Posts By Mark LaPointe, DLRE

It’s coming…

By , Published on January 18, 2018
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You may not remember, but this coming spring, I’ll be going on a sabbatical so that I can work on rewriting our “Lessons of Loss” curriculum.  We are currently making plans to cover the many things I do and to spread out the work a bit during my absence. While Alexis will take on some additional hours, this will only cover some of the time needed.  With that in mind, please let me or Reverend Catie know if you’d like to give a bit of your time toward making the RE program run smoothly even with the DLRE out of the church.  Taking on a single project can make a big difference and your gift of time will be most gratefully accepted.

If you want to read the original sabbatical post, click here.



Mark LaPointe, DLRE

Later, If You Need Me

By , Published on October 9, 2017
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Worship Service
Sunday, October 22, 2017
10:30am in the Sanctuary
DLRE Mark LaPointe, preaching

While struggles against oppression, violence and discrimination converge all along the long arch of history, in these modern times resistance seems episodic and often disconnected. Sometimes it feels like a formula — find an issue of the moment, protest for change, get results (or not), and move on. How can we, as people called to action, draw upon our faith and our own history to embody the longer view? How can we help to foster, encourage and support the notion that resistance is a long process requiring commitment and connection past, present and future?

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

Senior Youth Group meets at 7pm in the Parlor.

Spirit Play

By , Published on September 21, 2017
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This past Saturday, RE Committee co-chair and volunteer teacher, Dana Robinson and I trekked over to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Northborough for an 8-hour training in Spirit Play, an exciting new addition to our RE line up.  Part of the multi-year curriculum change that we launched two years ago, Spirit Play builds from the Montessori method and Jerome Berryman’s Godly Play to engage children in Preschool through First Grades in Unitarian Universalism, ethics, world religion and spiritual exploration.  

The basic premise of Spirit Play is that young children learn best when given room to explore in their own way through play.  Each Spirit Play class begins with a story that tells a moral lesson, or perhaps a bit of UU history, or some unanswerable mystery of life, and so on.  Unlike reading a children’s book, however, the stories are told using what we educators call manipulatives (material items that can be touched and moved).  The storyteller ends the lesson by raising up wondering statements such as, “I wonder what it’s like to break a promise,” or “I wonder if you’ve ever experienced unfairness.”  The children are left to contemplate and wonder without being given answers.  As one story notes, “sometimes there are different answers to the same question. Sometimes there are no answers to a question. But, we keep on asking anyway.”

Ask me or Dana or any of the RE Committee members a bit more about Spirit Play if you’re curious.  Sometime this fall we will present one of the Spirit Play stories as the Time for All Ages during worship.  We are excited about this addition to our RE program and want to share this excitement with the church.  

In peace,

Mark LaPointe

Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration

Coming of Age Parent Meeting

By , Published on May 24, 2017
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There is a parent meeting scheduled for June 11th at 12:30 (location to be announced) to learn about the new Coming of Age program and to have an opportunity to share thoughts and questions. Especially pertinent for parents of 6th, 7th and 8th grade youth.

 COA Mentors Needed for 2017-2018 Church School Year

Help us launch our first full year Coming of Age program by mentoring a 9th grader through an exciting process of exploration and discovery. Mentors must be good listeners and should have a caring spirit and a decent sense of humor. We are especially interested in Baby Boomers and others in their post-parenting years, although all interested individuals are considered for a match.  The program begins in September and requires approximately one Sunday per month with occasional opportunities to accompany youth on outings and activities.  Please contact Mark LaPointe to express interest.

Sabbatical Plans

By , Published on May 17, 2017
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When we hear the word, “sabbatical,” we inevitably think of our favorite college professor off for a year studying African elephants in the Serengeti or sitting at a lakeside cabin writing their next book of award-winning poems. Continue reading…

Annual Senior Youth Group Service

By , Published on April 30, 2017
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Worship Service
Sunday, May 21, 2017
10:30am in the Meetinghouse
Led by the Senior Youth Group

When considering our call to service, we must consider the differences between indirect vs. direct service work. Do we as Unitarian Universalists place more value on one type of service? If we open our hearts, can both be fulfilling? Come be inspired by our fabulous Senior Youth group, who have just come from Thompson Island and Nashua, NH, ready to help us explore these questions. Through their time together on their service trip and beyond, this group provides a unique voice to our community at First Parish. All should come and hear their message as we contemplate the 3rd stanza of our covenant “We gather as a service community, to share our beliefs through action and care for our world”.

Children attend the first 15 minutes followed by Religious Exploration classes. Childcare available for infants and toddlers.

Junior Youth Group meets at 5pm in the Parlor.

Senior Youth Group meets at 7pm in the Parlor.


Perfectly Imbalanced

By , Published on March 23, 2017
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Worship Service
Sunday, April 2, 2017
10:30am in the Meetinghouse
DLRE Mark LaPointe, preaching

We tend to think that our ultimate goal is to live a “balanced” life.  Yet, the image we have of balance is one of stasis. The scale never tips in either direction. Everything is safe, comfortable and predictable. This is not only unrealistic, it is undesirable.   Instead, we should strive to live a life that is perfectly imbalanced, moving forward and growing through the back and forth of a whole and dynamic life.

Children attend the first 15 minutes followed by RE classes with members of the Green Sanctuary Committee. Childcare available for infants and toddlers.

Junior Youth Group at 5pm  in the Parlor.

Senior Youth Group at 7pm in the Parlor.

Help Wanted: Seeking Youth Program Coordinator

By , Published on March 8, 2017
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First Parish of Needham, Unitarian Universalist is looking for a creative and committed individual to act as our part-time Youth Program Coordinator. This person works under the supervision of the Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration and is responsible for planning and implementing weekly meetings (most Sundays) of our senior and junior high school youth groups, as well as our annual service trip during the April or February school break, and other service-oriented opportunities. The successful candidate will have some experience working with youth and will bring an open mind and generous spirit to our program.

Interested parties should submit a cover letter and resume electronically to Please note “Youth Program Coordinator” in the subject line. The position is open until filled with the successful candidate expected to begin work in mid-August 2017.

You can learn more about First Parish at

Printed Job Announcement.

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