The Unitarian – November 3, 2017

Daylight Savings Time Ends Sunday, November 5 — Turn clocks back one hour on Saturday evening.

The Unitarian – November 3, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — November 5

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

Transforming racism and injustice asks much of us. We will reflect on the ways we need to shut things down, and when we need to open our minds, doors and hearts wider.

The Rev. Mary Margaret Earl has served as Executive Director and Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry for 3 years. During her time, she has worked to strengthen bonds between UUs and the Roxbury neighborhood where the UUUM operates. She is on the Moral Movement Massachusetts leadership team, which strives to reclaim what it means to be religious in the public square.

Prior to the UU Urban Ministry, Rev. Earl spent 10 years at a faith-based nonprofit in RI serving the homeless community. She is past president of the Board of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, recipient of the Heroes of Faith Award from the Rhode Island State Council of Churches for her interfaith work, and is a longtime vegan committed to standing up for nonhuman animals.

Prelude: Prière à Notre Dame by Leon Boëllmann (1862 – 97); Simon Andrews, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: River of Freedom by Larry Shackley

Offertory: This week’s offering will benefit the UU Urban Ministry

Postlude: Menuet Gothique by Leon Boëllmann; Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Lanier Smythe in memory of Richard Curry Marius (July 29, 1933 – November 5, 1999).

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


Twenty-two years ago a turkey showed up on our yard in Connecticut. This was the first one on that property in a long time because the state had just recently restocked wild turkey.

This turkey liked one of our bird feeders because it continually had seed dropping onto the ground. For the same reason, the local deer liked it as well.

One day two does and a fawn were eating seed from the ground under the feeder when the turkey came to join them. The fawn thought the turkey was a curious thing; it looked, sniffed, came close to it, and then tried playing with the turkey, who did not seem to like the attention. The fawn would run at the turkey, then run away, then double back and run at the turkey again. Cute. Well, I thought so. The turkey didn’t seem to. But it was more annoyed and bothered than scared, and it persisted in trying to get to the food.

As I look at human behavior, at war and crime, at hate and discrimination, I sometimes feel something akin to despair.

When I remember the interaction between the fawn and the turkey, the acceptance and playfulness, between dramatically different species, it gives me both a laugh and hope. Despite major differences, creatures can get along.

And so can people.

Let us pray for the day when we finally do.

Repairs to Masonry Ramp — please use alternative entrance

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.

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, at the door, and during coffee hour after Sunday’s services.

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

From Sana Saeed, Director of Youth Programs and Student Minister

The goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives. — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This month, I’m excited to see my brother who was deported for being undocumented. I haven’t seen him in four years. Even better, my mom will be staying with him. My family has gone through its own challenges, and now we’re all spread out. My one brother lives in Toronto, my mother lives in Myanmar, my dad lives in Virginia and my youngest brother is moving to Atlanta. Sometimes I feel like we’re an asterism of stars, like the Big Dipper, glimmering in the sky connected by a mystery and the divine. We live as an asterism, within a giant constellation, watching carefully which way the arc of the moral universe will bend.

I have always had an uncomfortable relationship with Thanksgiving as a holiday, especially because of its historical premise. To me, it’s a story of colonization and violence towards indigenous people. If I see myself relating to anyone in some way in the Thanksgiving story, it is with the indigenous people, because of the colonization experienced by my own people.

Yet, this month the idea of gratitude has become more complicated and pronounced for me. I’m grateful to be able to see my whole family, which doesn’t happen as much. When it does happen it takes visas, patience, passports, more patience, money and it takes another country than the USA. My brother is unable to return here.

It’s ironic to me then that we will be celebrating Thanksgiving this month, which to some people is a story of undocumented immigrants arriving to this country. Yet our current administration has been deporting people and targeting immigrant activists at an unprecedented rate. How do we grapple with the contradictions and truths of Thanksgiving, while maintaining the importance of gratitude and affirming the importance of peoples struggles and especially those of people of color?

Don’t get me wrong, I do love gathering with my family and I love turkey. But, all this is to say, I’ve been thinking of a lot about what it means to build a beloved community as a Student Minister. I find myself thinking how can I bend the arc of the moral universe at a time when it seems like it needs more bending. Grace Lee Boggs, an Asian-American author, feminist and philosopher speaks to this when she states:

Each of us needs to be awakened to a personal and compassionate recognition of the inseparable interconnection between our minds, hearts, and bodies, between our physical and psychical well-being, and between ourselves and all the other selves in our country and in the world.

     Both Boggs and King calls us to challenge ourselves, our comfort zones and our biases. To sit in discomfort as we go about this messy, difficult work of building a beloved community in solidarity. To have patience when failure happens. For me, building a beloved community free of systemic oppression, requires working within a connected community, holding space for imperfection, and to trust in the mystery that moves between us. It means having intentional conversation and see conflict as an opportunity for growth for everyone. To leave you with a question, how do you see yourself participating in building a beloved community here at First Church in Belmont?

Committee to Support Our Student Minister

The Committee to Support Our Student Minister supports Sana Saeed as the Student Minister for our congregation from September 2017 to May 2018. Members of the Committee are Tony Vagnucci, Siobhan O’Neill, Sam James, Rev. Doris Hunter and Kathy Crawley.

We will be providing both constructive feedback and ongoing support to Sana during this important time in her education. If you have comments that you would like for us to consider as part of her education, please reach out to one of us. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to assist her, as well as feeling blessed to have her as part of our community.

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

Meditation — James Hencke
Mondays, 8:00 p.m., Library
In meditation practice, we allow ourselves to dwell in the present moment. We find that by developing our awareness and compassion we can open ourselves, relax into situations, and enjoy our life!

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, 7:30 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.

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, 7:30 p.m., 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.

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 any questions.

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 through November 19 at ArtsEmerson in Boston. To order tickets: For discount tickets go to:
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

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., 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 would like additional information, please contact Eva Patalas, or Liz Keating

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center
Protein Power!!!
As First Church continues our 33rd year of supporting the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, we thank you for the food you bring for the Failure-To-Thrive children and their families.

In addition to our regular shopping lists, we are highlighting SPECIAL REQUESTS.

  • November and December: Help our GROW KIDS to Start the Day Strong with infant rice cereal, cold and hot non-sugared cereals, Flintstone chewable vitamins, Polyvisol with Iron liquid vitamins. There are collection baskets in the Sanctuary vestibule and the Lower Hall.

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

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

UUSC team member, Michael Kourabas, recently went to Haiti to check in on projects sponsored by UUSC. Michael met with our long-time partner, Mouvman Peyizan Papay (Peasant Movement of Papaye or MPP), Haiti’s largest peasant movement, and visited projects to which UUSC, MPP, and many others have devoted significant time, energy, and resources over the last seven years. Visit for a full report.

Social Action Volunteer Opportunities

  • Bristol Lodge: We are looking for someone to transport the travel toiletries that are being collected at First Church to Bristol Lodge. It’s a quick, easy job, and lots of satisfaction. Please contact Kathy Crawley at
  • Volunteers needed for the Belmont Food Pantry. Contact for details.

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

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

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.

Next issue: Friday, November 10 — deadline Tuesday, November 7

Because the church is closed on Friday, November 10 in observance of Veterans Day, please send submissions to by noon on Tuesday, November 7. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

  • Staff Directory
  • Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3. The church office is closed Friday, November 10, in observance of Veterans Day.
    617-484-1054 |
    Street: 404 Concord Ave., Belmont
    Mailing: PO Box 113, Belmont, Mass. 02478
  • Parish Board minutes are online and posted on the Upper Hall bulletin board.

Support & stay in touch with FCB

  When you shop at AmazonSmile, First Church in Belmont receives 0.5% of the purchase price.
  Updated news, events & programs:
  Second Friday Coffeehouse is on Facebook! Like the page, check out upcoming shows and “share” great music for great causes with your friends!
  The UUA stands with its congregations and is ready to provide assistance to help congregations recover in the aftermath of natural disasters through the UUA Disaster Relief Fund.