Building the Beloved Community

Building the Beloved Community (BBC)* has been a growing effort at First Church since 2008.  A timeline of key learning events, book and film discussions, speakers, and activities are listed HERE.

In addition to these specific events, a large part of this effort has included regular, often in-depth discussions by church leaders and committees as well as formal and informal efforts that are not easily listed in a clear chronology. Consideration of the style and breadth of our various worship offerings (including Jazz services and Night Song) and intentional efforts towards increasing diversity of our lay leadership and staff, have resulted in these once 'sacred conversations' shared between a gathered few taking on a more “center stage” role throughout the church, including the Executive Council and Deacons meetings.

In addition, BBC team members have been proactive in promoting discussions and brainstorming sessions in small group settings, countless individual meetings and conversations, and by working with people from other faiths and cultures in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Refugee Immigration Ministry, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, and Mass Coalition Against Gun Violence.  No longer a sidebar or an isolated interest of a small group, First Church as a whole has come to "own" the value of this effort even as we recognize we still and will always have more work to do in manifesting God's beloved community.  

The Building Beloved Community group welcomes ideas for future activities and events. Also, if you are interested in getting involved in the work of Racial Justice and Building the Beloved Community, please contact Jean Bellow ( or Peggy Stevens (


*At First Church in Cambridge, we have adopted Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a “Beloved Community by “striving to be a multicultural and multiracial church in which people of all races, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic situations, ages, and abilities feel honored and included” (statement adopted by the congregation in 2012). The group charged with leading the church towards this vision is the “Building the Beloved Community” group.

Jean Bellow

Latest Building the Beloved Community News

Posted: May 16 2019 - 1:49pm

Sunday, June 2, 12:30 p.m., Margaret Jewett Hall

Documentary filmmaker Macky Alston will be with us following Morning Worship on June 2 to share some of his journey that led to the documentary Family Name that we are screening today and to his current work on a film about reparations. First Church member Abby Shuman is a longtime friend of Macky’s and is Executive Producer on this latest project. Together they are traveling the country to learn from individuals and groups who are engaging in the work of reparations to African Americans and Native Americans. Macky has already directed a portion of his family inheritance to a black-led organization in Georgia. Join us as we continue to learn about slavery’s living legacy and ask where God is leading us next, as we consider what may be First Church’s own calling to do our part to be “repairers of the breach.”

Please pray for the victims and their families who were terrorized at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California.

Please attend the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) Healthcare Assembly on May 29 from 7 until pm. The location is TBD, and will be announced soon.

To address institutional racism, please call your state representative and Senator, and ask for abolishment of mandatory minimums in sentencing. Ask them to contact the Joint Committee dealing with this legislation. For more background on this...