Alliance Programs

February – June, 2020


February 3, 2020      The Power of Sharing Literature Aloud

Speaker: Barry Press

Living Literature, a collective of Rhode Island–based artists and educators, creates reader’s theater–style presentations to dramatize nondramatic writing. Since January 1996, Living Literature has created well over 100 programs based on poems, stories, novels, plays, essays, biographies, news articles, and oral histories in a variety of venues throughout southeastern New England. Barry and his partner will share excerpts from some of their past programs.

Barry Press, founder and artistic director of Living Literature, has an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. He is a professional actor/director/teacher of over 40 years, an award-winning audiobooks voice talent, and a guest artist and teaching associate at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English for 18 years, Barry is a past president of the Rhode Island Center for the Book.


March 2, 2020         Jane’s Walk

Speakers: Joelle Kanter and Barbara Barnes

Jane’s Walk is an annual festival of free, community-led walking conversations, inspired by writer, urbanist, and activist Jane Jacobs. Held on the first weekend in May in more than 240 cities around the world, local coordinators, such as Joelle and Barbara, organize these volunteer walk leaders. They will highlight key principles that guide the festival, describe changes at the global and local levels, and offer opportunities to get involved.

Barbara Barnes led walking tours and public programs for 25 years for the Providence Preservation Society and Rhode Island Historical Society until her retirement in 2015. Joelle Kanter has managed programs for business-improvement districts and their partner organizations and currently works as a planner at RIPTA, focusing on human services transportation.


April 6, 2020            Singing as a Spiritual Practice

Speaker: Beth Armstrong

We will interactively explore the benefits of group singing and the many physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of this simple means of expression. Beth has been singing for as long as she can remember and is surprised that her last 40 years have been devoted to encouraging others to sing as well.

Beth Armstrong is music director of two local nonauditioned community choruses and is serving as the sabbatical music director at First Unitarian in fall 2019. She was music director at the Unitarian Church of Concord, NH for 16 years, taught public school music for 12 years, and has sung in chorales, choirs, septets, and community theater most of her life. She thinks she is lucky to have made a career from the thing she truly loves.


May 4, 2020            Healthcare Revolt

Speaker: Michael Fine, M.D.

Michael will discuss public health issues, such as replacing the U.S. healthcare market with an accessible healthcare system and ensuring appropriate 911 funding.

Dr. Michael Fine has been a family practice physician for more than 40 years and was Director of the RI Department of Health (2011–2015). He has written short stories, novels, and public policy books, including Healthcare Revolt: How to Organize, Build a Healthcare System, and Resuscitate Democracy – All at the Same Time. The Providence Journal calls his new novel Abundance, about love, war, and redemption, “[s]uavely and elegantly fashioned . . . A thinking man’s thriller that makes Fine the Ocean State’s own John le Carré.”


June 1, 2020            Annual Outing at The Rhode Island State House

Speakers: Department of State Library and Public Information Staff

Tour at 11:00a; catered lunch follows at the State House

Rhode Island’s State House, built between 1895 and 1904, has the world’s fourth largest self-supported marble dome. We will learn more about our capitol building and our state’s unique history and visit the Charter Museum and Gift Shop. Some elected officials will join our group for lunch.



About The First Unitarian Women’s Alliance

Established in 1882, The Women’s Alliance is unique among the organizations of the First Unitarian Church in that it has been an autonomous society of dues-paying members and has its own endowment. Many of its members have played leading roles in education, suffrage, and social services.

In 2014 The Women’s Alliance became an affiliate of the church and the name was changed to The First Unitarian Women’s Alliance. It remains focused on benefiting women and children.

The mission continues to be:

  • to serve the community, both locally and at large,
  • to provide friendship and spiritual and cultural  enrichment for its, members, and
  • to support the church and its denomination.

Activities of the Alliance include:

  • Monthly programs for members and friends
  • A garden project with the Courtyard residents at Tockwotton on the Waterfront
  • Fundraising through the sale of organic coffees and cheeses, an indoor yard sale; and other activities
  • Annual donations to selected charities
  • Hymnal donations in honor of deceased members
  • A theater event with The Players at Barker Playhouse

The Alliance meets on the first Monday of the month from October through May, with an end-of-year gathering in June. Monthly programs, which are open to everyone who is interested, feature engaging speakers, followed by an Alliance-catered luncheon ($10).

Membership dues ($35) support the programs and business expenses of the Alliance; fundraising profits after expenses benefit selected charitable organizations that support women and families.

Meetings & Programs

10:00 am — Business Meeting                    

11:00 am — Program                                   

12:00 pm — Luncheon* 

*Our Alliance-catered luncheon ($10) encourages fellowship by sharing a meal together. If you prefer, you may bring
your own lunch and join us for coffee and conversation.

Non-members are always welcome to join us for our monthly programs and luncheon.