Sunday, January 22: Celebrating Our Partner Church, 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary
There will be a single worship service Sunday at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate our partner church in Désfalva, Transylvania.
Thursday January 26: Vespers at 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary
Sunday January 29: Services at 9 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary
From Your Minister
There are lots of games my daughter loves to play. And one of my very favorites is making a nest. It’s kind of like making a fort, but with no roof.
Just piling up cozy things, all the blankets, so many blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, so many soft things. We clear space, often on her bed, and then gather items much like actual birds making their own nests. We gather and we build.
Just the other day, two nests, one slightly bigger for me, another right next door for her, an infinity sign of nests.
And then the bets part, we snuggle in. We save some of the coziest blankets for on top and snuggle into the softest, coziest little embrace.
As we did this just recently, my wife Lauren was just arriving home from work and Aliyah squealed, hearing her come up the stairs. I opened up my blankets and she cuddled into my side of the nest. We brought the warmth of blankets back over us and this picture was taken.
And I share this moment with you today in part because it was just so precious, but also and especially because like so many beautiful things, it is utterly fleeting.
Aliyah is seven, now, and our sons are twelve and fifteen.
Just last Sunday Ian announced that he and Claire are expecting their first baby in July (huzzah!) and our newest member Jerome announced that he and his wife welcomed a baby on Christmas Day (huzzah!)
And the news of these two babies launched me into nostalgia and reflection at my own three babies, now so big, and still so small.
And I think of so many of your children of all ages, many of whom we saw at Christmas Eve. The whole parade of growing and stretching and becoming, of so many joys and so much pain.
This path of parenting is no joke.
Just one loss and one change after another. Moments of being stretched to the breaking and beyond. Moments of unspeakable joy and peace.
And whatever comes, however the path of parenting presents, rocky and uphill, glorious views, our best laid plans thwarted or realized, whatever comes, I know this.
There are moments to savor.
Nestled in a nest fort, her still small body all wrapped up in mine, her joy at our play complete, and my unbounded love, present and at ease.
Driving past my eldest walking home with a friend, both of them laughing, smiles stretching their faces.
My middle man in the kitchen, the two of us cooking, all consumed in making our love manifest in food form for those we love.
I know these moments are passing away, as they should. As these children, as all our children grow into themselves, into these people they are becoming.
And so even with the fullness of life, even in the stretched schedule and the full grown to do list, I do my best to make the time and take the time to remain awake in this sweet and stretching chapter of life, knowing that I will miss this one day.
Once the picture above was taken, the spell was broken and dinner had to be made. I left my smallest child and headed to the kitchen, much to her protests. But she resettled into the warmth of the nest to read and continue her play. And I got back to shoveling the coal into the locomotive of our lives.
But with a little bit wider smile on my face, and I have to think that the food was a little more delicious for my time in the nest.
So much love to you all,
Contribution statements will be mailed by January 31
You can also create or log into your account at Fellowship 1 Giving and download your contribution statement now! uubelmont.infellowship.com
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.
This month, we Share the Plate with our Partner Church in Désfalva, Transylvania
You can make a worship offering below, 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.
Intergenerational Conversation About the Climate Crisis and How We Can Respond - January 29, 5:30 p.m.
The Youth Group and Social Action Committee and FCB Green are co-sponsoring this event. It will be a conversation focused on the following questions and topics, among others: how youth and others in our congregation are already responding to the climate crisis, what SAC and FCB are doing, and ideas for how First Church can further organize and support our congregation to do more.
FCB and the UU Service Committee
Each month we will provide a story of the work of the UU Service Committee and their exceptional human rights outreach. The UUSC began in First Church during WWII and continues to provide care and service around the world. We hope you will consider joining or rejoining to help promote and support their excellent work.
Ineza Umuhoza Grace, Global Coordinator and co-founder of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, first experienced the effects of the climate crisis at an early age when her family home in Rwanda was destroyed due to intensive rainfall and wind. “But growing up,” Ineza says, “I didn’t know that was the impact of climate change.” For Ineza, connecting this formative experience to the changing climate came later. “After high school, I was watching the news one evening and then I saw on the television a particular area in my country where the community was being forced to move because of flooding and erosion. On the television you could see that most of the people who were being displaced were women and children. And that reminded me of the powerless feeling that I had back then.”
Called to address the climate crisis and serve in her community, Ineza decided to study environmental engineering at the University of Rwanda. In 2020, Ineza helped found the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition (“LDYC”), a coalition of youth from the global North and the global South who join together to drive action, demand justice, and address loss and damage brought on by climate change. With more than 300 members from 40 countries, the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition is committed to sharing and amplifying the voices of youth impacted by the climate crisis while holding global systems and processes accountable.
Focusing on advocacy, training, communication, and storytelling, all with the purpose of demanding “finance to address loss and damage,” the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition engages in a wide variety of initiatives, including petitioning global leaders at international events such as the UN climate negotiations (Conference of the Parties, or “COP”), sharing the science of climate change with various communities while also centering the importance of Indigenous knowledge, creating cohorts of youth storytellers to share their experiences with loss and damage caused by climate change through art, and campaigning for investment in resilient infrastructure and restitution for communities devastated by the climate crisis.
“Everyone, everywhere is exposed,” says Ineza about the current climate situation. “Everyone is vulnerable, but the level of vulnerability depends on the level of infrastructure already in place, the educational system, the funds and finance, everything that is already in place can reduce the level of vulnerability, but at the end of the day everyone is vulnerable.”