The Unitarian – December 22, 2017

The Unitarian – December 22, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday, December 24 — Christmas Eve Candlelight Services

2 p.m.: Junior Choir; Lessons and Carols, Pageant

4 p.m.: Chancel Choir; Lessons and Carols, Pageant

6 p.m.: Youth Choir; Lessons and Carols, Pageant

11 p.m.: Alumni Choir; Lessons and Carols

No tickets are needed for any of the services.

Christmas Offering

We invite you to consider a gift to The First Church or a gift to the charitable projects of the First Church for the Christmas offering on December 24:

  • The Youth Group has chosen The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
  • The Social Action Committee has selected New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc., which supports and empowers formerly incarcerated women to successfully navigate the complex challenges of reentering their communities.
  • The Program Council has selected Waltham House, the first residential group home designed specifically for LGBTQ youth in New England, and provides a safe and supportive living environment with 24-hour staffing for up to 12 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender youth ages 14–18.

Please make checks payable to The First Church and note “gift” (for The First Church) or “Xmas Charities”.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


Once again we are at the turning of the year.

It is time for Solstice, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

For those who celebrate Christmas, I hope that this season of joy and hope is magical, wondrous and full of everything you wish.

For all of us entering the New Year, I hope that any bad things that were in our lives in 2017 will be left behind, and that only the good things of life will come to us in 2018.

If there was sorrow or loss, may the sharpness of these fade with the incoming year.

If there was happiness, may it double as the wheel of the season turns another cycle.

With the dawning of new light, may all of our lives be filled with love and rejuvenation.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

Ushers Needed for Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 11 p.m.

Our candle-lighting Christmas Eve services are a wonderful experience and our ushers are critical to the services running smoothly. Please consider signing up online at Thanks for your help.

Open Heart Pre-Christmas Eve Yoga Flow with Miranda Pool

Come share in this free special one-hour yoga flow to cultivate peace, joy, gratitude and sacred space in this season of light and dark. Move through a gentle, loving practice of yoga and meditation focused on opening the your heart and inviting in the light and true spirit of Christmas together with others. All levels and ages are encouraged.

  • Saturday, December 23, 2 – 3 p.m.
  • First Church in Belmont Library
  • Please bring your own yoga mat

Miranda Pool is a lifetime First-Church-er and the daughter of Parrish Dobson and Eugene Pool. She is a yoga teacher in Nashville. She will be home for the holidays and is thrilled to share calm, light, gratitude and peace with the community that raised her.

Hootenanny Resumes in January

There will be NO Hootenanny on Wednesday, December 27. See you on the last Wednesday of January!

Among Us

Sean and Marion Westgate are proud to announce the birth of their second son, Michael Oliver, on November 30th. At birth, Michael weighed 9lbs 7oz and measured 21 inches. Everybody is doing well and adjusting to their new normal, and — importantly — Thomas adores his baby brother!

The Westgate family would like to thank all FCB friends who called, wrote notes, sent well-wishes and dropped off meals since Michael’s birth — please know that your support is deeply appreciated.

Annual Coming of Age Winter Clothing Drive, January 1 – 17, 2018

Donation boxes will be in the Lower Hall starting December 18th. Click for details.

Second Friday Coffeehouse Presents Youth Group Open Mic Night — Friday, January 5 @ 7:30 p.m.

The night will feature performances from members of our First Church Youth Group (along with alumni and friends).

The second part of the night will feature The Saplings! — FCB Youth Group Alumni Rowan Wolf’s band! Click for details!

Adult Programs News

Call the church office about adult programs: 617-484-1054, ext. 10. Sign up for the weekly Adult Programs newsletter at Download the Winter 2018 brochure

Meditation — James Hencke
Mondays, 8:00 p.m., Library
No meetings on Dec. 25 or Dec. 31

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!

Small Group Ministry Groups!
Give yourself a gift for the new year and join a Small Group Ministry (SGM) group!   Joining a small group ministry (SGM) is a powerful way to explore important topics with a small group of people over time. (SGM) is a program that gives First Church members the opportunity to build relationships with one another while exploring topics related to spiritual and life issues.

Facilitators Robert Donaghey and Joan Loewenburg meet monthly on the fourth Thursday at 7:30pm in the parlor and they are eager to add a few new members. Their next meeting is on Monday, January 22, 2018.

If you are interested in joining please contact Joan at

If Monday night is not possible for you we also have groups that meet on 1st & 3rd Tuesdays evenings; 1st & 3rd Thursdays evenings; 1st & 3rd Friday late afternoons.

If you are interested in finding out more about SGM’s please contact Lillian Anderson, Adult Programs Advisor at

Coming Up in January:

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Tuesday, January 2, 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.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Saturday, January 6, 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 monthly.

Spiritual Renewal through Poetry — Peter Guthrie
Sundays, January 7, 14, 21, 28, at 3 p.m., Parlor
Robert Frost once defined a poem as a “momentary stay against confusion.” Good poems can help us see ourselves and our lives more clearly. We will read and discuss poems that deal with spiritual issues in the broadest sense of the term.

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch and Program
Wednesday, January 17, 12 noon Lunch; 1pm Program, Upper Hall
First Church Student Minister Sana Saeed: Islam and Unitarian Universalism

Science and Spirituality — Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, January 18, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, January 19, 7:30 p.m., Library

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

From FCBGreen

A podcast on our decision to divest from fossil fuels is posted on our website: FCBGreen will be rolling out information on how you can adopt Social Responsible Investing in your own portfolio, so stay tuned.

FCBGreen seeks volunteers to assist with a variety of “sustainability” programming and initiatives in the church. If you are interested, our next meeting is Sunday Jan. 7, 12:30 p.m. in the Conference Room.

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!!

Sanctuary — “Accompaniment Training” on Jan. 7
On Sunday January 7th, Laura Wagner of UU Mass Action will be preaching at First Church. She will also do an accompaniment training session at 12:30 in the Library. Everyone is invited to learn how we can stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters. Light refreshments will be served. Questions to or

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center

We are often asked about monetary donations to the Grow Clinic.  What a welcomed holiday gift!

The Grow Clinic relies on two-thirds of its income from charity, the rest coming from a state budget allocation and Medicaid reimbursements for physician’s visit.  Critical services of home visits, nutritional supplements and multilingual outreach cannot be billed to insurance.  The Clinic relies completely on philanthropic gifts for these services.

Grow Clinic for Children
Boston Medical Center
771 Albany St.
Boston, Mass.  02118

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Belmont Food Pantry
First Church members staff the opening of the Belmont Food Pantry on the second Tuesday of every month, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Sign up at or send questions to

In the Community

Belmont’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast — all are welcome

Belmont’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast will be held on Monday, January 15, 2018 at 8:45-11:00 a.m. in the cafeteria of Belmont High School.  Join us for music and community.

Keynote Speaker: State Representative Byron Rushing. Representative Rushing was first elected to the Massachusetts in 1982. He represents Boston’s South End and serves as the Majority Whip of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He has a long career of support for social justice issues, including criminal justice reform, gay rights, health care equity and more. In the 1960’s civil rights era, he was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality. He is a past President of the Museum of African American History in Boston.

  • Music provided by the Belmont High School Chamber Singers. There will be activities in the gym for children ages 5-10 years. Daycare provided for preschoolers.
  • Free parking. Wheelchair accessible.
  • Proceeds of the event go to the METCO Fund which is used for late transportation for METCO high school students who participate in after school activities at Belmont High School, and is used across all the Belmont schools for programs that bring our Boston and Belmont students together.
  • Tickets: $5/person, $10/family at the door or on line at:

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. 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. 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, January 5

Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, January 3. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

Contact Us

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