Current News

Rev. Catie Participating in May 4 Minns Lecture

By , April 15, 2016
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The 2016 Minns Lectures are coming up on April 27, May 4, and May 11 at First Church Boston by the Rev. Stephen Kendrick. The talks are being sponsored by First Church Boston and King’s Chapel as part of the Minns Lectures, an annual series of public talks by prominent Unitarian Universalist clergy.  Rev. Catie will be giving one of the “responses” at the May 4 session.

Stephen Kendrick’s lectures are titled, “Kosmos: Remembering a Future for Unitarian Universalism.” He will be asking us to think about the changing American religious landscape and how religious liberals can face this future boldly and creatively. Stephen writes, “In a world growing hotter by the day and more confusing in terms of religious and national borders, we could use a refresher course in Margaret Fuller’s ‘A New Manifestation Is at Hand,’ and Emerson’s cry, ‘I will left up my hands and say, Kosmos!'”

Stephen Kendrick is the author of four books, Holy Clues, Night Watch (a novel), and, with his son Paul, two books of history, Sarah’s Long Walk (Beacon Press) and Douglass and Lincoln (Walker & Co.). He has also written an illustrated book for older teens (and anyone else) about UU history called, A Faith People Make. His articles have appeared in the UU World, Utne Reader, American Heritage, the New York Times travel page, and the editorial pages of the Boston Globe and the Hartford Courant.

Please tell anyone who might interested about these talks, and encourage them to register at The talks are free. Dinner will be served at 6:00PM and the lectures will begin at 7:15PM. We would like to get as good a count of attendees as possible in advance.

First Parish Roll and Stroll is Coming May 22nd

Roll and Stroll is a church wide, multigenerational event to demonstrate and live our commitment to taking care of the earth.  Your neighborhood groups are organizing to walk, bike, scooter or car pool together to church.  Feel free to contact your neighborhood captains if you have not heard from them.  This year we are adding some twists to make it extra special! We’ll be welcoming our beloved dogs to the Roll and Stroll.  The Perez family has volunteered their fenced in back yard to host a “dog playdate” during the Sunday morning service.                                                                                     

Everyone will gather on the First Parish lawn for lemonade and a group photo at 10:05.  Then those families with dogs will walk them to the Perez’s where there will be pet sitters.  The Perez’s live a half block down from First Parish on Dedham Avenue.  Please let your neighborhood captain or Laura Perez ( know by May 1st if you will be walking your dog, so we can plan accordingly.

There will also be a fun but easy en route scavenger hunt.  We are asking everyone to keep track of how long it takes to walk to church as well as the distance because we will be calculating how much CO2 we are saving as a congregation, and how many calories we are burning.  Neighborhood groups are encouraged to be creative, e.g. with banners, matching colored shirts or hats, and /or balloons.

There will be no children’s music practice, adult choir, or forum before church so everyone is free to participate.  This is a rain or shine, hopefully shine event.  If you have any questions please contact your neighborhood captain, or Laura Perez( or Elinor Brady. 

Message from the Nominating Committee

It is with great joy, and a small bit of pride, that the Nominating Committee announces that it has found candidates for each of the spots it was charged with filling—Parish Clerk, Parish Vice President, three at-large members of Parish Committee, and a Trustee of Invested Funds. The full slate of candidates will be announced shortly when the warrant for the Annual Meeting comes out.

Having accomplished our mission relatively quickly, we turned our remaining time and effort to filling some other current and upcoming needs within the congregation. Unfortunately, we were not as successful in this endeavor. The following committees and roles still need to be filled. If you are interested, please contact the person listed under each one.

  • Finance Committee. This committee does not exist at the moment, but is being reconstituted; one of its first orders of business will be to figure out its responsibilities. Please contact Rev. Catie or Gail Hedges (Parish President) with questions.
  • Continuing Education. Phil Lynes has been the primary coordinator of our continuing education programming. Other committees have partnered with him to put on events, but this committee should really have more than one active member. It would be particularly useful if you could promote the events beyond the members of the congregation. Please speak with Phil Lynes if you have questions.
  • Social Hour. Eleanor Rossellini has been doing tremendous work for the past few years, and deserves a break. The main duties of this role will be reminding committees and other groups which Sundays they will host, sending written directions (already drafted) to the lead hosts, and handling the swapping of Sundays that comes up throughout the year. A group of “friends of Social Hour” exists to provide some support to this position. Please contact Eleanor if you might be interested.
  • Caring Crew. Buffy Duhig coordinates a remarkable group of people to provide for the needs of members and friends of the congregation—everything from rides to doctors’ appointments to hot, home-cooked meals and back again. They can always use more help.

Please do not think this is an exhaustive list. Worship Committee is looking for new members, as are Archives and Communication, and the RE Committee can certainly use more teacher-volunteers—to say nothing of the committees whose search for members has not come to the attention of any members of the Nominating Committee. Please, if you have any interest in getting (more) involved in any aspect of Parish life, speak up. You can click the “get involved” tab on our website ( for more information.

New UU Course to be offered

By , April 11, 2016
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Thursdays April 28, May 5, and May 12, 7-8:30pm in the Youth Room

This three-session course is designed specifically for those new to Unitarian Universalism, but offers some great refreshers for long time UUs as well. Join Rever-end Catie and Mark LaPointe, our Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration, as we examine what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist in the 21st Century. We’ll take a look at who we are, what we believe and how we take action in the world, all in light of our rich Unitarian Universalist tradition and heritage. Registration is requested and childcare is available upon request for those who need it. Please contact Mark LaPointe, DLRE for more information or to register.

Creativity in the Community: The First Parish Art Show

By , March 31, 2016
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Hidden Talent All Around! Please Join Us On April 9th, 2016, in Parish Hall, 7-9pm and During Social Hour April 10

Prepare to be enthralled by an impressive array of artwork in myriad forms and be completely amazed by leisure time pursuits of First Parish artists on display.

It’s a “no age-requirement”  show, so come and learn about the fine work created by Youth Group members and by those in Positive Aging as well. Multi-generational indeed!

There will be oil and watercolor paintings, wood carvings, tapestries, photographs, stained glass mosaics, collages, drawings, metal and wood sculptures, a replica not to be missed and much, much more!

If you aren’t involved yet, come to the table at Social Hour and sign up–or contact Amy Cicala or David Berman!!  And even if you don’t have works to display, come to the Show and Enjoy!

Needed: Donations to help Asylum-Seeking Families in Massachusetts

By , March 25, 2016
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Some 55 families now in the Boston area fled dangerous conditions in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and are seeking asylum in the United States. After facing terrible trauma at home, a long and arduous trip to the United States, and lengthy detention in Texas, these families, almost all women and children, migrated to Massachusetts and need help.

Beverly Freeman, a member of the Belmont UU church and the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force, has established a link to RAICES, a Texas legal services nonprofit, to help these asylum-seeking families and have already migrated to Massachusetts. Bev is working to raise money to help these desperate families, who have just begun the asylum application process. The goal is $35,000 to support a half-time case manager position at the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) in Boston. The IIIC is a long-standing and well-respected organization that helps immigrant families from across the world to settle in the US by providing legal, wellness and educational services. The case manager will help the asylum seekers find legal, medical and other services. Bev says that this effort to help the families in Massachusetts “will hopefully serve as a model for other states.”

“Those who donate will receive a full report of progress in resettling these families and giving them a truly openhearted welcome to Massachusetts. Any amount is appreciated!” She said.

To donate and for more information, go to

If you have questions, contact Scott Muldoon.

Mary Bilder’s Book Wins Prestigious Prize

By , March 24, 2016
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Congrats to Boston College Law School professor Mary Bilder, whose book, “Madison’s Hand: Revisiting the Constitutional Convention,” is one of the winners of the Bancroft Prize, considered to be among the most prestigious awards in the field of American history writing.  Bilder’s book uses digital technology and textual analysis to study how James Madison revised his notes on the event, thereby challenging the belief that Madison’s version of the 1787 Constitutional Convention was an objective contemporaneous account. Read an interview with Mary about her book.


Workday at the Needham Community Farm

2015 NCF work crew

2015 NCF work crew

Get your hands dirty! On Sunday, April 24, First Parish volunteers will head out to the Needham Community Farm for our annual work day. We will be working up to 2 hours to help with the garden beds that will be used for community gardening classes and to grow fresh vegetables for the Needham Food Pantry. The work is appropriate for adults and children 6 years and up.  Sign up at Social Hour during April or contact Katrina Kipp at Volunteers will be given a farmers’ lunch at Social Hour, then set out for the farm. First Parish has been a staunch supporter of the Needham Community Farm, which in 2015, supplied more than 60% of the total fresh produce the Needham Food Pantry received.


The Next Big Question

The Big Questions Forum continues in March. The topic is: “You’re Dead: Now What?” This discussion will focus on what part of us, if any, survives our death.
Does some part of us go to heaven or hell or do we reincarnate and continue the cycle of death and rebirth or do we all just become a worm banquet.

The forum will take place on the 4th Tuesday of March, the 22nd at 7:30. We will meet in the Parlor and briefly introduce the topic and then break up into discussion groups.

For more information on the Biq Questions series, go here.

First Parish on Television

Beginning Sunday, March 6th, during coffee hour, six tapes on First Parish, filmed by the Needham Community Channel, will be shown during March and April.  Facilitated by the Archives Committee, the segments, taped two years ago, will be available on our church TV in the corner of Parish Hall opposite the piano. 

The schedule is:
March 6—Rev. Katie Lee Crane
March 13— Ruth Sutro
March 17—Ed Lane
April 3—Archives Committee
April 10—Ed Quinlan and Carl Franceschi
April 17—Jamie Turbayne.


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