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The Compass, March 20, 2024


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."


"I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones." Leslie Jamison


March Services - Welcome to the Gift of Transformation

Registration is not required. Tap "Register Now" to see service details.


See everything happening at UUNB on the website calendar!


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!

We share with you the story of Pauli Murray, an early civil rights activist, advocate, legal scholar and theorist, teacher, author, poet, and later in life, Episcopal priest.


You are invited! The Invitation to National Conversation

  • Awareness of the proposed Article II changes

  • Analysis of the new Article II language

  • Discussion within your community

  • Decision by your congregation on what is the best direction of Unitarian Universalism

  • Share your thoughts at Town Hall meetings

Theme: Amendments to Article II.

Four amendments have obtained support from 15 UU Congregations and will be on the agenda for the June 2024 General Assembly. Sponsors of those amendments will discuss their amendments, their journey, and the next steps.

  • Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2024

  • Time: 8:00 PM Eastern

  • Duration: 75 – 90 minutes

Theme: What We Gain, What We Lose.

The proposed Article II rewrite has good new ideas that come with substantial modifications to how UUs function.  This Town Hall will address what is gained and what is lost with the new proposal so UUs can decide if it represents the right direction for our faith.

  • Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

  • Time: 8:00 PM Eastern

  • Duration: 75 – 90 minutes

Theme: On Accountability

The Article II Proposal makes us “accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values.” For each Value, we are asked to Covenant to act. This implies judgment. We would no longer be accountable to our own conscience but to others.

How does this call fit with our Universalist and Unitarian religious ancestry? What should we expect from ourselves and our congregations to fulfill this call to action? What could we learn from recent UUA actions?  What are the pitfalls?

  • Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024

  • Time: 2:00 PM Eastern

  • Duration: 75 – 90 minutes

Theme: Getting Ready for General Assembly

The General Assembly will be entirely virtual, this year.  How does that work?  It’s June, already. Can I still be a Delegate? (Maybe) If I’m not a delegate, can I participate? (Yes) Will there be an opportunity to “chat” with delegates and other participants? (Yes.) Join us as experienced delegates tell us what to expect.

  • Date: Saturday, June 1, 2024

  • Time: 3:00 PM Eastern

  • Duration: 75 – 90 minutes

What does it mean to be a people of Transformation?

March 24: Change Ignorance Into Learning, Purim: Queen Esther

March 31: Easter - The Change from Sad Hearts to Hopeful Hearts; Remembering that Bad Times Won’t Last Forever, The Egg We Need by Anne Howard (UUA)

“Transformation: We adapt to the changing world. We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.”


Thrift Shop Update

All winter coats are 50% off

Easter decorations have arrived

Many high-end small kitchen appliances, dishes, and glassware

Great News! The Thrift Shop now has its own phone and extension: 508-994-9686 ex. 12

Easter Flower order forms are available at the entrance to the sanctuary and in the Parish House. Please have all orders in by March 27. You will have the option to order tulips, hyacinths, or lilies. If you would like to pay with a credit card, please visit our donation page here:


Yoga classes start on April 13 at 10 AM. Please check the calendar for specific dates: April-June. After June 15, classes will take place every Saturday.

CHRISTOPHER SWANSON completed his yoga teacher training at the Kripalu School of Yoga in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and is a Yoga Alliance certified RYT-200 hour yoga teacher with over a thousand hours of personal practice.

Having experienced the transformative power of a regular hatha yoga practice in his own life, Christopher is motivated to share this practice in the local community, with a focus on embodied wisdom, compassionate presence, and generous action.

Please arrive 10 minutes early to settle in. The length of the class will be 60-70 minutes.



We are looking for vendors to set up in the yard during the 40th Annual Jazz service on June 30, 2024. The fee to set up is $35 and is open to anyone selling handmade items. Please share this with artisans you may know and support.


Save The Date!

Thursday, May 9, 5:30 pm at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House

Behind-The-Scenes: The Carpenter’s Son Restoration

Get a glimpse of museum collections and archives from an insider’s perspective. The Carpenter’s Son, a painting by Edward Simmons, would only return to the walls of the RJD Museum after it had been terribly vandalized at the First Unitarian Church in New Bedford and restored by RJD. Hear its conservation story from Jeremy Fogg, Lead Conservator at Northeast Painting Conservation. Donations are accepted in lieu of a fee as part of AHA Night.



‘Act of Faithful Witness’: Why the UUA Offered Temporary Shelter to Migrant Families at its South Boston Headquarters

24 Farnsworth Street in Boston is the site of the Unitarian Universalist Association headquarters.

Amid a shortage of available shelters across Massachusetts, the sixth floor of the UUA's building at 24 Farnsworth Street in the Seaport District is serving as a short-term, overnight haven for newcomers in need of aid.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the temporary shelter at the Unitarian Universalist Association headquarters has opened.

In January, as a faith-based response to the growing number of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts with nowhere to live, the Unitarian Universalist Association reached out to state officials with a proposal.

The sixth floor of the building owned by the UUA at 24 Farnsworth Street in the upscale Seaport area of Boston was empty.

Meanwhile, a large number of migrant families with children, and pregnant people, were sleeping on the floor at Logan Airport, in emergency rooms, or in other unsuitable or dangerous places. State shelters were at capacity, and the governor had declared a state of emergency.

The UUA wanted to help.

"I knew that the state was looking for potential spaces for these short-term overflow shelters because we had heard some of our congregations were looking into this possibility," says Carey McDonald, the UUA’s Executive Vice President. "With the current vacant commercial space at our headquarters building, we thought it could be a good fit for the need."

UUA leaders connected with the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, and in January had their first conversations with the state to raise that possibility.

"Since then, it’s really been a team effort to evaluate whether the space was appropriate and what it would take to move forward," says McDonald.

The UUA is hosting an overnight shelter on the sixth floor of its building for around twenty-five families with children and pregnant people. Individuals are ineligible.

The UUA is providing the space rent-free, and the agreement is that the shelter will operate through May 31.

It is expected to house about eighty people each night, many from Haiti. The shelter will be managed by the Black Refugee and Immigrant Community Coalition, a partnership of five nonprofits and faith-based organizations led by and serving Bostonians with roots in the Caribbean.

Each morning, the families will be transported to a day shelter at the YMCA of Greater Boston, which will provide community meals, showers, and a range of supportive services, including access to job training and placement and community activities.

The community coalition serves more than 6,000 Afro-Caribbean/Black immigrants and refugees a year in Boston by providing critical resettlement services, including emergency housing, food, medical assistance, and job training and placement. It has placed more than 120 refugees and immigrants from Haiti in safe and culturally connected housing, according to United Way of Massachusetts Bay.

A Growing Need for Temporary Migrant Housing in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the only state in the country with a "right-to-shelter" law, passed in 1983 to mandate that unhoused families and pregnant people be provided with emergency shelter.

Last August, after an 80 percent increase in migrant families arriving in the state compared to the year before, Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency. The state placed a cap on how many people its emergency shelter system could house. As of February 29, there were 761 families (about 2,500 people) on a waitlist for shelter.

Last fall, the governor announced the SafetyNet Shelter Grant Program in partnership with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay to support community organizations and faith-based groups to set up short-term shelters for families and pregnant people with no other sheltering options.

The UUA shelter is supported in part by a SafetyNet grant awarded to the UUA, the Black Refugee & Immigrant Community Coalition, and the Greater Boston YMCA. In addition to the UUA shelter, the program is funding nine other short-term sites across the region for unhoused families and pregnant women to help address the crisis in the state’s emergency shelter system.

During the day, school-age children will attend classes. The families will be transported back to the UUA building in the evenings, where the coalition will have staff on site. The coalition has contracted with a security firm experienced in staffing emergency shelters to also be on site.

In times of emergency, the state code allows buildings to be used as an emergency shelter for a period of 180 days (about six months), which can be extended based on the continued existence of the emergency.

The UUA has met all state and city requirements as an emergency shelter, according to McDonald.

How UUs and Congregations Support the Rights of Immigrants and Refugees

Unitarian Universalists have a long history of supporting migrants and refugees, including refugees from Central America in the 1980s, and were the first denomination to sign on as part of the New Sanctuary movement in 2007.

In recent years, many UU congregations have taken undocumented immigrants facing deportation into sanctuary in their congregational buildings to shield them from arrest by law enforcement.

"In our faith tradition, Unitarian Universalists commit to uphold the inherent worthiness and dignity of every person, to embrace interconnectedness, and to strive for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations," says McDonald. "Those values are fundamental to our religious practice, and they call us to take action in the face of oppression, injustice, and suffering.

"All children deserve a safe place to sleep," he adds. "As a religious community headquartered in Boston, we consider it an act of faithful witness to use our facilities to do our part to support families in need, including migrant families who are simply seeking safety for their loved ones. We hope other building owners will take seriously whether their space can also be used in this way."

As noted in the Boston Globe and other news outlets, there has been some objection from Seaport residents and some politicians. But there also is significant support for the shelter, which will provide temporary safe harbor to newcomers in need.

"We are grateful to the Unitarian Universalist Association, who offered their space free of charge as part of their faith mission to help those most in need, and to our service provider partners who will support the activation of this site for the families and children who need emergency housing and compassionate care," said Bob Giannino, president and CEO of United Way Massachusetts Bay, in a statement. "Together, we are creating a model of how people can take care of each other in crisis while building the tools and systems necessary for longer-term solutions."



Volunteers Needed!

We need a few church members who would like to help out on March 30 with set up and take down/clean up after this event. We also need a few people to represent the church at an outreach table. This event will draw lots of traffic to our church and is a great opportunity to possibly get new people interested in joining.


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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