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The Compass, January 17, 2024

Updated: Jan 18


January 21: Matt Meyer - Matt has led music and worship for hundreds of services in congregations all over the U.S. and Canada. Matt has a degree in hand drumming from Berklee College of Music and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana, and Central America. In addition to music, Matt is also an active community organizer and educator.

January 28: Social Justice Teach-In


See everything happening at UUNB on the website calendar!


Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!


What does it mean to be a people of LIBERATING LOVE?

January 21: Love Pulls Us Back To The Table 



January 28: Love Pulls Us Toward Beauty 

  • Social Justice Sunday

  • Birthday Blessings

  • New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Walking Field Trip 10:45 am


Welcome to the first week of 30 Days of Love! This year’s theme is “ Imagining an Interdependent Future.” With each new year, we move into an intentional holy time of spiritual nourishment, contemplation, and embodiment. A new year can carry with it the weight and grief of the former while inviting us into possibility and prophecy of the new. We enter 2024 witnessing unconscionable suffering and injustice at a scale that calls us all to deeply reimagine a future where we all thrive. The only way through this moment is together, bound by a commitment to our shared humanity and interdependence. 30 Days of Love offers a place to steady and stretch as we faithfully journey toward wholeness and collective liberation. Together, let us imagine our interdependent future and order our work along this path. 

In the first week, we explore the theme of “safety” and how it shows up in our world and our decriminalization work.

In “Letters from a Birmingham Jail,” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and context offer us an important lesson. First, that we need each other to survive. Second,  we learn that when you challenge a usurped power held by the state, criminalization is a routine tactic to repress a people rising up to be free. 

Today, we are experiencing a contest for power: accountable collective governance for all or power organized and held by the few. This contest is not new.

To me, it is clear that a new world is emerging. As the Civil Rights movement helped usher in a new day, we are witnessing the mass mobilization and subsequent violent repression that are hallmarks of political and social transformation.

But as we are reminded in this letter, before criminalization becomes a political tactic of disconnection and domination, it is first a spiritual acquiescence to dehumanization and disposability. We deny a moral mandate of mutuality in search of the protection of power over others.

As our nation struggles to realize the promise of liberty and justice for all, it also reckons with the ways it has used oppression to construct an idea of safety that relies on the comforts of those in power. We have witnessed this in battles around integration, access to medical care for trans people, book bans, and more. This country has erased people from history, from legal recognition, and from the public square in order to secure power in a world demanding change.

The struggle for collective liberation must not be mistaken for a threat to safety.  Today, we know the consequences are too great.

History teaches us what happens when we build a world around an exclusionary idea of safety. Our government carves borders, erects armies, surveils, polices, and imprisons the threat. And with each action towards this end, we make enemies of each other. We devote our resources, our labors, our art, and our children to mutual destruction. No one in this kind of world is safe. 

Decriminalization is a political and spiritual project. Our work to Stop Cop City dismantles the false ideal of safety. This false ideal is destroying forests, intensifying violence against communities of color, and silencing the electorate.  As people of faith, we cannot affirm the worth and dignity of all while privileging the well-being of a chosen few. We are not fully human when we separate ourselves from the humanity of others.

Decriminalization is a process of healing and (re)connection. A just and abundant concept of safety requires all of us. It proclaims a future where care and safety are abundant because our relationships are cultivated through mutuality, not domination. We act, showing up with and for communities to win campaigns and to grow a network of love, compassion and care. This is the work of community building. This is how we keep us safe.

In faith and solidarity,

Nicole Pressley, Field & Programs Director, Side With Love


We want your feedback! Please take our anonymous survey to better understand the congregation's specific needs as we plan for the future. Thank you for your participation.


Save the date! First Unitarian is partnering with the nonprofit Walt's Mobil Closet on March 30.

Walt’s Mobil Closet is excited to announce their 2nd Annual Essential Women’s Event will be held on MARCH 30th at the First Unitarian Church of New Bedford! This event is specifically geared toward supporting and celebrating underserved women and people who identify as women in our communities.

An event to not only get loads of information and services, but a safe environment to do so.

Walt’s will be there with racks and tables of gently used clothing, shoes, bras, and bling! As they did last year, they will be handing out gently used purses that will be filled with essential items such as hand lotion, lip balm, feminine hygiene, makeup, etc. Walt's is partnering with Women United (a division of The United Way) who will support them with purses.

They are still in the process of developing the list of vendors who will be in attendance.

Stay tuned for more information about this collaboration!


Social Justice Meeting - Today

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!

a.  Discussion of this Sunday's Congregational Anti-Racism Teach-in/ Service

        i.  Everyone's story review (Izzy, ToniAnne, Mary, Eileen, Ely, Annie).  Your story should not exceed 7 minutes.  

                  ii. Strategy, logistics, food (All)

                  iii. Materials (Ely, Izzy, Tonianne)

                  iv.  Order of Service (Karen)

     b.  New Business.    

Only 14 days left to get your donations in! The Social Justice Committee is collecting food and personal care items through January to make care packets for those in need. Donations can be dropped off at the church office Monday-Friday 10 am - 1 pm, or at Sunday service.


Thrift Shop

Heart Confetti

Reminder: During inclement weather, please call the office at 508-9944-9686 or check the church's Facebook page to see if the Thrift Shop is open.

We are still looking for a one-time volunteer to organize records and CD's. Let Pam know if you are interested or know of a student who needs community service hours.

Paper bags with handles are needed. Drop them off during regular office hours and Jess will make sure the Thrift Shop receives them.


Thank you to our donors who have given a total of $756 as of January 17, 2024

The plaster project has been completed! (Do a happy dance)

We are still taking donations for this project. Your donation, no matter the size, will contribute to the $8,000 cost for repairs. We will be collecting donations through January. If you would like to donate by check, please send it to 71 8th Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, with "Plaster" in the memo. Or, you can donate online by clicking the link below. 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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