The Unitarian – February 24, 2017

The Unitarian – February 24, 2017 (PDF)

Sunday Worship – February 26

On Hope and Resilience — Andrea Spencer-Linzie

This Sunday’s sermon will explore the need for hope and resilience in this time of change and anxiety. How do we foster hope? How can we develop resilience?

Prelude: Praeludio in D, by J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750); Simon Andrews, piano

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Go Gently Into the Morning, by Douglas E. Wagner

Offertory: Lord, I Want More Religion; Pennsylvania Dutch spiritual; Chuck Claus, baritone

This song is from a genre known as Pennsylvania Dutch spirituals. Though less well known than the spirituals sung by Southern slaves, they share a strongly evangelistic tone. These spirituals usually involve one simple idea, sung simply.

Postlude: Fugue in D minor “Giant” BWV 680 by J.S. Bach; Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Paul Santos and Anne Stuart in loving memory of Robin, Cristina, Paul, and Peter Santos.

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

From Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Ministerial Intern

There are times when we may be facing a personal crisis of family or health. Sometimes we may be facing a crisis of faith, or feeling afraid for our safety. Some of us may be harboring doubt about the future given the current political and social environment.
     In such circumstances, we may lose hope, or fall into despair.
     In 1932 Thomas Dorsey wrote the words to the hymn “Precious Lord.” He wrote them after his wife died in childbirth. He didn’t think that he could go on living without her. That experience created a deep crisis of faith for Dorsey.
     Yet, the words that he wrote contain a basic faith in the holy, God, the cosmos. Even in the worst hour of his life, he still held on to a hope that he could go on, that there was still the possibility of a future with meaning.
     The words that he wrote reveal that we are not alone. Even in the depths of despair, weakness, tiredness, he trusted that he did not have to walk alone.
     Even if your theology or spirituality is different than Dorsey’s, perhaps his words can still speak to you. To me they remind me that I do not walk this earth alone. I am never far away from that which is holy, and I walk with others on this journey of love, faith and hope.

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light: 

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord, linger near,
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand lest I fall.

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand.

The 2017 March Stewardship Drive is Underway!stewardship logo
Pledge packets are in the mail! Please watch for your envelope, which includes your personalized appeal letter and pledge form (with return envelope), and give it your careful and prompt attention. This coming week is the time to decide on your pledge of financial support for First Church operations in the 2017-18 year. We invite you all to bring your completed pledge forms to one of our March 5 Celebration Sunday services, for a joyful gathering and a strong kickoff to our campaign. As you decide on your pledge amount, please consider:

  • Our pledge goal is $610,000. We need to reach this goal to avoid another operating deficit, to provide reasonable adjustments to staff compensation, and to meet increased operating costs.
  • To reach our goal, we need strong increases at all levels of pledging.
  • Pledge revenue is 80% of our operating budget. The church depends on each of us!

Thank you for carefully considering our appeal. Please contact us with any questions.
~ Roger Read, Stewardship Chair,

Wine Tasting Soiree, Saturday, March 11, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Come and share a glass of wine with old and new friends, and learn the nuances of the following wines: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. Bring your good humor and cheer! Learn as we taste a varied selection, and impress your friends by winning our wine tasting contest.
    Admission: One bottle of wine (of one of the above types) and/or an hors d’oeuvres to share. Adults only. RSVP to

Many, Many Thanks
To all those members of our community whose donations made the Auction a huge success—and profound gratitude to the dozens of members who volunteered their time and effort in a wide variety of capacities:

Chris Albano, Doug Burden, Michael Cahill, Katharine Canfield, Jack Cavalier, Bob Corning, Lauren Corning, Kathy Crawley, Lauren Crocker, Richard Curzi, Deveaux Duckworth, Greg Duckworth, Scott Ferson, Ariane Frank, Julius Frank, Stefan Frank, Martha Gallagher, Roger Gallagher, Gabrielle Garschina-Bobrow, Bev Gillette, Laura Gomez-Ickes, Michael Griffin, Nicole Griffin, Lyn Hamer, Ana Hammock, Matthew Hennessy, Jess Hicks, Carolyn Howard, Teresa Howe, Amelia Ickes, Peter Ickes, Jeffrey Isen, Jackie James, Scott Johnson, Gretchen McClain, Doug Massidda, Jeanne Mooney, Sara Oaklander, Eva Patalas, Heather Quay, Andre Ramos, Lynn Read, Roger Read, Jody Renouf, Jennifer Roderick, Mark Rosenberg, Donna Ruvolo, Melanie Salisbury, Bob Schafer, Penny Schafer, Kate Searle, Fatima Serra, Lanier Smythe, Martha Spaulding, Catherine Stalberg, Jon Svetkey, Phil Thayer, Andree Vezina, Marion Westgate, Sean Westgate, Jasper Wolf, Jonathan Wolf, Leslie Wolf, Jim Wooster, and Laura Vail Wooster. (Apologies to anyone whose name has inadvertently been omitted.

Thanks as well to Janice Zazinski and Luis Carrion for considerable administrative and logistical support.

Adult Programs News

“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 and will be available at the reading. Refreshments served.

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.

Caring for Older Adults —Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Thursday, March 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 1st and 3rd Thursdays, March 2 and 16, 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, March. 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.

The Camino Pilgrimage — Devon Beckett
Sunday, March 5, 12:30 p.m., Library
Join Devon for a living room version of her pilgrimage, walking 70 miles along Roman roads, following the yellow arrows and scallop shells which point The Way. Organizing tips and resources for making your own Buen Camino will be offered. Refreshments served.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Sundays, 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

Foster Care in Massachusetts — Jeremy Lockett
Sunday, March 12 (rescheduled from Feb. 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 or mentor in these youth’s lives. Refreshments served. Co-sponsored by SAC.

Theatre Discussion Series: Reading of  The Exception and the Rule by Bertolt Brecht — Downing Cless, Jane Minasian, Debbie Dobbins
Sunday, March 12, 4 p.m., Parlor
We will read Bertolt Brecht’s The Exception and the Rule. Brecht is generally considered to be the greatest political playwright of the 20th century and also one of the most innovative in stylistic conventions. This short play tells the story of a rich merchant who is increasingly cruel to his porter and guide as he tries to get them to travel faster. To this simple parable, Brecht adds songs, a chorus, and ironic juxtapositions that provoke thought. We will explore how this early play shaped the content and form of Brecht’s masterpieces like The Threepenny Opera and Mother Courage and Her Children, that in turn have had profound influence on theater and film of the last 50 years. We will provide copies of the play but if you’d like to read the play in advance please click here.

Belmont Unitarian Alliance Lunch and Program — All Women & Men Welcome
Wednesday, March 15, 12:00 Lunch, 1:00 p.m. Program – Upper Hall.
Bring a sandwich. The Alliance will provide soup, fruit and dessert. The suggested donation for the meal is $2.
     Join us for “Getting Started In Genealogy In the Computer Age.” Are you interested in identifying or finding out more about your ancestors? Do you have a stash of information on your family that you are looking to organize or share? Miriam Baker and Nancy Davis, both avid amateur genealogists, will provide an introduction to researching your family history.  This talk will cover how computers have made accessing, storing and sharing information easier. It will also briefly cover selected sources for information, both those available on-line and those to visit in person. RSVP to Janice Zazinski at, or 617-484-1054, ext. 10.

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, March 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, March 16, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Rick Eastwick will lead a discussion on the following: Assuming you are at the midpoint of your life, and you do not believe in any sort of personal afterlife, how would your life and values change if you discovered that the earth would be totally destroyed by a collision with a very large asteroid or comet when you are 90 years old? Questions similar to this one are posed and explored in Death and the Afterlife by Samuel Scheffler. Moreover, his conclusions are thoroughly thought provoking even if you don’t agree with many of his specifics.
     Please join us as we explore the stimulating ideas in this book. Excerpts from Scheffler’s book can be downloaded at

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

FCB Refugee Welcome Team Training
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.
     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

     The Welcome Team training has been scheduled for Saturday, February 25 from 9  – 11 a.m. in the Parish Hall. We will cover all of the responsibilities of the Welcome Team and have time for Q&A. Please reserve this time and we will see you then.
     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.

FCB Refugee 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

Belmont Food Pantry
First Church members staff the opening of the Belmont Food Pantry on the second Tuesday of every month. Volunteers work for about 90 minutes, from 5 – 6:30 p.m.; sign up online: Questions to

Save the New Date for the First Church Rummage Sale: Saturday, April 29
As you carry out your New Year’s resolution to de-clutter, please set aside any “saleable” items for the Rummage Sale!!
     Drop-off of saleable items begins on Sunday afternoon, April 23. And please plan to volunteer. Information about sign-up for volunteers coming soon.
     Kathy Crawley and Priscilla Cobb are co-chairing the rummage sale this year and they are looking for a third person to join their team. If interested please e-mail: Thank you!!

Grow Clinic!alt
As February comes to an end, you still have a chance to Put Some LOVE in Your Cart by remembering the Grow babies, toddlers and their families. Thanks!
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

Feb./March 2017 Note —
uuadeclarationofconscienceThe presidents of UUSC and UUA, Tom Andrews and Peter Morales, have announced a joint initiative to address these extraordinary times. They state, “… we must be united in purpose to protect the values of our democracy and those vulnerable populations among us … To that end we have undertaken an unprecedented degree of coordination between the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.”
     As a first step they ask individuals, congregations, and their networks to sign the Declaration of Conscience which, in their words, is a principled response to the potential targeting of people not for what they have done, but for who they are. It is a commitment to speak out and to act in support of basic human rights. Parish Board President, Ana Hammock, has signed this pledge on behalf of our congregation, but individuals are encouraged to sign too.
~ Alice Trexler for the First Church UUSC Team

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

Musica Sacra presents Handel’s Israel in Egypt, March 11 in Cambridge
Musica Sacra, directed by Mary Beekman, will present Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” on Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m. at 1st Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden Street. Handel’s stirring oratorio describing the story of the Israelites deliverance from the Egyptians has particular relevance during the current refugee crises around the world, and, to that end, 10% of ticket sales and 50% of merchandise sales will go to benefit the International Institute of New England. Tickets and information available at or by contacting Mary Beekman.

Belmont High School’s “Real World” Career Night Needs You! Monday, March 6 at BHS
The third annual “Real World” Career Night at Belmont High School — designed, organized, and run by students — needs you! This event is designed to connect young professionals (high school graduates from approximately 1990-2010) in the Boston area with students at Belmont High who are interested in learning more about your career, the education required, and the steps you took to get to where you are today.
     The event is scheduled for Monday, March 6th, at 6:30 p.m. During the event, students and young professionals will engage in a series of 15-minute conversations with each other and then a longer open session, allowing students to concentrate on their passions as well as further explore any areas of interest or roam and discover new ones.
     The purpose of the night is to expose students to a wide variety of real world careers, and based on your answers, we will do our best to match you with students who have similar areas of interest to your career.
     If you are able to participate, please fill out this short form. We hope you can join us to make this year’s event the best yet! 2017 Young Professionals Interest Form
     Please share with friends so we can gather a large group of professionals and careers to expose our students to. If you have any questions, contact BHS senior Anya Sondhi or the RWCN team at

Join Belmont Food Collaborative’s Winter 2017 Cooking Classes, held here at FCB
The best way to eat well is to cook! Learn delicious new recipes, explore new cuisines and enjoy our new classes, held right here in the First Church’s kitchen. The BFC is offering four great new classes: one in Italian, one in French and two in English. Click here for details and to register:

New England Regional Assembly: April 21-22uua
Gather with New England Unitarian Universalists for a celebration of spirit. Register by February 28 for Early Bird Pricing. Youth are welcome to participate; special rate for ages 12-19. Free child care available for ages 11 and under. Visit for details.

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

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’s voicemail, website and Facebook page. 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

Next issue: March 3
The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, March 3. Please e-mail items to by noon on Wednesday, March 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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