The Unitarian – February 22, 2018

The Unitarian – February 22, 2018 (pdf)

Sunday Worship, February 25: Is Religion Just a Hobby? — Rev. David Bryce

I recently read an article which claimed that for many people today religion is a hobby; it is something they turn to when—and if—they have both time and interest. As a minister I am uncomfortable with that claim. But is it true, and do I do the same?

Prelude: TBA; Simon Andrews, piano

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Jerusalem, My Happy Home, American Folk Tune, arranged by Marguerite Shaw

Offertory: Qui Sedes ad Dexteram Patris from the Gloria, by Vivaldi; Irina Kareva, alto and Ian Garvie, piano. We will be performing the entire Gloria as part of this year’s Major Music service.

This week’s offering will benefit the UU Urban Ministry.

Postlude: Gavotte, from the French Suite no. 5, BWV 816, by J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750); Ian Garvie, piano

The flowers today are given by Judy Ashway in memory of the lives of her paternal grandparents, Elmer B. Ashway (age 72) and Nettie Hicks Ashway (age 95), maternal grandparents Ester Perkins Horton and Walter Lee Horton, her mother, Helen Horton Ashway (age 84), and older sister Lynn Chance (age 70).

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, March 4: Celebration Sunday — Rev. David Bryce

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


I had an odd moment of revelation last night.

I was watching the television program Finding Your Roots which looks at people’s family tree and also at their DNA heritage. It is a show I like very much.

While the program was looking at the history of families, and the dates of people’s lives, the obvious suddenly struck me: When I was born—84 years after the end of the Civil War—there were people then living who had been born into slavery in the United Sates. As I say, obvious if one simply thinks of dates; but brand new to me.

Slavery was just not that long ago.

Much of what we think of as happening “a long time ago” was really quite recent.

And, of course, the effects of events last long after the events themselves. Whether the devastations of slavery or of the Civil War; the lasting problems from World War I; or any lingering issues of our own childhoods or teenage years; events continue to have an impact upon our lives long after those events have ended.

The after-effects of slavery; of genocide against the native peoples of the Americas; of discrimination against various minorities; these are lasting.

Thousands of years ago the Bible spoke of this:

6The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed,
‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
7 keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children
and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.’

     Usually, however, it seems to be the victims of iniquity rather than the perpetrators who suffer for generations.

May we do all that we can to end that suffering, to bring into being a land of justice, inclusion and equity for all.

The 2018 March Stewardship Drive is Underway!

Find Your Sanctuary. Be a Steward.   

Stewardship pledge packets were mailed on February 12th. Pledges have started coming in! Your envelope includes your personalized appeal letter and pledge form, a pamphlet on First Church finances for 2018, and a return envelope. This is the time when we ask all members and friends to decide on your pledges of financial support of First Church for the next fiscal year. Our church, our sanctuary depends on all of us to be stewards in order to grow and sustain our church and community.

The goal of our Stewardship Drive is $625,000. To reach this goal, which supports our wonderful programs and staff, we need generous pledges and increases at all levels of giving. Let us all do our part! We urge you to place First Church at or near the top of your charitable giving. We invite you to join us with your completed pledge forms at special, uplifting worship services on Celebration Sunday, March 4th. There will also be delicious treats during Coffee Hour, courtesy of Quebrada Bakery. You may pledge online  if you prefer. Please contact us with any questions at

~ 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.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Don’t miss an evening of Chopin! Saturday night, February 24th, at 7:30 p.m., world- renowned pianist Paul-André Bempéchat will be giving a piano recital to benefit the First Church and our wonderful instruments. The program will be some of the best music Chopin wrote, featuring all four Ballades, and all 24 Preludes. Light refreshments will be served after the concert. Admission is by suggested donation at the door – $15/person, $25/family. This is a family friendly event, so please bring friends, children, and neighbors.

There are also many other fun musical events coming up! On Saturday, March 3rd, at 7:30 p.m. there will be a dance party! The Loomers will be playing songs from the 1950s through the 1980s to keep you on the dance floor all night long. We are going to be kicking off our annual stewardship drive in style! Co-sponsored by the Stewardship, Fellowship and Music Committees. This is an adults-only event.

Sunday, March 4th is Celebration Sunday! To celebrate the Stewardship Campaign, we will have a Sunday service full of great music from many people in our community. Please have your pledges in by then!

Sunday, March 11th, join all of the Children’s Choirs as we sing in the spring season, and the start of Daylight Savings Time. The Chancel Choir and the Junior Choir will be singing at the 9 a.m. service, and the Youth Choir will join the Senior Choir for the 11 a.m. service.

Sunday, March 18th is Gospel Sunday! Once again, we will welcome Roger Brown and his gospel band, joined by members of Berklee College of Music. They will be providing a whole service full of wonderful music for everyone to enjoy.

And finally, Sunday, March 25th is Major Music Sunday. The Senior Choir will be joined by a professional orchestra led by Ken Stalberg. This spring, they will perform two wonderful pieces – JS Bach’s magnificent Cantata #126, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

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 let’s kick off our annual stewardship drive in style! Co-sponsored by the Stewardship, Fellowship and Music Committees! Adults only please.

Fresh Paint in the Parlor

A major face-lift has taken place in the Parlor! Effusive thanks to Jon Svetkey, Jeff Isen, Nathaniel Rono, and Heather Quay, our in-house painting crew, who spent all of the Presidents’ Day weekend sanding, priming, and painting all surfaces in the Parlor, the Parlor Closet, and the Annex. In addition, thanks to Penelope Carlhian, who helped us choose the color. And finally, thanks to the Belmont Unitarian Alliance for funding the project. This has been a true group effort.

There are several additional projects we hope to take on in the future to improve the Parlor’s appearance—new furniture, new flooring, doors to the Closet. In the meantime, we are considering what to put on the walls in those spaces, so please do not hang or tape anything in there.

Please make suggestions to The House Committee: Ed Bing, ML Landfried, Lanier Smythe.

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!

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 7:30 p.m. 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.

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.

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.

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

Parenting Adolescent Girls — Veera Mylapore
Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 p.m., Library
Connecting with other parents of adolescent daughters for sharing, visioning, brainstorming and building a support network to help navigate this time in ours and our kids’ lives.

The target audience is current parents of adolescent girls, but parents of formerly adolescent girls would be most welcome for guidance and support!

  • Discussing – Anything! No subject is off the table. Examples are – Thoughts and ideas in regard to – friendships, technology, fashion, sports, sexuality, relationships, changing bodies, school, media, the world, self-image, gender identity.
  • Informal discussion and sharing. Depending on interest, we might have special speakers join us for future meetings.
  • Takeaways – A rich network of parents who care, to whom we can reach out for inspiration and thoughts during challenging times and/or to celebrate victories, sharing wisdom and current research and local resources.

Contact for more information.

Prequel to Major Music — Ian Garvie
Wednesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
This spring, the Senior Choir will be perform two wonderful pieces as part of the enduring Major Music tradition – J.S. Bach’s magnificent Cantata #126, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Though both of these pieces are somewhat short, they are some of the most thrilling music the composers wrote. Join Ian Garvie for a talk about the pieces, how they came to be composed, and what to listen for. Wednesday, March 14th at 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

Science and Spirituality – Ken and Nicole Bernstein
Thursday, March 15, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Richard Eastwick will be the presenter. Please view the 27 minute episode and join us. See it at:

In the episode Richard would like the group to view and discuss, Kuhn focuses on the question, “Did God Create Time.” The answers are thought provoking and worthy of being the focus of our Thursday, March 15 meeting.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn has been a scientist, an entrepreneur, and an expert on China with 25 books to his name. In addition, he is the creator, producer, writer, and host of “Closer to Truth,” a series of public television shows featuring interviews with leading scientists, philosophers, theologians, and scholars where he poses life’s biggest and toughest questions. For more on Kuhn or the show, check out Wikipedia or the “Closer to Truth” website.

First Church “Moth” Hour — Ian Garvie and Richard Waring
Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Join us for First Church’s own “Moth Hour”, an evening of unscripted, first-person storytelling in five to six minutes. Stories affirm who we are and allow us to experience the similarities and differences between ourselves and others. For more information or to sign up see or e-mail Richard ( or Ian ( Refreshments.

Parenting Kids with Challenges — Melissa Irion
Friday, March 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.


Chuck Collins — Born on Third Base
Friday, March 23, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
With the heart of an agitator and the soul of a storyteller, Collins upends our assumptions about America’s deep wealth divide—and offers bold new solutions for bridging the economic divide, and suggests re-engaging the wealthy to rebuild communities for a resilient future.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

Save the Date for the First Church Rummage Sale: Saturday, May 5, 2018
As you carry out your New Year’s resolution to de-clutter, please set aside any “saleable” items for the Rummage Sale!!

Drop-off of saleable items begins on Sunday afternoon, April 29. And please plan to volunteer. Information about sign-up for volunteers coming soon.

Kathy Crawley and Deb Lockett are co-chairing the Rummage Sale this year. For more information, contact:

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center

As February comes to an end, you still have a chance to Put Some LOVE in Your Cart by remembering the Grow babies, toddlers and their families. Thanks!

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 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

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

Books in Bloom at Belmont Library, March 2 – 4
A celebration of the Belmont Library’s 150th Anniversary. The opening reception on Friday, March 2 features the unveiling of the Belmont Garden Club’s floral interpretation of books with refreshments from local businesses and musical performances by talented students. Tickets can be purchased here and at the Library, Beech Street Center and Belmont Books.

On Saturday the Belmont Historical Society hosts a day long presentation on the history of Belmont and the Garden Club demonstrates floral arranging. Sunday is a birthday party for children and their parents, with cake and balloons. Learn more at

Meet Belmont Presents “Talk of the Town,” March 20

Register 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. or

Lowell Institute Lecture, April 3, with Rev. Traci Blackmon

The Boston University School of Theology invites the community to the upcoming Lowell Institute Lecture Series featuring Rev. Traci Blackmon on April 3 at 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the Boston University School of Theology.

Rev. Blackmon is the Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ as well as the Senior Pastor of Christ the King UCC in Florissant, MO. The event is free but reservations are suggested. Details:

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, March 1

Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, February 28. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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