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The Compass, November 15, 2023


  • November 19: Thanksgiving service and potluck

  • November 26: Social Justice Committee, Eileen Sorrentino, The Doctrine of Discovery

Looking ahead: On December 24 there will only be one service taking place at 7 PM.


"If the landscape reveals one certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down eons of emptiness." -Annie Dillard


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!


What does it mean to be a people of Generosity?

November 19: The Gift of Gratitude, Thanksgiving potluck following service

November 26: The Gift of Hope

"Take a Breath: Mindful Music for Children with Betsy Rose".



  • Women's sweaters 50% off

  • Thrift Shop coupons are now available! Visit us during regular hours to get $5 off a purchase of $25

  • Men's suits, blazers, dress pants - $1 each


Our yearly Thanksgiving potluck is this Sunday, November 19, and we can't wait to celebrate with you!!


Bulb planting is scheduled for Friday, November 24 at 10:00 AM. If you would like to help out garden committee would be happy to have you.


A Guide to Supreme Court Cases Concerning Unitarian Universalist Justice Priorities by JEFF MILCHEN, UU World

Because many rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States affect core Unitarian Universalist principles and justice priorities, we’re spotlighting some we’re following closely this term (and linking sources for more in-depth exploration).

As we reported with the court’s 2022–23 session, many upcoming rulings will heavily affect the lives of vulnerable communities, including BIPOC, disabled, pregnant, and LGBTQIA+ people.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America

In another aggressive attack against civil service agencies, the payday lending industry seeks to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal watchdog that protects people from predatory lenders and financial services rip-offs.

Alexander v. South Carolina Conference of the NAACP

Everyone involved in this dispute agrees that Republicans in South Carolina gerrymandered the previously competitive 1st Congressional District to lock in GOP control. Of course, this denies residents a meaningful vote in general elections, but in 2019 ( Rucho v. Common Cause), SCOTUS declared partisan gerrymandering lies beyond the power of federal courts to address.


What is a Skill Up?

This is the UUA's monthly series of trainings on organizing skills to help build our UU the Vote and Side with Love Volunteer Squads and help YOU build stronger teams in your congregation and community. They will start the session with some spiritual fun and then launch into their training. This is also a chance to find out how to get more involved as a Side with Love volunteer and meet members of the Volunteer Squads.

Sunday, November 19, 2023, 4 - 5:30 pm ET followed by an optional Q&A Conversation from 5:30-6 ET

UUA President Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt invites you to remember “what symbols, messages, principles, or experiences are most central to [our] deep understanding of Unitarian Universalism.” During this skill up, we will take time to discuss and practice articulating our theologies of justice-making with faith-centric language that can be used in outreach, public statements, petitions, letters, and more. Their Skill Ups are a monthly training series to help build organizing capacity across our congregations and communities. We are grounded in our UU calling to be lifelong learners and organizing traditions' calls to share what we know for our movements to grow. The agenda includes embodied grounding and interactive training, followed by an optional Q&A Conversation from 5:30-6 ET.


UPDATE: Thank you to our donors who have given a total of $465 as of November 14.

Our Flentrop organ, the musical centerpiece of our Sunday service, is facing an urgent need for plaster repairs directly above it. The cracks and damages, if left unattended, pose a serious threat to the performance of this beautiful instrument.

We are reaching out to you, our generous community, seeking support for these essential 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!



Get your holiday shopping done and meet the authors of some of your favorite Spinner books; John K. Bullard, Catherine McLaughlin, David Cole, Joseph Thomas, & Jay Avila will all be on hand signing and personalizing books for everyone on your gift list! @Gallery X

This event is free and open to the public, no reservations or tickets required, the book signing and sale will run from 2 to 5 pm. A wide array of books from Spinner’s catalog will be available for purchase including: Hometown; Blue Collars; Paul Cuffe: His Purpose, Partners & Properties; A Picture History of New Bedford, Vol. 2; A Picture Postcard History of Fairhaven; Branded On My Arm & In My Soul; and many more!

For questions contact Spinner Publications: • 508-994-4564

New Bedford Preservation Society Historic Holiday Tour 2023 Includes First Unitarian Church in New Bedford

The Historic Holiday Tour is the Society’s main fundraiser to support its programs throughout the year.

The Annual Holiday House Tour is back on December 10, 2023 from 1pm-5pm. This 29th annual tour is a great opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends and family while enjoying the community spirit of the holiday while discovering what makes New Bedford architecture so unique. The tour will start at the society’s headquarters at the James Arnold Mansion, 427 County St., with a brunch at 11 pm (brunch cost separate from ticket price). There will be a Holiday Raffle and Silent Auction held during tour hours at the James Arnold Mansion. Brunch reservations are suggested but not required. Call the Wamsutta Club directly at 508-997-7431 for brunch reservations.


Are you an author or creator? We are accepting stories, poems, and articles written by our members. Send yours to and it could appear in our next newsletter!

The Curse by Ely Dorsey

Introduction and explanation

In our invitation to you, we spoke of the existence of God and the obstacle to loving your neighbor by the evil of the Lie of Race. These are all very challenging ideas, and we tread carefully, less we add to the confusion. Let us begin with the

statement, “Racism in irrational madness!” It is insane to practice white supremacy and privilege. It is crazy. .....

What enables this? What exists that seduces you to embrace separation from your neighbor? What is the secret ingredient in the soup of our existence that makes this madness work?

Power!!!Power!!! The ultimate aphrodisiac of humankind.

I. The Beginning

And it came to pass that Mary had a child named Margaret, whose red hair and porcelain skin directed the Sun to lay its harmful rays elsewhere.

And it also was that Amina had a child, Sarah, whose skin was pure ebony and whose eyes could see within her smile the boundaries of the Universe.

Thus, at this place as in all places, the Universe met itself and wondered why it existed.

Margaret would play with flowers and birds and songs. Sarah would bring forth the humor within stones and the music of silence.

Mary and Amina would love their children with gazes of warmth and caresses of joy. Everything was before the children and their mothers rejoiced in their apparent limitless view. Then came the blood rain filled with want and despair. The Universe was erring. The rain limited the view. The want called forth despair. The cold turned Margaret and Sarah inward and closed.

How could this be? How could the Universe create inwardness and closedness? How could the rays of the Sun now harm Margaret and how could Sarah’s vision turn to opaque sadness? What had the Universe done?

II. Margaret

“Oh, Margaret is so beautiful and white. You are so lucky to have such a child”, said Mrs. Perkins of the Upper Cloverdale PTA. “She will be such a gift to us all”, continued Mrs. Perkins with a smirk for a smile.

Mary smiled but Margaret paused, already irritable from the sunburn she had experienced that earlier day. How could the rain make the Sun burn?

When Mary and Margaret had come home, Mary seeing her child troubled, sought to give

comfort. She brought some salve to treat the sunburn and cooing to her child, whispered

assurances that the pain would subside.

Margaret, welcoming the assurance and accompanying relief, looked at Mary and asked, “What did Mrs. Perkins mean when she said I was beautiful and white?”

“Oh, just that you are so pretty, it draws admiration from others.”

“Why should others admire me?” asked Margaret.

“It’s just an expression. Many are not as you.”

“But what is it that is to be admired?” persisted Margaret.

“Your beauty. It weaves through your hair and eyes and mouth and your skin.”

“My skin? It is red and hurts. Why is that beautiful?”

“Silly, your skin will heal, and you will be back to your white self.”

“White! Mrs. Perkins was not speaking of my skin. She said I was white.”

“Yes, I mean, your skin. Mrs. Perkins was speaking of something else.”

“What?” Margaret begged for an answer.

“You! You are white.”

“What is that?” cried Margaret.

Mary fell silent. How was she going to explain this to Margaret who at one time before the cold rain was able to direct the Sun’s rays away from harming anyone and when she could play with flowers and birds and songs?

III. Sarah

“Oh, Sarah is so pretty for a black girl. You are so lucky that she’s in our school”, said Mrs.

Perkins of the Upper Cloverdale PTA with a smirk for a smile.

Amina walked with Sarah in the cool of the evening through their neighbors’ waves and

greetings. Sarah felt heavy. Something was weighing her soul. It was deep and aching. What

was this that the cold had wrought?

When they were home, Amina held Sarah, caressing her, whispering prayers for her vision to

return and her soul to lift.

“Why do I feel so heavy, mother? Is it the Sun?”

“No, my darling.”

“Is it the Moon?”

“No, my darling”

“Why is my sight blank without form?”

“Because you are blind now, my darling.”

“Why are the stones so sad and the silence without song?

“Is it the rain?”

“No, my darling.”

“Is it the lock around my heart?”

“Yes. My darling.”

“Why is my heart locked? Why am I carrying this weight? What have I done?’

“You are black, my darling. You are black!

“What is that?” cried Sarah.

“Your blindness, my darling. You see too much.”

Amina held Sarah and sang silently as the rocks do, comforting her child. She cooed strength into her and held her heart in her soul.

Then Amina fell silent. How was she going to explain this to Sarah who at one time could see the boundaries of the Universe with her smile and bring forth the humor within stones and their music in silence?

IV. The Angels

The angels had gathered as they always do without purpose or form. And among them something new came forth. It was called Idea. There was no way of determining Idea, but it was there now and had not been before. This was the first instance of Time in the Universe. Idea grew Form and it was named God. But that which calls itself God was stirring. Anxiety, unknown to the Universe, now beset God. The angels could not fathom this. They had already witnessed Eden without explanation. Anger was introduced to them. As was Consistency and Causality. Rule: things constricting the Universe, but now in place to confuse the Universe. This unsettled the angels since being in all that is in every moment and at any moment, to be demarked by time and sequence brought a new thing that was not of anything but of difference for its own sake. Since the angels learning anger and experiencing consistency and causality, they became angry with God. Eden was absurd. The introduction of temptation, the non-sequitur, evil, the madness of restricted knowledge. It was insane. The angels were furious. All order was gone. The blood rain was formed.

Sarah and Margaret engulfed in this madness called out for sanity. “What have you wrought to humankind?” They cried!

“You’ve made this Difference among us, and now we experience pain and suffering.”

Lucifer spoke to God, “What have you done? What madness came upon you to do such a thing? Was not the debacle of Eden enough for you? Now you must curse them too?”

But God was silent. Lucifer turned away in disgust and the angels all looked away. God’s impotence was too much to bear. All order was gone.

And it appeared as if the error in the Universe would stay. Then came a voice. It was Job’s.

“This is not new. God has been impotent before and we overcame it. We will save God again and the Universe will be whole once more. Remember, God did not invent love. We did.”

And with that and the death of George Floyd, the curse began to lift.

(You may be wondering why we are able to narrate this. Recall that everything is everything at once. Eden introduced causality and sequence, confusing everything. The true Universe is always at once which is what Sarah knew and Margaret lived.)

Dr. Dorsey is a New Bedford resident transplanted from Washington, D.C., originally from New York City. He has been a university professor of mathematics, physics, and cybernetics, a high school teacher, and a research leader in industry and government. His undergraduate schooling is from the City College of New York and his Doctor of Philosophy Degree is from Old Dominion University in Virginia.




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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