The Unitarian – March 10, 2017

Daylight Savings Time begins Saturday, March 11: Remember to set your clock ahead (“spring forward”) one hour on Saturday night.

The Unitarian – March 10, 2017 (PDF)

Sunday Worship – March 12

Gospel Music Sunday — Andrea Spencer-Linzie

This week’s worship is our Gospel Sunday Service. The music itself is transformative. In the homily we’ll explore the symbolism of river and how it reflects our lives.

Prelude: Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Paul Simon
9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: Carry Me Home, arr. Jean Anne Shafferman
11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: River in Judea, by Linda Marcus and Jack Feldman
Offertory: Breathe, by India.Arie
Postlude: TBA
The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Eva Patalas in memory of her mother, Josefa Patalas.

With thanks to today’s Gospel Band:

Jason Sibi-Okumu – Guitar & Vocals
Jacob Sibi-Okumu – Guitar
Roger Brown – Drums
Richard Curzi – Piano
Jim Wooster – Guitar
Mark Caddell – Bass

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sermon archive:
  • Sunday, March 19: Multigenerational Worship Service

2017 March Stewardship Drive: A good start — Let’s finish strong!
stewardship logo

Please make your pledge soon!  If you need another copy of your personalized letter or pledge form, please contact Roger Read at, and we’ll email it promptly.  As of Thursday afternoon, March 9, pledges from over 130 First Church families and individuals totaled $405,135, already two-thirds of our total.  But we still need nearly $205,000 to reach our $610,000 goal.   A large majority of households who have already responded have increased their pledge amounts at all levels of giving.  We will reach our goal only if we have continued strong increases and full participation from everyone.  
     Please make sure we receive your pledge by Friday, March 17 to be listed in the honor roll and enter the drawing for Ariane Frank’s legendary Black Forest Torte.  As you decide on your amount, please consider:

  • Meeting our $610,000 goal will avoid another operating deficit, provide reasonable adjustments to staff compensation, and meet increased operating costs.
  • Last year’s March campaign raised $572,000.  This year we need $38,000 more, plus make up for the normal but substantial declines we face as members retire, pass away, or move away.
  • When overall pledging stays flat, we lose ground.  We continue to need strong increases and new pledges to meet our goal.

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

Among Us
Our deepest sympathies to Greg and Deveaux Duckworth and family, on the recent death of Greg’s father.

Tonight at Second Friday Coffeehouse: Berklee Night!

Please join us for our annual Berklee College of Music Night! Performers in this split bill event are Brooks Robertson, guitarist, and Catherine McDonald, violinist-vocalist. Brooks’ finger style guitar compositions have been compared to legendary guitarists like Chet Atkins and Earl Klugh. Catherine is an award-winning classical violinist, vocalist and singer-songwriter.
     Our featured beneficiary is Berklee City Music, an organization that supports youth from underserved communities in their study of music and academic subjects. City Music Boston provides programs for 1,200 students each year. Read about their innovative work at

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, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 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

Nominating Committee Seeks Candidates for Church Offices 2017-18
The Nominating Committee is currently in the process of forming a slate of candidates to be voted on at the Annual Meeting on May 21 for the following: Parish Board, Finance Committee and Nominating Committee. We will be filling the Vice President and Trustee-at-Large positions for the Parish Board and two vacancies on the Nominating Committee and two vacancies on the Finance Committee. Further information is available on the church website or e-mail
     Nominations are due Monday, March 20. More information at

Ushers Needed for Spring Term (3/19-6/11)
Thanks to everyone who helped make our winter ushering a success. Now please consider volunteering to usher for the spring term. You can sign up online at or on the Ushering Sign-Up Poster in the Upper Gathering Hall during coffee hour. Thanks for your help.

Community Seder on April 11
Please join us in a community potluck to celebrate Passover. We are hosting a family friendly event on Tuesday, April 11 at 6:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Passover is the story of the Exodus from Egypt many years ago. We share prayers, songs, and the retelling of the story. Each participant is asked to read a small part of the order of service, called the Haggadah.
     We ask each family or group to bring a traditional dish to share—and we have lots of recipes. To cover other expenses—$3 child, $5 adult, $12 family.
     To reserve a spot or ask questions:, or look for us at upcoming coffee hours.
~ Eleanor Sugarman and Jackie Neel

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie
This weekend, the First Church continues its annual Gospel Sunday tradition! Member Roger Brown leads an all-star band that will fill the service with soulful gospel music.
     Songs will include Bridge Over Troubled Water by Paul Simon, and Breathe by India.Arie. The services will also include our choirs — at 9:00 a.m., the Nova Choir will sing a lovely medley of Swing Low and Deep River, and at 11:00 a.m. the Senior Choir will sing River in Judea. The band members include:

Jason Sibi-Okumu – Guitar & Vocals
Jacob Sibi-Okumu – Guitar
Roger Brown – Drums
Richard Curzi – Piano
Jim Wooster – Guitar
Mark Caddell – Bass

     For a look at the upcoming services, on March 19th we welcome our Children’s Choirs to both services for one of the annual multi-generational events. The Junior and the Chancel Choirs will sing at the 9:00 service, and the Youth and the Senior Choirs will sing at the 11:00 service.
     On March 26th we welcome First Church favorites the Linden Singers, who will present three gospel quartets at both services.
     And finally, on April 2nd, our own Andrea Spencer-Linzie will join us once more on the cello, along with baritone Chuck Claus, to present Mendelssohn’s beautiful aria “It Is Enough,” from Elijah. She will also be contributing both the prelude and the postlude to both services!

Adult Programs News

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

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

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m., Library
Waking Up White by Debby Irving. Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance.
     As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race.
     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.

Prequel to Major Music —Ian Garvie
Wednesday, March 29, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
The Major Music piece this spring is Lux Aeterna, by Morten Lauridsen. This 30-minute requiem for choir was composed in 1997, the year Lauridsen’s mother died. She was the one who first taught him piano, and instilled in him a love of music.
     The five movements of the piece seamlessly integrate the musical essence of ancient modes, Renaissance polyphony, Romanticism, and modern dissonance.
     In the performance at First Church, Lux Aeterna will be paired with several arias from other requiems to round out the service.

Hootenanny/Jam Session — Jon Svetkey
Wednesday, March 29, 7:30 p.m., Parlor
Are you a closet guitar hero with no band? A great shower singer?
     Then we’ve got just the thing for you: a good old fashioned Hootenanny! Bring along your portable acoustic instrument (i.e., guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, shaker, suitcase, jaw harp, spoons…), your voice or just yourself and — most of all — bring your enthusiasm. And your iPads, iPhones etc. so we can access words to the songs. All levels encouraged!

Breast Cancer Wellness Journey — Melanie Deveikas
Wednesdays, March 29, April 12, 26 (conference room), May 10, 7:30 p.m., Library
An educational series focusing on life & wellness during and after breast cancer treatment. Each week there will be a wellness education topic for discussion. There will also be an opportunity for sharing your breast cancer journey and related concerns through and beyond treatment.
     Melanie Deveikas, PT, MHA is a physical therapy graduate of the University of Vermont. With 20 years of clinical experience, in 2011, Melanie was treated for breast cancer and upon completion of treatment, developed a strong interest in women’s health, nutrition and spiritual healing. Having both personal and professional experience with and treating breast cancer, Melanie recognizes the importance of balance and whole body wellness.
     For more information or to sign up please contact Melanie at

Theatre Discussion Series: Precious Little — Downing Cless, Jane Minasian, Debbie Dobbins
Sunday, April 9, 12:00 p.m., Library
Plan to attend a performance of the play which performs at the Central Square Theatre from March 2 – 26, and join us on April 9 for a lively discussion. Refreshments.
     Precious Little is Madeleine George’s irreverent exploration of one of our most fundamental questions: when does too much knowledge get in the way of our basic instincts?
     A research linguist, Brodie, receives genetic testing results: her unborn child may never be able to learn a language. Her girlfriend’s unsympathetic; her genetic counselor’s a rookie; her own uncompromising intellect betrays her. Her search for guidance takes her to unexpected places.

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

Good News from The Middle East — Sheila Katz
Sunday, March 26, 12:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Sheila H. Katz’s newest book, Connecting with the Enemy, reveals how thousands of ordinary Palestinians and Israelis have worked together to end violence and forge connections between their peoples. The stories from her book will inspire and encourage anyone grappling with social change, peace and war, oppression and inequality, and grassroots activism anywhere in the world. Discussion to follow. Co-sponsored by Adult Programs.

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

International Institute of New England Updates
An after-school program will be starting within the next week or two. As of now youth will meet at IINE-Lowell from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Tuesday and Thursday.
     We are looking for 2-4 volunteers with tutoring or ESOL experience to help kids out with their homework after school. If there are any interested volunteers please refer them to Peter Saati, IINE Volunteer Coordinator, at
     Meet and Greets happen in Lowell on the first Wednesday of every month at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Please note at the Boston and Manchester sites they happen on different days and times.

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.
     It is now time to sign up to help with the Rummage Sale during the week of April 23 – 29. Please sign up at Coffee Hour at the Social Action table.
     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
Still time to provide more “Macaroni Miracles” for the Grow Clinic families. Think MAC & CHEESE when you shop this week. Thanks!
   Pick up a food list for shopping or bring a Special Request: March Special Request: Mac & Cheese.
There are collection baskets in the Lower Hall and the vestibule outside the Sanctuary.
Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations
Sunday, March 26, 7 p.m., Library
Please join Belmont Against Racism, The First Church in Belmont 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.
     On Sunday March 26 we will have special guests. Our V-Day beneficiary Stacey Borden, founder of New Beginnings, will join us and bring some of her clients who are willing to share their stories. New Beginnings is dedicated to help women transitioning from incarceration. We will be honored with their presence and look for ways for future collaboration together.

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 (click to sign) 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

  • Roxbury Youth Programs Tutors: offers opportunities for youth to improve their academic, interpersonal and leadership skills while empowering them to be leaders in their families, schools, and communities.
  • Explorers Club Children’s Activities Helper: a weekend enrichment and exploration program for elementary-school-age children that meets on the second Saturday of each month.
  • English as a Learning Language (ELL) Tutors: twice-weekly English classes to shelter residents and community members.
  • English as a Learning Language (ELL) Childcare Providers: Childcare providers are needed on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Wednesday Night Supper Cooks/Servers: volunteers are invited to prepare and eat dinner with Roxbury Youth Programs students and tutors.
  • Events Help: Throughout the year, the UU Urban Ministry hosts events such as Jack Mendelsohn Forums, our Hope Out Loud concerts, and our RYP holiday and year-end parties. Helping hands are needed for set-up, clean-up, managing activities and preparing meals and refreshments. Please contact engagement @ for more information.
  • Please click here for details on all volunteer opportunities.

In the Community

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. Click here for details and to register:

UU Mass Action Advocacy Day, April 11
Let your voice be heard in the People’s House! The program at Arlington Street Church is from 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., followed by lunch. We will then walk to the State House. Legislative appointments begin at 1:30.
     Location: Arlington Street Church, Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston. Doors open at 9:30. Program Info (click links for full bios):
Worship Leader: Rev. John Gibbons, Senior Minister, First Parish Bedford UU
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, Senior Pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge
Musician: Rev. Fred Small, Climate Justice Minister, Arlington Street Church, Boston
We will be lobbying for our moral vision: A World Where All People Are Honored And Valued
Click for tickets and more information:

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.

UU General Assembly 2017: June 21 – 27,
New Orleans: Resist and Rejoice!
Registration and housing reservations for the 2017 UUA General Assembly are now open! General Assembly is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. This year’s theme of GA “Resist and Rejoice!” will awaken and deepen the commitment of Unitarian Universalists to the power and possibility of working in solidarity with those on the margins. More at Contact Lillian Anderson at with questions.

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:

Next issue: March 17
The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, March 17. Please e-mail items to by noon on Wednesday, March 15. 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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