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The Compass, June 19, 2024

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The countdown to the end of the church year is on!

Pledge statements have been sent out via email. We currently have over $3000 in unpaid pledges, so please make sure your pledges are fulfilled by June 30.

Thank you for supporting the church, it's ministries, the minister & staff, and all the amazing things we do for our community.


June 23 will be the last formal service of the year! Join us for a "Farewell Until Fall" service.

Click the box below to see the schedule of events for the Jazz Service.


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!

Excerpt from Karen's sermon on Sunday. Thank you to the SJC for filling in during Karen's absence.

This is only our third year celebrating Juneteenth as a country. A little late coming to the party, but isn’t that how our country moves when it comes to freedom for everyone equally. 

Frederick Douglass made his own famous declaration to the people of Rochester, N.Y., on July 5, 1852, a decade before the Emancipation Proclamation: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity.” 

Maybe this 4th of July we might consider deeply the freedoms we enjoy and ask ourselves honestly why freedom and justice are still not equal for all of our people, why our black and brown and indigenous neighbors in our country still have to fight so hard, why our LGBTQIA+ friends still have to fight so hard, and commit ourselves to supporting the changes that our country needs to make to make us all truly free. 

Now, I have to admit that I wrote a Juneteenth sermon in 2020, so I was able to use that to copy and paste the history part. But most of the rest of that sermon was unusable because so much has happened since then. When I addressed this topic back then, a mere 4 years ago, people were rising up and protesting, and really coming together around the BLM movement and just fed up, and taking action, and getting noticed. And it felt like real progress was being made. I want to read you the next passage from that sermon.

“It has been so hard to prepare for a sermon these past few weeks. I’m stuck to my newsfeed every day to see what fresh issue I should address or what new story of hope I might be able to share. Anything could happen right now, and we are all here, watching with bated breath, as our country undergoes a vital and overdue transformation. We are witnessing history. We are experiencing an uprising of support for the long-awaited justice and equality for our black and brown neighbors, for our LGBTQ and indigenous neighbors, for every person who knows that our systems are broken, and are tired of it, and demand that this country rise up to the challenge of real freedom, and real liberty and real justice for every one of us equally.” I sounded so hopeful and inspired! 

Then somehow we took two steps forward and three steps back. Violence and racism and white nationalism have risen to heights we haven’t seen in decades in this country. We have several awful wars we like to fight about that aren’t in our country, but certainly have an effect on all of our lives. We have a completely broken political system and a Congress paralyzed by extremists. The women of this country have lost their right to bodily autonomy in more than half of our states. And our LGBTQIA+ friends’ rights to life, liberty, health care, and the pursue happiness, are being legislated away by politicians in too many states, the same states that want to make sure that the real history of our country, and stories like Juneteenth, don’t get told. 

I would like to say that surprises me, that I didn’t see it coming, but I’ve learned enough history to know that those in power are not so easily put aside. It would be an insult to my brothers and sisters of color, my women friends, my LGBTQ friends, my Jewish and Muslim and Asian and Native American friends, to be surprised, knowing how they and so many other marginalized groups, have experienced small victories only to be met with anger and violence, and pushed back upon by the powers that be. 

I feel sometimes like our country is lost, or in, like, this holding pattern, where some of us grasp so tightly to how things used to be, while most of us struggle in the present, and we all can still envision a brighter future, but are hopeless to make real change because our governments, local, and federal, still bow down to a bottom line that wants more prosperity for the prosperous and powerful, while the rest of us can just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and somehow find a way to feed our families and make ends meet. That has to change.

In speaking with my friend Ely on the subject, he asked an important question. “How do we cope with the knowledge that white supremacy is on the rise…how white supremacy steals freedom from us?” I’m sure he would say that the first move you should make would be to join the Social Justice committee, and I would agree. We want to make this church a place that truly lives its values and acts in the real world to make a difference. But there are a hundred other things you can do, and you can begin with standing by your principles and calling out racism, sexism, and injustice whenever and wherever you see it. Staying silent shouldn’t be an option anymore. And racism does steal from us all. It deprives us of what we could be as a nation and it’s sad. 

When I asked Ely about Juneteenth in particular, he said something that I think is very important for us to remember. He said, “Getting rid of slavery freed us all.” Preaching from a pulpit that has long been a defender of freedom for all, in a city rife with Quakers who were so adamant against the notion of slavery and racism that it changed our landscape, I can say that he’s right. To a point. Getting rid of slavery was one small step toward freedom for us all, but the inherent racism within our institutions, including our own, remains. 

Last year, our congregation unanimously passed the proposal to adopt the 8th Principle in our church, which states that “we covenant together to affirm and promote journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.” We have to continue to come together to find out what that means to us and how we make it so in our congregation and apply it in our community.

This year we had a monthly Social Justice Service with speakers from the community and personal stories from the committee. We met every week on Wednesday to keep the momentum going and plan for events. We had teach-ins where people could ask questions, and explored a number of issues that our world and community face. Working through hard topics together is really challenging and rewarding, and it’s a comfort to face big issues together. This is how we change, how we progress, and how we make this a more welcoming place for everyone. This is how we build a big table, where everyone has a voice and communities of communities come together to insist on the change we want to see, embrace each other as equals and artists, and drive out the hateful and violent elements that shame our country. 

The time is now, and we are the people who will make it so.

May we make our dreams of peace and justice a reality, may we fight the good fight against authoritarians who want to maintain a status quo that should be long gone, and may we find a way to lead with love and hold compassion for all of our fellow humans.

Have a restful summer, church, because I’d like you all to come back with full tanks in the fall. We have a lot of work to do. Let us undertake to do it joyfully. Amen. 


Sunday Summer Spiritual Soirée Schedule

Sign up to host a Summer Spriritual Sunday Soiree! You don’t have to run a service, just make coffee and conversation. You can lead a conversation, talk about the church, etc. with whoever might come. There will be a sign-up sheet in the Parish House. Thank you to those who already signed up!


See everything happening at UUNB on the website calendar!


Registration is not required for the following events.


Join the Social Justice Committee tonight at 6:30 pm. Our last Social Justice Meeting of the church year will take place on June 26. Meetings will resume in September.


Summer Schedule

Karen's last day in the office is June 27. If you need to reach her after July 1 the best way is by text message. She will be back in the office on September 3.

The office will be open on Tuesdays from 10 am to 1 pm during the summer.


Photos from the Queer Arts Council's Pride Block Party which took place on June 13. Thank you to David, Jess, Tonianne, Izzy, Eileen, Annie, and Yasmin who tabled at this event.

David made UUNB tin candles to help raise money for the jazz service. They are available for a suggested donation of $7 in the Parish House and the Thrift Shop.



If you are able to donate baked goods for the bake sale (we don't mind store bought) please have them at the church for 10 AM on June 30th. If you don't have time, but would still like to contribute, we will take cash donations for supplies as well.


LAST CALL: If you have books you borrowed from the Social Justice bookcase, please have them back by the end of the church year on June 30. We have several titles that are missing but not "checked out" on the clipboard. Please check your homes and return any books you have borrowed.

I plan to pack the books away for the summer to protect them from the humidity. -Jess



June 30, 2024, Jazz Service

Vendors 10 am - 3 PM

  • Crafts by Donna - crochet bags and purses, jewelry, and more

  • Anomaly Poetry - Custom, original poetry made-to-order, typed on a vintage typewriter

  • WeeHa Co. - Crochet stuffed animals

  • Green Cottageworks - Soy candles in found objects

  • Lisa Elliott - Handwoven apparel

  • Susan Gelotte - Woodblock prints

  • Cards by GG - Handmade greeting cards

  • Caribe Creations

  • NEW! New Bedford Pottery

  • NEW! League of Women Voters SouthCoast

Raffle: We need raffle items for the following themed baskets

  • New Bedford: either branded NB items or local history/attractions. We currently have A Picture History of New Bedford Book 2, Silmo coffee syrup, stickers from New Bedford Barber Co., a framed print by Ryan McFee, and guest passes to the RJD Museum.

  • Health & Wellness: some examples are spa items, face masks, self-care, essential oils, gift certificates

  • Foodie Basket: some examples are gift certificates, Epicurean items, charcuterie boards, canape knives, wine, etc.

  • We also have a $100 Gift Certificate to the Wamsutta Club, a season pass to Your Theater (valued at $250) and tickets to NBFT's summer production of Nunsense.

Please have raffle items in the office no later than June 26th. I will need photos of the completed baskets to promote on social media.

I have printed copies of the Jazz service flyer and left them in the kitchen area. Please take a few and distribute them to local businesses.


Community Flyers


Social Justice and Action!




Our Mission is to encourage diversity and mutual acceptance and work for positive change in ourselves and our community.

"We envision a congregation in which we practice the principles of our faith. We seek to enjoy peaceful reflection and inspiration in intellectually and spiritually satisfying church services. We aim to embrace the people and efforts of our church community by supporting our children and their programs, our committees and their goals, our staff and their efforts on our behalf, and each other."


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

Thrift Shop ext. 12

Board Members & Officers

Steve Carmel, President

Charles Morgan, Vice President

Deborah Carmel, Treasurer

Cora Peirce, Clerk


Committee Chairs


The Thrift Shop is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM

(508)994-9686 ext.12

ChurchByLaws revised2013
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