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The Unitarian - April 20, 2023

Sunday, April 23: “Live in Creation” with John O'Connor

Exploring the value of developing creative outlets, or means of expression, as a way to soothe our own souls, build community, connect with others, and perhaps even with the divine. John will conclude the sermon with a musical reflection, playing Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor (Op.28, No. 4).

Services at 9 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary. Childcare is available.

Sunday, April 30: Multigenerational Services at 9 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary

The Installation of Rev. Chris Jablonski — Sunday, May 7 at 4:00 pm on the Town Green

No Sunday morning services on May 7

It is with joy and anticipation that we invite you to a special service on Sunday, May 7th at 4:00, for the installation of our minister, Rev. Chris Jablonski.

Come and celebrate this new chapter in the life of the church and join with UU ministers from the area and interfaith colleagues from Belmont as we mark the beginning of this ministry and chart our course together for the next many years.

We will gather on Sunday, May 7th at 4:00 pm on the Town Green.

Please do join us for this service and celebration.

In community,

Laurie Graham, Parish Board President

Upcoming Vespers Services

Thursday, April 27: Traditional Vespers, 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary

Thursday, May 4: Meditation Vespers, 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary

FCB Podcasts, Sermons, and Stories, Online

From Your Minister Guest Column: “FCB and the UUSC,” by Samuel James

First Church and the UU Service Committee: Transatlantic

Transatlantic is a seven-part Netflix television series that focuses on Varian Fry, a Harvard trained journalist and the founder of the Emergency Rescue Committee, (ERC) that helped over 2000 Jewish refugees and anti-Nazis escape various parts of Europe to safety in the United States and England. Varian Fry worked closely with Robert Dexter, a First Church congregant and a founding member of the Unitarian Service Committee (USC) along with Waitstill and Martha Sharpe (Waitstill, a UU minister in Wellesley). These Unitarians were USC’s first on- the- ground staff in France to help evacuate refugees. Upon arriving in Lisbon, Portugal, Fry sought out the Sharpes and they in turn helped orient him to life in Europe and gave him the names of sympathetic people he could call on for assistance.

The ERC and USC were intertwined with Robert Dexter seeking the aid of the State Department to prevent the closing of the ERC: I think that it is only fair to say that Varian Fry and those associated with him in the Center (Center Americain de Secours) made blunders—who does not?—but nevertheless that they have done probably the most outstanding job of any group in Europe—not even excepting our own—in the field of saving political refugees (Rescue and Flight by S. Suback). Fry relied on the USC in Lisbon to help the refugees navigate the French-Spanish border and wait in safety for visas before gaining passage to the United States. Together they were responsible for saving the lives of thousands of Jews, intellectuals, politicians, and other anti-Nazis.

In the end, Varian Fry and Waitstill and Martha Sharp were the first Americans inducted into the Righteous Among the Nations, a recognition and honor to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Transatlantic is about the ERC but allows us the opportunity to better understand the challenges and risks that Robert Dexter, Waitstill and Martha Sharpe, and others in the USC were going through in their effort to save refugees from the Holocaust. The story is based on the Flight Portfolio (Association of Jewish Libraries Award winner, 2020) by Julie Orringer. The show is dramatic, informative, and engaging. If you would like a snapshot into the work of the Unitarian Service Committee and their daring work to help save refugees from Europe in the early 1940s, tune in. You will not be disappointed.

Go deeper and take action:

Under the Sea: Party with a Porpoise

The sonar beeps are getting louder… Our annual Auction extravaganza is fast approaching!

In just two days, on Saturday, April 22, the Silent Auction will go live! Whether you plan to attend the in-person auction and gala on May 6 or not, you can participate in the bidding and friendly competition for a wide array of intriguing items: a tour of artist Derrick Te Paske’s studio, a swing dance lesson and dance party, a State House tour and lunch with Rep. Dave Rogers, a selection of 6 fine wines, a one-hour energy healing session, armloads of perennials for your garden, dinner with Rev. Chris at Il Casale in Lexington, and much, much more! Be sure you’re registered on BiddingforGood ( to join the fun and buy your tickets. The early-bird ticket discount for the Live Auction ends April 30, when the price goes up! (Tickets are $60 now and $75 after April 30 or at the door.) Buy a Raffle ticket online or during the live event to win one of our amazing grand prizes: The first is a $250 gift certificate toward any Celebrity Series show + a $100 restaurant gift certificate. The second is a tour of the Belmont Farmers’ Market (for 4) together with a surprise gift basket and a $150 gift certificate, which is good for any of the vendors. And please sign up to help at the Live Auction if you can! Questions? Email or visit the Auction table at Coffee Hour.

Save the Date for the Annual Meeting: Sunday, June 11

Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 11th at 11:30, directly after the Church service. Please save the date and plan to join us as we wrap up the church year.

The Arts at First Church in Belmont: Monday, April 24, 7:30 pm, in the church library

Our ongoing adult programs reflect our interest in film, poetry, the written word, drama, as well as the visual arts. We have two regular film discussion groups, a monthly book group, discussion groups about poetry and short stories, Alliance programming which often features the visual arts, and the possibility of reviving the theatre group.

All of this activity made me wonder if there were some way to brainstorm ideas together that would allow for greater collaboration and that might highlight aspects of the arts throughout the church year.

We’ll gather on Monday, April 24th at 7:30pm in the Library and anyone interested is encouraged to attend and participate.

Feel free to contact Lillian Anderson ( if you have any questions or to let us know of your interest if you cannot attend the meeting.

Mount Auburn Cemetery Walks with John Howe: Saturday, May 13 at 10am -- rain date Saturday, May 20 at 2pm

Limited to 10 people

Enjoy exploring Mount Auburn Cemetery and finding the final resting places of First Church founders and others who helped shape our history. You’ll hear their stories as we go. This year's tour will follow a similar itinerary to last year's, with an optional half-hour extension to visit additional gravesites including those of the family of Edwin and Katharine Atkins, profiled in our recent history program on the church's Tiffany pilgrim window. The tour is limited to 10 people on a first come first served basis. Carpooling is encouraged. Contact Sam Foster ( to register.

Recurring Weekly and Monthly Programs

FCB Sangha: Mondays at 7:30 pm (online)

Contact: James Hencke

Meditation practice allows us to dwell in the present moment.

SoUUper Lunch every Wednesday

All are welcome to a soup-based lunch at noon on Wednesdays in the Upper Gathering Hall.

Each week a volunteer brings a delicious homecooked soup to share with everyone. There will be bread, some sort of dessert, and tea and coffee. You are welcome to drop in for some sustenance, friendly conversation, and a chance to connect and deepen over something tasty. If you would like to volunteer to bring the soup, or something else to share, you can sign up online. Click here for more details on the church website. Questions? Contact Samuel Foster.

Board Games and Crafts on Thursday Evenings

Join us after Vespers for an evening of crafts and games. Bring your knitting project, your favorite games, or just yourself. There will be hot cocoa and snacks.

We'll be in the Parlor from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Click here for more details on the church events calendar. Questions? Contact Samuel Foster.

FCB Garden Group, first Thursday of each month, 4 pm

Share your gardening tips and learn from others. During the winter months we meet online but once the weather is conducive we meet outdoors to enjoy being together in a garden. The group meets monthly on the first Thursday of the month at 4:00 PM. Contact Jess Hausman for more information.

April Programs and Events

Journey to Membership, a workshop for newcomers to First Church, April 30, 3:00 pm in the Parlor

New to First Church? Curious about Unitarian Universalism? Want to learn more about the church and what we do?

Join us for "Journey to Membership," a fun, interactive workshop led by Rev. Chris Jablonski and Samuel Foster on two Sundays, April 16 and 30, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM in the Parlor. There will be opportunities to find out about social action, adult education, our worship services, and how to get involved. It's a great way to get connected and make new friends in the church.

You don't have to be a newcomer to take part! If you'd like to meet new folks, reconnect after covid, or deepen your connection to the church, you are very welcome to join us.

Register online to attend. Questions? Email Samuel Foster.

FCB Book Group - April 26, 7:30 pm on Zoom

April's selection is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

From Christine:

"We go from the American south and Zora Neale Hurston to South Africa and Trevor Noah on April 26, with Born a Crime. His memoir describes his youth in the Johannesburg area and his remarkable mother. Noah is a producer and political commentator as well as a comedian and actor, most recently on The Daily Show. Noah weaves tragedy and comedy into an incredible tale from his perspective from having been a child of a white and a child of a black in the Apartheid era.

There are lots of hard copies in the Minuteman Library system but not in large print. However, there are more than 20 copies of it in book-on-cd format with Noah as the reader. It's also available as a playaway audiobook. By listening you will get to hear his timing in the humor as well as multiple African languages you might not otherwise be able to pronounce. It's also available in Spanish and Chinese. I hope you are able to listen to at least part of it."

The book group is open to all and meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30pm online. Contact: for the Zoom link

Science and Spirituality - April 27, 7:30 pm online

We are a small, long-running group meeting monthly to discuss the interplay of spirituality and science. There is generally a small set of reading followed by lively, intriguing discussion.

This month we will be discussing Blaise Pascal's Thoughts (Pensées), the source of Pascal's Wager. Click here for the summary we will be working from. Contact Kirk for the link.

Coming Up in May

Second Friday Concerts presents HANNEKE CASSEL (and her band): Friday, May 12, 7:30 pm

World-renowned fiddler Hanneke Cassel is a performer, teacher and composer whose career spans over two decades. Her style fuses influences from the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton Island with Americana grooves and musical innovations, creating a cutting-edge acoustic sound that retains the integrity and spirit of the Scottish tradition. The Hanneke Cassel Band features Jenna Moynihan on 5-string fiddle/vocals and Keith Murphy on guitar/vocals. Jenna Moynihan is regarded as one of the best in the new generation of fiddle players. Newfoundland-born guitarist Keith Murphy is a highly sought-after sideman on guitar, mandolin and foot percussion. Together, The Hanneke Cassel Band creates a cutting-edge acoustic sound that retains the integrity and spirit of the Scottish tradition. DON'T MISS THIS CHANCE TO SEE THEM HERE AT FIRST CHURCH! Tickets at

Films with BIPOC Focus, Meets on the third Saturday of the month at 7:30pm on Zoom

May 20 - The Woman King (2022). Film. A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood. Still in theaters. Amazon.

June 17 - Till (2022). Film. In 1955, after Emmett Till is murdered in a brutal lynching, his mother vows to expose the racism behind the attack while working to have those involved brought to justice. Director: Chinonye Chukwu. IMDB rating 7.2. Still in theaters. Amazon.

Facilitated discussion led by Richard Waring and Eva Patalas. Contact for the Zoom link.

Mother's Day Walk for Peace

Please join members of the Social Action Committee and Team Belmont in participating in the Mother's Day Walk for Peace, Sunday May 14, at 8 am in Boston, to support the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute which works "to empower survivors and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief and loss to cultivate cycles of peace and healing." Contact Priscilla Cobb at if you would like to meet up and walk together with other members of Team Belmont. Walk and/or donate with us!

Partner Church Corner

Désfalva Partner Church Members to Attend Installation of Rev. Chris

Four members of our partner church will be in attendance for Rev. Chris’ covid-delayed installation on May 7th. The Désfalva community has shown our members gracious hospitality as we have visited them several times over the past decades. From May 5 to May 14, we will have the opportunity to return the hearty welcomes they have given us.

Several members of our FCB community will be hosting our visitors. In addition to attending our services, they will be entertained by various FCB committees. This will give us opportunities to share ideas about church functions and activities.

There will be four visitors from Désfalva:

László (Laci) Kis, Parish Board President

Miklós Molnár, Organist.

Mihály Molnár, Lay leadership member

Margit Molnár, Lay leadership member

(Note that many partner church members share the same last names although they may be from different families.)

FCB members will have many opportunities to interact with our visitors as we try to return the hospitality, they have shown us in our past visits to Désfalva.

Social Action News

Celebrating Earth Day and Forty for the Earth — FCB Green Table at Coffee Hour this Sunday, April 23

In observance of Earth Day, please stop by the FCB Green table at coffee hour this Sunday, 4/23, to let us know what actions you took during "40 for the Earth" or have resolved to take in the future, and sign petitions to Governor Healey, and to Toyota, to advocate for policies and practices addressing the climate crisis now!

We thank you and want to recognize your efforts in a yummy way.

Belmont Welcomes and our New Flag

Recently the Parish Board voted to become a partner in Belmont Welcome. Belmont Welcomes is a program of the LBGTQ Alliance in which town government, community and religious organizations, and businesses are joining together to pledge to respect the rights of LGBTQ individuals, and to welcome them in Belmont.

You’ll see stickers with a new rainbow flag posted in businesses and town buildings. The stickers indicate that the organization has joined us in making Belmont more welcoming. Please let the shop owners and officials know that you appreciate their support.

In addition, the flag has changed. It now includes a yellow triangle with a purple ring centered in it. This symbolizes the inclusion of intersex individuals. A person is intersex if they have chromosomes different from the usual XX (female) or XY (male), or if their sex organs fall outside the male/female categories. The purple circle symbolizes that these individuals are whole and perfect the way they choose to be.

The Complete Calendar of Building Use

Beautify the Sanctuary with Flowers

Thank you for donating flowers to beautify the Sanctuary. Our longtime partner, Paradise Flowers, will create the arrangements, which are $90. You can use the form below for either an online payment or if you wish to mail a check to the church. Click here to donate flowers.

This month, we Share the Plate with UU Mass Action

You can make a worship offering here, text the word “offering” to 617-819-8168, or mail a check to the church. Please make checks payable to The First Church in Belmont and write “offering” in the memo line.

Next Issue: Thursday, May 4

Please use this form to submit your news or event (you can upload photos and graphics and paste links to further information) by noon on Wednesday, May 3. Submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

The Unitarian is published the first and third Thursdays of the month, September - June, and monthly in July and August.

Forms for church members

  • Make a pledge payment online.

  • Submit church news and announcements.

  • Request an in-person meeting space or Zoom meeting link.

  • Submit a payment or reimbursement request.

We Are Here For You

Staff are working from home. Office hours are Monday - Thursday, 9 - 2. Feel free to contact us for anything you need.

  • Call/text 781-400-4587

  • Email the church office

  • Mail to: 404 Concord Ave., Belmont, Mass. 02478

  • The church office will be closed April 24 - April 28.


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