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The Compass/News & Views, May 29, 2024

We have so much going on in June that I decided not to do a print News & Views this month. We have Pride events to plan and the 40th Annual Jazz Service to execute. We are still looking for volunteers for that, by the way. 🩵 Jess


Welcome to the Gift of Renewal!

We are renewed by so many things: nature, each other, memory, music, play, solitude, silence, and - of course - our faith. Through small groups, calls to justice work, worship, caring for one another, covenant, and accountability, our faith breathes new life into us.

But it also renews us in a way that often goes unnoticed: through questions! Or to be more

precise, our faith has a sneaky way of changing our lives by changing the questions we ask.

Questions around renewal are a great example of this.

For instance, the “renewal questions” lifted up by our secular culture revolve mainly around

health (Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting enough sleep?) and work/life balance (Are you making enough time for family, play, and rest?). Those are fine questions, but they only go so deep and push us so far.

Here’s where our faith comes in. It enters the scene and in effect says, “Hey, look over here.

There’s a box with an entirely different set of renewal questions that nobody’s opened yet.”

Questions like:

Are you sure it’s your body that’s tired, or could it be your soul?

What if “time away” isn’t about restoring yourself in order to return to work, but rather

making space to decide if it’s time to reimagine what your “true work” really is?

Is it time to renew your responsibility to those who will come after you?

Is it time to renew your commitment to carry on the work of those who came before?

What if you saw your daily living and loving as an opportunity (even a calling) to renew

others’ faith in humanity?

Could it be that continual self-improvement is not the path to renewal, but instead

compassionate acceptance of who you already are?

And those are just the questions sitting on top of the pile!

So friends, this month, let’s renew and refresh the questions we ask.

Let’s remind ourselves that, indeed, we change our lives by changing our questions. And, maybe most importantly, let’s each ask ourselves, “What renewing question do I want to

take with me into the summer?”

You can download the whole Soul Matters Packet for this month by clicking the link below.

Download PDF • 771KB


From the Minister's Studio

Our church year is quickly coming to a close; we will be wrapping up regular services on June 30 with our 40th Annual Jazz Service. Lots of people wonder why we UU’s mostly take summers off, except for some informal lay-led gatherings, and the question fits neatly into our final Soul Matters theme for June: The Gift of Renewal. We all love our church community, so hopefully we will have someone here to keep the community feeling going over the summer, but UU’s have found that giving everyone, including the minister, a chance to recharge over the summer, makes us more dedicated and happy people when we return in the fall.

We also revere nature as a source of spiritual inspiration. We think a little venturing out and appreciating the relaxation that summer offers creates opportunities for growth and renewal. Too many people are in overdrive all the time, and we wonder why there is so much depression and anxiety in our lives. It is not a sin to slow down! To sit down and just look around you, loving the world and being grateful for what you have, is a natural anti-depressant.

I had to learn the hard way to make the time for myself to process and just relax. It gave me more anxiety at first, to let go and assure myself that the world was not going to fall apart if I looked away for a while. But with a little practice, I found that doing nothing was possible and healing.

I hope this summer you find many ways to be renewed. We are so blessed to live where we do, with water and woods in every direction, so take advantage of all that nature has to offer. Make time for yourself. Schedule some days of doing nothing. You will be better for it, I promise. And when we come back in the fall with our batteries recharged, we will all be better for it. Have a safe and happy summer! Bright Blessings-Karen


June Services - Welcome to the Gift of Renewal

Registration is not required. Click the Register Now button for service details.

Flower Communion on June 2 Please bring a flower to the service.

Pride service with guest speaker Sherman Curran (They/Them)

Juneteenth with Rev. Karen LeBlanc and the Social Justice Committee

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


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!


We are trying to get a feel for whether our members would still like to have gatherings in the summer on Sundays at 11 AM with a lay leader. Please put your answer in the following poll!

Would you be interested in Sunday summer gatherings at 11 AM?

  • Yes!

  • No, I'll be at the beach.

Sign up to host a Summer 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.


See everything happening at UUNB on the website calendar!


Upcoming Events

Registration is not required for the following events.

Saturday, June 1, 12 PM - 5 PM: Pride at Buttonwood Park sponsored by the SouthCoast LBBTQ+ Network. We will be tabling with our friends at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven. Stop by and say HELLO!

Sunday, June 9, 11 AM - 3 PM: Fairhaven's Got Pride outside of Fairhaven Town Hall. We will once again be tabling with the Fairhaven UU.


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.


Annika and Alec from Way Cool Sunday School enjoying the sunny day during service.

REMINDER: There is no formal Way Cool Sunday School in June. Morning and Mari will be here if childcare is needed.

LAST CALL: If you have books you borrowed from the Social Justice bookcase, please have them back by the end of the church year. There are a few books specifically that were "borrowed" but not recorded on the log.

  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

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


Thrift Shop Book Challenge

There are seven months left in the Massachusetts Center for the Book's 2024 Reading Challenge. If you would like to accept the challenge, you can find the appropriate book for the month in the Thrift Shop Book Room - and many more! Almost all the books are only $1 - with a few coffee table books priced higher.


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

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 and a family membership 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 and tickets to NBFT's summer production of Nunsense.

Please have raffle items in the office no later than June 14th. 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.



New Bedford Festival Theater has donated two tickets to their summer production. Raffle tickets will be available to purchase Monday - Friday, 10 AM - 1 PM, in the office or on Sundays after service. The winner will be drawn on June 30 after the Jazz Service.


Donna Titus (December 23, 1935 – April 24, 2024) Remembrance

Donna Titus, a former member of our Church, passed away on April 24, 2024. She was the Director of Religious Education and put her heart and soul into our RE program. The Youth Group enjoyed their visits and sleepovers at numerous UU churches.

Her family connections to Star Island led several of our youth to attend UU conferences on the island. For many, it was a memorable and life-changing experience.

She was able to make the RE Committee an important part of church life, so members

always attended meetings. It turned out that those meetings were a wonderful

opportunity to build friendships, many of which continue to this day --- fifty years later.

By Mary-Beth Dowd

You can watch Donna's Memorial Service here. You can read her obituary here.


Photo from the Dedication of the Maja Capek Room, 10/31/17. Thank you, Colin Williams, for submitting!



Pledge Reminder FY 24/25

Thank you to all the members who sent in their pledge cards by May 1st. There is still time to get your pledge cards in by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. We have made it easier than ever to set up a recurring gift through our donation platform, GiveButter. They accept all forms of payment, even ACH payments, with approval from your bank.


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
Download PDF • 146KB


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