The Unitarian – February 8, 2018

 The Unitarian – February 8, 2018 (pdf)

Sunday Worship, February 11: Stewardship — Reverend David Bryce

How do I determine the value of things? What are our dreams as a community? How do I (and we) express faith, gratitude, hopes?

Prelude: Prelude in E minor Op.28 by Frederic Chopin (1811- 49); Simon Andrews, piano

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: My Spirit Sang All Day by Gerald Finzi

Offertory: Silent Noon by Ralph Vaughan Williams; Irina Kareva, alto and Simon Andrews, piano

Postlude: Prelude in B minor Op.34 by Dmitri Shostakovitch (1906 – 75); Simon Andrews, piano

The flowers today are given by Kathy Crawley in honor of her brother and sister-in-law Charles Crawley and Libby Slappey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to recognize their indefatigable activism for social justice, religious tolerance, and environmental protection in their community and the world.

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, February 18: UU Practices — Rev. David Bryce and Worship Assistants

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


“But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out”.

Condolences to those who feel badly about the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Personally, I have never been much of a sports fan. For one thing, love of sports did not run in my family.

When I do support a professional team, it is almost always the underdog.

And then — I was a little bit of a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, but when I was eight years old they left Brooklyn and went to the West Coast. (“How can they do that; aren’t they ours?”)

This gave me a certain degree of cynicism about sports.

There is no “Home Team”; there is the professional team currently playing somewhere near you.

There are no “home” players or managers, there are mercenaries selling their services to the highest bidder.

‘Twas ever thus. After all, the Boston Braves now play in Atlanta—having stopped over briefly in Milwaukee. Many teams have switched cities, some multiple times. Way back in 1903 the Baltimore Orioles moved to New York City and (ultimately) became the Yankees.

Players will come and go. Teams will come and go. What is there that has permanence?

Perhaps that is why I became a minister. Maybe I was seeking something more permanent and trustworthy than a sports team.

Where do you put your Ultimate Faith? What is there to really rely upon?

As good UUs, we will have a diversity of responses to those questions. For me, there is some in-my-mind vaguely defined, indescribable force in the universe that works towards Good. It does not keep score, as such; it does not play for “wins”; it does not trade away players.

I believe in that, I root for that, I trust in that.

Find Your Sanctuary. Be a Steward. 

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

The goal for our 2018 March Stewardship Drive is $625,000. We have challenged ourselves to this increased amount to support First Church’s 2018-2019 fiscal year. Our pledges account for 80% of the church’s budget and are necessary to ensure that every aspect of our church continues to flourish. We need generous increases at all levels of pledging and for more financial contributors to step forward and be leaders and stewards of this cherished institution.

I will share additional details every week 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 Sunday; Please join your fellow church members and friends in joyful and festive worship services with inspiring music. Also, delicious treats during coffee hour! Please bring your pledge for collection during a special offertory. Please contact stewardship@uubelmont.orgwith any questions.

With appreciation, Anjali Kumar, Stewardship Chair

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.

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.

Tomorrow! 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!

Saturday March 3 — FCB Winter Dance Party!!

Get ready for a fabulous night of fun, fellowship, and dancing. The Loomers will be playing songs from the 1950s through the 1980s to keep you on the dance floor all night long.

So bring your friends, your booze, your sparkly shoes and let’s kick off our annual stewardship drive in style! Co-sponsored by the Stewardship, Fellowship and Music Committees!


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!

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

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.

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.

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee
Sunday, February 25, 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.

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.

      Escalating Inequality is a focus of First Church this year and we are delighted that Chuck Collins will be speaking here on Friday, March 23rd at 7:30pm in the Parish Hall.

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.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Saturday, March 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.

Unitarian Universalism: Who we are today – Rev. Doris Hunter
Sunday, March 4, 12:30 p.m., Library
Let’s look at our diversity and acknowledge strengths and weaknesses as we remember our history and confront the current challenges of this age.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

First Church Rummage Sale Coming May 5
We will be using new spaces and displays to make shopping easier, and RECYCLING will figure more prominently.  If you would like to help with planning, please let us know. And please get your own Good Stuff ready to find new homes. ~ Kathy Crawley and Deb Lockett,

V-DAY Belmont
A total of more than one hundred people attended the performances, which were supported by a wonderful troop of volunteers. Although we do not have the final accounting of the amount of funds that were raised to benefit New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc. we think it will reach the $2000 mark. Anyone who may have missed the performance and is interested in seeing Carmen Cohen again, she is performing The Vagina Monologues on February 16th at Haley House Bakery and Café in Roxbury.  Carmen was the Director of V-DAY Belmont and the star of the show.

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center

Dr. Deborah Frank, Grow Clinic Founder writes: “We are very grateful for your congregation’s sustained generosity, particularly as we are concerned about the increasing proportion of our young patients who are homeless. Your generosity will support nutrition and social work outreach to them in the shelters (and worse yet motels).”

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

FCBGreen plans on rolling out information on how individuals can bring a Social Responsible Investment approach to their own personal investments.  Stay tuned. And 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 Sanctuary Committee is thrilled with the congregational response to support our fellow UU church, First Parish in Bedford. If you are interested in volunteering, we would love to hear from you! Volunteers must complete a CORI process through FCB and then attend a 1.5 hour training. The next trainings will be Thursday, February 15 and Monday, February 26. Questions to 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, along with new reports on how the US border patrol destroys humanitarian aid intended for immigrants.

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

Wikipedia Writer Wanted

First Church member Sara Oaklander is looking for a writer with a successful Wikipedia track record to revise and expand on an existing Wikipedia page.

Whatever Wikipedia requires of its writers and of the content…I’m looking for someone who can bring all of that knowledge to the project to ensure its success. Email or call Sara for information: or 617-504-3369.

In the Community

Meet Belmont Presents “Talk of the Town,” March 20
Register now for the 2nd Annual Meet Belmont – Talk of the Town event, a community event presented by the Vision 21 Implementation Committee and co-sponsored by Belmont Public Schools. If you didn’t attend last year, four notable Belmont residents provided fascinating speeches in a “TED-talk” like format.  An exciting new development for this year is that there will also be two Belmont Public Schools students speaking.

The event is free, but please reserve a ticket at the link below and forward to anyone you think might be interested – last year there were over 400 registrants.  We hope you will join us!

  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 7-9pm
  • Chenery Middle School Auditorium
  • or
  • Host: Jane Clayson Johnson. Journalist, Author and Radio Host
  • Speakers
    • Graham Allison. American Political Scientist and Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
    • Debra Cash. Executive Director, Boston Dance Alliance
    • Barbara Joseph. 12th grade student, Belmont High School
    • Mariam Soliman, 8th grade student, Chenery Middle School
    • Preston Williams. Houghton Professor of Theology and Contemporary Change Emeritus, Harvard Divinity School

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 15

Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, February 14. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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