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The Unitarian — January 5, 2023


Sunday, January 8 “Staying Unstuck” with Rev. Chris

Services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Upcoming services

Thursday January 12: Vespers at 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary

  • Sunday January 15: Services at 9 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary

From Your Minister

Let me start with huge gratitude to Jeanne Mooney for taking this beautiful picture on Christmas Eve and sharing it.

It is one of the great joys of mine every year to watch as the light is passed through the congregation. To see all your faces light so warmly, so beautifully, it is always a deep and abiding joy.

And this year even more so because we were finally back together for Christmas, so many of us back with the carols and the choirs and the wise men and the pageant. Thank you to everyone who helped make a beautiful evening happen.

And after some feasting and some rest, here we are in the New Year with so much beginning, so much already afoot.

We have our Trivia Night fundraiser for the Youth Group’s service trip on Saturday the 7th, so please come to that.

Also we have an exciting new class, Our Whole Lives for adults, which starts on the 15th of January, you can read more about that here…

Also there is a whole host of online classes open for you all, even some that John our intern is leading and myself as well.

You can read more about all that and even register here…

So all this and so much more.

Do please come and drink from the well.

This is a complicated time we are all moving through, and we need one another and the powerful embrace of our community as we forge our way forward together.

This is one of those inflection points in our history as we reserve from the pandemic and redefine who we are and what is most important to us.

I believe that joined together we can help this world lean towards Justice and Love and Kindness and Wisdom and Peace.

But it will not happen without our digging in, showing up and making it so.

I am sending you all mountains of love as this new year begins.

May your new year be full of remembering and return.

May it find you resilient and rested.

May it be filled with a clearing vision for who you most deeply long to be, and for the kind of world you want to build.

And may you know, now and always that your community is here for you, that I am here for you, and that together, just like our candles raised at Christmas Eve, that together we shine, and create something beautiful and powerful, a true gift to the world.

So much love to you all,


Contribution statements to be distributed by January 31

You can also create or log into your account at Fellowship 1 Giving and download your contribution statement at any time:

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.

Trivia Night For All! Saturday, January 7, 6:30 pm in the Parish Hall

Join FCByouth for a night of trivia, drinks and snacks, Saturday, January 7th. Doors open at 6:30pm and trivia will start at 7pm sharp! Guests will form their own teams—start thinking of a clever team name now! Donations are welcome, and while registration is not required, you can help the youth group know how much food and snacks to have on hand by RSVPing.

  • Snacks and drinks will be sold

  • Childcare will be provided

  • All proceeds will go to FCByouth and Service Learning Trip

  • Spread the word and bring some friends!

  • Click here to sign up!

Second Friday Concerts presents Peter Mulvey in Concert!

Friday, January 13, 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall

Peter Mulvey never stops. Nineteen records, an illustrated book, thousands of live performances, a TEDx talk, appearances on NPR, an annual autumn tour by bicycle, opening for luminaries such as Ani DiFranco, Emmylou Harris, and Chuck Prophet. He has built his life’s work on collaboration and an instinct for the eclectic and the vital. He folds everything he encounters into his work: poetry, social justice, scientific literacy, & a deeply abiding humanism are all on plain display in his art.

First Church Cooks with Jane Minasian

Sunday, January 15, 5:30 pm (online)

Contact Lillian Anderson for Zoom link

For our 2023 kickoff meeting of First Church Cooks Jane Minasian will be demonstrating a recipe which she says "Is quick to put together, comes out beautifully every time and has been well received by both family and friends". It is Ginger-Dill baked salmon with a citrus avocado salad. The ingredients you will need for 4 people are as follows (and Jane recommends making no less than this, since leftovers are particularly good the next day". Jane also suggests firm tofu be used as a substitute for vegetarians/vegans. We'll send the actual recipe to all participants the day before the program.

Yield: 4 servings

1 (1½-pound) salmon fillet, skin-on or skinless

Kosher salt and black pepper

8-10 tablespoons finely chopped dill

1 (4-5 inch) piece of fresh ginger, scrubbed and finely grated (no need to peel)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 Grapefruit (pink or white - and soft enough to be juicy)

2 oranges

6 small radishes, cut into thin wedges (OR thinly sliced 1/2 fennel bulb if you don't love radishes)

1 Avocado (at right ripeness for eating)

1-2 cups or more Arugula

Flaky sea salt, for finishing (optional)

OPTIONAL STARCH: Roasted small potatoes (whatever quantity you wish for 4 people). To be seasoned with Oil, Cumin and Sea salt.

MAKE AHEAD TIPS - THAT WOULD BE GOOD TO DO PRIOR TO PROGRAM: Grate the piece of ginger (unpeeled ok!) with micro planer or other fine grater; wash and chop Dill Finely. Cut small potatoes in half or quarters so they are quite small and toss them with some oil, cumin and salt and start them roasting on an oiled sheet pan in a 400 degree oven.

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.

Adult Programs

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

Contact: James Hencke Meditation practice allows us to dwell in the present moment.

Gather Round: Deep Winter Discussions on Self and Community with Rachel Greenberger, 4 Sundays beginning January 7; 4 p.m. (online)

A Gather Round is a facilitated discussion on a particular topic, anchored by a pre-assigned reading or listening. Contact Rachel for topics and details. Each session stands alone.

Revisiting the First Church Traditional Covenant with John Howe: Sunday, January 8, 12:30 p.m., Parlor

What does it mean to come together as a UU congregation? What is the overarching spirit and purpose of our church community?

Since 1900, the First Church bylaws have included the historic "Ames Covenant" or bond of fellowship. This covenant reads: "In the love of the truth and the spirit of Jesus we unite for the worship of God and the service of man."

Is this a faithful reflection of who we are as a congregation today? Or does our covenant need to be updated?

The FCB Parish Board is currently taking steps to draft a revised set of bylaws for consideration by the membership in spring 2023. Here are two of the key questions the church faces: (1) Whether to retain, modify, or replace the Ames Covenant; and (2) whether our covenant should be integral to, or separate from, our bylaws.

Please plan to join an important discussion session on these topics led by FCB parish historian John Howe. The session will begin with a brief recap of John's October 30 presentation, followed by an introduction to other forms of covenant used throughout our denomination.

After addressing these two pressing questions, we will engage in a more general discussion on how we might arrive at a covenantal statement fitting for this era of the church's life.

Please bring a sandwich; light refreshments and drinks will also be available.


Our 4 session program will begin on Sunday, January 15 and meet on Jan. 22, 29 and Feb. 5 from 4:30-6:30pm in the Parlor. The registration deadline is January 9.

Join us this winter for a series of four workshops from Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Older Adults, a curriculum that takes a values-based, social justice approach to the sexuality of adults in midlife and beyond.

Sexuality is one of the most basic components of being human; we are sexual beings from birth to death. As we age, however, it is commonly assumed that we either know everything we need to know about sexuality or have lost interest in it. Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Older Adults offers a rare opportunity for adults in middle and older age to talk to each other in a facilitated context about a topic they may find fascinating, confusing, frustrating, and rewarding. Too often, communication about older adult sexuality focuses on sexual dysfunction rather than on the benefits of healthy sexuality. In this program, participants learn new information, examine their values, and build communication and sexual health skills.

These 2-hour workshops will be facilitated by trained sexuality educator Ran Courant-Morgan. Participants should plan to attend all four sessions, which will take place in person. The curriculum is designed especially for participants ages 50 and up; interested adults over age 35 are welcome to enroll. All genders are invited. Registration required.

Spiritual Renewal through Poetry with Peter Guthrie, weekly from January 8 - January 29, 2 p.m., in the Parlor

Robert Frost once defined a poem as a “momentary stay against confusion.” Good poems can help us see ourselves and our lives more clearly. We will read and discuss poems that deal with spiritual issues in the broadest sense of the term. This is a drop in program. No rsvp necessary. Contact:

“Green Cuisine: Preparing and Sharing Plant Based Meals” with Michael Griffin, begins January 10, 5 - 7:30 p.m. in the church kitchen; register below

Have you been thinking about going plant based or curious to see how to make simple plant based meals? Join us for one or more plant based dining experiences. Michael Griffin will be sharing ideas and recipes for plant based meals that are simple to prepare. You can sign up to help prepare the meal and feast or just come for the Feast. Each session will feature a soup/appetizer, salad, entree with sides, dessert and a few surprises. You will leave with the recipes and a full belly. To help cover the costs, we ask for a $10 per person donation (to be submitted at each dinner). To sign up please go to: Eating for our Planet Sign Up.

  • January 10: International Foods from the Southern Hemisphere

  • February 7: Comfort classics for a winter night or super bowl party

  • March 14: Italian Inspired dishes

  • April 11: Spring Classics

  • Food prep will be from 5:00 - 6:30 PM (limit 8 assistants)

  • Feast: 6:30 - 7:30 PM (In the Upper Gathering Hall)

First Church Belmont UU Alliance Zoom Program - Thursday January 12, 11 a.m. (online)

Presented by Mark Rosenstein: "A Naturalist's Year: Highlights in New England"

For a naturalist in New England, there is something to see at any time of year. You can find birds, mammals, even insects in any month of the year. But knowledgeable naturalists know the best time of year to look for certain creatures, and at any given time, what the best spectacle is to look for. Snowy Owls in January, Bald Eagles in February, young animals in June, silk moths in July. Mark Rosenstein will describe the highlights at various times through the year here in New England, illustrated with his nature photography. Contact Miriam Baker for the Zoom link.

Saturday Film Discussion with Nate Sellers, 8 pm (online)

Contact Lillian Anderson for Zoom link

Jan. 14 - Girlfriends (1978)

Girlfriends is a 1978 comedy-drama film produced and directed by Claudia Weill and written by Vicki Polon. The film stars Melanie Mayron as Susan Weinblatt, a Jewish photographer who experiences loneliness once her roommate Anne (Anita Skinner) moves out of their apartment in New York City. It was the first American independent film to be funded with grants, although private investors were also brought on to help complete the film. Available to rent on Amazon Prime or Apple TV or through the Minuteman Library System.

Feb. 11 - Vagabond (1987)

Vagabond is a 1985 French drama film directed by Agnès Varda, featuring Sandrine Bonnaire. It tells the story of a young woman, a vagabond, who wanders through the Languedoc-Roussillon wine country one winter. The film was the 36th highest-grossing film of the year with a total of 1,080,143 admissions in France.

Mar. 11 - Daughter of the Dust (1991)

Daughters of the Dust is a 1991 independent film written, directed and produced by Julie Dash and is the first feature film directed by an African-American woman distributed theatrically in the United States Set in 1902, it tells the story of three generations of Gullah women in the Peazant family on Saint Helena Island as they prepare to migrate off the island, out of the Southern United States, and into the North.

The film gained critical praise for its lush visuals, Gullah dialogue and non-linear storytelling. The cast features Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbara-O, Trula Hoosier, Vertamae Grosvenor, and Kaycee Moore and was filmed on St. Helena Island in South Carolina. Daughters of the Dust was selected for the Sundance 1991 dramatic competition. Director of photography Arthur Jafa won the top cinematography prize. The film is also known for being the first by an African American woman to gain a general theatrical release.

"White Hot Hate" with Dick Lehr, January 20, 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall

Dick Lehr will discuss his new book, set in Kansas in 2016, where a small group of far-right nationalists plotted to bomb Somali refugees in Garden City, Kansas. Through this story, he will discuss how far right media, Facebook and the internet created an echo chamber that served to inspire the bomb plotters with paranoid rage and misinformation. The book is titled: WHITE HOT HATE: A True Story of Domestic Terrorism in America’s Heartland.”

First Church member Dick Lehr, is a professor of journalism at Boston University, and the author of seven award-winning works of nonfiction and fiction. For more information

Books will be available for purchase. Refreshments. RSVP

Films About Black Lives, Meets on the third Saturday of the month at 7:30pm on Zoom

January 21 - Harriet (2019). Biopic. The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and transformation into one of America's greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. Director: Kasi Lemmons. IMDB rating: 6.7. Apple TV, Amazon, HBO Max.

February 18 - Indian Horse (2017). Film. Follows the life of Native Canadian Saul Indian Horse as he survives residential school and life amongst the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism. Based on book by Richard Wagamese (Ojibwe). IMDB rating 7.3. Netflix.

March 18 - The Color Purple (1985). Film. Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple is a richly-textured, powerful film set in America's rural south. Director: Steven Spielberg. IMDB rating 7.7. Apple TV, HBO Max. Complement with NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour Podcast Revisiting “The Color Purple” wars.

April 15 - Uncle Tom (2020). Documentary. An oral history of the American black conservative. Director: Justin Malone. IMDB rating 8.3. Amazon.

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 Diana Dill and Eva Patalas. Contact for the Zoom link.

The First Church Organ with Simon Andrews, January 22, 12:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary Organ Loft

Have you been curious about how our magnificent Casavant organ works? Join our organist, Simon Andrews for a demonstration and explanation or our organ, and learn something of the history of the organ and its place in worship. Maximum of 12 people; the program is up steep stairs into the Organ Loft. Register here. For more information about Simon:

First Church Book Group, 7:30 pm (online)

January 25: Think Again, by Adam Grant

Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity, but constantly willing to rethink their stances and that leaders who admit they don't know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams.

New evidence shows us that as a mindset and a skillset, rethinking can be taught and Grant explains how to develop the necessary qualities to do it. Section 1 explores why we struggle to think again and how we can learn to do it as individuals, arguing that 'grit' alone can actually be counterproductive. Section 2 discusses how we can help others think again through learning about 'argument literacy'. And the final section 3 looks at how schools, businesses and governments fall short in building cultures that encourage rethinking.

In the end, learning to rethink may be the secret skill to give you the edge in a world changing faster than ever.

Feb. 22 Station Eleven, E. St. John Mandel

Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity, but constantly willing to rethink their stances and that leaders who admit they don't know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams.

New evidence shows us that as a mindset and a skilllset, rethinking can be taught and Grant explains how to develop the necessary qualities to do it. Section 1 explores why we struggle to think again and how we can learn to do it as individuals, arguing that 'grit' alone can actually be counterproductive. Section 2 discusses how we can help others think again through learning about 'argument literacy'. And the final section 3 looks at how schools, businesses and governments fall short in building cultures that encourage rethinking.

In the end, learning to rethink may be the secret skill to give you the edge in a world changing faster than ever.

Mar. 29 Their Eyes Were Watching God, Nora Zeale Hurston

Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person—no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

Our Church Bylaws: More Interesting Than You Think! with Roger Read and Martha Courant, January 29, 12:30 p.m. in the Parlor

Please join Roger Read and Martha Courant to learn and share your thoughts about Bylaw changes you will be asked to approve this spring.

DWDC: Getting Comfortable with Death Talk with Jackie James, January 31, 7:30 p.m. (online)

Death has become hidden, making it harder for us to come to terms with the reality of it. It hasn’t always been this way. The modern death-positive movement creates ways for those who want the chance to talk openly about mortality. We’ll explore how the Date with Death Club provides a chance to grow our comfort and knowledge about this topic. Register here:

Save the Date for these February Adult Programs

Writing Memoir Workshop with Martha Spaulding begins February 5, 4 p.m. (online)

Begin weaving the story of your life using specific memories for thread. Before each meeting of the group, you’ll receive prompts designed to tease out pieces of your past. You may write in response to them or simply go your own way. When we’re together, we’ll share what we’ve written (though anyone may pass) and then talk about what other memories may have been evoked by the sharing.

This is not a workshop to teach or critique writing. Feedback on the style or technique of others is very strongly discouraged. We’re gathering to be delighted and provoked by the stories we hear and to strengthen our connections to one another. The workshop is limited to 10 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Martha to sign up.

“Slow Looking” with Nelina Backman, February 5, 12:30 p.m. in the Parlor

Join Nelina Backman, in a powerful conversational ritual/protocol she has practiced with a group of educators for the past 20 years. The protocol facilitates non-judgmental, collaborative “looking” at an object brought by a participant. We’ll accumulate observations, then share associations, questions, and speculations all before the “bringer” divulges the object’s provenance. The insights that emerge from such conversations can have deep and surprising emotional and spiritual resonance.

Confronting our History: Part 1 - The Stories Behind the Tiffany Window with John Howe and the FCB History Group, February 12, 12:30 p.m. in the Parlor

First Church Annual "Moth" Hour with Ian Garvie and Richard Waring, February 17, 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall

Join us for stories from our beloved community that help root us, define us, give us a sense of our past and future. Anyone interested in sharing a story contact Richard

"Eating a Jewish Life" - a facilitated discussion led by Eleanor Sugarman with Judi Berman and Susan Kobayashi, February 26, 2 p.m. in the Parlor

Join us as we remember the foods of our Jewish traditions and the memories they elicit.

Social Action News

Giant thanks to FCB from the Grow Clinic!

The Grow Clinic wishes to thank First Church Belmont for its generosity this Christmas season and over the past year. Your gifts have made a difference to the community that Grow Clinic serves.

At the UU Urban Ministry

Mark Watson explores: Resolving to Do Better: Banks and Black-owned Business - January 10, 6 pm

Mr. Watson is the President of Potlikker Capital, a non-profit charitable loan fund and integrated capital fund supporting BIPOC farmers at the intersection of racial and climate justice. Visit for details.

CommUUnity Collaborative Winter 2023 Programs

Are you looking to deepen understanding of UU values and theology? CommuUUnity Collaborative is a Unitarian Universalist platform created/conducted by ministers and staff teams who want to share new programs with their congregations, and beyond. The course catalogue includes a variety of stimulating programs and workshops to help adults deepen their faith, wrestle with big questions, and nurture their souls. For more information and to register for any of the following programs go to our website

The Complete Church Calendar of Events

Next Issue: Thursday, January 19

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, January 18.

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

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. The church office will be closed Monday, January 16 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


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