Current News

New class: Build Your Own Theology

By , February 14, 2014
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“There is nothing better than being in a class where no one knows the answer.” So said Lucy in Charles Shulz’s Peanuts.  If this appeals to you, then Building Your Own Theology may as well.

What it is: a creative practice/class in which we will study theologies and work individually and collectively to define our personal theology and belief system.

The program is built on the UUA program Building Your Own Theology. Classes will meet for 8 sessions on Monday evenings from 7:15 to 9:15 with the initial sessions March 10 &17. Subsequent dates to be determined.

BYOT will be led by Jackie Shepherd and Mick Provencher. Class fee $10.

Roderick and friends in concert

By , February 9, 2014
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Roderick Phipps-Kettlewell, our Interim Music Director, will be presenting a FREE concert in the Parish Hall on Sunday, February 16th at 4:00 pm, with musicians visiting from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Soprano Maria Lyudko is an Honorary Artist of Russia and guest artist at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theaters, as well as the Komische Opera in Berlin. She has also performed for several Russian festivals in Boston, including at Jordan Hall and is laureate at several International Competitions. They will be joined by clarinetist Georges Devdariani who is also an actor and director.

The program will include arias by Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti and Gounod, along with Operetta and several Russian songs and romances.

Trained in England, France and at the Juilliard School, Roderick has performed and recorded as a piano soloist, as an accompanist, and as a chamber musician (including with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra) throughout America and in Europe, including at Carnegie’s Weill Hall. His 30+ classical and popular music CDs have sold over one million copies.

This is musical opportunity not to be missed! And tell your music-loving friends.

Welcoming Congregation Committee to reconvene Monday, March 3, 7pm

By , February 7, 2014
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Did you know that First Parish has been a “Welcoming Congregation” since 1996, when less than 10% of UU congregations had voted to do so (compared to 64% today)? Have you ever wondered why or how we began our commitment to “welcome and celebrate the presence and participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons”? Join the Welcoming Congregation Committee to learn about our past history, discuss our ongoing commitment, and brainstorm new ideas. Whether you are already passionate about LGBTQ issues or want to learn more, please join us! For more information, contact Traci Abbott, or DRE Mark LaPointe,

LOVE REACHES OUT – 2014 General Assembly is in Providence, RI

By , January 30, 2014
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The General Assembly (GA) of our Unitarian Universalist Association is convening in Providence, Rhode Island, on June 25-29. It hasn’t come this close to home since GA in Boston in 2003.  Give some serious thought to attending for a day or the entire event. For detailed information, go to:

 GA is the annual meeting of our Association of Congregations… and it is so much more: five days of inspirational worship, impressive speakers, glorious music, workshops, activities and programs for adults, children and youth… and that’s just for starters. This year’s theme – Love Reaches Out – is designed to help us grow in spirit and in service, to help us follow our own paths to serve the world with love.

Perhaps you would like to go as an elected delegate to represent First Parish in Needham registering our vote for the issues that will be brought before the assembly. If so, speak to Wendy Blom, Katie Lee, or any member of the Parish Committee.

Search narrowed to four candidates

Your ministerial search committee has reached the point in the process where “the rubber meets the road,” as it were, and we start to have hard(er) conversations about this church and about the applicants we are considering.

We are pleased to announce that, as of January 25, we have narrowed the field to four highly qualified ‘pre-candidates,’ about whom we are all excited.  They will be coming to the Needham area to interview in-person and to preach at nearby churches, so that we (the Search Committee) can see them in the pulpit.  This is a very exciting and fun (and busy!) time to be a member of the Search Committee, and we are thankful for the trust and confidence you have placed it us.  We look forward to the day when we can announce a candidate and introduce him/her to the congregation. 

20 applicants for our pulpit

By , January 12, 2014
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Those of you who were at church last Sunday heard me say during the announcements that all I could tell you was that nineteen ministers had applied to be our next minister. It turns out that’s not quite true.

TWENTY ministers applied (making us second only to a church in Chicago for number of applicants).

And, in case you’re curious, here’s a smattering of information about the applicants as a group:

  • They range in age from their late 20s to their early-to-mid 60s
  • They include ministers from all along the gender spectrum
  • They include ministers from all along the sexual-orientation spectrum
  • They include ministers up and down the East Coast, in the middle of the country, and on the West Coast
  • They include recent seminary graduates, and those who have been ordained for over a decade
  • Their theologies cover the range of UU belief systems – humanism, theism, panentheism. process theology, unitarianism, universalism, and others (and combinations of some or all of these. Don’t worry if you don’t know what some of these words mean – I didn’t either. Just know it’s a wide range of belief systems.
  • They come from a wide range of religious backgrounds – Christian, Jewish, Atheist, and UU to name a few
  • They come from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds as well

But one thing they all have in common: they are all their own selves, not defined by any of the categories I list above. Also, they are all kind, good-hearted people who, right now, seem to want nothing more than to engage in parish ministry and to find the right congregation with which to do so.

I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start. Stay tuned for more information.

Liz Rover Bailey, Chair

Inequality for All

By , December 23, 0201
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InequalityThe documentary Inequality for All will be shown at First Parish on Sunday evening, January 11, 2015.  The film, which features former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, documents the causes and consequences of rising economic inequality in the United States.  The topic is serious, but the film is very entertaining and accessible.  The movie will start at 6pm and will be followed by a discussion. The event will end at 8pm.  Child care will be provided during the movie so that parents of young children will be able to attend.

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