First Unitarian Church of Providence
news & notes

Courtesy Richard Boobernews & events

These are just some of the many events happening in our community. See them all in the latest newsletter!

Community Life
May All-Parish Parish Supper
Friday, May 12
Everyone, young and old and in between, is welcome at these monthly gatherings of members and friends of the congregation.
5:45p Social Hour: Bring hors d’oeuvres to share and/or wine for your own party if you wish.
6:15p Potluck Dinner: Please bring a dish to share that serves at least eight people. You can bring a main dish, a vegetable, a salad, or a dessert.
7:45p 7:45p Program in the Auditorium: "Global Trumpism!"

We are most fortunate to have as our after-dinner presenter one of Brown University’s most highly regarded and renowned scholar/teachers. Dr. Mark Blyth, Eastman Professor of Political Economy at Brown and a Faculty Fellow at the Watson Institute, is a dynamic and provocative speaker, a student of the world, and is a particularly astute at showing how local and regional developments are often reflective of world trends.

Blyth views Trumpism as a form of contemporary populism that is derived from both the political right and the political left. The thesis he wishes to explore, however, is that its roots can best be found in the global economy and have been 30 years in the making. Our task is to understand Trumpism as more than just an American phenomenon, and for what it is and not for what we wish it to be. Please plan to join us for this timely and thought-provoking program. Sponsored by the World Affairs Committee.

Reservations for the dinner are strongly requested. Please fill out the tear-off form in the Sunday Meeting House Times and put it in the collection plate; see Jim Estey at Coffee Hour; or call the church office in advance (401.421.7970). Childcare for infants and children to age 10 will be available for parents who request in advance; call Jim Estey (401.351.1748).

Standing on the Side of Love: May
SSL Monthly Meeting
Next meeting: TBA
Program: TBA, time to be announced
More information forthcoming - the committee has worked very diligently all year for Sanctuary.

Activities and work are on-going. Contact: Tiffany Reed (

Upcoming: Save the Date!
Partner Church Committee announces
next meeting for organizing a trip TBA
The history of the Transylvania Partner Church initiative has been a winding road that led through the hopes and aspirations of one person, Marida Hollos. Without her foresight and leadership, this relationship would never have been forged. On April 11, we were saddened by the news that the matriarch of our group had died.

The story of the partnership started before our first trip to our proposed Partner Church in 2006 when Marida and Liz Palter visited the UU Partner Church Council in Boston to investigate how we could renew a Transylvania Partnership. I say “renew” because our congregation had a presence in Transylvania in the 1930s. The beautiful lace baptismal cloth that hangs in the front parlor is a testament to this relationship.

Our Partner Church is present in our services each week: the candlestick in the back of the church, used to light candles for Joys and Sorrows, was made by craftsmen from the village. The beautiful carved wooden post (Kopjfa in Hungarian) in the Meditation Garden was also produced by the wood workers in Szentegyhaza; the carvings symbolize the special relationship of the two churches.

Marida’s efforts brought the enriching presence of Transylvania Unitarianism to our congregation. With her loss, it will be up to us to keep that light of friendship glowing brightly as we go forward.

Please come to our next meeting to learn more about an upcoming trip to our partner in Transylvania. If you want more information, contact Tom Getz (

Opening Events
Interested in Team-Teaching?
Some team-teaching opportunities are available next fall for interested adults in the congregation. Our Sunday School is a cooperative venture, with adults – parents and non-parents – sharing their time and gifts with our children and youth. Current volunteers have first choice to remain on class teams.

May is when we explicitly seek interest from those who might like to teach. The RE Committee and I are happy to connect at any time. We look forward to your involvement.

To learn more, stop by the RE office or contact Cathy Seggel (, 401.421.7970).

Guest at Your Table
started November 20
Guest at Your Table is the UUSC’s annual intergenerational program to raise support for and awareness about their work to advance human rights.

This year’s program theme is “Defying Hate,” based on the recent release of the Ken Burns documentary about UUSC founders Martha and Waitstill Sharp, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War (on PBS in September). The Sharps defied hate by helping Jews and dissidents escape Nazi Germany using brave, creative methods, many of which could have caused them to be imprisoned, tortured, or worse. Learn more about the Sharps and UUSC’s beginnings at this link.

The UUSC is proud to carry forward the Sharps’ legacy by continuing to defy hate and protect the lives and rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and other marginalized groups, both here in the United States and throughout the world.

Guest at Your Table offers an array of program materials to help you engage with this year’s theme while learning about the initiatives and grassroots partners the UUSC works with to confront hate and bigotry and support human rights from the ground up – just as the Sharps did during their rescue missions.

For more information, contact the Office at (401) 421 7970

The Caring Network
First session: all groups on-going
The Caring Network met on October 16 and exchanged updates and ideas. We were very pleased that our interim minister, Charlie Ortman, included a description of our goals and how they relate to the overall good workings of the church community. Friends and members also had a chance to sign up for the Care Crew and Support Groups. We heard reports from all groups of the Caring Network. These are some highlights:

• Our Chalice Circles have 24 new participants to add to our nine groups.
• There is now a chat room for parents of young children to get to know each other – the Parenting Network meets during Coffee Hour in the Web Room, off the Auditorium.
• Anyone who is living alone might be interested in joining the Phone Buddies. This involves a daily check-in with another person. A pilot was run successfully last summer and now we are looking for more people to partner and become Phone Buddies. Please contact Coordinator Judie Knilans if you are interested ( or 401.246.0192).
• A Path to Membership Class with eight participants is under way. There will be a new membership book signing during the service on November 13. Please be sure to say “Hi“ to newcomers holding a blue or purple mug and drop by the Newcomers’ Café after the service.
• The Care Crew was busy last summer and into the early fall serving Meal Trains, shopping, providing rides, sending cards, and making visits. Would you or do you know anyone who would like a friendly visitor? Do you need some meals during an illness or an emergency? Do you need a ride to church or to an appointment?

To be connected to the Care Crew, please contact Shirley DiMatteo (shelley-dimatteo@, Steve McCloy ( or Posey Kooris in the church office (

First Unitarian’s Food Share Pantry
Distribution Day: Monday, May 15
The biggest social justice program at First Unitarian is the Food Share Pantry. It takes many volunteers to keep the program going! Volunteer with your van or truck to transport food from the RI Food Bank to the church, or volunteer for a shift on Distribution Day:
2:00p - 3:00: Set-up
3:00p - 5:00: Shopping with clients
5:00p - 6:00: Restock, recycle, and clean up
To sign up, visit our table in the atrium on Sunday or email our contacts: Martha Manno ( or Nori Duncan (

Loaves & Fishes Mission
Tuesday, May 2, noon to 7:00p
This month, as always, we could use your help - whether time, goods, or money - with carrying out our monthly Loaves & Fishes Mission for the men and women at Emmanuel House. On the first Tuesday of every month, volunteers deliver food, clothing, and respectful companionship to those at Emmanuel House, a homeless shelter in Providence. All are welcome and are encouraged to come to the church to help prepare sandwiches or collect clothes and help load delivery vehicles.
There are three shifts to sign up for:
noon - 1:00p: sandwich crew;
3:00 - 5:00p: clothing organizers and supply loaders;
5:00 - 7:00p: delivery crew.
Contact Joe Salvatore ( for details.

Continuing Programs

Benevolent Street Zendo
An Ongoing Zen Meditation Group
Every Monday at 7:00p

Benevolent Street Zendo is a member community of the Boundless Way Zen Sangha, an interfaith Zen community that maintains close ties with the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and the American Zen Teachers Association. Everyone is welcome. Brief instruction available at 6:45p.
Leaders: Cindy Bapties and George Beshers

Innate Wisdom and Compassion Meditation
Every Wednesday at 7:00p
This drop-in group offers guided meditations of wisdom, love, and compassion. These practices are adapted from Tibetan Buddhism into new forms that can touch the hearts and minds of people from all backgrounds. No previous meditation experience required. You can visit our website at http://foundationforactive
Contact: Ken Bent (

Tai Chi
Every Tuesday at 7:00p
Tai Chi class for beginners to advanced, children to seniors. All inclusive. Instruction and performance.
For information or to sign up, contact Sean Connor (

Reimagining Religion
Second and fourth Tuesdays, 7:00p
Reimagining Religion is an ongoing attempt to employ the best recent scholarship in coming to grips with issues raised by radically new developments in the study of religion and thereby achieving a fuller appreciation of what religious literacy entails in the twenty-first century.
Leader: Tom Hall (

Sunday, May 7, 7:00 - 9:00p
Topic: Poor Polonius

Questions for discussion will include:
Join us for this conversation.
Facilitator: Burr Harrison (