Current News

If You Like the UU Ringers: A New, Adult Hand Chime Group is Forming

The middle school students in the UU Ringers have charmed the congregation by performing with the church’s new hand chimes.  Now we are forming a new, short-term, adult group to play these hand chimes — just for the February 28 Talent Show.  This is your chance!  No music background is necessary to learn to play – just a willingness to give it a shot. 

The Adult ringers will be rehearsing from 6-7pm on February 8th and 22nd and performing in the Talent Show on February 28. Please contact Kate Campe to sign up.

The Talent Show will be accepting acts of any sort, musical or not, for the show through Sunday, February 8.  Not sure what you want to perform? We have plenty of ideas to talk through with you. Get in touch to be a part of it! Contact Irina at

First Parish Shines-tickets-4

Rev. Catie’s Installation Service will be Saturday, May 2

By , January 21, 2015
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In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, newly-called ministers are installed at their congregation — with great love and fanfare from the congregation itself and supportive ministerial colleagues — within the first year of their ministry. Rev. Catie will be installed almost a year to the day of her call to First Parish, on the afternoon of Saturday, May 2, 2015. More details are to follow, but please, save the date! 

February Beer Tasting and Chili Contest

By , January 20, 2015
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Chili and beerThe Fun & Frolic committee is pleased to announce its February event – a Beer Tasting and Chili Contest on Saturday, February 14 at 7:00 pm.  Eric Gravlin and Tony Cicala will introduce people to a variety of fine craft beers.  We are pairing this with a Chili competition.  If you have a favorite recipe, please share it with us. If you don’t feel like cooking, come anyway.   The cost for this event is $10 per person.  You need to sign up for this ahead of time by emailing Tony or visiting the Fun & Frolic table at Social Hour.  This is an adults only evening.

First Parish Strategic Plan.

By , January 15, 2015
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 The Parish Committee is undertaking a strategic planning process to articulate a First Parish mission, vision, and goals for the next few years. The plan should incorporate the aspirations of the congregation as a whole, so we have scheduled three brainstorming sessions that are open to all. Everyone should try to attend one session so that the goals are as inclusive as possible. Some areas to discuss are church programs, congregational growth, modes of communication, volunteerism, financial resources, music, and social justice. The one-hour sessions will be in the parlor and childcare will be provided. The dates are Sunday January 25 at noon, Sunday February 8 at 3:00pm, and Thursday, February 12 at 7:30pm

Mission (proposed)

The mission of First Parish in Needham is to create a welcoming, diverse, and compassionate community that celebrates the sacredness of all living things, nurtures lifelong spiritual and ethical growth, and works for social justice locally and throughout the world as a religious center with a civic circumference.

Vision (proposed)

First Parish in Needham is a vibrant and inclusive congregation in which all are free to grow spiritually and ethically in a supportive community. First Parish offers a wide menu of programs and activities dedicated to:

  • Transformative worship featuring inspirational music and multigenerational services.
  • Religious exploration for all ages
  • Community-building activities and outreach for fellowship and support
  • Engagement with environmental and social justice initiatives locally and in the wider world, including Green Sanctuary and Welcoming Congregation.
  • Shared ministries and leadership characterized by an engaged and active congregation that stewards First Parish in its mission with volunteer time and financial support.

Women in Iran

By , December 24, 2014
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haghighatjooFatemeh Haghighatjoo, Ph.D., works on defining “state feminism” in Iran, which is the institutionalization of women’s issues there, analyzing how it both promotes and limits women’s position there. She has published a book chapter and several papers on the Iranian women’s movement. She is also working on a book manuscript, a memoir of her life and career, entitled A Voice for Truth. Continue reading…

Positively Aging January Meeting

By , December 22, 2014
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Tuesday January 13 at 4pm in the parlor.

As usual we will be meeting on the second Tuesday of the month in the parlor. Our topic is resilience, a very appropriate topic for our age and for this season.  We need lots of it for the next few months.  What is it?  How do we get it?  How can we support others in having it? What are your stories about resilience?  This should be a wonderful conversation and as usual we will end it with a simple supper.  All are welcome. Come to talk, to listen and to enjoy a simple supper.

At our February meeting the focus will be on preventing falls with physical therapist Lyn Clancy. Lyn finds it most rewarding to be working with older people. We will be focusing on our homes, various pieces of equipment to aid our exercise programs, techniques to keep in mind, and hands on demonstrations of exercises to keep us upright and moving. A program for the very fit and the not so fit or to help a friend or family member who is having problems with falling.

Look for the Bell notes and the Positively Aging email or more information. All are Welcome.

Tasting of the Month: Hot and Hearty Soups

Saturday, January 17, 6-8pm in Parish Hall

SoupThe January Tasting-of-the-Month is a winter special guaranteed to keep the cold out and the warmth inside as you break bread and sip soups with your First Parish Family. $5 per family will cover the cost of non-alcoholic beverages, hearty bread (to go with the soups) and a salad.  Please bring your favorite soup (home-made, canned, or take-out) to share with everyone.  Vote for the best soup. Prizes will be given to the best three soups.

Book-of-the-Year: Flight Behavior

Sunday, April 12, at noon in the Parlor

Last year the congregation voted to make Barbara Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior our Book-of-the-Year. If you have not yet read it you are in for a real treat. According to Dominique Browning of the New York Times, “One of the gifts of a Kingsolver novel is the resplendence of her prose. She takes palpable pleasure in the craft of writing, creating images that stay with the reader long after her story is done. … Throughout her fiction, the exigencies of work, and the classes of people who do that work, have been among Kingsolver’s great subjects.” In this case the story surrounds the unexpected arrival of a swarm of migrating Monarch butterflies to a poor southern Appalachian community and the impact of that on the life of one young mother and her family.

We plan to hold a discussion of this fascinating book sometime in April to coincide with a focus on environmental issues. If you want to get involved and have not yet read the book it would be a good time to look for it in the library, in bookstores, or online and start reading. Watch for upcoming announcements of related activities as the time draws near.

Let Your Life Speak

Helen Lane & Cathy Livingston
Tues. Evenings, 7:30-9pm
Jan. 20, 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17, & 24

Join Helen and Cathy as they facilitate a spiritual reflection course based on Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation! The Winter months offer quiet stretches for reflection and “time to savor belonging to yourself.” Palmer’s book – easy to read – serves as a resource for living authentically. “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” (Camus) Course will run for 6 weeks on Tuesday evenings. Email Helen or Cathy if you would like to participate.

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