The Unitarian – March 22, 2018

The Unitarian – March 22, 2018  (pdf)

Sunday Worship, March 25 – Major Music Sunday

One service at 10:30 a.m.

Homily: Fractures — Rev. David Bryce

Prelude: Simon Andrews, harpsichord

Music: Cantata #126 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Senior Choir and Chamber Orchestra; conducted by Simon Andrews, Assistant Director of Music

Music: Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi (1678 –1741)
Senior Choir and Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Ian Garvie, Director of Music

There will be no Postlude today.

  • One service at 10:30 a.m.; childcare is provided
  • Directions and parking information at
  • Sunday, April 1 — Easter: What Does It Mean To Be Risen? — Rev. David Bryce, services at 9 & 11 a.m.

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.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior Minister


Yesterday, Sunday, I attended the installation of a UU minister in another congregation.

I love doing that! Installations and ordinations are such uplifting events.

At this one, however, I was bothered by all of the God-language being used.

Let me be clear: it was not the use of God language, which is perfectly fine. It was the apparent assumption (by certain speakers) that everyone present believed in God.

We Unitarian Universalists are an interesting lot. Many of us believe in God or divinity, many do not. And we should each feel free to speak our beliefs without fear of judgment or rejection. That is not always the case.

Our congregations have differing theologies, with some explicitly Christian, some explicitly Humanist, and some an eclectic mix. I am most comfortable with the mix.

All too often, some of our congregations proclaim an openness to all theologies or religious beliefs, but fail to practice that openness.

In my Unitarian Universalism, no one should have to apologize for their belief. If you are a humanist, you should feel free to say so; if for you God is important, you should feel free to express that. However, there are times when people in a UU setting feel a negative response to their expressions of faith.

Quite often in our congregations there is a willingness to accept all things religious if those things come from non-Christian faith traditions. And so sometimes someone says the word “God” and feels a need to justify their use of that word. They never should feel that need.

For me, the proper operating assumption in Unitarian Universalism services and gatherings is “not-God and not-not-God”; and more broadly, “not-the-Goddess and not-not-the-Goddess; not-Nirvana and not-not-Nirvana”. And “not and not-not” to almost any other belief.

When I express myself may I be clear to express my own belief and to do so in a manner which makes clear that my belief is not our belief.

And may I be open to truth from others no matter which words are used to name or describe it.

Stewardship Update – Mind the Gap!

Thank you to the nearly 200 households listed in our Stewardship Drive Honor Roll on March 18th. Congratulations to Wendy and Charles Conroy, the lucky winners of Ariane Frank’s Black Forest Torte!

As of Tuesday March 20th, we are at 88% of our goal, with 202 households pledging more than $550,500. A majority of households have increased their pledges – much appreciated! We still need to Mind The Gap … We need about $74,000 to reach our goal. As you know, pledges are 80% of our operating budget – First Church depends on each one of us. We really need everyone to participate and we need generous increases at all levels of pledging.

If you have not done so already, please send your pledge today! The end of March is fast approaching. Work on next year’s church budget is underway. Let’s all do our part! Thank you so much for supporting our beloved church, our programs and this loving community. Find Your Sanctuary. Be a Steward. Please respond no later than Saturday, March 31.

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

~ With appreciation, Anjali Kumar, Stewardship Chair

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

This Sunday, the First Church Senior Choir will join forces with a professional chamber orchestra to present two wonderful pieces of music! J.S. Bach’s wonderful and stirring cantata #126 is a powerful plea for God to protect one from ones enemies. Written during a time of war and conflict, the opening lines of music are reminiscent of a clarion trumpet call to battle.

Antonio Vivaldi’s joyful Gloria is an uplifting setting of a prayer from the Latin mass. At times both tuneful and exuberant, this piece is one of the best ways to bring in the spring season.

The service will be at 10:30 a.m., with a breakfast at 9:15 in the Parish Hall for any newcomers to the church, as well as anyone who would like to help welcome the newcomers.

Additionally, my sincere thanks and gratitude to all of the musicians that made last weekend’s Gospel Sunday such a success. The band included 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. Many thanks also to the Senior and the Nova choirs, for your wonderful anthems. The music was both beautiful and uplifting!

Program and Committee News & Upcoming Events

This Saturday! The Fellowship Committee presents a Wine Tasting Soirée, Saturday, March 24
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.

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

Community Potluck Passover Seder, April 3
6 p.m. in the Parish Hall
Please join us in a community potluck to celebrate Passover. We are hosting a family friendly event on Tuesday, April 3, at 6:00 PM in the Parish Hall. Passover is the story of the Exodus from Egypt many years ago. We share prayers, songs, and the retelling of the story. Each participant is asked to read a small part of the order of service, called the Haggadah.

We ask each family or group to bring a traditional dish to share—and we have lots of recipes. To cover other expenses—$3 child, $5 adult, $12 family.

To reserve a spot, ask questions:, or look for us at upcoming coffee hours.

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.

Ushers Needed for Spring Term, through June 10
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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

What Matters in Our Relationships: Short-term Couples Group — Joe Weiss
Sundays, April 8, 15, 22, 2 p.m., Library
Explore UU (and other values) that we inherited, chose, lost, and wish to re-discover with other couples. Share how we met and where we are now in our relationships. This will be limited to 6 couples and will resemble a small group ministry miniseries, offering opportunities for further growth within our relationships. To register contact

Belmont Garden Club Anne Allen Memorial Lecture — Joann Vieira on “Native Plants in the Home Garden”
Wednesday, April 11, 7 p.m., Parish Hall
Founding Director of Horticulture, Tower Hill Botanic Garden and a frequent lecturer on a variety of horticultural topics, Joann is passionate about native plants and will focus on incorporating native plants into suburban gardens. Anne Allen’s family were early members of First Church and were responsible for the Tiffany window.

“The Story of the Universe, Ignoring Details” — Andrea Prestwich and Edwin Taylor
Sunday, April 15, 12:30 p.m., Library
We live in a universe with many wonders … a multitude of stars with planets, stars that explode, galaxies that host super-massive black holes. In this talk, Ed and Andrea will ignore details and focus on the big picture. What is our universe made of? How did it begin and how will it end? We’ll show that current evidence points towards a universe that is expanding and started with a hot Big Bang, contains a mysterious substance called Dark Matter and that the expansion is being accelerated by an unknown force called Dark Energy. The end? Death of our Sun and a sky with fewer and fewer stars.

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.

Sanctuary Committee
Volunteers are welcome to support sanctuary efforts at the UU Bedford church. And on April 8, volunteers will hold a “reflections session” between services here in Belmont to share their experiences. Contact Eva Patalas at or Liz Keating at for information.

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:

Story Starters
A few weeks ago, Story Starters wrapped up its pilot program. Thirty-one families from nine towns engaged in conversations around race, racism and social justice over 10 weeks. If you would like to be notified of program registration for the fall session, email Joslyne Decker at or follow Story Starters Boston on Facebook.

Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center

Boxes and boxes of thanks to all of you who made this year’s MAC AND CHEESE MADNESS such a great success. Thanks!!!  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

Pet Loss Healing Circle this Sunday

  • First Parish in Brookline, 382 Walnut St.
  • Sunday, March 25, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Join us in remembering and honoring the lives of our beloved animals. We will share stories and readings, light candles, and remember, in the presence of others who understand.

Open and free to all who have lost a pet, as well as those who anticipate such a loss. Led by Rev. Eliza Blanchard, caregiver to animal caregivers and spiritual director. Call 774-551-6071 for more information.

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.

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 29

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

Contact Us

Parish Board minutes are online and posted on the Upper Hall bulletin board.


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