Current News

Positively Aging Meets With Senior Center Director LaTanya Steele

Tuesday October 10, at 4pm in the parlor

Tuesday, October 10, we have a very special opportunity to hear and talk with LaTanya Steele, the Director of the Senior Center in Needham.  She will talk about old and new programs at the Senior Center (The Center at the Heights), give us materials, and listen to our suggestions about how they might be able to meet our needs in the future.

Some of you have participated in programs at the Senior Center, and you’ll have a chance to share your thoughts and recruit your friends from the Positively Aging group.  For those of you, who have never gone to a class, program, trip, etc. at the Senior Center, this is your chance to get connected.  There are SOOOO many wonderful things offered there.  There must be something for each of us.  

Please come to hear, participate, and share in another afternoon with good friends.  You’re missed when you’re not there.  Tuesday, October 10 at 4:00 in the parlor at First Parish.  We’ll provide the drinks and snacks.  

The Positively Aging Planning Team:  Helen Lane, Phyllis Beck, Fred Kresse and Kay Taylor  

Legacy Giving – A Simple Codicil to Your Will

By , September 18, 2017
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The Legacy Giving Committee would like to thank all of you who stopped by our table at the Volunteer fair.  Many people asked how they could include First Parish in Needham (FPN) in their estate plan with a codicil to their will.  You are not required to have an attorney for most legal documents, but often it is a good idea to get legal advice before signing. A codicil is every bit as significant, and has the same binding legal effect, as a will. Wills and codicils must be witnessed by two disinterested witnesses. A notary public is not required, but is a good idea in case there is a subsequent will contest – the notary can testify as to what happened, and as to his or her opinion regarding competence, absence of duress, and the like.  The UUA has provided this language for use. 

Unrestricted Gift

I give ________ [$ amount description of property, or % of estate] to the First Parish in Needham Unitarian Universalist located at23 Dedham Avenue, Needham, MA 02492, for its unrestricted use.

 Restricted Gift

I give to the, First Parish in Needham Unitarian Universalist located at23 Dedham Avenue, Needham, MA 02492, [___ % of my estate or the sum of $________] to be used for [stated purpose]. If at any time in the judgment of the organization’s board of trustees it is deemed impossible or impracticable to carry out the above purpose, the Parish Committee shall determine a purpose as near as possible to that description above.

Please submit a copy of your completed paperwork to the UUA along with the form on the Legacy Challenge website. http://wakenowourvision.org/

If you have questions, reach out to the Legacy Giving Committee – Katie Barnett, Jim Leffingwell, Nancy Simpson-Banker, Eileen and Rick Vincent. Ad hoc members: Bob Rands and Bob Smart.

For more information, see

Legacy Giving Campaign

By , September 9, 2017
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The Legacy Giving Committee is excited to share with you that First Parish in Needham will be participating in the Wake Now Our Vision Campaign this fall. The UU Congregation at Shelter Rock has provided a $5 million challenge grant to encourage legacy giving among UU organizations and congregations. A legacy gift is a significant charitable gift during a donor’s life or at death that is part of his or her financial or estate plan. To inspire new legacy gift commitments, First Parish in Needham will qualify for a cash match of 10% of the gift’s estimated value (up to $10,000 per donor)! You will hear more about this in the coming months. If you want to learn how to make a legacy gift to First Parish, stop by the Legacy Giving table at the volunteer fair on September 17th. If you want to speak privately, reach out to any of the committee members or to Nancy Simpson-Banker, the committee chair, or one of the committee members: Katie Barnett, Jim Leffingwell, Eileen and Rick Vincent. Bob Rands and Bob Smart are ad hoc members of the committee.

For more information, see

Blessing of the Backpacks & Clothing Drive

Sunday, September 10th, noon in the sanctuary

Join Rev. Catie and Mark for a “blessing of the backpacks” for the start of the school year. Bring your backpacks to receive a blessing from First Parish! We are also collecting “first day of school” outfits to donate to Cradles to Crayons, a local organization that gives young children access to essential items at school, home, and play. The organization accepts new and gently used children’s clothing sizes newborn-youth 18/20 (plus adult sizes small and medium, if child appropriate) and shoes sizes newborn-adult 10. Please see their “most needed items” list for more information. Your donation will support Cradles to Crayons efforts to provide children living in homeless or low-income situations with the essentials they need to thrive. 

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 bellman@uuneedham.org.

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!!

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