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The Compass, December 13, 2023


  • December 17: Lessons and Carols, Lay-Leader Jorge Perreira

  • December 24: Christmas Eve, Rev. Karen LeBlanc, 7 pm

  • December 31: No Service


"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." Gilda Radner


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!


What does it mean to be a people of Mystery?

December 17: The Mystery of Returning Light

December 24: No Sunday School

December 31: No Sunday School

Way Cool Sunday School caroled on December 10th downtown New Bedford. Looks like they had a blast!




Poinsettia orders must be in by this Friday, December 15 for our Lessons and Carols service. You can purchase them online here or stop by the office with a check. Order forms are on the table in the Parish House and were in this past Sunday's Order of Service.

Just a reminder: The office will be open minimal hours the week between Christmas and New Years. Please call the office to make sure someone is here before you stop by. Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year!

We still have plants for sale in the Parish House if you need last minute gifts. Stop in during regular office hours or grab one after Sunday service. 100% of the proceeds benefits the church.

The First Unitarian's Social Justice Committee meets weekly on Wednesday at 6:30 PM. Contact Ely Dorsey, chair, with any questions. We hope to see you there!

Today's agenda

  1.  Debriefing on Sunday's Service (Ely)

  2. Alison

  3. Food and Kitchen Service

  4. Pro-Palestinian Rally (Izzy and Toni)

  5. Izzy's Service

  6. Plans for January Service (Eileen and Jessica)

  7. Congregational Teach-In

  8. Visit to Alison's Church in Mattapoisett

  9. Plans for feeding the poor (Eileen)

  10. Discussion of involvement in housing crisis in NB (Ely and Karen)

  11. New business (All)


Did you know one of our tenants is a music instructor? Jeff Angeley from SouthCoast Lessons is here in the Maja Capek room all day every Thursday teaching a wide range of classes for adults and children.

Southcoast Lessons is now enrolling Winter classes! Affordable & fun classes available for kids through adults. Give the gift of music this holiday season...


Solstice Magick

By Erica Shadowsong, December 13, 2023

"Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent." —Toni Morrison, in Beloved

When I became an adult, I decided to embrace as many holidays as I could. I soon learned that almost everything I love about Christmas came from European winter solstice traditions. I love evergreens and holly! I love the snow…from the warm comfort of being wrapped in a blanket by a window. Hot chocolate, multi-colored fairy lights, and medieval Christmas carols are all my favorite parts of this time of year. Yet all of these traditions come from places where most of the people do not look like me.

As an Afro-Latina, sometimes I’ve wondered why the dark wood of evergreen trees and the smell of cold pine are deep in my blood and feel like ancestral memories of home. After all, the majority of my ancestors all came from warmer climes! But in more recent history, my family members were dotted along the east coast of the U.S., and included Quakers and even Irish immigrants. Perhaps that’s why these seasonal events feel so comfortable.

A few years ago, I participated in a group meditation where we journeyed to the Standing Stones. I remember thinking, “I’ll be lucky if I experience anything, since I have zero connection to Celtic paganism!” So I thought. But as I walked—in meditation—through a dark space between two of the stones, I found myself face to face with the Goddess of the Boreal Forest.

I did not previously know about this goddess, who appears as a woman with antlers on her head. She is remembered in Ireland as Elen of the Ways, but the trail of reindeer steps she traces goes all the way back to Siberia and prehistoric times. Research after the fact introduced me to her, and I treasure that memory as one of the times when my belief in magick was given some form of confirmation.

While surrounded by people and lights and muddy snow and noise and crowds and frantic planning around Christmas, in my mind I’m nothing more than an ethereal observer of the old forest. The antlered goddess is there, and she will make a good guide when I sit vigil in the cool, loving, beautiful darkness of the longest night of the year.


Spirits of winter, I celebrate you! Thank you for your presence in every corner of our homes, whether we can see you or not. May you be welcome this winter.

Erica Shadowsong is a religious educator with years of experience in congregations. She has a passion for all things creative, especially the performing arts. She enjoys using her storytelling skills in Unitarian Universalist worship settings.

Have a story or point of view to share? Email it to


Christmas items are in stock in the Thrift Shop!

Tree Skirts

Decor and Ornaments

Holiday Sweaters

Be earth friendly this holiday and shop for gently used items for your friends and family!


UPDATE: Thank you to our donors who have given a total of $756 as of December 13.

We are reaching out to you, our generous community, seeking support for essential plaster repairs. The organ holds not just musical notes but also a history of shared moments and connections. Without prompt attention, the damage could escalate, potentially causing permanent harm to the organ we hold so dear.

Your donation, no matter the size, will contribute to the restoration of this vital piece of our worship experience. Let's ensure that the organ continues to resonate with joyous sounds for generations to come! We will be collecting donations through January. Thank you for your continued generosity.



AHA! December 14, 2023

It's going to be a Starry Night on December 14th for the most festive AHA! Night of the year.

Experience holiday magic at Custom House Square with a Light Angel, roaring fire pit and festive entertainment courtesy of the Sippican Elementary School Band and Southcoast Brass Band.

Enjoy a cocktail or mocktail from businesses participating in our special Starry Night crawl.

Finish your holiday shopping at area shops and galleries who will be open late this AHA! Night.

Plus, there will be open studios, art & history talks, crafts and gingerbread house making, maker demonstrations, art exhibit openings, a film screening, cookie challenge, star gazing, tours, and even more music experiences.


Our Promises

  • Each person is important.

  • Be kind in all you do.

  • We help each other learn.

  • We search for what is true.

  • Each person has a say.

  • Work for a peaceful world.

  • The web of life’s the way.

  • Build the beloved community, free from racism and oppression.


First Unitarian Church in New Bedford

71 8th Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

(508) 994-9686

Administrator ext. 10

Minister ext. 13

Karen cell: (508) 441-9344

Board Members & Officers

Steve Carmel, President

Charles Morgan, Vice President

Deborah Carmel, Treasurer

Cora Peirce, Clerk


Committee Chairs


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