The Unitarian – November 10, 2017

The Unitarian – November 10, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — November 12

Promises and visions, and their damage — Rev. David Bryce

World War I ended on November 11, 1918; ninety-nine years ago yesterday. We are still coping with promises made and visions dreamed during and after that war, promises and visions which, while beautiful and of good intent, have led to great suffering. The intersections of nationalism, of ethnicity and religion, of territory are still unsettling eastern Europe and the Middle East. Whence cometh hope? And which of our personal well-intentioned promises do harm?

Prelude: Valet will ich dir geben by G.F. Kauffman (1679-1735); Simon Andrews, organ

9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: Simple Gifts, arr. Dale Warland (b. 1932)

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Beati Quorum Via by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

Offertory: June on Castle Hill by Gerald Finzi (1901 – 56); Chuck Claus, baritone and Ian Garvie, piano

Postlude: Praise God from whom all blessings flow by Louis Bourgeois (c. 1519-c. 1561), setting by Michael Burkhardt (b. 1957); Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel Table are dedicated by Veera Mylapore to her amazing partner, Rob. “For your ever-evolving beautiful soul. You are the stars in my sky, my love is like a thousand suns.”

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


Yesterday during our two Sunday services I pointed out that we as a congregation are a member congregation of the UU Urban Ministry. This means that we pool our resources with fifty other UU congregations to provide social service and social justice programs in the Roxbury section of Boston. Together we can do much more than any congregation on its own.

We have three delegates to the UU Urban Ministry.

The work that the UU Urban Ministry does is our work, our ministry, to the broader community. I also said that this means that Rev. Mary Margaret Earl (the Executive Director and Senior Minister of the UU Urban Ministry) is really our community minister—and is also a community minister for each of those other fifty congregations.

We have other ministries as well, and they provide us with different ways to engage in the world.

At the “local” level, is the Urban Ministry which does social service and social justice work—which we can join in as “hands on” work.

At the state level, we are part of UU Mass Action, which engagers in lobbying for social justice initiatives and legislation. Through it director, but also through mobilizing UU’s throughout the state, including on lobbying day in the spring, UU Mass Action puts our values to work at the state legislature.

At the national level, we are part of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Among other things, the UUA responds to domestic natural disasters and is currently collecting money for hurricane relief.

On the global level, we are part of—and are the founding congregation of—the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which does disaster relief around the globe.

The UU United Nations Office does advocacy work at the United Nations, bring our values to global issues and discussions.

And we are part of the Partner Church program which encourages human connection and relationships with our partner church in Desfalva, Transylvania.

Whether you believe that the best way to change the world is to engage in human connections, or believe in financial donations, or believe in legislative approaches as the best way to change the world, our UU connections provide ways to engage in each of these.

I urge us all to take advantage of these opportunities to work for a better world.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

There are still three performances of The Gondoliers left! Travel to Italy with the Children’s Choir program as they tell a story of mistaken identity, of children stolen in infancy, and of simple Gondoliers who try to rule as Kings. Tickets are available at the door.

Looking ahead, on December 10th, the Senior Choir will be performing Joseph Haydn’s Mass #13, accompanied by a professional chamber orchestra. This joyful mass is part of the long Major Music Service tradition here at First Church.

Composed when Haydn was almost seventy, the Schöpfungsmesse, or Creation Mass, derives its nickname from a notorious musical reference to his own famous oratorio The Creation. In the second movement, shortly after the powerful choral opening, horns unexpectedly announce the melody from Adam and Eve’s duet ‘The dew-dropping morn, how she quickens all!’ from The Creation. The familiar tune subsequently accompanies the phrase ‘Qui tollis peccata mundi’ (‘Thou that takest away the sins of the world’), making the wry connection between the ‘sins of the world’ and its original sinners.

Join us for a beautiful music service at 10:30a.m. in the Sanctuary!

Among Us

Our deepest sympathy to Leslie and Jonathan Wolf and family, on the recent death of Leslie’s stepmother.

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

Second Friday Coffeehouse presents Emily Vick Agnew with Sally Miller featuring Robert Rucinski on piano: Friday, November 17

Emily is a singer, dancer and teacher originally from New Jersey. She is thrilled to share the stage with her Aunt Sally. In addition to teaching music to young children, Emily has performed all over the world.

Emily performed this summer in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Toronto with Shakespeare in the Ruff. Her cabaret performances have raised thousands of dollars for organizations focusing on issues like maternal health, the arts and humanitarian aid. More at

Sally Miller played with the Hot Java Band in Fort Lauderdale. She now resides in Northwestern Florida with her husband, Charlie and spends her time painting, gardening, hiking, cooking and of course making music.

Opening act: Gerri Strickler & friends

Singer/autoharpist Gerri Strickler, leads a quintet that plays broadly influenced folk-music revival favorites, with beautiful vocal harmonies. She is joined by Belmont friends Roger Miller, Lakshmi Nayak, Eva Patalas, Lynn Read, and Jim Sugarman.

This month’s beneficiary is Resettle Together (

The paper turkeys are coming! The paper turkeys are coming!

On Sunday, November 19, we will have an opportunity to support the Belmont Food Pantry in its upcoming holiday meal effort.

Each year, First Church joins with other Belmont congregations to provide funding to the Food Pantry for the purchase of grocery store gift cards for families and individuals who might otherwise go without. Your donations will go directly to the Belmont Food Pantry to cover the cost of providing those holiday gift cards. And if we collect enough, the Food Pantry can make use of the funds to better meet the ongoing needs of those they serve – during the holidays and beyond.

Look for the paper Thanksgiving turkeys scattered about the pews on November 19 and tuck your special donation into one of those turkeys. The turkeys will then be collected in the offering plates along with your regular weekly contribution to the work of the church. Checks made payable to The First Church in Belmont are welcome – please write “Belmont Food Pantry” on your check. If you cannot be in church on Sunday, please feel free to send in or drop off a Food Pantry monetary contribution to the church office and we will make sure the Food Pantry gets it. Thank you in advance for your generosity this holiday season!

Adult Programs News

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

Save the Date!
First Church Women’s Retreat – March 9-11, 2018

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!

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.

Facing Illness Together — Kathy Lind
Thursday, November 16, 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.

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.

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee
Sunday, November 26, 7 p.m., Library
Please join Belmont Against Racism, The First Church in Belmont Social Action Committee, the Belmont Religious Council, the Belmont police department and graduates of Youth Build as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world. Meets monthly.

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, November 29, 7:30 p.m., Library
Our November 29 book is Hope Jahren’s memoir, Lab Girl, which was a New York Times 2016 Notable Book and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. Here is a bit more about Hope Jahren and her book:

Hope Jahren was born and grew up in small-town southeastern Minnesota. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1996, and in 1999 she was hired by Johns Hopkins University and went on to become the first woman ever to be promoted with tenure within their Earth and Planetary Sciences Department (est. 1876). In 2008 she was hired to build the Isotope Geobiology Laboratories at the University of Hawaii. She is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given within the Earth Sciences. She has been the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and in 2005, Popular Science named her one of the “Brilliant 10” young scientists in the United States.

“Gratifying, spirited . . . a moving chronicle of an eminent research scientist’s life . . . It takes a passionate geobiologist with the soul of a poet to make us swoon in the face of computational amplitude . . . Jahren’s aim is to make the reader appreciate the fascinations of studying flora, to infect us with the same enthusiasm that has driven her ever since she was a child hanging around in her father’s lab, falling hard for the sensuous allures of the slide rule.

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.

Prequel to Major Music — Ian Garvie
Wednesday, November 29, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Ian will help us to understand the Mass #13, “Creation Mass” by Joseph Haydn, composed in 1801. It is known as the Schöpfungsmesse or Creation Mass. In it, Haydn recycled music from the Adam and Eve’s final duet in The Creation.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

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

“What is V-Day, anyway?” by Jackie Neel
Twenty years ago Eve Ensler, a writer, actress and activist embarked on a journey to help women build their confidence and self-esteem about who they are as women and to become more comfortable with talking about and using their bodies. So she went around the country and asked women, “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”

She took their stories and wrote the play The Vagina Monologues. It was an instant hit and Eve pronounced February 14th as V-Day.

Eve then established the V-Day Organization. I am told it is the most successful non-profit in the world. Visit to see what the organization does.

In 2006 Eve asked a group of writers to contribute memories of monologues, rants and prayers on the subject of violence against women and girls. She received so many stories that she and Mollie Doyle compiled A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer. She has also made these monologues for use as a play.

The scripts to both The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer are available to community and college groups to be performed in the month of February each year.

I had been hesitant to “stage” The Vagina Monologues here at First Church but after this summer’s success in Roxbury, which V-Day allowed us to do, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak and it seemed it was time. Given the recent issues regarding sexual harassment, hearing women talk freely about their bodies might help build the strength of others to speak out.

Proceeds from the ticket sales must go to a local non-profit that supports ending violence against women and girls.

We call our planning group “V-Day Belmont” because we have women and men from all over Belmont, and now beyond, that are part of the Planning Team and Cast. Although it started as a Social Action initiative, it grew and has been most rewarding.

There will be one last chance to audition at the first rehearsal: November 13th at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Contact if interested.

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

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center
Joey, a one-year old who only weighed as much as a normal seven-month old, came to the BMC pediatric emergency room with pneumonia, a consequence of his severe asthma. Joey’s family was homeless and he was not walking or talking, and he was allergic to most foods his family could afford; mice and insects infested the homeless shelter where his family lived.

The Grow Clinic swept into action to help Joey and his family: our nutritionist used donated funds to purchase a hypoallergenic formula; our social worker secured housing and winter clothing for the family; and the team ensured his pneumonia did not recur. Eight months later, Joey is thriving—healthy, walking, and talking thanks to the Grow Clinic.

In addition to our regular shopping lists, we are highlighting SPECIAL REQUESTS. November and December: Start the Day Strong with infant rice cereal, cold and hot non-sugared cereals, Flintstone chewable vitamins, Polyvisol with Iron liquid vitamins.

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

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.

Short-Term Cat Sitter Wanted

The Neels at 76 White Street are traveling to Seattle for Tom’s mother’s Memorial Service on November 15, returning early November 21. They need someone to visit and feed their cat “Monster”, who is really very sweet. Compensation will be provided. Please email if interested.

In the Community

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 canceled 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 17

Please send submissions to by noon on Tuesday, November 15. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

Thanksgiving Week Order of Worship and Unitarian Deadlines

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the deadline for submissions to the Friday, November 24th Unitarian and the Sunday, November 26th weekly Announcements is Friday, November 17.

  • 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.

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