Posts By Rev. Catie Scudera

UU White Supremacy Teach-In 2

By , Published on October 6, 2017
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Needham Lyceum
Sunday, October 22, 2017
9:15am in the Parlor
Rev. Catie Scudera, speaking

Our national denomination was rocked by a hiring controversy in the spring of 2017, and leaders of Black Lives of UU responded by organizing an international U/U White Supremacy Teach-In. We participated in this Teach-In through worship and children’s RE the same weekend we hosted the Icons of the Civil Rights Movement art exhibition in April 2017. Now in October, we participate in a second international U/U White Supremacy Teach-In through religious exploration for all ages: children, youth, and adults. Join Rev. Catie for a Lyceum about American racism, white supremacy, and how Unitarian Universalists have been (and can be) both complicit and resistors to racial oppression in our country.

Support Sanctuary, Save Lives


“Support Sanctuary, Save Lives” PDF

Worship Service
Sunday, October 15, 2017
10:30am in the Sanctuary
Rev. Catie Scudera, preaching

An ancient method of congregational non-compliance with oppressive governments is back on the rise: providing “sanctuary” within houses of worship. Many faith communities in Needham are exploring how they can support the New Sanctuary Movement either as a Level 1 sanctuary-providing congregation or as a Level 2 sanctuary-supporting congregation. This Sunday, we’ll explore the spiritual and ethical grounds for — and the practicalities of — participating in the New Sanctuary Movement.

Children attend first 15 minutes of worship followed by Religious Education Classes. Nursery are available.

Junior Youth Group meets at 5pm in the Parlor.

Senior Youth Group meets at 7pm in the Parlor.

Pastoral Message about the Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

By , Published on October 2, 2017
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I am devastated to write to you, yet again, in the wake of a major national tragedy: the mass shooting at a Las Vegas outdoor concert that has already claimed nearly sixty lives, with five hundred more people injured. Though we will not forget the lives at risk from ongoing flooding, infrastructure damage, and insufficient government assistance across the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas, our hearts are always torn apart whenever any individual unleashes such terrible violence. And, “whenever” is far too frequent in our country. Painful as it is, we keep all the victims of this violence in our hearts and pray for solace for the Las Vegas community.

Please know that the Pastoral Care team and I are available for spiritual support during this difficult time; please feel free to reach out to us by email or phone. Also, the Congregational Church will host an interfaith vigil in remembrance of all those killed and injured in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7pm.

I know one of our most difficult tasks after a tragedy is to respond to questions from the children of our congregation. If you are struggling to explain what has happened to your children and to comfort them, please know that Mark LaPointe and I are available by email and phone to support you and that our denomination has a website full of resources for parents during these tragic and all-too-common times. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times about Charlottesville includes a list of advice for parents for talking to both younger kids and teens.

We must take care of our emotional and spiritual health after a tragedy like this, but we cannot be complacent and believe we are powerless to end gun violence. My friend and United Church of Christ Andover-Newton graduate, Casey Guet, wrote this in righteous anger about our national ambivalence toward gun violence:

Why do guns grow from the ground, oh Lord?
Why did you make something, which kills so quickly?

Why do you allow these killing machines to be plucked
From our gardens?
And sold in our gun markets?

We will not take any responsibility.
We never do.
In the beginning, God created the gun and the bullet.

There is nothing we can do, nothing to stop these tragedies.
Perhaps, if we created guns with our own hands,
Perhaps, if we could use our system of laws,

But there is nothing we can do.
The guns will keep cropping up.
The guns will keep growing.

I wonder, is there a way to destroy these flowers of death?
But cash crops are so hard to burn.

Indeed, “cash crops” like the gun industry are hard to burn — yet, we must not succumb to despair, we must keep trying. People’s lives depend on our efforts! The Unitarian Universalist Association is committed to proactively respond to the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Our congregation actively supports the local anti-homicide, pro-peace Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, and I encourage each of you to learn more about organizations like Stop Handgun Violence, the Brady Campaign, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Our beloved member of blessed memory, Ed Lane, gave a Lyceum in January about gun violence, adding a supplemental blog article to emphasize that strong gun control laws (like those we have in Massachusetts) significantly reduce gun violence. If you feel passionate about reducing gun violence and mass shootings in Massachusetts and across our nation, I encourage you to call to your state and federal elected officials and tell them how you feel!

As Unitarian Universalists, we are committed to the ethical principles affirming that every person has inherent worth and dignity and that we must work together for a world community of peace, liberty, and justice for all. We will pray for all those impacted by gun violence, and we will work to be peacemakers locally and nationally.


Fight, Flight, Freeze

By , Published on September 26, 2017
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Fight Flight Freeze

“Fight, Flight, Freeze” PDF

Worship Service
Sunday, October 1, 2017
10:30am in the Sanctuary
Rev. Catie Scudera, preaching

As we head into Resistance month, we consider on this Sunday that resistance is the slowing down of any change — not only change we don’t like. What does it look and feel like when we react to positive change out of fear? We will also celebrate St. Francis Day with a Blessing of the Animals Time for All Ages (animals may be held in our hearts and memories).


Memorial Service Celebrating the Life of Ed Lane

By , Published on September 21, 2017
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September 30th, 11am, Sanctuary
Reception to follow at noon in the Parish Hall

All are welcome to a memorial celebration of the life of Ed Lane. Rev. Catie Scudera will officiate — with many other ministerial guests, we are sure. Childcare will be available.

We regret that the service is scheduled on Yom Kippur, but we hope all that wish to will be able to attend.  

First Parishoners: Please be in touch with Buffy Duhig if you are able to assist with the reception. 

Your People Are My People

By , Published on September 9, 2017
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“Your People Are My People” PDF

Worship Service
Sunday, September 24, 2017
10:30am in the Sanctuary
Rev. Catie Scudera, preaching

On our Sunday morning during the Jewish High Holy Days, we’ll reflect on the Hebrew Bible story of Ruth and Naomi and on the words of Unitarian Universalists of color about their experiences of being welcomed — or not — into our majority-white faith. How can we make our congregation, denomination, and country more hospitable for people of all backgrounds and identity groups? If all moves according to plan (which we know sometimes it does not!), we will also launch our Worship Café on this Sunday. Mark your calendar, and we hope you’ll check out our innovative set-up in the Parish Hall!

A Good God

By , Published on August 31, 2017
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“A Good God” PDF

Worship Service
Sunday, September 17, 2017
10:30am in the Sanctuary
Rev. Catie Scudera, preaching

Our eighteenth-century Universalist ancestors proclaimed that the God worshipped in neighboring Christian congregations lacked a certain goodness. Furthermore, they declared that if the God worshipped on Sunday mornings was harsh, judgmental, and strict, the people of that congregation would become so as well — and that was not the desired effect of religious community. During this service, we’ll connect theology to ethics and look to our spiritual ancestors’ Universalist, process, and humanist theologies for alternative conceptions of the divine. For our families with children, remember that children’s religious exploration kicks off this Sunday!

Ingathering Worship & Water Communion

Worship Service
Sunday, September 10, 2017
10:30am in the Sanctuary
Rev. Catie Scudera, preaching

Welcome back, First Parishioners! At our annual Ingathering Worship, the program staff is excited to see everyone who’s been away for the summer months and all those who led and participated in our summer worship services. Our multigenerational Ingathering worship will explore different practices of hospitality from around the world. We’ll all participate in the Unitarian Universalist water communion ceremony (please remember your water from your summer adventures!), and stay after worship for our annual all-congregation photograph and our potluck picnic sponsored by our RE Committee.

Also, please note that the Blessing of the Backpacks & Clothing Drive will be held at noon in the Sanctuary.

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