The Unitarian – September 8, 2017

The Unitarian – September 8, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — September 10

Ingathering Ceremony
We join together in our sanctuary to renew ourselves, and to re-dedicate ourselves to one another and to the ongoing life of spiritual growth. Bring water collected from a special place: from your travels over the summer, from a place nearby or from your home; these living waters will flow together as we join hearts together.

Prelude: Air from Water Music by G.F. Handel (1685 –1759); Simon Andrews, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Welcome, Welcome! by Clif Hardin (contemporary)

Offertory: O Waly, Waly, Scottish Folk Song, arranged by Benjamin Britten (1913 – 76); Melanie Bacaling, soprano and Simon Andrews, piano

Postlude: Hornpipe from Water Music by G.F. Handel; Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers this Sunday are to celebrate the beginning of a new First Church year, and to welcome Reverend David Bryce’s return from his sabbatical.


Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior MinisterDavid

Has it really been eight months?

My last time in the pulpit at First Church — in fact, my last time in the building — was on Christmas Eve. That is at the very beginning of winter. As I write this column, it is only 56 degrees in Lincoln because autumn is soon coming in. The wheel of the year is turning, and has gone nearly full cycle.

For me it has been an eventful period of time. As with many times in life, this one will continue to reveal its full meaning over the months and years to come.

Perhaps you also have had new experiences or major changes in your life.

I find that it is in talking about these experiences, in sharing them with others, that we develop a deeper understanding of them. Somehow it is putting them into words that gives them life.

Maybe that is part of the reason for community, and part of the reason for stories. We gain insight into what we have been through and what we are going through. In doing so, we gain strength, hope and purpose from them—and from all aspects of our lives.

I expect to share my experiences over time, not all at once on my first day back, not all at once in my first month back. And as I share them, I expect that I will gain greater clarity about them.

For now I will say that I have seen great pain in the lives of some of our siblings; and great resilience, and great hope.

I have met good people who are afflicted by their own demons. I have met good people who are in difficult circumstances. I have seen the strength of community and of generosity among the very poorest in our midst. I have met people who are rising up out of their difficulties.

I have seen kind works by generous people, and I have seen some of the failings of our social system.

And I have gained a much greater appreciation for what I have; for things and for basic comfort to be sure, but also for family and love.

As we come together to celebrate our community, may we be filled with gratitude for all that we have.

Sandy Island Registration is Open — some spaces still available! Register now!!!

The Fellowship Committee invites you to join us for the popular First Church Sandy Island Retreat. This is a wonderful opportunity to kick back, relax, and meet new and old friends after a long summer. Sandy Island offers recreational opportunities for people of all interests and ages.

Information and the registration link are online:

Questions? Please contact the fellowship committee at

Second Friday Coffeehouse features Scott Janovitz with openers Jim Wooster & Paul Judge, September 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Songwriter Scott Janovitz is a Boston-based musician who has been a member of The Great Bandini, The Russian, The Figgs, and Graham Parker’s touring band. In 2010 his album, Crashing the Party, earned him a Boston Music Award and was named among the Best Music of 2010 by The Wall Street Journal. His new solo album is due in 2017. More at

Roots rockers Jim Wooster & Paul Judge — Second Friday favorites — will be opening with some of their favorite songs, accompanied on guitars and mandolin.
This month’s beneficiary is Renewal House at the UU Urban Ministry.

Music Notes — Ian Garvie

It is time to register for the Children’s Music Program! This fall the musical is The Gondoliers, by Gilbert and Sullivan. This wonderful show tells the story of two handsome gondoliers in Venice, Marco and Giuseppe, who get married after finding their brides in a game of blind man’s bluff. Then in comes a grand procession of the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro, their daughter Casilda, and their entourage, consisting of just “His Grace’s own private drum, Luiz.”

To everyone’s surprise, it is discovered that one of the gondoliers is in fact heir to the throne of the kingdom of Barataria, and in infancy was wed to Casilda. The only problem is, no one knows which of the two young men is in fact a gondolier, and which is now a king! They solve the problem by deciding to all travel to Barataria, to rule the kingdom together.

Rehearsals for the musical will begin on Monday, September 11th, at 6:30 p.m. for Kindergarten through 4th Grade, and at 7:00 p.m. for 5th Grade and up. Even if you are not sure if you will join, feel free to stop by and join the first rehearsal! More information will be available at the rehearsal.

The Senior Choir will start rehearsals on Sunday, September 10th, at 9:30 a.m., and the Nova Choir will start rehearsals on Thursday, September 7th, at 6:45 p.m. If you are interested in joining any of the wonderful choirs at First Church, please contact Ian Garvie at

Youth Group News — Sana Saeed

COA Mentors Needed for THIS Year
The Coming of Age Ceremony is the culmination of a year of small and large group conversation, an exploration of the beliefs and values by our ninth graders, some wonderful shared food, community building and community service.

The goal of the Coming of Age program is to create a supportive environment where youth are able to explore big questions, reflect on their beliefs, and ultimately have the confidence to make decisions based on their values. In this program, students explore their UU roots and the personal beliefs and values that they are developing. There’s no pressure to believe in one thing, the youth have full autonomy over their spiritual journey and learn together in this special program. Together with adult mentors, 9th graders put their faith into action through community service projects, social action and by working to develop language to express their beliefs. The Coming of Age program runs from September through May and culminates when the youth read their personal credo statements at a ceremony in the spring.

We encourage any of you (except for the parents of 9th graders) to volunteer to be a mentor for the COA program this year.

I hope you can join us!

Please send Sana Saeed, Director of Youth Programs an email if you’re interested in applying and/or learning more about details of the role of a COA mentor at

Program & Committee News

Church Theme for 2017 – 18: “Escalating Inequality”

The Task Group (Lillian Anderson, Ariane Frank, Jackie Neel, Sana Saeed and Nate Sellers) will be sharing information about the theme via brochures and flyers, using our logo to identify programs that concern theme issues. Stay tuned.

Sanctuary Efforts at FCB

The Sanctuary Committee is working with area churches that are prepared to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation. The committee will be recruiting and organizing volunteers to be ready in case someone seeks sanctuary. There are a lot of logistics and we will need a lot of volunteers. If you are interested in joining the committee or being a volunteer, please contact Eva Patalas( or Liz Keating (

The inaugural meeting of the Sanctuary Committee is Wednesday, September 13 at 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Conference Room.

On September 24 at 12:30 p.m. in the Library, following a recap of the General Assembly, Alfredo Garcia, a divinity student at Harvard will speak about the larger context that undocumented immigrants find themselves in, the daily uncertainly that they experience and the ways to accompany them in their struggle. Click for more information about Mr. Garcia. Donations for a stipend for Mr. Garcia will be gratefully accepted.

Bangsokol: Using the Arts and Cultural Renewal to Rebuild a Fractured Society — Saturday, September 23 in the Parish Hall

Please join us for a special event with Arn CHORN-POND, renowned human rights activist, musician and child survivor of the Cambodian genocide, who became a US refugee, before founding Cambodian Living Arts and non-profits serving the Cambodian community in Lowell.
Arn will share his experiences and stories of survival, endurance and hope, and perform some Cambodian flute and song along with Cambodian singer THORN Seyma.

We will also introduce Bangsokol: A Requiem of Cambodia, an important multi-media piece being performed at ArtsEmerson in Boston this December. Bangsokol addresses the power of music and art to heal a post-conflict society. Light refreshments will be served

Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia is a groundbreaking new composition fusing music, voice, film and movement; and the first major symphonic work addressing the traumas of the late 1970s in Cambodia.

New Website – Your input needed

By now you may have noticed we have a brand new website. The website was redesigned using the UUA theme and following well-researched guidance on structuring information so that new visitors can find what they need. The new site provides not only information about First Church, but also plenty of information about UU-ism and what it means to be UU. Check it out, you may learn something new!

What We Need From You

  1. Your Stories: One of the new features is a page called “Our Stories”. This page has been populated with Shared Journeys, but really, anyone can contribute. If you have had a great experience at First Church and would like to tell the world, and potential newcomers to First Church about it, please send your testimonial to It can be short or long, it doesn’t matter. We do ask that you include a photo, to make the experience more personal. Please send the photo attached to the testimonial.
  2. Your Action Photos: We are badly in need of action photos to bring the website to life. If you are the kind of person who always carries your camera and is always taking photos, we need you. In particular we need photos from marches, rallies, vigils; photos showing people conversing, or doing an activity; during a church service — especially of the minister giving a sermon; during a holiday service or event like the picnic; a child dedication; group event, like a small group ministry. We do not need photos of groups standing in a posed fashion. We’re looking for photos that show action and life. If you can identify the people in the photo, we will take care of getting permission to use, if required.

Adult Programs News

Call the church office with questions about adult programs: 617-484-1054, ext. 10. The fall brochure is online.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m., Library; meets 3rd Fridays of each month
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. Meets 3rd Fridays of each month.

Men’s Support Group — Will Cordis and Joe Weiss
Sunday, Sept. 17, 4 p.m., Conference Room
This diverse men’s group welcomes both new and recent members as well as those who wanted to, but never joined, such a group. We share personal and professional concerns, aspirations, and experiences along with some community service activities. Meets 1st and 3rd Sundays from 4 – 5:30 p.m. Contact for more information or to participate.

Belmont Unitarian Alliance (Men & Women)
Concord River Boat Cruise & Lunch — Wednesday, September 20
Please join us for the Belmont UU Alliance Concord River Boat Cruise & Lunch on Wednesday, September 20. Make your reservation early as we are limited to 18 seats. We will carpool from the Church at 12 noon; the cruise leaves the dock at 1:00 p.m. from the South Bridge Boat House, 496 Main St. (route 62), Concord.

R.s.v.p. to our First Church Administrator, Janice Zazinski, at or 617-484-1054. The deadline for registrations September 12. Inform Janice of your sandwich choice for lunch: chicken or tuna salad, ham & cheese, sliced turkey, vegetarian. Lunch also includes salad, fruit, dessert and drinks.

Please make your $35.00 check payable to the Belmont Unitarian Alliance and deliver or mail it to the Church at First Church Belmont UU , P.O. Box 113, Belmont, MA 02478. If you would like payment assistance, or have any questions, please contact Pat Hawkins at 617-489-2058 or email

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, Sept. 21, 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. Please join us on a path of living positively and boldly. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, September 21, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Kirk Israel will lead us in the discussion of an excerpt from Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman.

Alan Einstein Dream’s Lightman’s book Mr g is a fabulistic telling of the story of the making of the Universe, drawing from multiple influence to make a new creation myth that is in keeping what science and rationality suggest our reality is made of. It is a portrait of an omnipotent and omniscient god, but one who is more of an artist than a micromanager, and in that presentation the book touches on aspects of free will in a universe made of cause and effect and how a universe made by a compassionate god could still have bad things happening to good people.

Group members are encouraged to read the full work (a brisk 225 pages) or download excerpts:

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 8 p.m., Location TBD
Enjoy the fun and fellowship of crafting with a genial group on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month. 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. Contact with questions and for location.

2017 UUA General Assembly Report
Sunday, September 24, 12:30 p.m., Library
The General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association where attendees worship, witness, sing, learn, connect, and make policy through the democratic process.

“Resist and Rejoice” in New Orleans was a really powerful experience. The combination of the extraordinary events within our own denomination and the focus of the upheavals in our society combined to encourage honest discussion about the issue of white supremacy. Adult Programs Director, Lillian Anderson, Music Director, Ian Garvie, and Youth Director, Sana Saeed, as well as youth group member Cam Anderson will share their impressions.

Here are some links from the GA Website to inspire you –

One of the important issues discussed at GA was the Sanctuary Movement. We will have a special presentation by Alfredo Garcia, a Master of Divinity student at Harvard Divinity School. He will speak about the context in which undocumented immigrants find themselves, the daily uncertainty they experience, and the ways to accompany them in their struggle.

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee
Sunday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m., Library (Last Sundays)
Please join members of the Social Action Committee, the Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Against Racism, the Belmont police department and graduates of YouthBuild as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world.

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson & Anne Stuart
Wednesday, September 27, 7:30 p.m., Library
In September, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, we will be reading her classic, Sense and Sensibility, which tells the story of two sisters and their very different approaches to love and marriage.

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.

Women’s Potluck Supper
Friday, September 29, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
All women are invited to share food, friendship and fun as we come together once again to connect and re-connect. Bring an appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert AND a beverage to share. No RSVP necessary. And bring your friends too!

“Spiritual Audacity” — Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom
Sunday, October 1, 12:30 p.m., Library
Why do some people flourish and others do not? Jim’s spiritual memoir, Spiritual Audacity: Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing, addresses this question from a Unitarian Universalist minister’s perspective. Refreshments and books available.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Note: New day of the week. Changed from Thursdays to Tuesdays!
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 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.

Men’s Fall Potluck Supper
Friday, October 6, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
All are welcome. Bring a dish to share (appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert) and beverage of your choice. Contact with questions.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Oct. 7, First Saturdays, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Library
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, and a curious mind.

Difficult Conversations — Rick Hawkins
4 Tuesday sessions – Oct. 10, 24, Nov.14, 28
Learning to successfully work through interpersonal conflict may be the single most important skill for personal, family, and career success. It may also be the most difficult skill to learn and do well. We will focus on how to approach interpersonal conflict from a win-win position so that both peoples’ needs are met and so that the conflict strengthens the relationship rather than weaken it. It is important that participants attend all sessions. Contact Rick to register –

For most of us, our relationships with others are one of the things we value most. We spend a lot of time in relationships. Misunderstandings, impasses, and conflicts are inevitable. Learning to successfully work through interpersonal conflict may be the single most important skill for personal, family, and career success. It may also be the most difficult skill to learn and do well. The focus of this workshop will be on the skills needed to have difficult conversations with significant others, friends, peers, parents, children, and people you work with, including your boss. We will focus on how to approach interpersonal conflict from a win-win position so that both peoples’ needs are met and so that the conflict strengthens the relationship rather than weaken it. It is important that participants attend all sessions. Although not essential, participants will get more out of the workshop if they have read Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. Facilitator: Rick Hawkins.

In the Community

Belmont Food Collaborative invites you to their Fall cooking classes, held here at First Church in Belmont
BFC’s mission: to share our passion for cooking meals at home with easy, authentic and delicious recipes, and fresh ingredients. We believe everyone can cook a great meal, and these classes will help you do just that.

We have three great new classes: Flavors of the Amalfi Coast, Zero Cooking, and Language in the Kitchen. Payment information and other details are at the bottom of the registration page.

First Parish in Concord invites FCB to “Go Granny D!”
Saturday, September 16, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, Concord
At age 90 Doris “Granny D” Haddock blazed a 3200-mile trail across the U.S. for campaign finance reform, precipitating the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act. Off-Broadway actress Barbara Bates Smith and musician Jeff Sebens highlight the story of this crusader who took the world by surprise and was elevated to national fame.

After the show there will be a conversation with the performers, followed by a discussion about a planned Massachusetts ballot initiative. Suggested donation is $10 to support the ballot initiative work. For tickets, click here.

Among Us

The FCB community is invited to the Service of Ordination for Charlotte Lehmann at the First Universalist Church in Auburn, Maine

  • October 28, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
  • 169 Pleasant Street, Auburn, Maine 04210
  • Reception to follow in the church vestry.
  • All religious professionals are invited to process; please arrive by 2 p.m.
  • RSVP to:; email Charlotte for lodging information.

Grow Clinic!

Beginning First Church’s 33rd YEAR of supporting the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center!

  • From your shopping cart to the homes of Failure To Thrive infants and children of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods
  • Pick up a food list for shopping or bring a Special Request:
    • September and October:  Protein Power!!! (peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned stews, infant strained chicken/beef/turkey)

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

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. 10.

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.

Connect with UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: September 15

The next issue of The Unitarian is Friday, September 15. Please send your announcements, news, events, and other submissions to by noon on Wednesday, September 13. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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