Current News

No More Bellman

By , August 17, 2017
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For 53 years, First Parishioners have turned to the Bellman to find out what’s going on in our community. But the times are a-changing, and consequently the Summer 2017 issue will be the last Bellman.

This is a decision we’ve been approaching for several years, one based on declining readership, the duplication of content on the web, Facebook, and in Bell Notes, the volunteer time and effort that goes into producing the Bellman, and the overall move toward electronic media in our culture. At its April 12 meeting, the Parish Committee endorsed the recommendation of the Communications Committee to drop the Bellman.

Both committees recognize that some congregants will be disappointed with this decision, but ask those congregants to do their best to adapt to the Bell Notes, the website and Facebook as their information sources for First Parish — and to let us know when their communication needs are not being met. The Communications Committee and the Pastoral Care Associates will work together to see that those with no electronic access stay connected with the First Parish community. As always, we invite your feedback at

Laurie Ann Gerber Memorial Program: A Cancer Survival Story

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Vegetarian Pot Luck at 6pm
Program at 7pm

The next Laurie Ann Gerber Memorial program will share a very powerful true story about how a young woman survived cancer. In 2010 Heidi Smith from NH was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 45. The cancer had spread to her liver. Her oncologist got her started on a very strong chemotherapy protocol (the Standard of Care) that would involve 12 separate treatments spread out over a period of many weeks. After completing the first 4 treatments, the oncologist informed Heidi that the chemotherapy was working very well. The cancer was in remission. Then, just prior to the start of her 5th treatment, Heidi called the chemotherapy clinic to tell them that she would not be having the last 8 treatments on the scheduled dates. Her father had discovered some extremely important information related to treating cancer. She was enlightened by this information and decided to deviate from her current path. Her oncologist was alarmed. He essentially told Heidi that her deviation from the Standard of Care may lead to her death in 6 to 8 months. However, 7 years after hearing those words from her oncologist, Heidi Smith is alive and well. Come to our meeting on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 to hear Heidi’s story. We will have a vegetarian pot luck starting at 6pm. Then there will be a brief introduction starting at 7pm and Heidi’s story will start around 7:10pm. Seating will be limited so you have to call Jeanne or Joe Gerber at (781) 801-0199 to make a reservation. The meeting will be held at First Parish in Needham, Unitarian Universalist, 23 Dedham Ave., Needham, MA.

Needham Food Pantry Collection at Summer Services

On Sunday, June 25th, our First Parish Summer Services will start in Parish Hall at 10:30am and continue each Sunday through September 3rd. Before each service, we will collect food and miscellaneous items to give to the Needham Food Pantry as we have done for the past three years. We hope you will participate in being a “Summer Sustainer” for the Needham Food Pantry this year! The “WISH LIST” for each Sunday’s donation includes the following foods: canned fruit, cereal, 100% juice (plastic bottles & juice boxes appreciated), canned seafood (tuna, salmon, crabmeat, clams, etc.) canned meat (chili, beef stew, small canned ham, etc.), honey, jam/jelly, fresh fruits, veggies/potatoes, oil (olive, vegetable, canola), salt & pepper, brown rice & rice mixes. Miscellaneous items are: toilet paper, aluminum foil, tissues, paper towels, bar soap, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, liquid laundry soap, coffee, peanut butter, shampoo, and toothpaste. Note: We have volunteers signed up to collect and deliver items in late June, all July, and early August. If you want to help collect and deliver items in mid-to-late August or Labor Day Weekend, please contact Marguerite Robbins. Happy Summer to all!!

Last Call for First Parish T-Shirts!

Do you want to represent First Parish at the next big march or just while you’re out and about? Order your First Parish t-shirt by noon on Saturday, May 27th, at this link. T-shirts will be delivered in time for Boston Pride on June 10th! 

On the site you can choose from several different styles:  unisex T, women’s T, or a tank top (pictured:  Unisex T-shirt).  All are 100% ring-spun cotton, so they’re extra-soft.


Summer Services at First Parish

FBP-LyceumOur summer services commence June 25 and take place at 10:30am in air-conditioned Parish Hall. Click here for a listing of upcoming services. Services are a simpler version of our regular services and are often lay led. There are no Lyceums or Religious Exploration classes, but childcare is available for children 5 and under, and light refreshments are served afterwards. Additional details on individual services may be available on, in the weekly Bell Notes email, or by calling the office at 781-444-0823.


First Parish Picture Directory

The Membership Committee will be publishing the First Parish picture directory this summer.  Most of FP’s members and friends have already posted their pictures to the Realm.  But, there are still a number of recalcitrants out there.  If you would like to have your picture in the directory, please let the Membership Committee know.  You can provide a family picture or an individual picture or both.  It is best to provide a family picture if you wish everyone to show up in the directory.  We need these pictures within the next couple of weeks.  The deadline is Sunday, June 11.

The pictures need to be in digital format.  Send them to Tony Cicala of the Membership Committee.  If you do not know if you have a picture in the Realm, send Tony an email and he will check for you.

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