The Unitarian – September 15, 2017

The Unitarian – September 15, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — September 17

The Spirit of Renewal — Rev. David Bryce
Renewal can happen at any moment, whether renewal of an individual, of a relationship, of a nation or of a people. But we do set aside particular times for ceremonies of renewal and rebirth. As our congregation’s new year begins, let us seek a rebirth of our own spirit of community.

Prelude: Prelude in E minor by J.S. Bach (1685 –1750); Simon Andrews, organ

9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: Let There Be Music In This Place Today by Gordon Young (1919 – 98)

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Creation by William Billings (1746 – 1800)

Offertory Solo: I remember that magic moment by Mikhail Glinka (1804 – 57); Irina Kareva, alto and Ian Garvie, piano

Postlude: Fugue in E minor by J.S. Bach; Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Jennifer Roderick in memory of her mother, Barbara Roderick.

Services at 9 & 11 a.m.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior MinisterDavid

Time is an interesting thing.

Thinking back to my teen years, the nine months I spent in school always seemed to go faster for me than the two months I spent as a counselor at camp. There always seemed to be more life experience and more personal growth over the brief summer, and I suspect that is part of what causes that time dilation.

In some cases, time can seem to “rubber band”; expanding or contracting.

After a bit more than eight months away from First Church, I have now been officially “back on the job” for one week. Like many such periods of time, it feels as though it has been quite long and also feels as though it was just the blink of an eye — expanding and contracting in the same moment.

It is little things that remind me it has been a while. For example, as I pulled up to the end of the parking lot on my first day back I paused for just a nano-second or so trying to remember what turns I take to get back home. And standing in the pulpit for the first time this past Sunday, I had to ask myself, “How does this one work, again?”

And though I was away only briefly, there were some changes that required adaptation. There is, for example, a new phone on my desk. I had to ask Janice how to use it. And I have a new voicemail extension number.

It is these minor adjustments — and memory — that tell me time has passed.

Other than that, I might have been away for only a few days.

And yet…in my time away I had a lifetime of experiences.

I hope that our times at First Church, whether on Sunday mornings or in meetings and events, feel full of life experience and personal growth. Let us work to make that true for everyone.

Tonight! 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.

Chalice Lighting Sign Up

We invite all members of the church community to light the chalice, both in groups and as individuals.

While children are welcome to light the chalice, we also invite individual adults, couples, friends, or families with adult children.

Chalice lighting practice tips and practice sessions are available upon request. Please contact for information. Sign up online at

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.

Ushers Needed for Fall 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.

Season Tickets For The 2017-2018 Second Friday Coffeehouse Are Now Available!

Only $119 gets you admission for TWO to all of our Friday night concerts. You can pay by cash (no pennies, please), check or credit card! Come visit us at our table in the Gathering Hall after services and we’ll set you up with your very own, fancy-shmancy season ticket. Don’t delay, act today!

Adult Programs News

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

A New Group is Forming!
SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) — Joslyne Decker
1st Tuesday of every month, 6:30 – 9 p.m., Parlor
Last year Joslyne Decker facilitated a small group at First Church called Reflecting on Racism. The group had many meaningful, intense, and inspiring conversations. Over the summer Joslyne was able to attend a week-long professional development training to enhance her ability to facilitate groups around diversity and inclusion: SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity).

The National SEED Project is a peer-led program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity. She is excited to bring a SEED group to First Church!

A SEED group is not a lecture series. Instead, the facilitation task is to help us reflect on our own experiences with community, diversity, and connection through experiential, interactive activities as well as conversations often stimulated by films and readings. SEED equips us to connect our lives to one another and to society at large by acknowledging systems of oppression, power, and privilege — and challenges us to push for change. The group will explore topics such as gender, race, class, and ability.

Joslyne will be facilitating the seminars on the first Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 9 p.m. in the parlor, beginning on October 3rd. A light dinner will be provided. Registration and regular attendance is required. If you are interested, please contact Joslyne Decker ( by September 29, as space is limited.

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.

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.

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
Through study and spiritual curiosity, mystic and theologian Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom unearthed disciplines in his journey from wealth and power to wisdom and purpose. With humor and grace, Sherblom elucidates the six principles: Resilience, Surrender, Gratitude, Generosity, Mystery, and Awakening.
Refreshments. Books will be available for purchase.

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. 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.

Next Chapter — Rick Hawkins
Monday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
The Next Chapter group will consider major emotional, social, and spiritual issues for those of us who are either considering retirement or are in a major transition. We will explore our hopes, fears, losses, gains, surprises, barriers, and struggles throughout these transitions. Monthly on the third Monday from October – June. Contact Rick to participate

Social Action News

Belmont Serves
The Social Action Committee is joining with the Belmont Religious Council and other houses of worship in our town to participate in Belmont Serves on Monday, October 9th. First Church will be hosting the event this year. Volunteers are needed to assist with registration as well as for kitchen assistance. Please contact Priscilla Cobb

Nancy Davis will be leading a clean-up brigade around public areas of Belmont, including trash pick-up, yard waste clean-up and pruning of shrubs. She recommends folks to come with eye protection, long sleeves and pants, and water. Bring along hand pruners, loping shears or rakes, if you have them. Brown bags and plastic bags for trash and recycling would be appreciated.

In the Community

Belmont Food Collaborative invites you to their Fall cooking classes, held here at First Church in Belmont
Class 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.

Speaking by Heart: The Art of Speaking Without a Manuscript
November 5 at The Rowe Center
Are you a pastor, an activist, or someone yearning to communicate with greater effectiveness? Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or you’re about to face your first audience, or even if you’re preparing to speak at a family gathering, do you have a feeling that you could be a better speaker — if only you knew how? Information and registration at

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!

More than 200 children each year benefit from the Grow Clinic services; 90% of those fully recover; average treatment time is 19 months.  “Many of these children would not be alive today were it not for the Grow Clinic.”  (The Boston Globe)

  • 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.

Ways to connect with the First Church in Belmont.

UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: Friday, September 22

Please send your submissions to by noon on Wednesday, September 20. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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