish Hall with merriment and good-natured competition as we gather to support our church’s programs and strengthen our enduring fellowship. Doors open at 5:30.
     But the fun extends way beyond that evening event: The Silent Auction, which is now open for viewing on Bidding for Good (, features scores of items, including brand-new tech devices and computer help, home-baked treats, original works of art, one-of-a-kind experiences, restaurant gift certificates, elaborate dinners and brunches, gardening services, cultural events, and handmade accessories. New items are being added all the time.
     The Silent Auction goes live on Saturday, January 28, at 10:00 a.m., and ends on Saturday, February 11, at 10:00 p.m. You must be registered on Bidding for Good ( to bid—and while you’re there, you can buy your tickets for the Live Auction and for the Raffle (see the home page for details). You can use the time before the go-live date to keep track of the items on offer and plan your bidding strategy. And during the two weeks of the Silent Auction, be sure to check the BfG website often to see how your donations are doing and whether your own bids are still winning.

Youth Group!

Bake Sale After Service!
Proceeds benefit the Youth Group’s Service-Learning Trip to West Virginia.
Enjoy a cookie, brownie or cupcake after each service this Sunday with your coffee or tea! Meet youth groupers and service-trip chaperones, learn about our trip to West Virginia and enjoy a treat. Got questions? Email Sana Saeed,

Babysitting Fundraiser — Saturday, February 4th
Attend the church auction on Feb 4th or have a date night!
Attention parents! The Youth Group is organizing a babysitting fundraiser on the night of the church auction. If you sign-up, 2 members of the YG will come to your house at a pre-arranged time on Saturday, February 4th to care for your children. 2-6 hours; you choose!
     Cost is $15/hr. Proceeds benefit the Youth Group’s Service Trip to West Virginia this February. DEADLINE TO SIGN UP: Sunday, January 29. (There’s no guarantee we can accommodate late sign ups after this date based on youth schedules.)
     To sign-up contact Sana Saeed, Director of Youth Programs, at

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 Veronica Canas, 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:

Annual Winter Clothing Drive, January 10 – 25
Donation boxes are in the Lower Hall.

The 9th grade COA group will be volunteering with homeless people in the Boston area and learning about poverty and homelessness in January. Please help us with a clothing drive in advance!

Used items for men and women including:

  • Winter coats
  • Sweat shirts and sweat pants (especially hooded sweatshirts)
  • Sweaters, Long-sleeve shirts, T-shirts
  • Jeans, khakis, other casual pants and belts
  • Waterproof boots, comfortable shoes and sneakers
  • Hats, waterproof gloves, scarves
  • All kinds of carrying cases such as backpacks, tote bags, fanny packs and small suitcases with wheels (in good condition)
  • Sleeping bags and blankets (clean & in good condition)

New items for men and women, including:

  • New white socks
  • New underwear – size L, XL, XXL

New, unopened travel sized toiletries, including:

  • Soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, Chapstick, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream and razors. (Please no aftershave or mouthwash containing alcohol.)

Please NO children’s clothes, dress clothes, slippers, bathrobes, pajamas or out-of-season clothing. For questions, please contact Sana Saeed at

Belmont Food Pantry

First Church members staff the opening of the Belmont Food Pantry on the second Tuesday of every month. There will be a sign-up table after Sunday’s service to recruit volunteers for February through May.
     Volunteers work for about 90 minutes, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Please stop by the sign-up table in the Gathering Hall to volunteer to help out one evening during the upcoming months.

Adult Programs News

Women’s Retreat: March 31 – April 2
Information and Registration forms are now online.

New Program! Reflecting On Racism From The Inside Out — Joslyne Decker
First Tuesdays, February 7, March 7, April 4, May 2, June 6 7 p.m., Parlor
This group will function as a non-judgmental, supportive space for those open to learning, self-reflection, personal change, and honest conversation around race and racism. Goals include increasing our understanding of racism and learning how to leverage our privilege to end it. Registration is required as the class is limited to 12 participants.
     Regular attendance requested, first session required. Occasional short reading assignments. For information or with questions, please contact Joslyne at Co-sponsored by Social Action Committee.

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

Spiritual Renewal Through Poetry — Peter Guthrie
Meets Sundays, Jan. 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.

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
The Book Group is always open to new members. There is no long term commitment. Feel free to join us for a single evening’s discussion or to become a regular participant. We ask only that you confirm your intention to attend on a particular evening by the Monday before each session. Please contact Anne Stuart at: or Karl Klasson at to confirm attendance if you are interested in participating or have any questions.

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.

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.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Thursday, Feb. 2, 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, 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.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
 1st Fridays, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m., Parlor
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.

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 11am – 3 p.m. Schedule at
We have rented a SECOND BUS and are really eager to fill it. Right now there are still seats and we are urging you to join us and to tell your friends to come along. To reserve a seat contact Lillian Anderson at
     As of Monday January 16, the bus leaves Belmont promptly at 9:30 a.m. (we must arrive in Boston by 10 a.m.) from the Belmont High School parking lot. Please arrive by 9:15 a.m. for boarding and park only at the Underwood St. side/eastern end of the BHS lot, near the softball field and the buses. Carpooling and drop-off to the BHS lot is encouraged! The current expectation is that the bus will leave from Boston promptly at 2:15 p.m. with arrival back in Belmont expected at about 3 p.m. We may be delayed from leaving because of the crowds and heavy traffic.
     We will rendezvous with others from our community, as able, at the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the northeast corner (Beacon and Charles) of the Public Garden at 10, 12, and 2. But consider that there will be such a large crowd, it may be very difficult to move around in that area, and it may be very difficult or impossible to keep a large group intact in such a crowd. Two or three people planning to stay together for the day may be a more realistic goal.
     We are excited about participating in a strong statement to the new administration regarding human rights!

Deadline January 29th to Donate Your Gently Used or Never Worn Shoes to New Beginnings Reentry Services — Beneficiary for VDAY Belmont 2017
If New Beginnings can collect 3,000 pairs of gently worn or new pairs of shoes which they in turn donate to Funds2org, they will receive $5,000.
     Please leave shoes in the bin by the Social Action table in the Upper Gathering Hall. And don’t forget to ask your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to donate too!

“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; click here to see services offered.
     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.

Grow Clinic!alt
The GREAT JANUARY JAR RACE is coming to an end. Keep going. Keep loading jars and jars and packages and packages and boxes and boxes into to your shopping cart. Thanks for remembering BABY FOOD when you shop.
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

FCB Refugee Welcome Teams
by Sam James
First Church (FCB) has been working with the International Institute of New England (IINE) to determine the best way to move forward with volunteers. Thus, First Church will be the first partner in IINE’s Resettle Together network to pilot a new Welcome Team program.
     Sunday January 22, after the 9:00 and 11:00 services, there will be a meeting in the First Church Library to learn about being a Welcome Team Member.
     Each team will include 6-8 FCB members who work together to support a refugee family’s successful resettlement. Each team will be responsible for a minimum of 4 hours of combined work per week and will coordinate their weekly efforts based on the family’s needs. Each member will make a six month commitment to a family. The work can be spread out over days, evenings, and weekends. The core responsibilities for the teams will be as follows:

  • Orient newcomers to America and provide valuable life skills, e.g., bus transportation, grocery store shopping, visit to library, post office, etc.
  • Provide opportunities to learn and practice English skills e.g., tutoring, conversations, etc.
  • Assist with employment preparation, e.g., practice interviews, resume preparation, travel to interviews, etc.
  • Help with financial literacy, e.g., budget, saving money, learning to pay bills, deal with banks, etc.
  • Organize social events, especially for the children
  • All team members will be trained by IINE. The process begins with a meeting between the IINE staff member, new refugee family, (interpreter, if required), and our welcome team members.
  • Each team’s responsibilities will be tailored to the family’s needs and there will opportunity to work closely with family members, IINE, and each other. Following the first members, the Welcome Team will organize a dinner for the new arrivals.

     This is a wonderful opportunity for us to be involved with refugee resettlement. It is very structured, allows our members the opportunity to work together, and helps a family make a successful transition to life in Lowell after a long journey. Please join us Sunday January 22, 2017 and learn more about the program.

A Community Responds: Three Films on the Global Refugee Crisis” Film Series
In response to the current refugee crisis several community groups, including the Belmont Public Library, Belmont World Film, Beth El Temple Center, and First Church of Belmont Unitarian Universalist present “A Community Responds: Three Films on the Global Refugee Crisis,” a series of documentaries beginning at 7:00 PM, including Sonita on February 2 and After Spring on February 9 at the Studio Cinema in Belmont (376 Trapelo Road) and All of Me on February 16 at the Belmont Public Library (336 Concord Avenue), followed by discussions.
     Proceeds benefit the International Institute of New England, which provides information on resources to refugees and immigrants, and the Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), which promotes community education, refugee resettlement, post resettlement support services, counseling services and socio-economic development in Massachusetts refugee and immigrant communities.

The Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry — Volunteer opportunities in Roxbury
Please click here to see current volunteer opportunities.

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

From the Church Administrator: sublet/rental apartment available in Arlington, March 1
As some of you know, my husband and I have bought a house in Medford and are moving mid-February. We need to find a subletter for 3 months or someone to take over our Arlington apartment’s lease starting March 1. Details are here: Please spread the word! Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks!
~ Janice Zazinski

Next issue: January 27

The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, January 27, 2017. Please email items to by noon on Wednesday, January 25. 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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