Past Programs

Electric Vehicles

Maura O'Gara & First Parish members
Sunday, January 29, 2017


Clilck on the link to view the slides

Drive Green with Mass Energy Needham January 29 2017

Needham Lyceum Sunday, January 29, 2017

9:15am in the Parlor
Maura O’Gara & First Parish Members

A Lyceum about electric vehicles, with a panel of First Parish congregants who have all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Also participating will be Maura O’Gara, Energy Programs Coordinator for Mass Energy. She will explain Mass Energy’s Drive Green program, which offers deep discounts that Mass Energy has negotiated on several electric vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max Energi and Ford Fusion Energi. Deals on the all-electric Chevy Bolt are coming soon. Green Congregation will also have a table at Social Hour on January 29 with information about the Mass Energy program.  


Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow is Still With Us

Cassandra Bensahih and John Bowman
Sunday, January 22, 2017


Please call and/or email and request they co-sponsor “An Act for Justice Reinvestment” Senate 1128 House 2714

Rep. Garlick 617-722-2810

Senator Ross 617-722-1555

Senator Rush 617-722-1348

Handout pages.

justice-reinvestment     reform-MA      poverty

Needham Lyceum
Sunday, January 22, 2017
9:15am in the Parlor
Cassandra Bensahih and John Bowman

Mass incarceration is increasingly recognized as a major problem.  Many people — a disproportionate number of whom are black — are locked up for nonviolent crimes for which other forms of treatment would be more appropriate.  As a result, families are broken up and neighborhoods disrupted.  

Massachusetts has more than 90,000 individuals enmeshed in its criminal justice system.  Sunday’s program will include life stories and a slideshow with data that lays open this painful problem in a powerful way. Cassandra Bensahih is Executive Director of EPOCA (Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement).  She is an ex-prisoner and founder of EPOCA and is known as a powerful, motivating speaker.  John Bowman is a retired lawyer and a volunteer with Jobs NOT Jails, a coalition of groups that works for a humane solution to the problem of the heavy overuse of jailing people when other options are available.  

Attend this lyceum to learn and leave to act, as you are moved, to make a difference.

A Lyceum on the Second Amendment

Ed Lane
Sunday, January 8, 2017


Needham Lyceum

Sunday, January 8, 2017
9:15am in the Parlor
Ed Lane speaking

“A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

We’ll begin with its English history and the American debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the proposed Second Amendment, which became part of the Constitution in 1791. We’ll look at the six Supreme Court decisions—1876, 1886, 1929 1939, 2008, 2010—on the Second Amendment.

We’ll look at the current issues and options in the continuing debate on the right to bear arms.  You will be surprised at some of these!

Our UUA Beacon Press has published a book; Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People, And Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control, by Dennis A. Henigan.

Ed received the UUA Skinner Award in 1967 for “The Most Significant Sermon of Social Concern,” a sermon on the need for gun controls that he wrote fifty years ago.   


SpeakOUT Boston

SpeakOUT Panel
Sunday, November 18, 2016

Needham Lyceum
Sunday, November 18, 2016
9am in the Parlor

Please note unusual start time.

The Welcoming Congregation Committee will host a panel of speakers from SpeakOUT Boston who will share their personal stories of being LGBTQ and will discuss sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, transitioning, and much more. SpeakOUT’s motto is “Ask Us Anything,” and the speakers will open up the floor for a lively question and answer session to allow the audience plenty of opportunity to engage with the speakers. Note:  although this Lyceum was organized before the election, it feels particularly relevant and necessary in this post-election world.

Understanding the Ballot Initiatives

Bob Smart
Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday, October 30
9:15am in the Parlor

There are four ballot initiatives on the Massachusetts ballot this year, including legalization of use and sale of recreational marijuana, expanded charter schools, humane treatment of farm animals, and expanded slot machine gambling. Join attorney and First Parish member Bob Smart for a discussion of the ins and outs of these measures and what a “yes” or “no” vote on each of these would mean.  

Supporting Green Power in New England

Loie Hayes
Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Needham Lyceum season opens on Sept. 25 at 9:15 a.m. with “Supporting Green Power in New England.” Loie Hayes, of the non-profit Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, will give an overview of renewable energy in New England and tell us how Mass Energy supports clean energy and energy efficiency in our region. Learn about local renewable energy projects and how you can help support them. Loie Hayes is Mass Energy’s Energy Efficiency Coordinator and has been organizing on climate issues since 2005.

Building Bridges with American Muslims

Dr. Craig Considine
Sunday, June 12, 2016

Join us at 12:30pm this Sunday, June 12, in the Parlor for a discussion entitled Building Bridges With American Muslims.  Islam and Muslims have become key issues in discussions about American identity. People of all faith backgrounds have engaged in heated debates about the intersection between Islam and religious tolerance, and these debates will only intensify as the racial and ethnic composition continues to shift in the United States. Muslim Americans constitute one of the critical components of this quiet transformation. Despite the growing size and significance of Muslims in the U.S., surprisingly little is known about this religious community. Our knowledge about the factors that shape their experiences and how their experiences translate into the social, cultural and political arena is limited at best. How can we bridge the perceived gap between Islam and American identity? What, ultimately, does it mean to be American? And what can Christians do to build better relations with their Muslim neighbors? This talk will focus on three main issues: the diversity of Muslim Americans, Islamophobia and Christian-Muslim relations in the U.S. and abroad. A Q&A session will follow.

Craig Considine, a graduate of Needham High School (2003), is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Rice University. His research interests include Islam in America, Islamophobia, sociology of religion, race and ethnic relations, and Christian-Muslim relations. Dr. Considine has conducted two major research projects based in qualitative methodologies: “Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam”, which took him to over 100 mosques in 75 American cities to explore American identity through the lens of Muslims, and his PhD research, based on the experiences of young Pakistani Muslim men in Dublin, Ireland and Boston, Massachusetts. His forthcoming book is preliminarily titled, Pakphobia: Islam, Race and Identity in the Pakistan Diaspora (Routledge – Taylor and Francis Group). He has published in academic journals such as Religions and Diaspora Studies, and his opinion pieces have appeared in Fox News, Newsweek (online), The Washington Post, and Huffington Post. Dr. Considine holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Trinity College Dublin. He received his MS.c. from Royal Holloway – University of London and a B.A. from American University in Washington, D.C.

Human trafficking

Peter DiMarzio
Sunday, June 12, 2016

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Human trafficking is a horrific injustice we can not be silent on, it effects everyone, women, men, and especially our children right here in our local communities.   Come learn what human trafficking is and how to protect your family, its right here in our own backyards, hidden in plain sight.

Peter DiMarzio is a member of the First Parish Social Action Committee. He works for the US Department of Homeland Security with a special focus on helping victims of human trafficking.

An American Muslim’s Perspective on Religion, Militarism and Politics

Hayat Imam
Sunday, May 15, 2016


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Amid threats of banning of Muslims, closing of mosques, monitoring Muslim neighborhoods, come and hear Hayat Imam, an American Muslim of Bangladeshi origin. She is a feminist-activist whose dedication to building global social justice movements in the far corners of the world and in the US is well-known. Through her efforts toward nuclear disarmament, renewable energy, and economic opportunities for women, she has sought to increase understanding by sharing the perspectives of people worldwide. Questions? Please contact Linda Davis.

[Stop] The West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline

Paul Horn and Nancy Wilson
Sunday, April 17, 2016


Last year, construction of a gas pipeline was begun that poses potentially devastating threats to our area. The West Roxbury Lateral pipeline, as it is called, will carry natural gas, developed through fracking, at an unprecedented pressure. An extension will stretch from Westwood through Dedham and West Roxbury near homes, businesses, and an active quarry.. The gas will not be sold domestically but exported abroad. see also

On April 23, some 500 UUs and members of other faiths from across the region plan to resist construction. For more information, go to:

To learn about the pipeline, please join us for the Lyceum, Sunday April 17. Two key leaders of Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Coalition, or SWRL, will lead the discussion.

Paul Horn is a 30-year West Roxbury resident and one of the founding members of SWRL (see With a background in city planning and community development, Paul teaches business communication at Babson College and provides presentation skill training to industry.

Mary Boyle, a retired educator, has lived in West Roxbury for 39 years. She has felt the blasting from West Roxbury Crushed Stone quarry throughout that time and so was stunned when she learned that the West Roxbury Lateral gas pipeline would be built through her neighborhood. Mary has stepped in to replace Nancy Wilson, who had to pull out. Thank you, Mary!

(For more info on efforts to stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, read this and  Clark Taylor’s personal take on why protest?)


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