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The Unitarian - June 1, 2023



Sunday, June 11, 2023, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., in the Parish Hall

Pursuant to a call by Laurie Graham, President of the Parish Board, you are hereby notified that the Annual Meeting of The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist will be held on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at 11:30 am for the election of officers, status of next year’s budget, and the transaction of such other businesses as may lawfully come before the meeting.

Hereof, fail not, and make due attendance at said meeting and time.

James Hencke

Parish Board Clerk

Only Members and Youth Members who were listed on the Membership Roll and Youth Membership Roll as of at least seven days before the Meeting may vote.

Child care will be available.


Sunday, June 4: New Member Welcome Ceremony; One service at 10 am on the Town Green.

Childcare is available.

Sunday, June 11: Worship service at 10 am in the Parish Hall led by Intern Minister John O'Connor.

Join us for John's last day with The First Church in Belmont, followed by the Annual Meeting.

Childcare is available.

FCB Podcasts, Sermons, and Stories, Online

From Your Minister

I knew having an intern would be fun.

Largely with the transition of Janice, our Congregational Administrator moving up to Vermont, we knew we needed a staff person to perform some on site administrative tasks, and then a colleague, Kim Crawford Harvie (the wonderful minister who preached at my installation a few weeks back) reached out and told me about a wonderful seminarian named John who needed an internship and who she thought would be a great match for Belmont.

This was, of course, an understatement.

It has been such a joy to have John as out intern this last year.

He has brought so much love and creativity, so much presence and passion to our community.

For my part, it was a huge help to me to have an intern. Coming out of the pandemic, I am still catching my breath, still finding a pattern of work which is healthy and manageable. I am still exploring what it means to do ministry in the year 2023 with our new ways of connecting and deepening. And having John was such a gift as I explored this and felt my way into this new version of ministry.

And it was also a joy to realize that twenty years into ministry I had a thing or two to teach him about how to do this work.

But even more so, the thing that I didn’t quite realize, largely because I have never done it, was how much he would learn from you all. And this is why I am so excited that we have another intern coming next year, Sophia Doescher, who comes highly recommended by John.

We are a teaching congregation. And this means that in addition to all the intern learns from me, they also learn as much from you all. From the depth and breath of leadership we have, from the vastness of your creativity and experience, the intern learns from us all.

And this matters, especially now.

First Church is a healthy, thriving church. We are a community in which a skilled and striving staff team is joined with a committed and creative volunteer base, and with all of our powers combined, in so many ways, over and over, we build beloved community.

We are a playful church which knows how to have fun with one another. We are a deep seeking church which is unafraid of complexity and discomfort. We are a great place for a forming minister to learn and grow.

And so now we get to celebrate our year with John.
If you would like to write him a message, you can click below or sign a card in-person on June 4 and 11.
He will be with us at the Sunday services on June 4 and 11, so do please come by and thank him. We will be outside greeting as we almost always are.

And stay tuned. All factors being equal, we will be invited to his ordination sometime next year, and we will let you all know about that, which will be a glorious day indeed.

So much love to you all,


Opportunity to See Plans for the Henry Frost Children's Program/Playground Design at Johnson House - this Sunday, June 4, 11:30 am in the Parish Hall

With great excitement we would like to share with you that The Henry Frost Children’s Program (HFCP) has entered a long-term lease with The First Church in Belmont (FCB) to revitalize the Johnson House and the Edward R. Hennessey, Jr. Memorial Playground at 396 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA into a preschool location. We are thrilled that the UU Congregation will have access to the playground outside of the preschool hours, and on Sundays as part of church activities.

Please join us on Sunday, June 4 at 11:30 AM in the Parish Hall at the UU Church to meet the preschool director, Dr. Iris Chin Ponte. She is more than happy to answer questions and share the playground design. The school and playground construction should be completed this fall. To learn more about the Henry Frost Children’s Program, curriculum, and design please visit:

Committee on Ministry Report

The Committee on Ministry is pleased to share with you our our 2023 Listening Circle Report.

2023 CoM Listening Circle Summary
Download PDF • 348KB

Again, we are grateful for all who participated in this information-gathering event that takes the pulse of our congregation on an annual basis.

We hope you will avail yourselves of this snapshot of First Church and let us know if we may answer any questions for you.

Committee Members: Kathy Crawley, Jackie James, Mary Harrison, Margaret Dunn, David Lind, Laura Vail Wooster, Nick Hausman, June Lattimore, and Leslie Kolterman


Sponsored by Belmont LGBTQ+ Alliance, Human Rights Commission and Belmont Against Racism

WHEN: Saturday, June 17, 12:45 PM. Step off at 1 PM.

WHERE: Belmont Town Green, adjacent to 404 Concord Ave.

After the parade, gather at Trinktisch (87 Leonard Street) to celebrate Fran Yuan, founder, Belmont LGBTQ+ Alliance, who is stepping down after more than 20 years of service.

Volunteers are needed! Please contact Leslie Talmadge:

This year the march route is shorter, flatter, and more accommodating for everyone.

For more, see Belmont LGBTQ+ Alliance website:

Sandy Island Retreat: Registration is Open!

Join us for a weekend of fellowship, reflection, relaxing, kayaking, games, tennis, shared meals, interesting conversation, bocce, swimming, volleyball, and fun. All are welcome.

Registrations are open till August 31. Register early, so we can book the whole island.

Questions? Email

June Programs and Events

Second Friday Concert featuring Kemp Harris Band - Friday, June 9, 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall

The last concert of our 2022-23 season is next Friday, June 9 and it features the incomparable Kemp Harris and his band.

Kemp defies categorization. He is an award-winning singer-songwriter, actor, activist, author and storyteller. He has shared stages with artists such as Koko Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Gil Scott-Heron, Kandace Springs and Taj Mahal; composed original music for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Complexions Contemporary Ballet; established a songwriting residency at Boston’s Wang Theater; and recently delivered a series of master classes at Berklee College of Music. This is going to be a fantastic night of music you don't want to miss! As always, thanks for your continued understanding and encouragement. We hope to see you next week! Get your tickets here!

The Second Friday Team

P.S. We will be officially announcing the calendar for our 2023-24 season at next week's concert. You won't believe what we've got planned for you!

CommUUnity Collaborative Informational Meeting - Monday, June 12, 7pm, Online

Pilgrimage to the End of the World: Walking the Camino de Santiago to Finesterre and Beyond, May 26 to June 3, 2024

Join local Unitarian Universalists for a pilgrimage along a special stretch of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Finesterre is a headland on the northwest Spanish coast that the ancients believed was the end of the known world. The name derives from the Latin finis terrae, or “end of the earth.” Finisterre predates nearby Santiago de Compostela as a Celtic sacred site and pilgrimage destination. Throughout history people have walked to Finesterre to give thanks for the Earth and to contemplate the mysteries that lie beyond the shores of our knowledge.

Walking pilgrimage is a spiritual practice that connects us to our Spirit, to one another, and to the Earth. As we walk across beautiful terrain, we will also explore the inner landscape of our hearts and souls with the help of daily readings, questions, spiritual practices, and group reflection every evening before dinner.

Revs. Lauren Smith and Rob Hardies will be our spiritual guides on this eight-day, seventy-three-mile journey from Santiago de Compostela to Finesterre and then up the Spanish coast to Muxia.

If you think you might be interested in joining us on this pilgrimage (no commitment yet!), please let us know by sending a quick note to our registrar Lillian Anderson at, and then plan on joining Revs. Smith and Hardies for a Zoom information session on Monday June 12 at 7 pm. We do anticipate that we will need commitments and an initial deposit by early July. We hope you’ll join us!

Important Details

Dates: May 26 - June 3, 2024

Cost: Approximately $2100 per person, based on double occupancy.


Day 1 - Arrive and gather in Santiago de Compostela, overnight in Santiago

Day 2 - Santiago to Negreira 20.6 km/12.8 miles, overnight in Negreira

Day 3 - Negreira to Cornado 14.6 km/9.07 miles, overnight in Negreira

Day 4 - Cornado to Olveiroa 18km/11 miles, overnight in Olveiroa

Day 5 - Olveiroa to Cee 20 km/12 miles, overnight in Cee

Day 6 - Cee to Finesterre (Fisterra) 15km/ 9.3 miles, overnight in Finesterre

Day 7 - Finesterre to A Lires 14 km/8.7 miles, overnight in Finesterre

Day 8 - A Lires to Muxia 17 km/ 10.5 miles, overnight in Muxia

Day 9 - Transfer back to Santiago, Pilgrims Mass and overnight in Santiago

Our Guides

Rev. Lauren Smith is Director of Stewardship and Development for the Unitarian Universalist Association, and a member of the First Church in Belmont community.

Rev. Rob Hardies is Lead Minister of First Parish in Cambridge and an experienced leader of pilgrimages along the Camino de Santiago and to other destinations.

"Walking on Fire" by Kathy Crawley - Book Launch and Dance Party Invitation — Thursday, June 22, 7:00 p.m.

You Are Invited!

The Adult Programs Committee and First Church Member Kathy Crawley are inviting you to help celebrate the publication of her debut novel, Walking on Fire, on Thursday, June 22.

Festivities will begin in the Parish Hall at 7pm, with a book reading at 7:30, followed by Q & A. Enjoy refreshments and dancing to rock n’ roll band “Mid Life Crisis.” Books will be on hand for purchase from Belmont Books.

We’re excited for you to join us!

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, through June 7

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

Each week a volunteer brings a delicious home-cooked 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.

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.

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

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.

FCB Book Group meets Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 pm online

We are reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X (written with the assistance of Alex Haley). This is based on more than fifty interviews Haley had with Malcolm X and came out after Malcolm X's death. Laurence Fishburne is the narrator of the 17 hour CD version, so you see that it is a long book. (Spike Lee's 1992 film based on this book, Malcolm X, with Denzel Washington as Malcolm, could help you if you run out of time.) Contact for the Zoom link.

Social Action News

Grow Clinic Summer Drive - June 4 Outdoor Service

Summer is a time of food insecurity for many families. Our Grow Clinic clients could really use your help filling their pantries. Please help by bringing:

Family food: Goya canned beans, instant white and yellow rice, quick Mexican meals, mac & cheese, canned beef stew, tuna, canned vegetables, soups, vegetable oil, peanut butter, and dried fruit.

Baby supplies: Baby food, Pedicure (vanilla, strawberry, chocolate) with fiber if possible, children’s vitamins, and diapers.

We’ll be collecting at the 10:00 a.m. June 4 outdoor service. Feel free to drop supplies off with Gloria the giraffe in the basement of the church between now and June 4.

From FCB Green

Congratulations to the auction team and Laurie Graham who arranged for food waste from the event be picked up by a composting service! That's a first for us and a wonderfully green step forward. "The use of landfill and incineration can be reduced by at least one-third when organics are recycled...Methane, a greenhouse [gas] twenty-five times as powerful as carbon dioxide, can be significantly reduced...", notes the US Composting Council. We can do this at home, too. The easy way is to use a service such as or but many find home composting easy, too. -FCB Green

Welcome, Baby Sofia!

Join us in welcoming Sofia Sulaimani to the world!! Baby and mom (and all other family members) are well and excited about their growing family.

Bakhshi Family Furniture and Moving Needs

The Social Action Committee has been supporting the Bakhshi family in their adjustment to life in Belmont. The family is moving to another apartment in Belmont at the end of the month. They are looking for donations of a living room sofa, floor and desk lamps, and a TV stand. If you have any of these items to donate, please contact Fran Yuan at We are also continuing to fundraise for their needs as their cost of living rises. Thank you to our church community for all you have already done!

The Complete Calendar of Building Use

>> A note about summer building use

In July and August, the entire church is rented from Monday - Friday by the BASEC Summer Camp program. As a security measure, staff will change the code on the Lower Hall lockbox at the end of June.

If you need to access the building during the summer, please contact Janice Zazinski, Congregational Administrator.

This month we Share the Plate with Belmont Against Racism

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, June 15

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, June 14. Submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

The Unitarian is published the first and third Thursdays of the month, September - June, and on July 20 and August 24 over the summer.

Forms for church members

Outside groups and non-church events, start here to inquire about rental space, even if you have rented from the church previously.

We Are Here For You

Staff are working from home. Work 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


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