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The Unitarian - June 15, 2023

This is the last Unitarian until Thursday, July 20.

Services are Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Parish Hall

June 18

Blooming in the Shade with Rev. Chris Jablonski

June 25

Sharing Blooms: A Flower Communion Service” with the FCB Garden Group

July 2

Matt Meyer from Sanctuary Boston: Rhythm Revelations Part I

July 9

Matt Meyer from Sanctuary Boston: Rhythm Revelations Part II

July 16

“All About Stars” with Richard Waring

FCB Podcasts, Sermons, and Stories, Online

From Your Minister

Every year I am figuring out how to do ministry in a sustainable and thriving way.

This means taking time to keep myself refreshed and inspired, rested and ready.

Many ministers historically have taken two months off in the summer, disappearing for the warmer months, pushing through the church year, white knuckling their way to June and then breathing deep and putting it all down and taking it all back up in the fall.

I find it has helped me to take time off throughout the year. A few weeks here and there, taking the kids vacation weeks, this year a trip to Austin Texas in February for some warm weather, some winter fishing and lots of tacos, and this year, the first annual canoe camping trip in the Adirondacks.

The picture above is of the four other people I paddled the first eighty seven miles of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a seven hundred and eighty mile trail of rivers, lakes and portage trails going from Old Forge New York all the way to Maine.

And the most amazing thing happened. Paddling all day, carrying hundreds of pounds of gear along portages, working so closely with this amazing team of people, all strangers I had just met, I felt so relaxed, so restored, so reconstituted. It was a beautiful thing.

And I returned for the home stretch of the year ready to go.

And so this is my hope and my prayer for you all this summer. That you reflect a little on what truly feeds you, what truly refreshes and returns you to your deepest and truest selves, and go and do that.

After Father’s Day I have a month off. I will return to lead some summer worship and to start planning the coming year. In addition to the ones I am helping with we have lots of wonderful services, every Sunday if the summer at 10:00.

Pop by any Sunday you are in town. And feel free to reach out if there is any way I can be of support.

I am so grateful to you all for this year we have shared. We had some truly beautiful worship and some amazing music. We have welcomed new members and have seen so many of you return from the pandemic wilderness.

And so I come to this summer break deeply satisfied and so very grateful.

And so excited for all that comes next. This is the challenge for me in vacation. I love what I do, and so it takes a bit for me to ramp down.

But I eventually do, and then I am off with the kids and my beloved for some adventures, off to the woods and the ocean, off for some solo time and time with each of my kids.

And then we start to gear up and get next year on the way. More on that all soon.

But for now, some rest.

Thank you all. It was a wonderful year.

Have a wonderful summer.

So much love to you all,



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:

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

Registration for the Children's Choir season is now open!

The program is open to all children from Kindergarten through High School, and church membership is not required. Our 23-24 season starts with a fully staged production of Once Upon A Mattress. This delightful comedy is a re-telling of the Princess and the Pea fairy tale; a story of un-princess-like princesses, cruel queens, and a prince who finally learns to stand up for himself. Click here to register!

For children in 5th Grade and up, we begin with auditions on either September 6 or 7. On September 10 at 12:30pm, we'll have a pizza lunch and a screening of the show for kids of all ages, as well as a parent orientation. After that, rehearsals are Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings, as well as Thursday afternoons for the older children. The performances will be November 16 through 19.

Once the show is over, choir rehearsals continue on Monday evenings, and we perform songs in Sunday services in December, March, and April. The season ends with a Children's Choir Festival on May 11, with children's choirs from the greater Boston area joining us for a full day of games, activities, lessons, and a concert. For more information, a link to a complete schedule, and to sign up, click here, or visit

Sandy Island Retreat: Register by August 31

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

Small Group Ministry are welcoming new members

Small Group Ministry groups will be opening for new members this fall. If you are eager to join a group right now, there are a few groups that have openings so please contact Lillian Anderson.

Small Group Ministry (SGM) groups are a vital part of our First Church community. SGM’s are for people who want to explore their faith and discuss challenging spiritual/ethical topics in a small group setting. The groups consist of 6-8 people who meet for 90 minutes and are led by a trained facilitator.

We currently have 9 active groups meeting in the morning, afternoons and evenings. In the fall we will be encouraging new additions to those existing groups as well as beginning new groups. If you are interested in facilitating a new SGM please contact Lillian Anderson. Facilitator training is available.

The importance of SGM’s to the individuals who participate are expressed below.

  • Deep listening, experience of being listened to and trusted

  • We trust each other, because we know each other so well

  • Fills spiritual needs not usually available elsewhere

  • No one person dominates, shared responsibility for topics

  • Deepen knowledge, wisdom and perspective

We hope you’ll consider joining one of our existing groups or facilitating a new group in the fall.

Second Friday Updates

The Second Friday Concerts Team would like to thank everyone -- performers, audiences, volunteers -- who made this year our best season ever. Next year's amazing calendar of performers is now on our website and tickets will go on sale at the end of the summer. If you would like to be a Second Friday volunteer, please let us know! We would love the help! Have a wonderful summer -- see you in the fall!

June Programs and Events

"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.

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

Car Donation Sought

The Bakhshi family lost use of their car after a recent accident caused by another driver. As a result, Amin is seeking a car donation. If anyone has a car to donate, please contact Fran Yuan at immediately. They will be relying on volunteers to help them with transportation until they can find another car.

>> 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.

Summer staffing

Most staff are away during the summer.

Remote office hours are Monday - Thursday, 9 - 2. The church office will be closed Monday, June 19, for Juneteenth and July 3 - 14 and August 7 - 18 for vacation.

  • Call/text 781-400-4587

  • Email the church office

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

The Complete Calendar of Building Use

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, July 20

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, July 19. 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.


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