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The Compass, December 20, 2023


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

  • December 31: No Service, Happy New Year!


"Knowledge is a priceless gift. But the illusion of knowledge can be more dangerous than ignorance. Thinking that you know your lover or your enemy can be more treacherous than acknowledging you'll never know them. Every morning in Japan, as the sun is flooding into our little apartment, I take great pains not to consult the weather forecast, because if I do, my mind will be overclouded, distracted, even when the day is bright... In the end, perhaps, being human is much more important than being fully in the know." Pico Iyer


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!


The office is closed the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Please note there is no Way Cool Sunday School on December 24 & December 31. See you in January, Happy New Year!

You received an email on December 18 about the Long Range Planning update. This is a repost of what you have already received.

JANUARY HEADS UP! Our Church Looks to the Future

The Long Range Planning Assessment Reports will be sent to you in January. Please be sure to look for them in your email. Paper copies will also be available in the sanctuary.


  • 1st week of January: Introduction and Congregational Assessment Report

  • 2nd week of January: Reports on the Financial Health of the Church

  • 3rd week of January: Report on the Building, with tours of the building at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm on 1/21/24

Important Dates:

January 14, 2024: Church service: Highlights and Reflections on what we have learned, followed by a Q & A session

January 21, 2024: Tours of the Building, get to know our building and the care it needs, 10:00 am & 12:00 pm

Please participate: Our church needs all of us!

Carol Kolek


Thrift Shop Update

Need last-minute gifts for the holidays? Come to the Thrift Shop where you will find Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift bags and boxes, small mailing boxes, lights, decorations, and Christmas apparel.

All Christmas items are 50% off!

The Thrift Shop is open regular hours this week but will be closed on December 30. Happy New Year!

The weather is getting colder. We have a large collection of hats, scarves, and winter jackets and coats, all at very reasonable prices.


Food Drive

The Social Justice Committee will be collecting donations of food, toiletries, and personal care items to distribute to those in need at the end of January. Donations can be dropped off at the office or Sunday service.


The First Unitarian Church is partnering with the SouthCoast LGBTQ+ Network for a viewing of Rustin, a movie about the gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, at the Whaling Museum on January 14 at 4:30 p.m This event is free to attend and open to the public. Registration is not required

Sponsors for this event are:

Allen’s Neck Friends - Peace and Social Concerns Committee

The Congregational Church of South Dartmouth

First Unitarian Church in New Bedford

New Bedford Friends Meeting

Pilgrim United Church of Christ

St. Peters Episcopal Church

The Unitarian Memorial Church of Fairhaven

Westport Friends - Peace and Social Concerns Committee


Articles of Interest

Wednesday, December 20, 2023, 7 PM

The Winter Solstice occurs when Earth’s axis tilts away from the sun, making it the shortest day and longest night of the year for those living in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Join us the evening BEFORE the Winter Solstice for music, reflection, meditation, and spiritual grounding.

On this longest night, we will be featuring the work of the Energy Democracy Project and sharing a portion of our offering with them. Let’s work for light for all on the longest night of the year. Our service is part of the larger arc of Clean Energy as a Human Right being led by Side with Love. 

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth is a seedbed for spiritual grounding and education that inspires deep practices of Earth care, justice and flourishing for all.


Save The Date!

This annual event offers a month of spiritual nourishment, political grounding, and shared practices of faith and justice.

Each week, you can expect to receive several different kinds of offerings, each from a different voice within Unitarian Universalism. Within each weekly theme, which will connect with one of our intersectional justice priorities, we plan to offer prayers, blessings, grounding, and meditative practices, a story or time for all ages, as well as a reflection from one of Side With Love's program and field staff.

To get an idea of what to expect or to enjoy some meditative breaks during your lunch this month, see last year's offerings at


Looking to deepen your White antiracist practice? Start your New Year off with a month of inspiration and grounding, by exploring powerful examples of White antiracist spirituality in U.S. history. We’ll explore ideas and practices around beloved community, cultivating hope through taking action, the groundedness that comes with being rooted in history, and much more.

You don’t need to be a religious person to learn from and be inspired by these histories: This is for anyone seeking to embody a deeper, richer level of White antiracist practice that will sustain your spirit and provide guidance for the long haul!

Further Details

During the month of January, we’ll meet each week to explore lessons to be learned from White antiracists throughout history, whose spirituality-in-action strongly embodied the following themes. While these themes may seem simple, each could be explored for a lifetime:

· Week 1: Building antiracist community.

· Week 2: The power of our voice.

· Week 3: The wide tapestry of action.

· Week 4: Supporting Black & Brown led efforts.

Each session begins with an opening grounding and discussion, followed by breakout groups, a whole group discussion, and closing reflections. Everyone who signs up here on Eventbrite will be emailed Zoom links and readings for each session.

Dates: In order to be accessible to everyone from coast to coast, there will be two different sessions. These sessions will be exactly the same: Please come to whichever time works best for you!

· An earlier session that meets on Tuesdays at 3 PM Pacific/6 PM Eastern. The dates for those are January 2, 9, 16, & 23.

· A later session that meets on Thursdays at 6 PM Pacific/9 PM Eastern. The dates for those are January 4, 11, 18, & 25.

· Each session is 1.5 hours.

About the Host:

Facilitated by Lynn Burnett, creator of and The White Antiracist Ancestry Project. Lynn also hosts the monthly discussion group Black Movement Thought, which you’re welcome to join! See former workshop testimonials here.


Why We Cannot Turn Away: Resources for UUs Engaging Palestine & Israel

As our world bears witness to the tragic and traumatic events unfolding in Palestine & Israel, many of us are yearning for a faithful way to discuss and engage with what is occurring. On November 6th, UUA staff and special guests hosted a 90-minute webinar for religious professionals and congregational leaders, “Why We Cannot Turn Away: Resources for UU Leaders Engaging on Israel & Palestine."

Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and hosted by Muslim and Jewish UU professionals, this session features experts sharing about UU engagement on these issues over the past 40 years, reflecting on the many-layered history of the region, exploring the complexities of Islamophobia and antisemitism, and faithful responses to the ongoing violence. In this time of collective fear and grief, let us form a community willing to learn, struggle, and heal together.

We are keenly aware that members of our Unitarian Universalist community do not all share an identical analysis of the history of the region or the realities of the current crisis, and yet what is clear is that we are all united by our shared heartbreak over the killing, kidnapping, displacement, and violence impacting so many of our human siblings, regardless of their national identities.

This webinar includes the voices of many speakers representing a wide range of experiences and identities. Individual presenters represent their own perspectives and opinions, which may differ from those of the UUA. For more about the UUA's historic and current public statements about Israel/Palestine, please see our page UUA Statements, Public Writings, and Community Conversations on Palestine/Israel.

To watch the video click here.


UPDATE: Thank you to our donors who gave a total of $756 as of December 20.

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.


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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