The Unitarian – January 27, 2017

The Unitarian – January 27, 2017 (PDF)

Sunday Worship – January 29

Creating a Just World — Laura Wagner LICSW, Executive Director, UU Mass Action

Laura Wagner

Laura Wagner

How does social change happen? What do we need to learn from those who came before us and how will this inform the justice movements of our time? Laura Wagner will share her perspective regarding the role of UUs in justice movements today.

     Laura has been Acting Executive Director of UU Mass Action since 2014. She has been a Unitarian Universalist for over 20 years. During this time she has held many lay leadership roles, but her passion has always been for social justice.
     Laura balances her work as Executive Director with her work as a Clinical Social Worker. She maintains a part-time private practice helping people who are healing from trauma. She holds a Masters degree from Boston University’s School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science with a major in management from Northeastern University. Laura has been married for 28 years to Ken Wagner. Laura and Ken have four beautiful children and are enjoying the recent addition of three wonderful grandchildren to their family.

Prelude: Adagio from Sonata for Piano in E flat K. 282 by W.A. Mozart (1756 – 91); Simon Andrews, piano

9 a.m. Nova Choir: Ave verum corpus, by W.A. Mozart

11 a.m. Senior Choir: Dirait-on by Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

Offertory: Connais Tu Le Pays, from Mignon by Ambroise Thomas (1811 – 96)

Postlude: Allegro from Sonata for Piano in F K. 332 by W.A. Mozart; Simon Andrews, piano

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Laurie Graham in honor of her father, Richard’s, 91st birthday and thankfulness for his 61 years of awesome parenting.

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sermon archive:
  • Sunday, February 5 — Stewardship Sunday; Andrea Spencer-Linzie

Memorial Service For Richard Waring’s Brother, Robin — this Saturday, January 28, at FCB
As you may know, Richard’s brother died on January 17, two days shy of his 64th birthday. A memorial service will be held at The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist, this Saturday, January 28, at 10 o’clock in the morning, with a reception to follow.

Details, memories, and photos at:
His 43 year struggle with diabetes — more than 30,000 insulin injections — is over.

Take these broken wings and learn to fly / You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

What does it mean to work for social transformation in the face of seemingly insurmountable suffering and evil? How can we sustain energy, hope, and commitment in the face of an unrelenting succession of social and political crises?
The problems facing us are complex and multidimensional, including immediate threats and structural problems such as homelessness and toxic wastes, violence against women, racism, and poverty. —
From A Feminist Ethic of Risk by Sharon Welch, 1989.
     Here and now in 2017, we are still living in a time of “an unrelenting succession of social and political crises.” At least one question is how do we face these crises? In such circumstances we can easily be lead to despair and hopelessness. We ask, “what can we possibly do that would make a difference?”
     Welch offers some wisdom here that is hard won through her own experience and the struggles of the downtrodden and the oppressed throughout history. First, she posits that the more we acknowledge our finitude the more we will acknowledge that difficult decisions will have to be made given our limited resources and capacities. In other words, we can’t do it all.
     Acceptance of our finitude may help us to see the complexity of decisions about social and political actions where there is no “one” answer. Welch also unmasks the lie of control. An ethic of “control” expects success, yet results are often ambiguous. In sum, there is no certainty of outcome. This can often lead us to despair when the outcome is not “successful”. Welch posits that the best we can do is reach for responsible action within bounded limits.
     Sheila Briggs, theologian and ethicist, says this about Welch’s feminist ethic of risk: “Her criticism of the … preoccupation with the efficacy of and control over our actions is succeeded by a brilliant account of the ethic out of which the oppressed actually live and struggle. Welch’s final statement is one of the joy that arises not out of certainly of the victory of goodness but out of a love of life, even in the face of death and oppression.”
     To me this is one of the most important lessons that I have learned. I cannot control the outcome. Success is often ambiguous. Yet, I must continue to do what I believe is right and good. I choose to love, care, and act without assurance of outcome. This itself is life affirming. In this I can rejoice, and despair fades away.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

This past weekend we celebrated Alfa Radford’s 55 years of service to this community with a wonderful concert, and the plaque that was commissioned now hangs at the back of the Sanctuary for all to see. Thank you to the many people who made the evening such a success.
     To the audience that packed the Sanctuary, thank you for taking the time to share the evening with all of us.
     To Alfa, Kira, Chuck, Davron, Irina, Livia, Nina, Robin, and Simon, thank you for contributing your time and talent to the concert.
     To Pamela and Darrell, thank you for all of the phone calls and emails that made the fundraising possible.
     To each and every donor who gave to the Alfa Radford Legacy Fund, thank you for ensuring that the impact she will have on the music program at the church will never end.
     And finally to Alfa, thank you for being such a dedicated, wonderful part of the community for so long.


 Auction Tickets! Raffle Tickets! Going now and going fast!

The Live Auction is only a week away, but you can still buy your Auction tickets and your Raffle tickets on Bidding for Good ( or at coffee hour. Don’t miss out on these two thrilling aspects of a crucial church fundraiser.
     A $50 Auction ticket buys you hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar), a delicious dinner with wine, musical entertainment, dancing, and most important, the Live Auction!
     Raffle tickets are 1 for $5; 5 for $20; or 10 for $35—What a bargain!—with a chance to win (1) a romantic overnight stay at a South End B&B, with dinner at a nearby restaurant; or (2) two tickets for a show of your choice at Passim, with $50 toward drinks/refreshments and an opportunity to meet the performer.
     The Silent Auction opens for bidding on Saturday, January 28 at 10:00 a.m. and has an unusually rich array of items this year, including vacation spots, elaborate dinners and brunches, adventures, cultural experiences, and much, much more. Go to to revel in the possibilities, and bid early and often!

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

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
Places for this wonderful annual gathering of First Church women are going fast. If you are interested in attending, don’t wait to reserve your space. Stop by the Retreat table at coffee hour for a registration form, and bring your checkbook–or download the forms (see below). The deadline is January 29. Questions? E-mail Lillian Anderson at Information and Registration forms are 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.

What’s Going on in West Virginia? – An Awareness Event
Sunday, January 29, 12:30 – 2 p.m., Parish Hall
Join the Youth Group, Social Action Committee and Adult Programs for a community dialogue about Appalachian culture and the challenges communities face in West Virginia. First Church Belmont members, Bethany Allen and Veronica Canas, and guests will share stories of growing up in West Virginia and what’s at stake for vulnerable communities living there today. Refreshments served.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Sunday, January 29, 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
Sunday, Jan. 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.

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.

Foster Care in Massachusetts — Jeremy Lockett
Sunday, February 12, 12:30 p.m., Library
Dare Family Services’ primary mission is to find, train and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect. Jeremy will share some of his own experiences in the system and help us to understand why children need foster care, who is in foster care and what it takes to be a foster parent.

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch & Program — All Women and Men Welcomecoral reefs
Wednesday, February 15; 12:00; Lunch Upper Hall; 1:00 p.m. Program Upper Hall
Please join us on Wednesday, February 15 for the Alliance lunch and program. Bring a sandwich. The Alliance will provide soup, fruit and dessert. The suggested donation for the meal is $2.
     “The Fijian People and Their Coral Reefs “will be presented by Mark Rosenstein, an amateur marine biologist and avid scuba diver and underwater photographer. After ten trips to Fiji, he has visited several villages there as well as spending many hours studying the reefs.
     He will present a brief overview of the history and culture, then the coral reefs that surround the islands and creatures that live on them, illustrated with many colorful photos. R.s.v.p. to Janice at or 617-484-1054 (ext. 10).

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, February 16, 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, February 16, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Elizabeth Archer will lead a discussion of Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and The Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith. The author gives vivid accounts of the behavior and particular intelligence of cephalopods. “The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” Selected pages can be downloaded from:

Social Action News

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

Boston Women’s March on Washington DC
With Frederica Frost’s early leadership, we hired two school buses which took 96 First Church in Belmont members and friends to downtown Boston for the March. The weather was extraordinary for January 21 and the atmosphere peaceful, determined, and unified.
     Approximately 175,000 women, men, and children from all backgrounds expressed their concerns and regrets about the election, the President’s actions, and the potential direction of his new administration. Banners, signs, chants, pink pussy hats, and skits expressed hope and support for love, unity, respect, liberty, democracy, justice, equality, racial equity, inclusion, sisterhood and brotherhood, human dignity and women’s rights, healthcare for all, environmental protection and climate action, science, refugee and immigrant protection, and many other ideals. A powerful and transformative day.
     Here is a link to the Women’s March website for 10 Actions for the First 100 Days:

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!

February is V Season and it will be here very soon.
     V Season is when communities of people rise up and speak out about Violence and Abuse against women and girls. This makes us all uncomfortable. But it’s real and we need to stop it.
     Members of First Church, along with a Belmont Selectman, a Belmont Police Officer, a Cambridge Vice Principal and a few semi- professional actors will be performing:
“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” (MMRP) February 17 and 18, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15. We will be selling tickets at Coffee hour on February 5th and 12th or you can get them at Eventbrite.
     This is our way of giving voice to the issue of violence against women and girls. We need your help. Come to the performance.
     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. For every VDAY Event 90% of the profits are donated to a local beneficiary and the remaining 10% go to the global VDAY effort to stop violence against women and girls.
     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 it will offer a fully comprehensive residential program; 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.
     In addition to ticket sales we will also be selling tickets to win a choice of spectacular Gift Baskets. Don’t miss your chance to take one home the night of the event. Donations are needed; please contact Jackie –

  • Large baskets
  • Basket fillers – raffia etc.
  • Colored Tissue Paper
  • Ribbon
  • Clear Cellophane
  • Raffle Tickets

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 and Welcome Dinners
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.
        Currently, 25 people have expressed an interest in learning more and possibly participate in training for the next steps. Bev Freeman, Katharine Canfield, and Sam are part of IINE’s Summit (all of the volunteer groups that support IINE), which will meet February 2, with Welcome Teams a significant part of the agenda. FCB’s meeting for those who could not attend the meetings this past Sunday is scheduled for Sunday February 5th in the conference room at 10:15. In early February we can schedule dates, probably a Saturday, for training and getting ready.
     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 February 5 and learn more about the program.

Welcome Dinners
IINE is scheduling welcoming dinners with new refugee family arrivals to Lowell. Two FCB families will “host” two refugee families on a weekday or weekend (at your request).
     FCB families will provide the full dinner and IINE will provide a location in Lowell. IINE will provide a facilitator and interpreter for the evening.
     These dinners are a great way to say hello and welcome moms, dads, and kids who have been on a long journey. It is also an amazing opportunity for FCB youth and children to meet with families from around the world.
     If you would like to sign up to help co-host one of the dinners or if two families would like to host a dinner or would like more information, please contact Joslyne Decker at

A Community Responds: Three Films on the Global Refugee Crisis” Film Series (venue change to West Newton on 2/2 and 2/9)
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 West Newton Cinema — new venue —  (1296 Washington Street, West Newton) 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

Next issue: February 3

The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, February 3. Please email items to by noon on Wednesday, February 1. 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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