The Unitarian – February 1, 2018

The Unitarian – February 1, 2018 (pdf)

Sunday Worship, February 4: Strangers In Their Own Land — Reverend Doris Hunter

What are the reasons for the deep divide in our country over religion, politics and moral decisions? We are supposed to be united these days so what has gone wrong to make us “strangers in our own land?” Any answers, any hope for our country as we face such difficult and challenging times?

Prelude: Improvisation; Simon Andrews, piano

Prayer: A Mercy of Peace from the “Chants of the Divine Liturgy” of the Russian Orthodox Church; Davron Monroe, tenor and Chuck Claus, baritone

9 a.m. Nova Choir Offertory: Shall We Gather At The River by Aaron Copland (1900 – 90)

11 a.m. Senior Choir Offertory: Tantum Ergo by Anton Bruckner (1824 – 96)

Postlude: Solace by Scott Joplin (1868 – 1917); Simon Andrews, piano

The flowers today are given by Laurie Graham, in honor of her father, Richard’s, 92nd birthday and thankfulness for his 62 years of awesome parenting.

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, February 11: Stewardship — Reverend David Bryce

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


As many of you know I have been home sick with influenza. It has been a week now.

And we all know that I am not the only one. Influenza is currently at epidemic levels in the United States.

My doctor gently chided me for shaking hands after the Sunday service during flu season. She is correct! For the next few months, when we’re greeting one another or on the receiving line, I shall wave.

Isn’t it astonishing that a tiny little thing like a virus can make a person sick?

There was good reason for people to be skeptical about the claims of Louis Pasteur and others that unseen little creatures could be responsible for so much illness. Indeed, there are still some today who do not accept the germ theory of disease.

Little things can cause great damage. Virus or bacteria. Lies. Sins. Harsh words.

These are so small that sometimes we can even pass them on and not be aware that we have done so.

I have been confronted now and then throughout my life about words I said that I do not recall, or that I had not realized had the import they did.

This is rather frightening.

But I have also been told of half-remembered words I have said that imparted hope or wisdom.

And that is the real lesson for me for today. Just as virus can cause illness, so virus when applied in a vaccine can prevent illness; just as words can cause pain, so words can cause healing; just as tiny things can cause epidemics of illness; so tiny things, tiny acts, tiny encouragements, can cause “epidemics” of healing or justice.

May we seek for these small, even invisible, supports of health.

Coffee and Conversation with Newcomers – February 4th after each service

Have a question about First Church, UUs, or just want to meet the minister and discuss the Sunday sermon? On Sunday, February 4th, newcomers (and any others) are welcome to join a new monthly gathering in the minister’s study after each service. We hope the discussion will be wide-ranging and open-ended. Any questions, contact Mark Thurber at

Find Your Sanctuary. Be a Steward. 

As you likely saw in the message from Ana Hammock, President of the First Church Parish Board, we will shortly kick off this year’s March Stewardship Drive – Find Your Sanctuary. Be a Steward. 

We are counting on your continued and increased financial support and it is crucial that we all participate and pledge as generously as we can. Our pledges account for 80% of the church’s budget and are necessary to ensure that every aspect of our church continues to flourish.

I will share additional details every week for the next couple of months but for now, please keep the following key dates in mind:

  • Sunday, February 11 – Stewardship Sermon
  • Monday, February 12 – Pledge packets will be mailed
  • Sunday, March 4 – Celebration SundayPlease join your fellow church members and friends in joyful and festive worship services and bring your pledge for collection during a special offertory.

~Anjali Kumar, Stewardship Chair

Among Us

Our deepest sympathies to Deveaux and Greg Duckworth and family on the recent death of Deveaux’s mother at age 93.

Our deepest sympathies to Minister of Music Emerita Alfa Joy Radford and family on the recent death of her great-granddaughter, Linda-Joy Beauregard.

Chalice Lighting — All Are Welcome

In order to see more and varied faces of the congregation participate in some part of the service we invite ALL members of the church community to light our Chalice on Sundays, children and adults, both in groups and as individuals. There is a sign up list near the elevator in the Upper Gathering Hall, or you can sign up here.

Toy Drive for Cradles to Crayons

Organized by Youth Group alum Maddy Keavaney
We are collecting toys, clothes, and winter jackets for children up to age 12, who are served by the organization Cradles to Crayons. There will be a box downstairs by Janice Zazinski’s office. The box will remain there until February 5th at which point it will be taken to the Cradles to Crayons location. Thanks for your help! More at

Upcoming Music Events 

Did somebody say Chopin? Mark your calendars!
On Saturday, February 24th at 7:30 p.m., world-renowned pianist Paul-André Bempéchat will give a piano recital to benefit the First Church and our wonderful instruments.

The program will be entirely Chopin — all four Ballades, and all 24 Preludes.

Bempéchat is Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Leverett House. Renowned for his interpretations of the First Viennese School, Brahms, Schumann and Chopin, he is a self-styled, rebellious product of the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School, where he worked with the legendary performer-teachers Artur Balsam, Nadia Reisenberg in piano and chamber music, and Martin Isepp in vocal accompanying. Admission is by suggested donation of $12.

OPEN MIC NIGHT, Friday February 9 at The Second Friday Coffeehouse!!
Bring your instrument, your song, your poem, your story and come perform for an appreciative, supportive audience. At the halfway point, we will be treated to a set of great, socially-aware music by Dean Stevens! See Jon Svetkey to sign up!

Save The Date! Saturday March 3 — FCB Winter Dance Party!!
Get ready for a night of fellowship, dancing and hanging out. Bring your friends, your booze, your sparkly shoes and dance the night away to the sounds of The Loomers! Details to come…

Rummage Sale!!!

It’s never too early to start thinking about how you’ll participate in the grand recycling marketplace that is First Church’s 75th Rummage Sale. The sale will be on Saturday May 5.

The 2017 sale raised over $11,000 for the Tiffany Window Fund, the Transylvania Partner Church; and the Social Action Committee’s projects and beneficiaries.

Adult Programs News

Call the church office about adult programs: 617-484-1054, ext. 10.

Sign up for the weekly Adult Programs newsletter or download the Winter 2018 brochure

The Adult Programs Committee Wants To Know….
What is the one group, event, or program you’d like to see in the adult programs’ offerings that is currently not happening? Please email Lillian Anderson — — with a suggestion.

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
Saturday, February 3, 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.

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 join us. Everyone is welcome and no commitment is necessary. Contact with questions

Caring for Older Adults — Deborah Blumberg and Miriam Baker
Tuesday, February 6, 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 balance in our own lives? 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.

Our Spiritual Paths — Susan Kobayashi and Ed Siegfried
Sunday, February 11, 12:30 p.m., Library
As UU’s we come from diverse spiritual backgrounds and beliefs. Please join Ed and Susan to share your stories and to hear those of others in our community. What are your current religious beliefs? What aspects of your past religious life do you now embrace or reject?

Science and Spirituality – Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, February 15, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Edwin Taylor will lead a discussion on the book The Last Man Who Knew Everything, The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age by David N. Schwartz. In 1955 Edwin met Fermi at a graduate laboratory at Harvard and shook Fermi’s hand. Edwin has not washed his right hand since then. Ken Bernstein will e-mail the corresponding reading to the Science and Spirituality list upon request; contact him at

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, February 16, 7:30 p.m., Library
Does your child have special challenges? Has he/she been diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD, or sensory problems? We will offer support and share experience in a non-judgmental space. Snacks provided. Meets monthly on the 3rd Friday.

Patricia Fillingham and Warthog Press — David Fillingham
Sunday, February 18, 12:30 p.m., Library
Former First Church member Patricia Fillingham’s son, David, will discuss, through poetry, writings and objects from his mother’s extraordinary life, how she founded the local publishing house, Warthog Press.

Belmont UU Alliance Members and Friends Lunch and Tufts Art Gallery Tour
Wednesday, February 21, Lunch 12 p.m., Upper Hall; Carpool to Tufts at 12:50 p.m.; program begins at 1:15.

Please bring your own sandwich. We will provide soup, fruit, dessert and beverages. The suggested lunch donation is $2.00 per person.

We will carpool from the Church to Tufts at 12:50 p.m.; the program will begin at 1:15 and lasts about an hour.

We’ll be viewing A Decolonial Atlas: Strategies in Contemporary Art of the Americas. Drawing from the hemispheric context of the Americas, and broad questions of civilization and culture, the exhibit presents recent works by artists from the United States and Latin America who grapple with continued questions of colonialism and post-colonialism. The exhibition highlights the medium of video, in addition to painting, photography, sculpture and works on paper.

R.S.V.P. to or 617-484-1054 (ext. 10). Please contact Pat Hawkins with any questions:, 617-489-2058.

First Church Book Group – Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, February 28, 7:30 p.m., Library
The book for February is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good by Chuck Collins, part of our church’s theme this year, “Escalating Inequality.”

The Book Group is always open to new members. 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.

First Church Women’s Retreat — Waiting List
March 9 – 11 at Rolling Ridge Conference Center
We are now taking names for a waiting list as we have reached our capacity. If you are interested in being on the wait list please send in a registration form without a check. Should there be any cancellation, we will be in touch.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

V-DAY Belmont THIS IS IT. Well almost IT.

This Friday and Saturday, V-Day Belmont’s Premier Performance of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, will grace the stage of the Parish Hall.

It has been 20 years since Eve Ensler first wrote and performed the monologues as a one-woman show. She has turned it into an international movement to STOP VIOLENCE AND ABUSE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS.

Ticket sales will benefit the National V-Day organization (10%) and the remainder will go to New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc., a unique service model for women transitioning from incarceration to independent community residents. There are no other programs that provide these supports and services to formerly incarcerated women.

  • Location: Parish Hall at The First Church in Belmont
  • Doors open at 7 p.m.; performance at 7:30 p.m
  • Tickets: $15 at the door; cash, check and credit card accepted
  • Light refreshments available for purchase
  • Recommended age 14+

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center

The size of the clinic’s clientele fluctuates with government spending. Each cutback in food stamp eligibility brings a new cluster of sick children to the doors of the Grow Clinic. Pick up a food list for shopping or bring a February Special Request: Baby Food and Formula. There are collection baskets in the Sanctuary vestibule and the Lower Hall. Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Requiem For The American Dream, moderated by State Senator, Will Brownsberger
Last Thursday’s showing of this powerful documentary was attended by a large audience of the local community as well as First Church members. Many thanks to Will Brownsberger, who sensitively moderated the discussion, and to the Social Action and Adult Programs Committees for providing refreshments.

This is the first in a series of programs highlighting our First Church theme of “Escalating Inequality”. The First Church Book Group will be discussing Born on Third Base – A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good by Chuck Collins in February, and Chuck will be speaking at First Church on Friday, March 23. Save the date!

All are welcome to assist with a variety of sustainability programming and initiatives in the church. Contact

Bristol Lodge
We continue to collect travel toiletries for the clients at Bristol Lodge; baskets in Upper Gathering Hall.

The Call to Action by our Sanctuary Committee has recruited 30 people from our congregation; several have done shifts at UU Bedford to support someone currently there in sanctuary. We welcome more participation; contact Eva Patalas at or Liz Keating at

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

Collecting Items For UU Urban Ministry Programs

  • The Believe in Success group (providing workforce training for those who have suffered domestic violence) seeks stationery supplies for its new session in February. Accordion folders, pens, pencils, colored pencils, markers, notebooks, and art supplies are welcome!
  • The UUUM is also collecting $50 or $100 Visa or TJMaxx gift cards to purchase interview attire for the next session in February.
  • Roxbury Youth Program at the UU Urban Ministry seeks new board games (Jenga, Catch Phrase, Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, Ping Pong paddles and balls)
  • The Program also requests donations of new iPhone headphones (2+ pairs) or other small appreciation gifts, including Visa or Amazon gift cards, for Peer Leaders and other students going above and beyond.
  • Please leave stationery supplies and new games in the marked box in the lower gathering hall. Gift cards or headphones can be left with Janice during office hours (M – F, 9 – 3).

UUSC Attends Meeting On Global Compact For Migration
Updates at

Next SAC Meeting: February 26 at 7 p.m.
The Social Action Committee welcomes your participation — we are a fun and energetic group. Meetings are open to anyone interested with no requirements for attendance or becoming a member. For additional information contact

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. 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: Thursday, February 8

Due to reader feedback, The Unitarian will now be published on Thursdays, rather than Fridays. The deadline has not changed! Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, February 7. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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