First Unitarian Church of Providence
news & notes

news & events
news & notes

Get all the latest news and events happening at First U this Fall in the most recent First U Newsletter!

Spiritual Development, Winter '17
Winter Path to Membership Classes
Tuesday evenings: February 7, 14, 21 & 28, 7:00p
Leaders: Rev. Charlie Ortman, DRE Cathy Seggel and Jenn Nardone
The Path to Membership class is for anyone who is interested in membership or in learning more about Unitarian Universalism or about First Unitarian. This four-session course is offered three times during the year. The classes are led by our Interim Minister, Charlie Ortman; our Director of Religious Education, Cathy Seggel; and our Membership Coordinator, Jenn Nardone.

For anyone unable to attend the Tuesday evening sessions, arrangements will be made to provide a “mini-course” as an alternative. Childcare will be provided if requested in advance. To register, contact: Jenn Nardone, Membership Coordinator ( or call the office (401.421.7970).

Chalice Circles SAMPLERS!
Sundays, January 8, 15 & 22, time TBA
Chalice Circles – our “small group ministry” program – fulfills the need for intimacy and spiritual growth of members in our larger faith community.

Small groups of eight to ten people enhance personal connections and provide an avenue for religious growth and spiritual meaning, Most groups meet twice a month for two hours in the Parish House or in a member’s home. Group members are asked to commit to eight or ten sessions.

If you would like to find out more about Chalice Circles, there will be an information table in the Atrium during Coffee Hour on January 8 to answer questions and provide an opportunity to sign up for a Chalice Circle. On Sundays, January 15 and 22, there will be a Chalice Circle sampler, which will provide a brief experience of what participating in a Chalice Circle is like, as well as another opportunity for questions and to sign up.

Contacts: Marilyn Eanet ( or Janet Downing Taylor (jdtaylo39@

Social Justice: January
Neighborhood & Social Justice monthly meeting
Sunday, January 8, 12:15p
The Neighborhood Social Justice Committee takes on projects to lighten the load of low-income and homeless Rhode Islanders. Please join us to learn more about our work and perhaps to contribute some ideas of your own.

Prudential Committee & Community Life
Congregational Conversation: Outcomes of Vision Workshop
held this past November
The First Unitarian Prudential Committee hosted a Congregational Conversation to surface our shared vision and consider how this: influences our culture; aligns our actions both inside and outside of our church walls; strengthens our relationships; energizes our spiritual life; and binds us together as one community. Our vision work together is inspired by our mission, which you can find here.

We invited everyone in our beloved community at First Unitarian (all ages and perspectives) to join us for a series of gatherings over this church year as we reflected on our congregational history, discerned who we are at the present moment, and envisioned how we want to grow more into living our vision and mission in the future. Charlie Ortman, our Interim Minister, and Gary Lerude, a UUA facilitator from the New England chapter, guided our conversation as we began the vision process on November 5.

Updates on the outcomes of this well-attended meeting will appear here - check back soon!

Women's Alliance: January
Monthly Meeting: January 9 - "A Beautiful Day for Refugees"
Business Meeting: 10:00a
Program: 11:00a
Luncheon: noon ($10 or bring your own)

Speaker: representative from A Beautiful Day
Beautiful Day is a Rhode Island nonprofit that “seeks to nourish our community by providing first jobs and on-the-job training for resettled refugees.” Since 2008, its Providence Granola Project has trained refugees to prepare and sell all-natural gourmet granola. More than 45 refugees of 11 nationalities have entered the job market after completing their paid training.

Providence Granola Project can be purchsed at many farmers markets and grocery stores. You can visit them online at their website, found at this link.

Women's Alliance Tea
Saturday, January 21, at 2:00p
The Women’s Alliance Tea this year will be at Scandinavian House. Volunteer sign-up will take place at the January meeting.

Established in 1882, the Women’s Alliance is unique among the organizations of First Unitarian in that it is an autonomous society of dues-paying members and has its own endowment. Many of its members played leading roles in education, suffrage, and social services. In 2014 the Women’s Alliance became an affiliate of the church. Its mission continues to be serving the community, both locally and at large, providing friendship and spiritual and cultural stimuli for its members, and supporting the church.

The Women’s Alliance meets monthly from October to June and features a variety of speakers, followed by a luncheon. Other activities include fundraisers to provide financial donations to local charities that support women and families; service activities such as hosting a tea at nursing homes, a garden project in partnership with the Tockwotton Courtyard residents, and signing up donations for the church’s Sunday Coffee Hour. The Alliance also monitors the maintenance of the Parish House parlors.

Stop by the Alliance coffee table on Sundays for information on membership, or contact Nori Duncan, Alliance President ( @ .com)

Art in the Atrium
The January exhibits feature works by local artists.

If you are interested in hanging your work in the Atrium during the church season, (September '16 to June '17), please contact Chiara Van Erp ( for more information.

Gourmet Coffee Sale in the Atrium
Why settle for any old coffee. You can create your very own unique coffee using the gourmet coffees sold by the Women’s Alliance. We sell two bold coffees, one medium coffee, and two decaf coffees. All types come in both beans and drip-grind 16 oz. bags. And they are all organic and freshly roasted in RI! Perhaps you’d like a reduced-caffeine coffee but with just the right amount of caffeine for mental alertness. Or you might like to blend together several coffees for Your Special Coffee. It’s fun to experiment on these cold winter days. And you are helping the community. The Alliance donates the proceeds from the coffee sales to worthy causes. Check out our table and get adventurous!

Coffee sales will be in the Atrium at the Women’s Alliance table during the regular season.

Sign up to make or buy treats for Coffee Hour!
This cooperative effort is organized by The Women’s Alliance with donations from our congregation of baked goods, fruit, cheese and crackers, small sandwiches or similar finger foods.

Our Coffee Hour Co-op needs you! We welcome donations made at home or bought at a store. In order to feed all comers, every Sunday we need eight people bringing treats to serve 24 each. Sign-ups are preferred in order to plan for each upcoming Sunday. Sign up in the parlor during Coffee Hour and go home with a reminder.

Flowers for Sunday Services
Flowers at the pulpit each Sunday are donated by members and friends in honor or memory of a loved one. Donors are acknowledged in the order of service. Whether the flowers are a florist’s arrangement or picked from a garden, people always comment on how they brighten the pulpit.

Jacqui Nye will be glad to explain how you can provide an arrangement and to schedule your donation. Your flower offering will be greatly appreciated.

Contact: Jacqui Nye ( with "Sunday Flowers" in the subject line.

The Pantry Is Open to All
You probably know that volunteers at First Unitarian run a very well-attended food pantry. But did you know that members of the congregation who are in need are also welcome to take part and receive food? You do not have to be receiving government help or otherwise demonstrate need. Just come to the church after 2:30p on the third Monday and fill out a brief registration form.

Weather Closures
Inclement Weather may cause the church to close when City of Providence enforces parking and/or driving bans. Closures of Church on Sundays will be decided at 7:30a. All other closures (evenings, etc.) will be decided as soon as a parking ban is announced. You may monitor all closure announcements by tuning your radio in to WPRO 630AM, or check the ABC 6 website to see if Providence has a parking ban listed.