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The Unitarian — September 15, 2022


Upcoming Sunday Worship Services in the Sanctuary

Sunday September 18, at 10:00 a.m.: “Jazz Hands” with Jason McLin

Sunday September 25, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.: Worship led by John O’Connor

Childcare is available at Sunday worship services.

Vespers Services: 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary

This evening at 6:30 is the first Thursday Vespers Service of the year! Join us for a quiet, candle-lit service of reflection and meditation. The service will feature our new soprano soloist Camila Parias, singing music from South America in honor of Latin American History Month.

Thursday September 22: Chanting Vespers with Ian and Camila

From Your Minister

I have always loved beginnings.

Opening the door to see a thick blanket of new snow.

Course catalogs as a semester approaches full of possibility and potential.

And the first many times we come together at the beginning of a new church year.

It was so wonderful to see so many of you at the services on September 11th.

It was a joy to be held in the glorious sound of our choir, and to welcome in our new intern John and our new section leaders Camilla and Kartik.

And just days later, your hardworking Board of Trustees met for the first time this season with new members, and the staff team too just met for the first of our weekly meetings all together.

So many teams, full of so many wonderful people all pointed in the same direction, all rowing in time, all serving the same mission. It is a beautiful thing, and I am so grateful.

I want to share here a few of the things I am most excited about coming up and to tell you about this tree, the one in the picture.

I took this picture this summer on one of our adventures to one of my favorite places on earth, Lake Umbagog on the border between New Hampshire and Maine.

What I love about this tree is that at some point, probably because of a storm, it almost fell over, but there was enough life, enough nutrients, enough connection, enough soil and sunlight for it to take root and thrive.

Every year I sit at the roots of this tree and am amazed at the force of life, the resilience and the power of this tree and by extension all life, to persist even in the face of adversity.

And I tell you this, dear First Church because we have been through some storms recently.

And still, we are thriving.

Still, we are coming back full steam ahead with a whole new year of wonderful worship and engaging programs.

Still, we are innovating and exploring, creating all new ways to connect and serve. We are building on this firm and strong foundation and reaching for the future before us.

One of the exciting new innovations this year is that we will be sharing four different kinds of vespers services.

All year we will be cycling between four kids of vespers services. One which we are thinking of as our traditional vespers services, with the flow we had last year, with a poem as the center, a long time of silence and some beautiful music.

Other vespers services will have a meditation practice as the center, lovingkindness meditations, walking meditations and more. Others will be chanting services and others will have longer pieces of music as the center.

All of them will be on Thursday evenings at 6:30.

Stay tuned to the Sunday morning emails for information about the next few upcoming vespers services.

We are so blessed to be sharing this moment together.

Together we are thriving. Together we are meeting this moment, answering the call of these days. We have such a precious gift to share at First Church. In a world in which so many folks are feeling plagued by loneliness and isolation, we have connection and community.

In a world in which so many are fearful and worried about our shared future, we have hope grounded in action and service and transforming love.

And this is the thriving, this is the life coursing through this First Church. This power, this love, this purpose, this mission.

And I am so grateful.

Grateful for the leaves, for the life, for each of you, for all of us together.

For all that has brought us here, and especially for all that comes next.

So much love to you all,


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. The form below is for online payments; if you would like to pay by check, please contact the church office by email or call/text 781-400-4587.

This month, we Share the Plate with Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU)

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.

Candles of Joy and Concern

Each week, Samuel Foster lights candles of concern and celebration in his weekly video. Samuel looks forward to receiving your news, your reflections, your prayers, indeed anything you feel moved to share with your congregation. Click here to email Samuel. Emails received by Tuesday night will be included in the video for that week; otherwise, the week after.

Second Friday Concert Tickets Available Now

2022-2023 Second Friday Concerts season tickets and individual tickets are now on sale. Don't miss this year's amazing calendar of shows! Visit for more information.

New opportunities for connection. Join a Small Group Ministry Group!

Exploring, Listening, Questioning, Responding, Experiencing

During the past years, groups have gathered at First Church to explore some of life’s issues, whether of small or great consequence, and to listen deeply to each other as part of a facilitated discussion. Participants in these groups get to know people in the congregation whom they might never have encountered otherwise, and also to deepen connections with individuals they may already know. These groups offer a chance to consider themes in a way that is personal as well as interactive.

Because of the success of these groups, First Church is inviting you to share this experience. Several of the ongoing groups have openings and we are also creating one new group.

All are welcome to participate.

Registration for the small groups is from September 15 - October 3 by using the following link

We are hoping to be able to accommodate your first or second choices but if there are difficulties we will be in touch.

We are excited about extending the opportunity for the congregation to deepen its connections to one another.

Upcoming Adult Programs

FCB Sangha: Mondays at 7:30 pm

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

Science and Spirituality: Thursday, September 22, 7:30pm, Online

First Church of Belmont’s Science and Spirituality Reading and Discussion ‘22-’23 season begins with Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.

To quote Wikipedia, a 2013 nonfiction book by Potawatomi professor Robin Wall Kimmerer, about the role of Indigenous knowledge as an alternative or complementary approach to Western mainstream scientific methodologies.

Kirk has made the following pdf’s available

Films about Black Lives: Saturday, September 24, 7:30pm

“Hidden Figures” (2017) Theodore Melfi - Three brilliant African American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. Available on Amazon, Disney, Apple TV.

Please note the change of regular meeting date. This group usually meets on the third Saturday of the month and is open to all via Zoom.

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separation: Sunday, September 25, 7pm, Online

Discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and the wider world.

First Church Book Group: Wednesday, September 28, 7:30pm Online

Our September book is Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which is based on a 12 part radio series the BBC did in 1978.

Order your copy from the library asap. There are not as many copies in the Minuteman Library System as we usually see for the book group selections. This comedy became a cultural phenomenon so it is available in multiple formats and languages. Both the book and movie are not direct copies of the radio series.

Here is a link to other BBC programming related to the series:

A Celebration of Leonard Cohen in Film, Live Poetry & Music: Saturday, October 1, 7:30 pm, Parish Hall

Join Ian Garvie & First Church musicians, poet Richard Waring, and Bruce Petschek & Fariba Houman, who created the Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert (2017). Using film clips from that performance, along with live poetry & song, we will pay homage with “offerings we have hammered from his iron, his lead, his nitrogen, his gold. . . Poets are our prophets now, and songs are our strength.”

Masks are encouraged. This event is free & open to the public.

Gather Round on Values with Rachel Greenberger and Martha Spaulding: Sunday, October 2, 11:30am, Parish Hall

On three Sundays in October, immediately following the church service, we will be gathering in person to share thoughts on Values. What values are most important to you? How did you develop them? Did you come to First Church in search of others who hold them?

To help us set up the room appropriately, please register in advance with Rachel or Martha. Drop-ins are also welcome, and you need not attend all three sessions.

  • Sunday, October 2, 11:30 (after the 10 a.m. outdoor service): Parish Hall

  • Sunday, October 9, 12:30 (after the 11:00 service): Parlor

  • Sunday, October 23, 12:30 (after the 11:00 service): Parlor

First Church Garden Group: Thursday, October 6, 4pm, In Person at Judi Berman’s house

Learn from experienced and enthusiastic First Church gardeners.

Next Chapter 2022/23 Group: 2nd Mondays, 5:30-7pm. Online

Are you thinking about retirement, about to retire, are retired, or considering (or in) some other major transition in your life?. The Next Chapter group will consider major emotional, social, and spiritual issues for those of us who are either considering or are in a major life transition. We will explore our hopes, fears, losses, gains, surprises, barriers, and struggles throughout these transitions. Questions and issues to be explored will be emailed before each session. We will use the same group process as Small Group Ministries. It is important that members make a commitment to try to attend all sessions. To register contact Rick.

First Church Belmont UU Alliance Zoom Program: Thursday, October 13 at 11 a.m.

Presented by Robin Brown

“Pilgrimage and Mystery: Mark Twain and Agatha Christie in the Middle East."

Robin Brown will present "Pilgrimage and Mystery: Mark Twain and Agatha Christie in the Middle East." Robin's presentation will discuss Twain’s influential travel memoir and the ways he experienced the Holy Land, as well as Christie’s memoir of life in Syria and her novels with Middle Eastern settings. The powerful and enduring influences of these writers are considered through the lens of today’s UU values.

Robin, who grew up in First Church, is an historical anthropologist who lived and worked in the Middle East for many years. She studies a wide range of aspects of Middle East culture and history.

Social Action News

Social Action Committee Reconvenes

The FCB Social Action Committee welcomes anyone interested in learning about and becoming more active in important social issues of the day, including those related to voting rights, immigration and refugees, and the LGBTQ+ community, among other areas of concern. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 27th at 7 p.m. via Zoom. This committee meets every fourth Tuesday of the month. If you would like to join us, please email for the Zoom link. Put us on your calendar!!

Postcards to Georgia with FCB UU the Vote

The Social Action Committee's FCB UU the Vote group is beginning another rounds of postcards to voters with Reclaim Our Vote. If you would like to participate, please send an email to be added to list of volunteers. Thank you!

In Our Community

"Belmont Goes Electric!" September 17, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

FCB Green recommends "Belmont Goes Electric" on Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Chenery School. This Town-sponsored drop-in event will offer LOTS of information on options and affordability of electrification for your home, garden, and vehicles. For details on the event or if you cannot attend, see where there is more on benefits and rebates related to electrification.

Get your FCB gear here

FCB has a new store on Zazzle where you can purchase a new coffee mug, and more. (Hats are coming soon!). Check it all out at this link.

Next Issue: Thursday, October 6

Please use this form to submit your news or event (you can also upload photos and graphics and paste links to further information) by noon on Wednesday, October 5. 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.

We Are Here For You

Staff are working from home. Church office hours are Monday - Thursday, 9 - 2. Feel free to contact the church office for anything you need.


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