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The Unitarian - May 4, 2023

Please note, phishing emails pretending to be from Rev. Chris are once again making the rounds.

Neither FCB staff nor FCB's tech support company can stop "phishers" from doing this, unfortunately. A phishing email may come from a return address like the one below and will start by asking you for a favor that ends up requesting you buy something, usually gift cards.

The best course is for you to report the phishing email to your email service provider and/or tag it as spam/junk. Find out more about phishing scams at the Federal Trade Commission website.

No one who works at FCB or any member of church leadership will ever ask you to buy something by sending you an email like this. Please contact the church office if you are ever unsure about an email you have received.


Sunday, May 7, 4:00 pm on the Town Green

The Installation Service of Rev. Chris Jablonski

There will be one service at 4:00 PM on the Town Green. There will be no morning services.

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

Sunday, May 14: Youth Service and Coming of Age

Services at 9 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary.

Upcoming Vespers Services

Thursday, May 11: Vespers with the Partner Church visitors, 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary

Thursday, May 18: Music Vespers, 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary

FCB Podcasts, Sermons, and Stories, Online

From Your Minister

You know how smells can transport you?

A woman who was like a second mother to me just died, and when I think of her I can so clearly smell her house.

Some of my favorite smells are flowers, and one of my absolute favorites is the flower here, a flower I had never known until I came to serve you as your minister.

It is Korean Spice Viburnum, and as I write you these words it is still blooming outside the church. If you haven’t smelled it, I highly advise it.

I remember when I first came to you all, just four years ago as your candidate. I remember the incredibly full week of meetings. I remember meeting so many of you, hearing about your dreams for the church, learning your names and getting so excited for all we could build together.

And I remember smelling this flower.

Every year since, when I have come to the church and found it in bloom, every time I pass by, I breathe deep this singular fragrance.

During that first week together none of us knew that we would have just eight months of normal church before the pandemic.

None of us knew that we would be reimagining how we do church and every other part of our lives.

This weekend we are celebrating an installation. Often this would have happened closer to the beginning of our time together, but this is again, a beginning of sorts.

I look forward to seeing many of you there on May 7th at 4:00. We will celebrate this new chapter in the long life of the church, and point ourselves towards all we will build together in the coming years.

This beginning has been unlike any other. Certainly it is not what any of us expected, and it has been challenging.

And it has brought us together. It has shown the heart of this community. It has shown us that we can do hard things, and that together we are so very strong.

I am so grateful to you all, to all our leaders, to all our staff, to everyone who has found their way back in some form.

This is a complex moment. We want to be all the way back to normal. We want to be ok. And many of us are not. Many of us are tired. We are slowly coming back to normal but we are not done healing. We are not done replenishing.

And so be gentle with yourself and one another.

Know that this has been a uniquely challenging time, one who’s long term effects we are still learning.

And most importantly, know that your community is here for you, and I am here for you if there is any way we can be of support.

And know that there are always moments, even in the midst of the hardest times, moments of beauty and connection. Delicious moments which await your attention, reminders that we are alive, that life is unfurling around us, inviting us to presence.

In the Vespers service last week we shared these words from Emerson, which I love,

“These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose…

There is no time to it. But we postpone or remember; we do not live in the present, but with reverted eye lament the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround us, stand on tiptoe to foresee the future.”

I love the invitation to this moment, the reminder of this life, vibrant and full, beckoning always.

And for a few more days, in the bushes right outside the church, some delicious Korean Spice Viburnum moments await you.

So much love to you all,


Introducing Visitors from our Partner Church

Four visitors from our Partner Church will be with us from May 5th through May 14th. István László (Laci) Kiss, Lay Leader, Miklós Molnár, Cantor and Organist, Margit and Mihály Molnár (no relation), members of the congregation.

The Partner Church Committee invites you to join us at any of the following events:

  • Sunday, May 7: Join the guests for dinner at Stone Hearth Pizza after Rev. Chris’s installation. If you would like to come, please email the FCB Partner Church Committee so we can reserve space.

  • Monday, May 8: Meet at 10:00 am at Alewife Station for a walking tour of Boston with John Howe and our guests from Désfalva.

  • Thursday, May 11: Join us in the Upper Gathering Hall for a FCB community potluck at 5:00 pm before the Vespers Service, 6:30 - 7:00, featuring our guests from Désfalva.

  • Sunday, May 14: Stop by during coffee hour to say goodbye to the visitors.

Music Notes, by Ian Garvie

The Music Program is thrilled to announce that the children's musical this coming fall will be Once Upon a Mattress, with music by Mary Rogers. This delightful and quirky comedy is a retelling of the Princess and the Pea fairy tale, where the most unlikely princess passes the most unfair test to vanquish an unkind queen.

Performances will be November 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th. The musical is the first event of the children's choir season, which will also include two performances in December, a field trip, and several performances throughout the spring. The season will conclude on Saturday, May 18th, 2024, with a Children's Choir Festival. This day-long event will include games, activities, classes, and concerts with other children's choirs in the Boston area. Signup forms are available on the website! Visit for more information.

TOGETHER AGAIN: Pledge update

Thank you to the many who have pledged in support of the church’s annual operating budget, beginning July 1st. With your generosity, we have now raised $640,000 to support the dedicated, talented church staff and a wide variety of programs that make First Church the special place it is.

In the weeks ahead, church leaders will be making important decisions about next year’s budget. If you haven’t pledged, it’s not too late! Please go to the Giving Section of the church website and click on Stewardship Drive, or email your pledge intention to

With gratitude for the congregation’s vital support,

Bruce Logan and Gina Carloni, Stewardship co-chairs, with

Susan Galli, Susan Kobayashi and Katharine Canfield

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

On Monday, April 24, fifteen people gathered to discuss and brainstorm ideas about highlighting the Arts at First Church. We agreed that we have many artists within the congregation and that fostering their creativity and allowing for collaboration would enhance our community. Here are some of the ideas mentioned:

  • identifying and displaying the work of visual artists on a regular basis

  • reviving the theatre group starting with play readings and working toward a staged reading by the end of the year

  • an intergenerational Talent Show

  • book group collaboration with film groups and theatre group choosing a play/movie to discuss

  • poetry slam

  • fellowship events like square dances and hootenanny

We will be continuing these conversations with interested people in small groups both now and in the fall. If you have any ideas please let us know so we can add them to the list. Also if you are interested in working in any of the areas mentioned, please contact Lillian Anderson (

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.

May Programs and Events

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.

FC Book Group - Wednesday, May 24, 7:30pm Online

Our book is Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. This novel is set in Puget Sound during the 1950s and involves Japanese Americans and Anglo Americans in two crimes and the aftermath of World War II. It won the PEN Faulkner award and was made into a movie. It is around 350 pages and runs 15 hours in audio format. Contact:

Science and Spirituality - May 25, 7:30 pm, online

We will discuss Michael Graziano's "God Soul Mind Brain: A Neuroscientist's Reflections on the Spirit World". Please contact Kirk Israel to be placed on the mailing list to receive the Zoom link and additional information.

Please note that the date is different than what is listed in the events calendar.

Social Action News

Mother's Day Walk for Peace, May 14

Please join members of FCB Belmont and the Social Action Committee in the Mother's Day Walk for Peace on Sunday, May 14, from 8 am to 10:30 am (the 2.4 mile walk begins and ends at the Town Field in Dorchester (1520 Dorchester Ave). Here is link showing route:

If you would like to meet up and walk together with others from Team Belmont, please email PLEASE DONATE whether you walk or not, to support the important work of the Peace Institute. Here is a like to the Team Belmont page where you can donate and/or register for walk:

Eleventh Hour Bell Ringing for Climate Action Now - May 11

Please join members of FCB's Climate Action group on Thursday, May 11 at 10:45 in front of the church to hold signs and ring the church bell for 11 minutes, as we do on the 11th of every month, to bring attention to the urgency of the climate crisis. For more information and/or to sign up to join the Social Action Committee's Climate Action group and receive one email a month about opportunities to participate in upcoming actions and event responding to the climate crisis, please send an email to

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.

In Our Community

All are invited to attend an opening reception for RENEWAL, a show of paintings by FCB member Janet Amphlett (with Ceramics by Ingrid Raab) on Friday, May 5 from 4-7pm at Habitat Education Center and Nature Preserve. The show will be up through June 28. The artists will give a brief talk at 6pm during the opening. All are welcome.

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 (except Sunday, May 7), we Share the Plate with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

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.

On Sunday, May 7, the offering supports the UU Living Tradition Fund

The Living Tradition Fund provides three types of support for UU ministers:

  • need-based scholarships

  • new minister assistance

  • emergency assistance

Next Issue: Thursday, May 18

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 17. 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


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