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The Unitarian - September 7, 2023

Sunday, September 10: One worship service at 10 a.m. on the Town Green

“Choosing Our Lives” with Rev. Chris Jablonski

Water Ingathering: Bring water from your sacred places as we combine it together to make our holy water for the year.

Childcare is available.

Starting Sunday, September 17: Services at 9 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary

From Your Minister

I have always been a little obsessed with loose teeth.

And with my eldest son now turning sixteen this year, I have had a good decade of one child or another having some kind of teeth loose and about to fall out.

Just recently, two days before the first day of school, our eight year old Aliyah had a profoundly loose front tooth.

It hung down at an angle, a millimeter further down from its longtime neighbor tooth. She would go about having a conversation with me and my mind was fixated upon this barely fixated tooth.

I asked her if she was wiggling it and she would push it with her tongue forcing me to wiggle and cringe.

Finally, after a particularly enthusiastic bout of wiggling and then the last ice cream sandwich of summer, it popped right out, leaving her with the glorious first day of school smile you see above.

I think I love loose teeth for the same reason I stopped and stared at the first brilliant swath of red leaves in a tree on my street, out for a walk on a warm September day and these leaves had received a very different memo.

Time is passing, cycles enacting their flourish and flow.

I breathed deep and welcomed these first harbingers, returning home to the wiggling teeth and starting school, to a sixteen year old who will learn to drive this year and a thirteen year old who is now taller than all of us.

So much change.

And this is one of the many reasons I love the rhythm and the regularity of church.

Much as we are all growing and changing, much as programs change and the building changes, there is something beautiful and steady to the rhythm of the church year.

Starting this Sunday with the water ingathering, followed by the Sandy Island retreat.

The musical, the holidays, over and over the church offers us so many services, so many opportunities to punctuate our living, to deepen, to return.

I am, as ever, so grateful to get to be building this all with you.

I am so grateful to so many of you who came over the summer months to worship, and for those who will be returning this weekend.

As always do not hesitate to reach out if there is any way I can be helpful, if you have any questions or need any support.

I am here for you. Your entire staff team is here for you, especially this year with the addition of our new intern, Sophia Doescher.

She will be joining us on September 10 and will be with us until June 9.

We will have another round of vespers services starting on September 21, this year in three seasons of vespers, fall, winter and spring.

And so much more. Stay tuned.

We will also be working with our communications systems and structures, introducing new forms in the coming weeks.

Teeth, leaves, change, and still so many beautiful constants, one of which is this holy place, this beautiful, loving community we create together.

So much love to you all,


Welcome Back/Welcome Home Reception: Sunday, September 10, 7 pm in the Parish Hall; childcare provided

Dear First Church Community –

August is almost over, September is on the horizon and there are lots of plans in the works for this new church year. To celebrate coming together after these summer months, I invite you to join me and the Parish Board to a Welcome Back Reception on Sunday, September 10th, from 7:00-8:30 in the Parish Hall. Like many of our beloved traditions, this annual gathering was suspended for a few years and we are bringing it back!

Everyone is invited whether you’ve been coming to First Church for many years, you’re a more recent attendee or if you’ve thought that this might be the time to finally come and check us out. It is a wonderful way to catch up with church friends, meet new people and hear a bit about some of the highlights of the coming year.

We will have light appetizers on hand; please bring a bottle of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage of your choice to share with others.

I hope you will join us and look forward to seeing you on September 10.

In community –

Laurie Graham

Parish Board President

Church Playground Update!

The church's tenant in the Johnson House, The Henry Frost School, tells us that the playground will be delivered this week.

The playground will not be ready for use immediately as we start the church year, so we will need to be patient and not use it until it is 100% ready.

In order for the contractor to efficiently install the playground, please refrain from parking in the spaces by the dumpster, if possible.

Thanks for your patience with this process!

Sign up for the Children's Music Program!

The signup form for the Children's Music Program is open. We have an incredibly exciting season ahead of us! We start with a fully staged production of Once Upon a Mattress, a comedy re-telling of the Princess and the Pea fairy tale. In the winter and spring there will be a series of performances, as well as a field trip for the Youth Choir. And in May, the season will end with an all-day Choir Festival, featuring voice, percussion, and instrumental classes, as well as games, crafts, and more. Participation is open to all children ages 5 and above! Tell your friends, and sign up today. Click here to sign up!

Second Friday Season Tickets Available Now!

We’d like to let you know that tickets for most of our 2023-24 season — as well as season tickets — are now on sale. We have an incredible line up of performers this year and we hope to see you every month! Visit for more information!

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.

First Church Garden Group, the first Thursday of the month beginning October 5, 4 pm

The FC garden group meets regularly on the first Thursday of each month. We meet either online or in person at someone's garden. The group is open to all who are interested in sharing information about gardening with other garden enthusiasts. To be put on the list contact Jess Hausman.

First Church History Group with John Howe, begins Thursday, October 5, 7:30 pm

The First Church history group meets on the first Thursday of each month online at 7:30pm. Each month we explore topics related to FC history with a lively facilitated discussion. Contact John Howe for more information.

September Programs and Events

Belmont Unitarian Alliance Zoom Program: Thursday, September 14, 2023 at 11 am

Presented by the First Church Green Committee: "First Church Actions on the Climate Crisis"

Please join us for a discussion of the work of FCB Green Committee at the church in relation to the climate crisis locally, nationally, and worldwide. Three members of FCB Green, Priscilla Cobb, Downing Cless, and Monte Allen, will provide information about opportunities to participate in events and actions that respond to the global climate crisis.

Contact Miriam Baker for the Zoom link.

Just Talk: For Deepening Fellowship (2 part series) with Rachel Greenberger, begins September 17 at 12 noon in the Parlor

Just Talk is the next iteration of Gather Round, an online program for the pandemic. Just Talk is different in that there is no assigned reading. Simply come if you like, right after the 11 o’clock service, for a curated, circle-conversation alternative to Coffee Hour. The discussion topic and prompts will be revealed at the start of the session. Two dates only, to assess interest and value. Sep 17 & 24, Parlor, beginning 15 minutes after the close of the 11:00 am service.

First Church Book Group, September 27, 7:30 pm, online

We meet online on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Contact: The group is open to all.

September 27: South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon Line to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry

Imani Perry's South to America is a travelogue and a look at the culture and history of the South. Professor Perry won the National Book Award last year for this work. She is a native of Alabama and is a Harvard University trained historian. The review from the New York Times follows. South to America is available through the Belmont Public Library in book format, large print and as a cd. It's a little longer than what we usually read in that it's roughly 400 pages or 16 1/2 hours of listening. You are most welcome to join the discussion even if you don't finish the book.

October 25: Search: A Novel by Michelle Huneven

November 29: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson This is held on the Thursday after Thanksgiving so as not to interfere with holiday travel and preparations.

December 27: Poetry by Robert Frost

Science and Spirituality, September 28, online

On September 28 at 7:30PM Erika will lead a discussion on James Gleick's "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood"

You are encouraged to buy and read the entire book, but we have made a pdf of the delightful first chapter "Drums That Talk" available here:

It is about the African Talking drums and how they cleverly use the rising and falling tones of the spoken languages there to encode messages of startling complexity, forming a system for transmitting messages over long distances that compares favorably to the telegraph.

Hope to see you online on the Sep 28! Contact Kirk for more info.

Beginning September 23: Films about BIPOC lives; third Saturdays at 7:30pm

Contact: Eva Patalas. Facilitated discussion led by Eva Patalas and Richard Waring. Open to all who want to learn.

September 23 - Little Big Man (1970) is an American Western film that follows the life of a white man who was raised by members of the Cheyenne nation during the 19th century and then attempts to reintegrate with American pioneer society. (Amazon)

October 21 - Watermelon Man (1970) - The story of an extremely bigoted 1960s-era white insurance salesman named Jeff Gerber, who wakes up one morning to find that he has become black. Written by Herman Raucher and directed by Melvin Van Peebles. (Amazon)

November 18 - Smoke Signals (1998) is a coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Chris Eyre from a screenplay by Sherman Alexie, based on Alexie’s short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993). The film won several awards and accolades, and was well received at numerous film festivals. In 2018, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” (Amazon)

December 16 - Sorry to bother you (2018) - In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed. Starting Lakeith Stanfield. Written and directed by Boots Riley. (Amazon)

Coming Up in October

First Church "Play" Group is starting again! Monday, October 2, 6:30 pm, Library

Join Jane Minasian, Richard Waring, Matt Mayerchak and others to read and explore short plays by writers such as Tennessee Williams, Tom Stoppard, William Saroyan, and others. The first meeting is on Monday, October 2 and we will discuss the best days/times for our monthly meetings. If there is sufficient interest we may work toward a longer staged reading at the end of the year. No preparation or reading prior to the meeting is necessary. Just come and join in the fun. If you are interested but can’t attend the first meeting contact Jane Minasian at

In Our Community

Local Author/FCB Member Book Reading at Belmont Library, September 13, 7 p.m.

We are here for you

Remote office hours are Monday - Thursday, 9 - 2.

  • 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 BLUU (Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism)

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism creates spiritual community for Black UUs and other Black people committed to collective liberation.

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.

Beautify the Sanctuary by Donating Flowers

Thank you for donating flowers to beautify the Sanctuary: a new form, for this coming church year, is now online.

Our longtime partner, Paradise Flowers, will create the arrangements. You can use this form to pay with a credit/debit card, ACH, or send a paper check later in the mail (click Pay Later on the form).

Next Issue: Thursday, October 4

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, October 3. Submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

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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