The Unitarian – October 27, 2017

The Unitarian – October 27, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — October 29

The Reformation: 500 Years — Rev. David Bryce

The modern roots of Unitarian Universalism (as of all “Protestant” denominations) lie in the Reformation which is usually dated as having begun on October 31, 1517. That is when Martin Luther is supposed to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church.

Prelude: Improvisation on Ein’ feste Burg; Simon Andrews, organ

9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: Once more, my soul; arr. Robert A. Roesch (1943 – 2009)

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Gloria by Jerry Ray

Offertory Solo: “Trepak” from Songs and Dances of Death (1875) by Modest Mussorgsky; Irina Kareva, mezzo-soprano and Simon Andrews, piano

Postlude: Toccata in D minor by J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750); Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given byb Caroline and Jim Staton in celebration of their 47 years at First Church.

Next Sunday, November 5

  • Saying No. And Saying Yes. — Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, Executive Director and Senior Minister, UU Urban Ministry

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister

DavidWe are coming into the time of Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays. Mostly because I buy lots of candy and eat it all.

The way that works is that I buy candy for the kids in early October but have to replace it by the end of October, and then I bag that up (forty or so bags) and wait. Halloween comes and goes with nary a knock on our door, because we do not currently live in anything like a neighborhood. Beginning the next day, though a bit disappointed by the lack of costumed munchkins, I happily open several bags of candy each evening and consume them.

When we lived in Watertown, in a real neighborhood, I bought about twice as much candy as I do now just to be sure we had enough — that is, to be sure that I would not go without.

Maybe that is what Calvinists mean when they say none of our motives are pure.

It’s not just the candy. I do like Halloween for its eerie scariness. I binge-watch old horror movies — the 1930s originals and the 1960s Hammer Films remakes, not modern slasher films.

And we decorate our black Halloween tree with ornaments and orange lights, and we bring out Matilda — our witch “statue”.

I also have a ceramic Day of the Dead “sugar skull” and a ceramic Day of the Dead dancer.

As autumn closes in and darkness enfolds the world earlier each day, it seems right to think of the eerie, the weird, the scary.

And it seems right to face it with laughter, with costumes and with candy. That response is one of both denial and bravado towards the eerie and scary. It both pokes fun at and diminishes the fears of the season.

In reading up on many diseases, and in reading about death, one of the common suggestions is that of bringing humor to the condition. If someone who is dealing with serious illness is able to joke about it or about its effects that “defangs” much of the fear and makes life much more enjoyable despite — or even because of — the illness.

Of course, no one should feel pressured to joke about such things, these are very personal matters. But humor is powerful and (at least spiritually and emotionally) curative.

And so as we enter into the season of the leaf-fall of autumn, of Halloween, of All Saints and All Souls, of Dia De Los Muertos, I wish you joy and laughter.

In Case of Severe Weather

If a service is to be cancelled a message will be placed on the church’s website, voicemail 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 the church if their travel conditions seem unsafe.

Repairs to Masonry Ramp to Begin Next Week

Starting the week of October 30, Cuccio Masonry will be working on the masonry ramp entrance to the Sanctuary, and the ramp will not be available.

Work is estimated to take two weeks. During this time, please use the Lower Hall Entrance and elevator to access the second floor and Sanctuary.

Among Us

Our deepest sympathy to Tom and Jackie Neel and family on the death of Tom’s mother, who passed away last week at age 97.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Venice is coming to Belmont!

The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan will be presented at The First Church in Belmont on November 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th.

The cast features more than 50 children, who range in age from 4 to 15. It is really exciting to see a cast of such mixed ages put on a production of this scale. The children are all hard at work honing their voices and vocabulary for the challenges of Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical score and comedic libretto.

The plot of the opera hinges on one of those classic “mix-ups” similar to Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors wherein two men brought up as brothers were mixed up in childhood, and no one really knows who’s who. The brothers’ names are Marco and Giuseppe, and both have been raised as the sons of a prominent gondolier in Venice, Italy. The brothers, now gondoliers themselves, are married after finding brides during a game of blind man’s bluff. Yet one of them, it is revealed, is in fact the Prince of Barataria, a faraway kingdom. The problem is no one knows who is the common gondolier and who is now the heir to the kingdom. They and their friends decide to remedy the problem of not knowing who is who by all traveling to Barataria to rule the kingdom together.

The Gondoliers was first performed at the Savoy Theatre in London in December 1889. It was extremely successful, and ran for 554 performances. By setting the show in faraway Venice and the made-up land of Barataria, the librettist W.S. Gilbert could poke fun at England’s own tradition of monarchy.

The First Church in Belmont has only performed The Gondoliers once before, in 1989, when Minister of Music Emerita Alfa Radford directed the show. Alfa recalls a very talented cast and that several of the children who starred in the show went on to work professionally in theater.

The Children’s Music Program at The First Church in Belmont has a rich history. Every fall for over 35 years the children have put on a musical. Over the past several years they have performed The Sound of Music, The Mikado, Bye Bye Birdie, The Wizard of Oz, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Rev. Radford started the tradition of the annual musical as a fun way for the children to get to know each other and have a community endeavor.

While I am the director and producer of The Gondoliers, other directors include Assistant Music Director Simon Andrews, costume designer and backstage director Sandy Nayak, set designer Nate Rono, as well as many other volunteers. They know how to make the musical experience both fun and challenging for the children. The show will be accompanied by a professional pit orchestra.

The First Church in Belmont’s Children’s Music Program is open to all. If you come to the musical and like what you see (and hear!) you are invited to sign your children up for the choir which meets on Monday evenings throughout the rest of the school year. The musical for Fall 2018 will be announced next April. The musical is always all-inclusive. Older children do try out for main roles but everyone is guaranteed a part.

Come delight your senses by traveling to Venice this November without having to book a flight to Italy. Performance times are 5:30 p.m. on Thursday the 9th, 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday the 10th and 11th, and a 3:00 p.m. afternoon show on the 12th. Tickets are $12 and are available on or at the door. They will also be on sale after church services on Sunday October 28th and November 5th.

News from Andrea Spencer-Linzie

Hello FCB Friends,

I have thought of you much since my departure in June and send you well wishes, comfort and inspiration for the year to come.

I am happy to share with you that I have accepted a full-time interim position as the Developmental Director for Family Ministry at the UU Society in Burlington, VT. The Society is undertaking a rather full-scale assessment of its Family Ministry which includes all generations. I’m very excited about the position, which will continue through June 2019. The congregation has about 600 members and I’ll begin my position as of November 1, 2017.

I have other exciting news: I have an appointment with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee for December 2018. While this seems to be a long time to wait, it is earlier than the Spring of 2019, which I was anticipating for my appointment. So, if all goes well I may be approved by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) in a year’s time. I will carry you all with me when I meet with the MFC. After all, you were my teachers and supporters. Thank you so much for such a supportive and extensive ministerial internship at FCB. Your role in helping to develop me and other new ministers is indeed sacred work.

I am settled already in Vermont in the town of Essex Junction, which is only a few miles away from Burlington. If any of you are travelling to VT, I’d love to see you.

All the best to you.

Fondly, Andrea Spencer-Linzie

Chalice Lighting Sign Up

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

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

Call for Spiritual Journey Presenters

Our Spiritual Journeys and the paths we have followed to come together as a congregation are infinitely varied and infinitely interesting. You have probably been moved by others as they have shared their journeys in these short (4 minutes +/-) monthly presentations.

Now we would like to hear from you. It’s a meaningful way to think through this aspect of your own life, it acquaints us with one another, and it binds us together as a congregation.

Please let someone on the Worship Committee know when you are ready to share your journey. Coaching, editing, and encouragement are available, if, and only if, desired.

~ Thanks from the Worship Committee: Ariane Frank,, Bruce Kozuma, Lanier Smythe

Adult Programs News

Call the church office about adult programs: 617-484-1054, ext. 10. The Fall Adult Programs brochure is online. Sign up for the weekly Adult Programs newsletter at

“Starshot” Program And Potluck Supper — Steve Saar
Friday, Oct. 27, 7 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!

Adult Programs Committee Potluck
Friday, October 27, 7 p.m. (before the Starshot program above)
Join the Adult Programs Committee 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

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations
Sunday, October 29, 7 p.m., Library
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.

Discussions on how to close the gap on race, social, and class differences seem to be more needed now. The impact of our actions goes far. Join us and learn what we are planning to do, and please share what you would like for us to do together. This group meets monthly.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
November 4, 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.

“Sabbatical Learnings: People and Circumstances” — Rev. David Bryce
Sunday, November 5, 12:45 p.m., Library
While respecting confidentiality, David will reflect on the people he met, the circumstances they found themselves in and some thoughts about what could, or should be, done by us. Refreshments served.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Tuesday, November 7, 7:30pm, 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.

Belmont Unitarian Universalist Alliance Members & Friends present “Living With Coyotes”
Wednesday, November 15; Lunch at 12 noon; program at 1:00 p.m.
All men and women are invited to join us for the November Alliance lunch and program. Please bring your own sandwich. We will provide soup, fruit, dessert and beverages. The suggested lunch donation is $2.00 per person. Lunch is in the Upper Gathering Hall.

Belmont Animal Control Officer (ACO), John Maguranis, will speak about “Living With Coyotes”. The program will be at 1 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

John Maguranis has been Belmont’s Animal Control Officer for 15 years . As ACO John: rescues injured animals, reunites lost pets with owners, provides some adoption services and provides public education. John is a wildlife expert and the Massachusetts representative for Project Coyote, a nation coalition of scientists and educator working to promote coexistence between people and coyotes:

R.S.V.P. to Janice Zazinski at or 617-484-1054 (ext. 10). Please email or call Pat Hawkins, Alliance Program, with any questions:, 617-489-2058.

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:30pm, Conference Room
Rick Eastwick will be leading a discussion focused on the Bhagavad Gita. For those who have one of the copies of the Gita given out at the last meetings, Rick recommends reading pages 25 to 64 and 169 to 171.

The importance of the Bhagavad Gita to Hinduism would be hard to overstate. For our discussion, Rick would like to focus on the “Gita” in light of its great importance to Mahatma Gandhi. He finds it fascinating to reflect on how this treatise, which focuses on why and how to fight a violent battle in an ancient mythological tale, could become so important to the foremost proponent of non-violence in his darkest hours. And although he does not believe in reincarnation, the caste system, or the law of karma, Rick still finds much wisdom in this ancient poem.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, November 17, 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.

Expressions Through Food: A Community Conversation — Rachel Greenberger
Sunday, November 19, 12:30pm, Library
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, it may be worth considering: How do you express yourself through food? Community Table is a gentle design for sparking rich interactions on important topics connected to food. Always one circle and one conversation, the attendees steer the discussion. Community Table is a signature program of Food Sol at Babson College (co-founded and directed by Martha Spaulding’s daughter Rachel). At Food Sol we believe that if you eat food, you can make a difference in the food system.

Theatre Discussion Series — Downing Cless, Jane Minasian
Sunday, November 19, 2 p.m., Library
KISS by Guillermo Calderón playing October 26 – November 19 at ArtsEmerson in Boston. To order tickets:
When a young, aspirational theatre troupe discovers and performs what they believe is a Syrian soap opera, they come to realize just how much they got wrong. Kiss is a brilliant play-within-a-play that shows how misunderstanding cultural cues can reveal blind spots you never knew you had. Chilean playwright and director Guillermo Calderón brings his masterful sensibility to this intense, tightly wound new production where naiveté can turn out to be the kiss of death. “The true meaning of the title will shock you.”

See the play and join us for a lively discussion. Refreshments.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

Fossil Fuel Divestment Vote
On October 15, the FCB congregation voted in a special church-wide meeting to divest its endowment from fossil fuels. Ana Hammock, president of the Parish Board, says, “As a church community, one of our principles is that we have respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Acting on climate change is the singular moral challenge of our time and we feel that fossil fuel divestment is both in keeping with our UU principles and just one step we can take.”

Rev. Bryce adds “I am proud of the congregation for living its ideals and serving as an example for others.”

Three years ago, the church formed the FCB Green committee to explore ways to reduce carbon emissions. The committee is working on a number of initiatives beyond fossil fuel divestment, such as the Belmont Goes Solar campaign and the purchase of a new energy-efficient boiler for the church.

All are invited to join us at our FCBGreen meeting on Sunday, November 19th after the 11 a.m. service as we continue to work on other carbon reduction initiatives.

~ FCB Green committee: John Kolterman, Downing Cless, Monte Allen, John Keller,Tom Neel, Phil Thayer, Jody Renouf, Martin Plass, Ed Bing

Making Affordable Housing a Reality: Cosponsored by the Social Action Committee
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:

  • Promote the Housing Production Plan in Belmont — Jen Van Campen, Metro West Collaborative Development
  • Plan for the re-use of the Fernald — Diana Young, Fernald working group
  • Support legislation for statewide zoning changes, affordable housing and the homeless — Senator Will Brownsberger and Frank Austin, Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness
  • Sunday, October 29, 1:30 – 4 p.m.
  • St. Luke Lower Church Hall, 132 Lexington Street, Belmont

V-Day Belmont — Auditions November 4
V-Day Belmont and Haley House Bakery Cafe are seeking readers for our February 2nd and 3rd performance of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

  • Open Auditions – first come first seen on Saturday, November 4, 1 – 4 p.m. at the First Church in Belmont
  • Who: Woman and Youth over 18
  • Read a monologue or join the production team.
  • No preparation required; performance resume accepted but not required.
  • Info: Jackie Neel –

Exploring White Awareness — Day of Mindfulness
Saturday, November 18, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., in the First Church Parish Hall
Join us for a Day of Mindfulness with practitioners who experience being white as part of our identity journey. To help create Beloved Community, we will use deep reflection and deep listening to explore habit energies we hold as white people. We will look into both what we see in ourselves and also what we may not be able to see.

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that our main task is to wake up from the delusion of feeling separate. In our country, racism has played such a huge role in separating us from one another. Racism has brought untold damage to people of color, and has compromised the humanity of white people. Recovering from the effects of racism is key to our individual and collective freedom. Such work takes us to the heart of Dharma practice.

Our practice will weave together meditation, movement, and dharma sharing in the Plum Village tradition with prompts from current films and authors. Together we will build a respectful space to explore this challenging subject with our bodies, hearts, and minds. This day will conclude with options for longer-term work.

To honor the seriousness of the work, we ask you to commit to coming for the entire day. All are welcome, understanding focus is on white awareness. No fee. Please bring lunch. With:

  • John Bell, Dharma Teacher, former VP of YouthBuild USA, author and trainer
  • Lillian Fuchs, Order of Interbeing Member, massage therapist, movement teacher

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

  • raise the minimum wage to $15/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 can be found on the church bulletin boards and at

Artisans Wanted for Social Action Gift Fair — deadline extended to November 10
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 November 10 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!

If you are interested in volunteering or additional information, please contact Eva Patalas, or Liz Keating

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center
Why not support the Grow Clinic by celebrating an upcoming birthday, anniversary or holiday? Encourage your friends and family to make a donation to help children. Guidance provided; call 617-414-7415 or e-mail

  • Remember to pick up a Grow Clinic shopping list next time you’re at church or bring a Special Request: September and October: Protein Power!!! (peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned stews, infant strained chicken/beef/turkey). There are collection baskets in the Sanctuary vestibule and the Lower Hall.

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Volunteer at Rise Against Hunger, October 28
This is a fun, hands-on international mission project where volunteers work in an assembly line to package high protein, vitamin rich meals.

  • Location Belmont Watertown United Methodist Church, 421 Common St., Belmont
  • October 28, 10 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Children 4 years and older are welcome
  • Total amount due: $2944.08 (this is what we need to pay to have Rise Against Hunger bring the program to us. – $.29/meal)
  • Everyone is welcome! Sign up at

From the UUSC
“The average wait time before an immigration case is decided is three years — for an increasing number of asylum-seekers, that entire time is spent behind bars.”

The way the U.S. immigration system treats people fleeing violence is deplorable. We should be welcoming people who seek refuge in the United States, not leave them to languish in a detention center. Please go to for updated information about the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

Becoming Part of Welcome Teams in Refugee Resettlement
First Church members are wrapping up their work with refugee families from Syria, Somalia, and the Republic of the Congo and we are making plans for two additional teams beginning in January 2018.

The teams completing their work have been a pilot and we have learned a great deal about the best way to sponsor teams and work with the International Institute of New England (IINE).

All members will be trained by IINE so that you know what to expect and how to work with newly arrived refugees. The training will be in two parts with generic training November 11th from 10-12 at Temple Isaiah in Lexington (First Church is not available) and the specific team training, once the members are selected, will be December 2nd from 10-12 at Temple Isaiah.

The second training will focus on: how the teams will organize; obtain an in-depth understanding about the resettlement systems, eligibility for services, case planning, etc.; and discuss information about their family, if they are in Lowell.

If you are interested in being part of a Welcome Team, please attend the training November 11 at Temple Isaiah. No one can be a part of a team without participating in the training. Please let me know of your interest:

~ Sam James

From the UU Urban Ministry

Join us on November 5 at 3:00 p.m. for the second annual Handel + Haydn Society concert at the UUUM Meetinghouse. Learn more about this incredible program at or to reserve tickets (free, but must be reserved).

Housing Available

A church member has for rent a comfortable, furnished room in lovely house on the Hill; off street parking; central a/c. Quiet and green. Garden work possible. Rent on request. Call 617-484- 6833.

In the Community

Speaking by Heart: The Art of Speaking Without a Manuscript, November 5 at The Rowe Center

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

An Evening of Chamber Music by Johannes Brahms at the Winchester Unitarian Society — November 10
Music will include the “Clarinet Sonata in Eb Major, Op. 120, No. 2”; the “Cello Sonata in F Major, Op. 99”; and the “Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114.”

Coffee and Conversation with Clergy
All are welcome to join in monthly coffee and conversation with Belmont clergy at the Black Bear Café (inside Belmont Books).

  • Second Wednesdays of the month, through June
  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • 79 Leonard Street
  • Sponsored by the Belmont Clergy Association

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, November 3

Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, November 1. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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