The Unitarian – November 17, 2017

The Unitarian – November 17, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — November 19

Abundance and Joyful Giving — Rev. David Bryce

Prelude: Trio by Josef Rheinberger (1839 – 1901); Simon Andrews, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: I Waited for the Lord by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 47); Melanie Bacaling and Melanie Salisbury, soloists

Offertory Solo: Simple Gifts by Aaron Copland (1900 – 90); Irina Kareva, alto

Postlude: From Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, No. 6 by Bela Bartok (1881 – 1945); Simon Andrews, piano

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Cheryl Brown and David Fung.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


Thank you.

That is the sole purpose of our great holiday of Thanksgiving; to say, “Thank you”.

Life is not always joyous and most of us can find reasons to be dissatisfied, because there is always something that could be better.

I have a lot; more than I deserve. And yet, there is always the next thing to want. I have noticed that I tend to feel “want” more keenly than “have”. I would like to reverse that.

There are certainly times when life is difficult, when things just do not seem to be going right. All of our lives have moments of sorrow, and these ought not be dismissed. They are real. Much of life is happy.

There is an old claim which says that if we find one thing each day to be thankful for, and little by little (perhaps each week) add one item of thanks so that for a while we are finding two things each day and then three things each day, then at some point we will find that our whole day is full of thankfulness. I have heard that claim, and I have failed to practice it.

Many of us get caught up in the day to day activities of life, we take for granted the things that we have, and we forget all that ought to call forth gratitude from us. I certainly am one of those. I don’t intend to be, it just happens.

And so for me it is good to set aside time to recognize that I have much in the way of both material goods and family connections of love.

I hope that on this Thanksgiving Day, you also will find things to be grateful for, and can say to God, the Cosmos or life a hearty, “Thank you”.

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service: Immigrant Stories

On Sunday, November 19 at 7 p.m. at Beth El Temple Center (2 Concord Avenue, Belmont), the Belmont Clergy Association will be hosting its annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This year, instead of a sermon, we will be having several short testimonies from immigrants on the blessings and challenges of making a home here in America.

We will also have readings and songs, with representation from Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Bahai’i voices. There will be an Interfaith Choir singing, led by Cantor Louise Treitman of Beth El Temple Center.

If you are interested in singing in this choir, please arrive at 6 p.m. (one hour before worship); if you would like the music in advance, contact Cantor Treitman at

Light refreshments will be served after worship, and we will be taking a collection to benefit the Belmont Food Pantry.

The Paper Turkeys Are Coming!

This 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!

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Congratulations to each and every one of the cast and crew of The Gondoliers! You put on a fabulous show, and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it all. I’m proud of each and every one of the actors, who learned a staggering amount of challenging music, and did a beautiful job performing it all. Thank you to all of the parents who put in countless hours of work to help turn the show into reality. From the set construction, to help directing and running rehearsals, to making costumes, to bringing snacks and food so everyone could keep working, it truly took the efforts of everyone to make it happen. Thank you all!!

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 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary!

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

Tonight! 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 (

It’s Post-Thanksgiving Hootenanny Time!!

Bust out your guitar/mandolin/fiddle/lute/lyre/harmonica/jawharp/spoons — or just bring your own fine self — and jam and sing along with Jon Svetkey, Heather Quay and Jeff Isen. We try our best to focus on easy to learn/play folk, pop, rock, country, sea chanties, etc. All levels welcome!

  • Wednesday November 29, 7:30 – 9:00pm-ish, in the Parlor. WOO HOO!

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!

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.

Mindful Yoga — Jessica Hicks
Saturday, December 2, 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, or a twin-sized blanket, and a curious mind. Drop-in. Meets on the first Saturday of each month.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Tuesday, December 5, 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.

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.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

Tomorrow: 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.

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

In the spirit of the season, please join in the Holiday Gift Program

First Church’s holiday gift program kicks-off this Sunday, November 19, when you can pick up gift giving information during coffee hour after both services. The program benefits children and adults at four different organizations:

  • Heading Home – serving homeless adults through housing and support services that lead to self-sufficiency
  • Bristol Lodge – serving homeless adults in various sites
  • Mary’s House – serving homeless families with children
  • The Grow Clinic – serving failure to thrive kids and their families at Boston Medical Center.

Gift-giving information will also be available at coffee hours on Sunday, November 26 and December 3, with the gifts due on Sunday, December 10.

Don’t miss this chance to involve your kids in giving to other kids! For more information, contact Joan Stoddard at 617-347-3037or Happy Holidays!

Training for Welcome Teams — November 28

An introductory training to become a member of a Welcome Team working with a refugee family in Lowell will be held Tuesday, November 28, 7 – 9 p.m. in the Parlor. Attending does not commit you to becoming a member of a Welcome Team. Those who have attended an introductory meeting, do not need to attend.

SAVE THE DATE! Social Action Holiday Gift Fair!
Sunday, December 3, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to do your holiday shopping…and help others. Buy gifts for everyone on your list by choosing from an array of products featuring the work of both local and international artisans and craft makers. Items for sale will include crafts, clothing and accessories, bags, baskets, children’s items, jewelry, coffee, note cards, calendars, photography, specialty food items, and more.

This year’s Social Action Gift Fair will benefit charitable causes including the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, New England Home for Little Wanderers’ Waltham House for LGBTQ youth, the Refugee Immigrant and Assistance Center, the Appalachian South Folklife Center, Tilonia (rural poor in India), Zienzele Foundation (villages in Zimbabwe), residents of Chalatenanto Province in El Salvador, and more! It’s a not-to-be-missed longstanding, new and improved holiday tradition at First Church!

Come see Karl Klasson, Kristin Phillips and Jackie Neel performing in A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer at Haley House Bakery Café in collaboration with V-Day Belmont.

  • December 12 & 13 – 7:30 p.m.
  • $10 admission. Tickets sold at the door only.
  • Seating is limited, so come early to guarantee that you will have a seat.
  • Dinner served starting at 6 for an additional cost. Special menu offerings.

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer is a collection of essays written by well-known authors, journalists, poets, writers, playwrights, and others that describe violence and abuse against women.

This is not The Vagina Monologues, but it is just as riveting.

Funds raised from ticket sales will benefit New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc. a program designed to support woman transitioning from incarceration to citizens. For additional information contact

SAVE THE DATES- February 2 & 3 – The Vagina Monologues at First Church
This is a totally different performance then we have ever had at First Church!!

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

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center
Calling all BIG BOX STORE SHOPPERS! Help us fill the GROW CLINIC baskets by Buying One More in Bulk when you shop.

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

The popular UUSC Holiday Cards will be on sale at the First Church Holiday Fair on Sunday, December 3, along with other holiday gifts items. You can also order cards online:

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.

Join us!
The Social Action Committee welcomes your participation! We are a fun and energetic group which meets on the last/fourth Monday of each month. Our next meeting is on Monday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. in Classroom #5. We’d love to see you there!
~ Patricia Garcia and Jackie Neel, co-chairs;

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

Annual Theodore Parker Lecture — December 3
Samer Naseredden, MAS Youth Programs Director at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, will deliver the fourth annual Theodore Parker Lecture on “Islam and the Beloved Community.” Naseredden is Muslim spiritual advisor at Northeastern University and Muslim co-chaplain at MIT.

  • Theodore Parker Unitarian Universalist Church, 1859 Centre Street, West Roxbury
  • 2 – 4 p.m., followed by a reception in the Parish Hall
  • Free and open to the public; registration requested
  • Register for tickets and more information at org/event/theodore-parker-lecture/

“Daring Democracy” —December 7, 7:30-9 p.m. at First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road
Legendary Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé and organizer Adam Eichen will share highlights of their empowering new UU Common Read Daring Democracy.

We will learn and discuss ways to engage in the movement to save our democracy. Their presentation will be followed by a book signing reception (books available for purchase).

Sponsored by Reclaim Our Democracy. Suggested donation: $5. Contact for questions.

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 24

Please note that because of the Thanksgiving Holiday, submissions were due today, November 17, for the November 24 issue.

The following issue of the Unitarian is Friday, December 1. Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, November 29. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

  • Staff Directory
  • Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3.The church office will be closed Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 in observance of Thanksgiving.
  • 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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