The Unitarian – October 6, 2017

The Unitarian – October 6, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — October 8

The Inner Search — Rev. David Bryce

Christopher Columbus was both a hero and a villain. He was a hero because he forged ahead against many obstacles, took great risks to prove he was right and “discovered” a “new” world. He was a villain because he almost immediately enslaved the people who were living in that new world. Most of us would like to think of ourselves as having the potential to be heroic; and most of us would never want to be villains. But the truth is that most of us are a collection of impulses, practices and beliefs that mix both the heroic and the villainous. My focus today is on the inner search, though since my sermon is inspired by Columbus I will reference him.

Prelude: O Dass Ich Tausend from Harmonischer Lieder-Schatz (1738); setting by Michael Burkhardt (b. 1957); Simon Andrews, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Elegy by Daniel Elder (b. 1986)
The music this morning is to honor the victims of the Las Vegas shooting on October 1st.

Offertory: Fear No More The Heat Of The Sun by Gerald Finzi; Bruce Kozuma, baritone and Ian Garvie, piano

Postlude: Allegro from Sonata in C K. 545 by W.A. Mozart (1756-91); Simon Andrews, piano

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Eva Patalas and Richard Schaffer in celebration of family and friends.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior MinisterDavid

On this second day of October, the date of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, I awoke to the news from Las Vegas about the shooting where more than fifty people died and hundreds were injured.

Though the shooter’s name in this instance is known, I do not have any other information about him.

What I do have is the numbed sense of grief and bafflement that attends every one of these events.

And I have the weariness. I am tired of hearing about these events, tired of thinking about them, tired of feeling about them, tired of talking about them: after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting I spoke and wept; after the Pulse nightclub shooting I felt the futility of speaking, and I wept.

And beyond the grief, bafflement and weariness I have the always asked and never satisfactorily answered question, “Why?”.

That question, “Why?” includes so much more than just seeking to know the stated motive of the killer (if there is one). It includes, “But regardless of what you wanted, regardless of your political or social goals, how could you possibly do what you did?” And it includes, “What happened to you to make you so angry, and so callous toward human suffering; what broke your soul?”.

In the face of such events, it is also important to remember that the twisted souls of a few do not represent all of humanity. At the moment it appears that just one person imposed all of this carnage; let us remember in all such circumstances that hundreds of people immediately helped their fellow human beings.

Let us remember and bless all first responders, those EMTs, paramedics, police and fire professionals who dedicate their lives to responding to disaster, whether individual disasters or mass casualty disasters. Think of it; they dedicate their lives to this.

Let us remember and bless all those “second” responders, the doctors, nurses and other staff at emergency rooms and other hospital units and those in rehab centers and home care agencies who receive and treat the injured.

Let us remember and bless every individual who stops to care for the wounded; those non-professionals who help their fellow human beings; who during or in the aftermath of these horrors, with no training, carry or drag others to safety, staunch blood, transport people to hospitals, or cradle the wounded and the dying in their arms.

Rather than be baffled by the insanity of the few broken souls, let us be filled with hope by the love and compassion of those many who help.

So let it be.


Sunday, October 15, 2017, 12:30 p.m.

Pursuant to a call by Ana Hammock, President of the Parish Board, you are hereby notified that a Special Meeting of The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist will be held on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall for deliberation and voting on The First Church in Belmont Resolution to Divest of Fossil Fuels. Hereof, fail not, and make due attendance at said meeting and time.

Only active adult members, who have had standing as such for not less than seven days prior to the meeting, may vote. No proxies will be accepted: you must attend the meeting in order to vote.

— Jody Renouf, Parish Clerk

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

Fossil Fuel Divestment Information

The Resolution to Divest First Church of Fossil Fuels will be the sole subject of a Special Congregational Meeting on Sunday, October 15 from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. The resolution, as well as background information on the church’s and UUA’s fossil fuel divestment, is available at the FCB Green page of the First Church website ( The wording of the resolution was vetted by the Parish Board and Finance Committee

Belmont Serves: Monday, October 9

Please join your neighbors in Belmont’s 9th annual day of service on the Monday of Columbus Day weekend. 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meet here at the First Church, enjoy breakfast snacks and proceed from there to project sites for a family-friendly day of community service.

Projects include: collecting & sorting donations for Belmont Food Pantry, Clay Pit Pond clean-up, conservation projects at Lone Tree Hill and Rock Meadow, and painting and other indoor & outdoor maintenance projects around town. Reconvene at First Church at 12:30 for pizza!

To register & for information:

Donate To Belmont Food Pantry With Belmont Serves
Belmont Serves makes it easy to donate to the Belmont Food Pantry.

Here’s how it works:

  • A grocery bag will be delivered to your door with instructions.
  • Fill the bag with non-perishable items (canned goods, paper items, toiletries).
  • Leave full bag on your doorstep/front porch before 8:30 a.m. on Monday October 9.
  • Volunteers will pick up the bag from your doorstep and deliver it to the Belmont Food Pantry!
  • If the bag is not picked up, please deliver to Belmont Food Pantry on Saturday, October 14

Thanks for participating!!

Support Social Action, Fellowship And Great Music — For Only $119!

Buying a season ticket for the Second Friday Coffeehouse gets you more than just a night of great acoustic music. It promotes awareness and support for 10 local charities. It spreads fellowship and friendship within our community. Admission for TWO is only $119. Pay by cash, check or credit card.

Come visit us at our table in the Gathering Hall after services and we’ll set you up with season ticket. We’re only 1/3 of the way towards our season ticket goal, so don’t delay, act today!

Second Friday Coffeehouse presents Scott Alarik with opening act Jim Hall, October 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Scott Alarik

Scott Alarik is best known as a writer, who covered folk music in the Boston Globe for over 20 years. He writes and hosts Folk Tales, a weekly program on WUMB public radio, and is the author of Revival: A Folk Music Novel, winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Popular Fiction. He is also a folksinger-songwriter who toured the national folk circuit and performed regularly on A Prairie Home Companion.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Scott became a folksinger after graduating from high school in 1969. He became a weekend regular at an oh-so-’60s coffeehouse called Heads Together. He also actively opposed the Vietnam War, was convicted of resisting the draft and served 19 months in federal prison.

After his release in 1972, he became a fixture on the national folk circuit. He continues his extraordinary career these days, appearing at coffeehouses near his home in Cambridge, and releasing two CDs, “-30-” and “All That Is True.”

The Second Friday Coffeehouse is thrilled and honored to welcome him back to our stage. More at

Opening act, Second Friday Coffeehouse co-founder Jim Hall, has been singing for over sixty years, and has performed classical, pop, musicals, and barbershop. Jim performs regularly with the Arlington-Belmont Chorale and has traveled to several foreign countries with the Sharing a New Song Chorus. He especially enjoys performing folk music because of the emotional accessibility of the songs. His set will include songs by the “masters” of the 50s and 60s Folk Revival.

This month’s featured charity is Bristol Lodge.

Fellowship Fall Hike – Saturday, October 14

HIkers hikngPlease join us, old and young, as we explore the south side of the Middlesex Fells on a 2 hour hike.

The hike will cover some rocky terrain so bring sturdy shoes, water and snacks!

This year we will explore another beautiful local nature area: Middlesex Fells.

We will hike mostly on the Skyline Trail with beautiful vistas over rocks, meadows, wet lands and thru woods, explore the Panther cave, pass an old Silver Mine and to the Wright Tower with views over Boston.

Meet at 2:00 p.m. at the First Church Parking Lot. We will carpool from here and will be back by 5 p.m. Rain cancels the event.

RSVP to Martin Plass at or 617-484-1237.

Don’t miss the annual RE Halloween Party organized by the FCB Youth Group! Saturday, Oct. 21

All children of CRE (including 7th & 8th graders) and adults are invited to dress up in their Halloween costumes to attend the party! Prizes will be given for best costumes!! Join us for cookie decorating, a spooky walk through a haunted house, a cider donut eating contest, face painting and lots of pizza! Join us on Saturday, October, 21st from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at First Church.

Suggested donation: $8 per person or $20 per family. Contact Sana Saeed, Director of Youth Programs for more information at or RSVP here:

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Mark your calendars! The First Church Children’s Choirs will be presenting Gilbert and Sullivan’s royal comedy The Gondoliers next month. Rehearsals for the show have been going on for three weeks now, and the children are hard at work memorizing lines, learning dances, and perfecting songs. The show also features a small army of parent volunteers who are working behind the scenes to sew costumes, build and paint sets, design a program, and all the other myriad of tasks that a fully staged musical requires.

As the opening night approaches (far too quickly for my taste), I find myself taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate I am to work with such a talented and dedicated community. This year the cast has been extremely focused, and has learned music faster than any other group of young people I’ve ever worked with. Gilbert and Sullivan are known for their complex chorus numbers, which are a challenge for even some adult theater companies to learn.

I had initially planned on simplifying some of these songs, but as the choirs learned one after another in quick succession, I realized that this was not at all necessary. They are mastering four part harmonies in a matter of hours, and returning with the songs almost memorized the following day. I can’t wait to see what the show will sound like once it’s finished. I think the audience will be in for a real treat!

The show will be performed Thursday, November 9, at 5:30 p.m., Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, November 12 at 3 p.m. Information about tickets will be available soon.

Starting November 4: Circle around, y’all!

Circle Dinners are potlucks held in church members’ homes. Enjoy an evening out and build more connections with our church community. Get to know people from “the other service” and enjoy fellowship across the generational gap. Please sign up at coffee hour or at to attend or host a dinner. Hosts coordinate with their guests about food and time.

If you have questions, contact Nancy Greiner at or 857-222-1170.

Adult Programs News

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

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 cancelled for October
See you in November.

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.

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. Contact Rick to register at

Men’s Support Group — Will Cordis and Joe Weiss
Sunday, Oct. 15, 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 information or to participate.

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

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch & Program: Armenian Museum of America Tour
Wednesday, October 18; 12 p.m. lunch in the First Church Upper Gathering Hall and 1:15 p.m. tour
All men and women are invited to join us on Wednesday, October 18 at noon for the Alliance lunch and program. Bring a sandwich — soup, fruit and dessert will be provided. After lunch we will carpool to the Museum. Suggested donation for the meal is $2.

Our guided tour of the Armenian Museum of America will begin at 1:15 p.m. at 65 Main St, Watertown. The Museum has extensive exhibits of the artifacts, history and culture of the Armenian people. A donation of $3 per person is requested.

If you would like payment assistance or have any questions, please contact Pat Hawkins at or call 617-489-2058. RSVP to Janice Zazinski at, or 617-484-1054 (ext. 10).

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, October 19, 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 7:00 to 8:30 P.M.

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, October 19, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Christine Stone will lead the Science and Spirituality Group in a discussion on Living With a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich.

A spiritual quest often brings the searcher back to a position not far his or her starting point, presumably with a fuller and more nuanced view. C.S. Lewis returned to the Church of England; St. Augustine found his way back into the Christian faith his mother had taught him. It is interesting how spontaneous religious experience worked out in the life of, as Ehrenreich describes herself, a fourth-generation atheist with a lifelong commitment to figuring out what life was all about. She had the first of these experiences in adolescence and has tried for the rest of her life to date to make sense of it all.

Barbara Ehrenreich’s writing has a delightful scratch-where-it-itches quality, succinctly nailing her points and puncturing absurdities.

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 for location.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, October 20, 7:30 p.m., Library
Does your child have special challenges? Has he/she been diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD, or sensory problems? We offer support and share experiences in a non-judgmental space. Snacks provided. Meets monthly on the 3rd Friday.

Boston Theatre Scene — Nancy E. Carroll
Sunday, October 22, 12:30 p.m., Library
Surviving in the theatre — artistically and financially — is never easy. Nancy has been involved in the Boston theatre scene as a well-known actress for the past thirty years. She will share the struggles and joys of her life in the theatre with us. Prepare to laugh and to be surprised by her stories. Refreshments.

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, October 25, 7:30 p.m., Library
What Love Tells Me by Richard Waring

On October 25, the Book Group will be exploring the poetry of First Church’s own Richard Waring from his newest book, What Love Tells Me. Richard will join us for this special evening as we share poems from What Love Tells Me * and learn about the process and power of writing poetry. Richard has described his book this way:

The varied terrain of love, family, solitude, the natural world, the condition of loss, the spirit of place — all align themselves in poetry. As a letter from the front lines, where the latest changes are taking place, a poem is the frankest and most immediate communiqué that struggles to reenact the original feeling in all its complexity and singularity, lifting the personal into a transcendent music. As a spiritual discipline, poetry foregoes the familiar public domain in search of the unsayable, gesturing beyond words. The questions asked can be dangerous: How do you love? When do you forgive? Do you forgive?

We welcome all who want to join us. There is no ongoing commitment required. For more information about the Book Group, please contact Anne Stuart at or Karl Klasson at

*What Love Tells Me is available in the Minuteman Library network. If you would like to purchase your own copy, you can purchase it from Richard directly by contacting him at, or order it from most local or national booksellers.

“Starshot” Program And Potluck Supper — Steve Saar and Andrea Prestwich
Friday, Oct. 27, 7:00 p.m. potluck, 8 p.m. program, Parish Hall
Exploring a New Earth in 40 Years: Project Starshot, Happening Now!

An Earth-like world has been discovered around the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. A daring plan to visit it robotically in about 40 years is underway… with a fleet of micro-craft sailing on beams of light. Will it succeed? How will it work? What will we find? A real Star Trek adventure is underway; find out all about it!

Andrea will provide an update to her previous talk, discussing the latest gravitational waves results, as well.

Adult Programs Committee Potluck
Friday, October 27, 7 p.m. (before the Starshot program above)
The Adult Programs Committee invites you to join us for a potluck supper at 7 p.m. followed by the above program at 8 p.m. Plan to bring a dish and a beverage to share. RSVP to Lillian Anderson at

Social Action News

2017 Raise Up Massachusetts Signature Drive
Aims to have this question on the ballot:

  • raise the minimum wage to $15.00/hour
  • increase paid medical leave to 16 weeks for family members/caregivers of those with serious health problems and for families with newborns
  • increase paid medical leave to 24 weeks for a seriously ill individual and for service members

Each Sunday at coffee hour, from now through November, the Social Action Committee will be collecting signatures from Massachusetts registered voters who support these policies.

More information on this initiative can be found on the bulletin boards in the building and also at the website,

Artisans Wanted for Social Action Gift Fair
First Church’s Social Action Committee is seeking artisans from the First Church community who would like to offer their work for sale at this year’s social action gift fair on December 3.

Participation will allow you to market your work at the fair while at the same time supporting the work of the Social Action Committee’s projects by sharing the proceeds in a 50/50 split.

If you’d like to be considered, please submit a letter of application by October 20 with photos of your work to the Social Action Holiday Gift Fair Committee, c/o Sara Oaklander ( and we will be happy to consider your participation as we seek to put together a good mix of offerings for sale at the fair. Thank you!

V-DAY and The Vagina Monologues are back!

Rehearsals have begun! We have a diverse cast representing both First Church and the Roxbury Community. One of the benefits of holding the performances and rehearsals at the Haley House Bakery Cafe is that they always feed us something amazingly delicious, and their menu is very focused on fresh, healthy foods (with the exception of scrumptious cookies, scones, muffins and coffee cakes!).

Dinner will be served the night of the performances, so you will be able to experience this for yourselves, unless of course you make your way down there beforehand.

Haley House Bakery Café, 12 Dade Street, Roxbury, right off Washington Street near Dudley Sq.

Quality Household Items And Volunteers Needed For Belmont Serves — All Ages Welcome to Participate in this Community Project
As part of Belmont Serves, Plymouth Congregational Church will be coordinating a household goods drive for Household Goods in Acton. We will be collecting clean, good, quality household items:

  • Items must be smaller than a kitchen table and not have electrical cords.
  • Please mark size bed linens fit.
  • NO toys, books, clothing, holiday items of any kind or dishware (including mugs) with corporate logos.
  • Drinking glass sets, kitchen items, clean pillows, non-logo dishes and cookware are especially needed.

When and where:

  • Now through Sunday, October 8, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Bring donations to the Plymouth Congregational Church, 582 Pleasant Street, Belmont

During Belmont Serves, volunteers will be sorting, cleaning and packing the donations. More at

Through a collaboration with First Church Belmont, all flatware will be donated to Furnishings for Hope.

Contact Amanda Mujica if you have questions or are interested in volunteering:, or sign up the morning of Belmont Serves at First Church of Belmont.

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 today’s service to recruit volunteers for the months of October through January. Volunteers work for about 90 minutes, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Please stop by the sign-up table in the Gathering Hall after Sunday services to volunteer to help out one evening during the upcoming months.

Won’t be at church on Sunday? You can sign up on line using this Sign-Up Genius Link: Questions? E-mail

Grow Clinic!

“Children you have never seen and who have never seen you owe the recovery of their bodies and brains and chance for a better life to your kindness.” Dr. Debbie Frank, Grow Clinic Founder

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). Collection baskets are in the Lower Hall and Sanctuary vestibule.

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Over the past several weeks, Burmese military offensives have led over 400,000 Rohingya people to flee for their lives into neighboring Bangladesh.

Please visit UUSC’s new website about Burma for more information about UUSC’s work in Burma over the past 15 years, including its recent push to remove legislation in the proposed National Defense Authorization Act that would expand military support for Burma.

One of this year’s four Guest at Your Table stories features Aung Kyaw Moe, the leader of one of our nine partner organizations working to protect human rights at the grassroots level in Burma. For more information:

UU Urban Ministry invites FCB to a Film Screening
The UUUM is proud to host award-winning journalist and filmmaker Clennon L. King (Roxbury resident) for a free screening of his documentary, Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America, which won the Henry Hampton Award of Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.

This compelling film tells the story of the violent and bloody civil rights campaign in deeply segregated St. Augustine, Florida that led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Additionally, Mimi Jones, civil rights and community activist, who is featured in the film, will be present to discuss the historical times.

  • Sunday, October 15, 4:00 p.m.
  • UU Urban Ministry, 10 Putnam Street, Roxbury

Welcome Teams and First Church
For the past six months, First Church has sponsored three Welcome Teams who have worked in Lowell with families from Syria, Somalia, and the Republic of Congo in a pilot project with the International Institute of New England (IINE).

Members of the church and community have been very supportive of the teams and we would like to offer a series of brief articles from the captains of the teams as well as IINE. Each has a unique story to tell.

Each of the teams engaged their families and helped them with their adjustment to Lowell and their new home. In the end, IINE was pleased with the teams and will be hosting more, including from First Church, this winter. We will periodically schedule updates so that you can stay up to date. If you would like to be involved in refugee resettlement, please let me know at

~ Sam James

International Institute of New England — Cheryl Hamilton, Director of Partner Engagement

Between March and September of 2017, the International Institute of New England (IINE) piloted a new “Welcome Team” program with volunteers from First Church in Belmont to support refugee families for a period of six months after arrival.

The pilot was a response to a national trend across all resettlement agencies to identify new resettlement models to ensure program sustainability and to improve early integration and self-sufficiency for newcomers. Between rising housing costs in urban areas combined with reductions in government funding for resettlement, local community partnerships between groups like IINE and First Parish have become even more essential.

IINE is deeply grateful to the volunteers who agreed to enter this new endeavor with the agency, and for all they contributed during the pilot. While 2017 proved to be an especially challenging year for IINE and its clients between the travel ban and temporary suspension of the refugee program, the Welcome Teams remained a positive highlight throughout. Whether accompanying clients to health appointments or taking families on trips to Boston, the teams provided the newcomers a unique and meaningful welcome.

IINE demonstrated that the volunteers helped deepen and improve the resettlement experience for the families involved. On average, the teams devoted an additional 210 hours of direct client support to each family beyond IINE’s services. As a result of the impact and participant feedback, IINE plans to expand the program in FY18.

None of knew how the Welcome Team pilot would evolve. But, like the new families discovering Lowell, we learned a great deal this year and appreciate everyone’s effort. I am glad more refugee families will receive a similar level of care.

The Mahmoud Family, by Lucy Pullen

Our welcome team supported the Mahmoud family — father Mohamad, mother Zeinab, and sons Rashid (age 24) and Ahmad (age 21), who were settled as refugees in Lowell by IINE in February 2017. Proud of their Kurdish heritage, the family is from Afrin, Syria, where the father was a teacher. The family fled to Izmir, Turkey in 2012 when Rashid was a student at the University of Aleppo and Ahmad in high school.

Broadly, our team was tasked with goals to help the family improve their English language skills, navigate and learn about the city of Lowell, access higher education paths, and assist with practical matters like reading the mail.

In fact, what we did was so much more, from navigating the health care system, practicing job interviews and working through reams of employment paperwork, and troubleshooting endless bureaucratic snafus; to setting up technology, starting a garden plot, organizing (and re-organizing) family paperwork and accompanying family members to an array of appointments.

We still have not had time to introduce the family to the public library or learn the bus routes. But we showed them Boston and Newburyport, picnicked with them in Carlisle, shopped with them in the Iraqi and Cambodian markets, learned how to make yogurt with Zeinab and played soccer with Mohamad and the sons.

Through many hours of coffee and conversation we deepened our relationship and friendship with the family — their warmth, humor, and generosity to us was constant. Every visit, there was a new problem to solve, a new question to answer, and a new issue to discuss. They opened their life to us, and we in turn learned much about the challenges refugee families face here.

Stay tuned for another family’s journey next week.

In the Community

The First Parish in Bedford’s Peace & Justice Committee invites FCB to a screening of Welcome to Leith, an award-winning film about how a white supremacist tries to take over a small town in North Dakota.

  • Friday, October 13, 7 p.m.
  • 75 The Great Road, Bedford
  • Runtime 85 minutes, followed by discussion
  • Open to all; light refreshments
  • Donations gratefully received
  • Trailer:

Peter “Blue Boat Home” Mayer Concert at First Parish in Concord, October 28
The Reclaim Our Democracy group at First Parish in Concord invites you to a performance by well known UU singer/songwriter Peter Mayer, author of the very popular hymn “Blue Boat Home.” Tickets are $20 and are available at

Making Affordable Housing A Reality: October 29
The FCB community is invited to the Tri-Community Coalition to End Homelessness’ Round Table Discussion on affordable housing in the Belmont, Waltham, and Watertown area.

There will be three break-out groups discussing the Fernald property in Waltham, the Belmont Housing Production Plan, and zoning legislation and legislative priorities for affordable housing.

  • Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 1:30 – 4 p.m.
  • St. Luke Lower Church Hall, 132 Lexington Street, Belmont

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.

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, October 13

Please send your submissions to by noon on Wednesday, October 11. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

Support & stay in touch with FCB

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Second Friday Coffeehouse is on Facebook! Like the page, check out upcoming shows and “share” great music for great causes with your friends!
UUA Disaster Relief Fund
Our UU friends and neighbors in Florida and the Caribbean—including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—have experienced devastation. The UUA Disaster Relief Fund (formerly the Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund) provides financial assistance to UU congregations impacted by these and other natural disasters.