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The Compass, November 22, 2023


  • November 26: Social Justice Committee, The Doctrine of Discovery, written by Eileen Sorrentino, spoken by Ely Dorsey



"The ideal society is not a choir singing in unison, but a symphony playing harmony."

- Peter Gay


Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!


What does it mean to be a people of Generosity?

November 26: The Gift of Hope

The Difference Between Heaven And Hell

Adapted by Elisa Pearmain from a Japanese and Chinese folk tale.

To tell the story dramatically, tape a spoon to a ruler so that the entire length is longer than your own arm to demonstrate how people ate in hell. When you get to the next paragraph about heaven, tape another spoon to another ruler. Give spoons to two participants. Invite them to pretend to feed each other to illustrate the way the people ate in heaven.

Long ago there lived an old woman who had a wish. She wished more than anything to see for herself the difference between heaven and hell. The monks in the temple agreed to grant her request. They put a blindfold around her eyes, and said, "First you shall see hell."

When the blindfold was removed, the old woman was standing at the entrance to a great dining hall. The hall was full of round tables, each piled high with the most delicious foods — meats, vegetables, fruits, breads, and desserts of all kinds! The smells that reached her nose were wonderful.

The old woman noticed that, in hell, there were people seated around those round tables. She saw that their bodies were thin, and their faces were gaunt, and creased with frustration. Each person held a spoon. The spoons must have been three feet long! They were so long that the people in hell could reach the food on those platters, but they could not get the food back to their mouths. As the old woman watched, she heard their hungry desperate cries. "I've seen enough," she cried. "Please let me see heaven."

And so again the blindfold was put around her eyes, and the old woman heard, "Now you shall see heaven." When the blindfold was removed, the old woman was confused. For there she stood again, at the entrance to a great dining hall, filled with round tables piled high with the same lavish feast. And again, she saw that there were people sitting just out of arm's reach of the food with those three-foot-long spoons.

But as the old woman looked closer, she noticed that the people in heaven were plump and had rosy, happy faces. As she watched, a joyous sound of laughter filled the air.

And soon the old woman was laughing too, for now she understood the difference between heaven and hell for herself. The people in heaven were using those long spoons to feed each other.


There is a Memorial Service for Rev. Dr. Pamela Cole on Saturday, November 25, at 11 AM at the WILSON CHAPEL at AUBERTINE-LOPES FUNERAL HOME, 129 Allen St. New Bedford on Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. Kindly arrive at 10:30 A.M. prior to the service. You can read her obituary here.

On November 20, 2023, Rev. Karen LeBlanc and ToniAnne Wong participated in the Trans Day of Remembrance candlelight vigil honoring the brave and beautiful individuals who lost their lives in 2023 simply for being who they are. This event was hosted by the SouthCoast LGBTQ Network.


Many items are available for Holiday cooking and entertaining - cookbooks, baking pans, pie plates, a bread maker, crock pots, a rice cooker, wine glasses, and punch bowls...

  • Christmas items are arriving.

  • Two beautiful glass tables looking for a new home.

  • Sale! Women's jerseys and blouses, regularly $3 each, NOW $1each.

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

  • Casserole dishes, crock pots, and other kitchen items. Donations of costume jewelry are needed


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.

Shop small businesses for your gift-giving needs this year! First Unitarian Church in New Bedford joins dNB Inc. in kicking off the holiday season, and spreading cheer throughout downtown New Bedford! Explore your way through art, shopping, and food all decked out for the holidays.

Visit the UU for a plant sale, a variety of vendors, and light refreshments.

Jackie's Knits & Knots - knitted and crocheted items WeHa Co. - handmade, crocheted stuffed animals, hats, bags, and upcycled sweaters Sandhill Farm - honey and beeswax Finneran Carpentry - rocking chairs New Bedford Department of Children & Families Stone That Flows - kiln-formed glass jewelry Caribe Creations - Caribbean-inspired designs Yarn Over Time Designs F.S. Designs Bess's Baubles And More!

REMINDER: If you are putting cash towards your pledge in the Sunday offering, please put it in an envelope with your name on it so Jess knows to apply it to your pledge. Thank you.



Sabbath Practices for Wintertime - What would it look like to not just accept and survive our times of rest, but to delight in them?

I’ve lived most of my life in New England—which means an annual spiritual crisis.

Most of the apartments I’ve lived in have had drafty windows. In winter, I cover them with big sheets of clear plastic that seal out the cold air. But once I put them up, which is kind of a production, I can’t open the windows until I take them down. So every fall, a spiritual crisis: is today the day to put the plastic up? If it is, I’m giving up on fresh breezes until spring. Can I accept that it’s just going to be cold now, for months? Ugh. The cold, short days come, regardless of my feelings. My only choice is when I surrender and accept it.


UPDATE: Thank you to our donors who have given a total of $656 as of November 22.

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 are 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 1 pm-to 5 pm. 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.

There is a pair of tickets generously donated by the New Bedford Preservation Society that will be raffled off at the Holiday Market on December 2.



‘The Forgotten Slavery of Our Ancestors’ offers an introduction to the history of Indigenous enslavement on land that is now the United States. As the featured historians point out, the enslavement of Indigenous peoples stretched from Alaska into South America. It predated and helped shape the system of African enslavement in New England, and it lasted until throughout the 19th century in the West. “This,” explains historian Andrés Reséndez, “is our shared history.”

Directed and edited by Howdice Brown III, ‘The Forgotten Slavery of Our Ancestors’ was produced by Marie Acemah ( and Alice Qannik Glenn ( The runtime for this film is just over 12 minutes.


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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