The Unitarian – March 15, 2018

The Unitarian – March 15, 2018  (pdf)

Sunday Worship, March 18 – Gospel Sunday

Something New, Something Saving, Something True – Rev. Kathleen McTigue

We are living through troubled times. Threats to basic human rights are on the rise, and some of our most cherished values are under attack. But our faith has something to say for our times, and pulls us toward something new, saving, and true.

The Rev. Kathleen McTigue is the Director of the UU College of Social Justice, a joint program of UUSC and the UUA. Until 2012, she served as a parish minister for 25 years, first in North Carolina and then New Haven. She resides in Boston. For more information about UUSC visit For information about the UU College of Social Justice trainings and journeys, visit

Prelude: American Tune by Paul Simon

9 a.m. Nova Choir Anthem: Turn The World Around by Harry Belafonte (b. 1927)

11 a.m. Senior Choir Anthem: Sound Over All Waters by Paul Halley

Offertory: We Are All Connected by Andrea Whalley

Postlude: Where is the Love by The Black Eyed Peas

With thanks to today’s Gospel Band:

Richard Curzi, keys and voice
Jim Wooster, guitar
Mark Caddell, bass
Jason Sibi-Okumu, voice
Lisa Odur, voice
Roger Brown, drums

The flowers on the Chancel Table are given by Eva Patalas in memory of her mother, Jozefa Patalas.

  • Services at 9 and 11 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, March 25 — Major Music Sunday presents Vivaldi’s Gloria and J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 126;  one service at 10:30 a.m.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


I have in my office two kaleidoscopes, one of which is now broken. These two use mirrors only (no enclosed bits of glass or liquid).

Kaleidoscopes are wonderfully inventive things. You look through a lens and see the world transformed by various fractures and distortions. These give the world a new beauty.

The world has great beauty already, and one might wonder why a kaleidoscope is either needed or wanted in a world of glorious splendor. But most of us do like them. And they have the magical quality of making even “ugly” parts of the world seem beautiful. I tried that today: I aimed my working kaleidoscope at the trash can in my office. Beautiful!

So, a “distorted” world is a beautiful world.

Is that the difference between those who see a world of ugliness and those who see a world of loveliness? Do the latter perceive only a distorted image of reality?

That is what many “realists” tell us. “Nature”, they say, is “red in tooth and claw” and it is better to recognize that than to foolishly live in a dreamscape.

But I still see beauty.

And what of our perceptions of human nature; do those who perceive human goodness and “inherent worth and dignity” in every person have only a distorted view of the human spirit?

I have been accused of being naïve for believing that there is goodness within every person. That is an accusation I am willing to accept. [Anything else is too Calvinist for me.]

Most of my interactions with people show that they (people) are decent in heart and strive to be and do good. Most will fail this at times, but we are all imperfect. I do not want to let imperfections cause me to see only evil.

I do believe that the great prophets of humanity taught that we are all capable of great good if we seek to be. It can take an effort, but I believe it is worth it.

In the meantime, if I am but looking through a kaleidoscope I am happy to be doing so.

Stewardship Update – Pledge By Friday for Honor Roll

The deadline is this Friday, March 16, to have your name listed on Sunday’s Stewardship Drive Honor Roll and to be entered in the drawing for the delicious Black Forest Torte. If you have not done so already, please send your pledge today!

As of Wednesday morning March 14th, we are over 84% of our goal, with 187 households pledging more than $527,935. Thank you for this show of support! A majority of households have increased their pledges, but we still need about $97,000 to reach our goal. As you know, pledges are 80% of our operating budget – First Church depends on each one of us, so we need everyone to participate and we need generous increases at all levels of pledging.

If your pledge is in the mail and you think it might not arrive by Friday, please just let us know and we’ll include you in the Honor Roll and enter you in the drawing. If you are not able to make your pledge by this Friday it would greatly assist us to know when to expect it.

Questions? Need another copy of your personalized appeal letter and pledge form? Please contact us at You can also pledge online if you prefer.

Thank you so much for supporting our beloved church, our programs and this loving community. Let’s all do our part! Please join us. Find your Sanctuary. Be a Steward.

~ With appreciation, Anjali Kumar, Stewardship Chair

Program and Committee News & Upcoming Events

Easter Sunrise Service

Come join our ritual of creating sacred space at sunrise at Habitat in Belmont. Meet in FCB parking lot at 5:45 a.m. or join us at the Habitat parking lot at 10 Juniper Road at 6 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 1st. Breakfast served at church following the service. All are warmly welcomed to be in fellowship with us.

Chalice Lighting — All Are Welcome

We invite ALL members of the church community to light our Chalice on Sundays — children and adults, groups and individuals. There is a sign up list near the elevator in the Upper Gathering Hall, or you can sign up here.

Wine Tasting Soiree, Saturday, March 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Come and share a glass of wine with old and new friends, and learn the nuances of old world and new world wines. Bring your good humor and cheer! Learn as we taste a varied selection, and impress your friends by winning our wine tasting contest.

Ushers Needed for Spring Term (3/18/18 – 6/10/18)

Thanks to everyone who helped make our winter ushering a success. Now please consider volunteering to usher for the spring. You can sign up online or on the Ushering Sign-Up Poster in the Upper Gathering Hall during coffee hour. Thanks for your help.

All are Welcome to the Newcomers’ and Community Breakfast – March 25, 9:15

Come to the Newcomers’ and Community Breakfast at 9:15 before the Major Music Service on March 25 in the Parish Hall. If you are a First Church newcomer, or would like to meet and welcome a newcomer, please join us for bagels and coffee before enjoying some wonderful music at the Major Music Service. Everyone Welcome! For more information, contact Mark Thurber at

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

This weekend, the First Church welcomes Roger Brown and his gospel band for our annual Gospel Music Sunday! Join us for a wonderful morning of uplifting, energizing music, with Richard Curzi on piano, Jim Wooster on guitar, Mark Caddell on bass, Jason Sibi-Okumu and Lisa Odur on voice, and Roger Brown on drums. It’s sure to be a wonderful service!

And next week, don’t miss our annual Major Music Service. This year, the Senior Choir will be singing two magnificent pieces – Vivaldi’s famous Gloria, and J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 126. This will be the first time this particular cantata has been performed here at First Church! The choir will be joined by a professional orchestra led by Ken Stalberg.

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 Spring 2018 brochure (pdf)

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!

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.

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.

First Church “Moth” Hour — Ian Garvie and Richard Waring
Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Everyone loves a good story! 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. We have an exciting group of storytellers! 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.

Belmont UU Alliance Members and Friends
Wednesday, March 21, 12 p.m. Lunch, 1 p.m. Program, Parish Hall
Program: “Our Democracy is in Trouble”
All men and women are invited to join us on Wednesday, March 21 at noon for the Alliance lunch and program. Please bring your own sandwich. We will provide soup, fruit, dessert and beverages. The suggested lunch donation is $2.00 per person.
Fred Van Deusen from the First Parish in Concord’s social justice group, Reclaim Our Democracy, ( will be presenting on the topic “Our Democracy is in Trouble”. Fred will trace the roots of escalating inequality to the dysfunction we see in our federal government, and we will discuss what we as citizens can do about it. R.S.V.P. to or 617-484-1054 (ext. 10). Please email or call Pat Hawkins, Alliance Program, with any questions:, 617-489-2058.

Chuck Collins – Lecture and discussion
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.

Chuck Collins — the great-grandson of one of America’s iconic industrialists —  grew up in the one percent, gave his inheritance away at 26, and became one of the nation’s leading thinkers and activists on solving inequality. He is based at the Institute for Policy Studies and writes extensively about inequality. His previous books include 99 to 1 and Wealth and Our Commonwealth (with Bill Gates Sr.). His new book is Born on Third Base.

Book signing and refreshments. Cosponsored by Social Action. This program is part of First Church’s ongoing theme of addressing issues of Escalating Inequality.

Theatre Discussion Series – Downing Cless and Jane Minasian
Sunday, March 25, 4 p.m., Library
Guards at the Taj, Rajiv Joseph’s dark comedy, performs at Central Square Theatre March 1 – April 1.
1648, India. At morning’s first light, the Taj Mahal, an awe-inspiring edifice representing the pinnacle of beauty and the power of an empire will be unveiled. For the two Imperial guards who are protecting the palace, close friends since childhood, dawn’s first light will set in motion a ghoulishly unthinkable task that will challenge their faith, friendship, and duty. See the play and join us for a lively discussion and refreshments. Tickets:

Socially Responsible Investing — John Keller and John Kolterman
Sunday, March 25, 12:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Would you like to better align your personal investments to match your social, moral and ethical beliefs? Society is demanding that companies serve a social purpose and should benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers and the communities in which they operate. If you’d like to learn how you might align your own investments accordingly, join us for this informational session. Second session is planned for April 22.

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

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.

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson and Anne Stuart
Wednesday, March 28, 7:30 p.m., Library
Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935.

Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

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.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Tuesday, April 3, 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.

Alphabet Rockers — Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepherd
Sunday, April 8, 12:30 p.m., Parish Hall
Please join us for an exciting multi-generational event. Bob and Eloise McGaw’s daughter is the co-founder with Tommy Shepherd of the Alphabet Rockers, the Grammy nominated kid-focused hip hop group from Oakland, California. They will be with us during both worship services, the RE program and for an after-church program. The group is dedicated to addressing complex issues surrounding identity and social justice through their hip hop music. Their passion is to create positive messages and modern beats to help children love who they are, fight bias, and celebrate difference.

Their Grammy-nominated album “Rise Shine #Woke”, created to interrupt racial bias and lift up the voices of young changemakers, has songs that bring joy to tough topics. Visit their web-site for more information. This participatory program will inspire and energize people of all ages.

Co-sponsored by the UU Urban Ministry and Social Action, RE and Music. Refreshments.

Social Action News in Brief

Sign up for the Social Action newsletter at

“March for Our Lives” — March 24, Boston Common
Join members of the Social Action Committee at 11 a.m. at Alewife Station, inside and downstairs, in front of the Charlie Card machines across from the turnstiles.

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

Only a couple of weeks left to cap off a great campaign to make this an extra bountiful drive. Please remember to toss some MAC & CHEESE boxes into your shopping cart this week—leave the boxes in your car—then bring them to church this Sunday. Think MAC & CHEESE. There are collection baskets in the Sanctuary vestibule and Lower Hall. Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

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

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

In the Community

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 at the Boston University School of Theology. The event is free but reservations are suggested. Details:

Upcoming Workshops at the Belmont Art Association

  • Woodworking: An Introduction to Carving; Saturday, April 7
  • Lecture and demonstration of sumi-ink brush painting, Saturday, May 12
  • Details and registration for all events is online, 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

UU Mass Action Advocacy Day
Tuesday, April 10, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Where: Arlington St. Church, 351 Boylston St., Boston (we leave for the State House at 1 p.m.)
  • Early bird rate $25 through March 23rd ly/uuadvocacyday
  • Questions:
  • This year’s keynote speaker is Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Senior Strategist – Side with Love. Our shared singing will be led by the multi-talented Matt Meyer. We will also enjoy the art of spoken word poet, Anthony Thomas. You can find more details on our webpage, under events. Our legislative focus will be several very important climate bills, Paid Family and Medical Leave and $15 Minimum Wage.


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.

Housing Needed This Fall

We are looking for a two bedroom apt./condo/home to rent or housesit for three months or so while our home being renovated, starting 9/1 through November. Ideally, we’d like to be in Belmont, but nearby towns okay, too. A family of three, no smokers, no pets. Thank you, Leslie Talmadge, Brian and Lauren (11) Kopperl.; 617 686 3166.

High School Student Seeks Homework Assistance

Are you bilingual in Russian and English? High school student seeks help with biological terminology for class. If you can assist or have questions, please email Nancy Davis at

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 22

Please send submissions to by noon on Wednesday, March 21. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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