The Unitarian – February 3, 2017

The Unitarian – February 3, 2017 (PDF)

Sunday Worship – February 5

Reclaiming Ourselves — Andrea Spencer-Linzie

Prelude: Trio on Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Her by Andreas Armsdorff (1670 – 99); Simon Andrews, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir: Abendlied, by Josef Rheinberger (1839 – 1901)

Offertory: “Ah, fuggi il traditor,” from Don Giovanni, by W.A. Mozart (1756 – 91)

Postlude: Arabesque, by Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918); Mariko Findell, piano

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by James & Rebecca Hencke to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their membership in The First Church.

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sermon archive:
  • Sunday, February 12 — Andrea Spencer-Linzie

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Such a heterogeneous gathering assembled as can hardly be imagined, made up…. of Christian Unionists proper, Perfectionists, Transcendentalists, Comeouters, and nondescript eccentrics of widely varying types… The parties… found themselves so involved in erratic and chaotic opinionists that they had hard work to control the proceedings.
— Adin Ballou, describing an 1840 conference called to discuss Christian Unity. (Quoted from Awakening the Soul, edited by John C. Morgan

Remind you of anything? There are so many voices clamoring for attention, ascendency, priority. It’s hard to keep it all straight, to figure out or understand, or who is saying what.
     We are living in a cacophonous age.
     In times like these, it is important to find that still small voice within us. Calm your mind and listen to your heart. What does it say to you? What comes to you that is truly important in your life? What do you hear that promotes wholeness, health, love? Let these be the messages that direct your day. You, then, can become a beacon of calm and wholeness for others. Let your light shine.


 The Bidding Has Started!

A huge variety of wonderful items are now available in our Silent Auction at You’ll find something for everyone:

  • gift certificates for local shops and restaurants
  • cookies, cakes, and pies
  • vacation stays
  • sumptuous dinners and brunches
  • hand-made accessories
  • services such as bike repair, de-cluttering, spring cleaning, and computer help
  • plants and garden advice
  • cultural events
  • works of art
  • and MUCH MUCH MORE! (New items are being added every day.)

    Friendly bidding wars are already under way, and the excitement is mounting. The Silent Auction will be open until Saturday, February 11 at 10 p.m. Visit now and visit regularly to see what’s new, how your donations are doing, and whether your bids are still winning.
     The Silent Auction and the Raffle are two great ways to participate in this vital fundraising effort if you can’t attend the Live Auction on February 4.
     NOTE: You can buy tickets for the Raffle at You do not need to be present at the Live Auction to win the Raffle. And you may still be able to buy Live Auction tickets on the BfG website.

UUA and UUSC Declaration of Conscienceuuadeclarationofconscience

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Rev. Peter Morales and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) President and CEO Hon. Thomas Andrews invite congregations and friends to sign the Declaration of Conscience, committing to put Unitarian Universalist values into action to resist hate, fear and bigotry.
     “We will oppose any and all unjust government actions to deport, register, discriminate, or despoil. As people of conscience, we declare our commitment to translate our values into action as we stand on the side of love with the most vulnerable among us. We welcome and invite all to join in this commitment for justice.” Join us in transforming faith into action! Read the full Declaration of Conscience and sign on today!

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

The Christmas season is now well and truly behind us, and it’s time for the music program to start looking ahead at the spring. The Children’s Choirs are already hard at work learning the music for the next Multi-Generational service, which will be on March 19. There will be many fun songs at the service, accompanied at times by organ, flute, percussion, and piano!
     On March 12th we will have the annual Gospel Sunday — a service full of rousing music led by community member Roger Brown and his gospel band. The spring Major Music service is scheduled for April 9th, and this year we will be featuring a piece that was composed in 1997 — Lux Aeterna, by Morten Lauridsen.
     This season also look for a little bit of variety in the music program, as we welcome community members to take part in providing some of the music for the services. This weekend Mariko Findell will play a beautiful Arabesque by Debussy as the postlude for both services. We would love to see even more of the community involved in the music here at the church! If you are interested in providing some music for the services yourself, please reach out to me at

Adult Programs News

Women’s Retreat: March 31 – April 2 at Rolling Ridge
There are a few places left and the deadline has been extended. Questions? E-mail Lillian Anderson at Information and Registration forms are online.

New Program! Last call for registrations: 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.

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.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Sundays, Feb. 12, all March, April 2, 9, and 23, 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

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:

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
Meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays, Feb. 2, 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.

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, February 22, 7:30 p.m., Library
This month’s book is Americanah by Chimamand Ngozi Adichie
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.

“Frayed Lives” — Debra Michlewitz
Sunday, February 26, 12:30 p.m., Library
“As a first generation American in a Brooklyn household cobbled together from fragments surviving the Holocaust, Debra describes her experience as ‘a stranger in a strange land’”. Her memoir paints the panorama of a family record while depicting the desperation of refugees of war. A retired English teacher, Debra is now a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Her book is available at Barnes and Noble.

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations
Sunday, February 26, 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.

Social Action News

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

VDAY is a Global Movement to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls.
     In conjunction with many other Belmont organizations, First Church is proud to support this effort and to be the site of a program featuring essays on this subject. The collection is edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle, and each piece is written by a well known person.

“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” (MMRP) February 17 and 18, 7:30 p.m.
Members of First Church. a Belmont Selectman, a Belmont Police Officer, a Cambridge Vice Principal and a few semi-professional actors will be performing. We will be selling tickets at Coffee hour on February 5th and 12th or you can get them on line at
     This is our way of giving voice to the issue of violence against women and girls. Funds raised from the tickets sales, donations and our fabulous Gift Baskets will be awarded to our beneficiary, New Beginnings Reentry Services. Inc.
     A highlight this Sunday and next is that Stacey Borden, Founder and Director of New Beginnings, will be at Coffee Hour for you to meet and to learn more about her vision and the needs of the women leaving prison and transitioning back into their communities. Her personal story is compelling.

  • 90% of the profits will be donated to New Beginnings
  • 10% go to the global VDAY effort to stop violence against women and girls

We need your help! Please support these critical services. Come to the performance * buy raffle tickets *make donations.
     First Church performers include Anne Adams, Patricia Garcia, Karl Klasson, Jen Marler, Jackie Neel and former Belmont resident member Will Neely. A full cast list will appear in the Program.

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. You can also sign up online: Questions to

Save the Date for the First Church Rummage Sale: Saturday, May 6, 2017
As you carry out your New Year’s resolution to de-clutter, please set aside any “saleable” items for the Rummage Sale!!

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.
     There will be a meeting about the program on Sunday February 5, 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.

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

Grow Clinic!alt
Wouldn’t you like to Put Some LOVE in Your Cart this Valentine Holiday with a few extras for the infants and toddlers at the Grow Clinic?
February Special Request: Baby Food and Formula
There are collection baskets in the Lower Hall and the vestibule outside the Sanctuary.
Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

A Community Responds: Three Films on the Global Refugee Crisis” Film Series
Please Note: After Spring has been moved to the West Newton Cinema; All of Me will be at the Belmont Library
This fall a conversation began between Temple Beth-El Center, Belmont Public Library and First Church to host a town-wide education program about refugee resettlement. We invited members of Belmont World Film to join us and began exploring the possibility of a film festival that educates and promotes refugee resettlement. We are going to present three documentaries that are excellent and they are as follows:

  • After Spring, February 9, 2017 at the West Newton Cinema
  • All of Me, February 16, 2017 at the Belmont Public Library

Efforts have been made to select films that complement each other and provide a diverse and comprehensive understanding of the challenge. We have been able to cover all of the expenses of the films; therefore, all proceeds will be donated to the International Institute of New England and the Refugee and Immigrant Assistant Center.
     Please save the dates and join us in this journey of better understanding some of the 60 million people who are seeking shelter in foreign lands.

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

Church Library Additions
Edwin Taylor generously donated 60 prized books to our library. There are new books in most categories including Religion and Science, Spirituality/Practice, Bible, Social Action, and a newly formed category — Humor!
     Noteworthy additions are Gospel Parallels, a Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels by Burton Throckmorton (on the Bible shelf), Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (Death/Dying), Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast (Humor), and Morals of Jesus: The Jefferson Bible by Thomas Jefferson (Bible). We also recommend Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns (Social Action).
     Books are checked out on the honor system. You are invited to browse, take something home to read, and return it when finished.

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. 10, or

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: February 10

The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, February 10. Please e-mail items to by noon on Wednesday, February 8. 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.

Easy ways to support & stay in touch with FCB


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