Current News

Dementia Family Forum workshop slated for Monday, March 24

By , February 20, 2014
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Beverly Moore of StilMee, an Alzheimer coaching service, will present a two-hour workshop entitled “Dementia Family Forum” on Monday, March 24, at 7:15pm in the Parlor. Attendance is free but a small donation will be requested. Light refreshments will be available. The snow date is Monday, March 31, at 7:15pm.

The presentation will include an overview of different types of dementia, basics of the healthy brain and damaged brain, and how to work with different behaviors that may occur. Ms. Moore’s coaching practice focuses on how to ease the strain on caregivers through education. There will be time for Q and A, and handouts with information about how people with dementia think differently and practical advice about how to interact positively with them.

For many of our parishioners and especially for our Pastoral Care team this is a very timely subject where deeper understanding can ease the lives of many. The workshop is open to the public so if you know somebody who might be interested, please let them know–and please encourage those who may attend to drop us an email at to help us know how many to expect.

Needham Community Farm – Online Auction Begins March 7th, 2014

By , February 19, 2014
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The Needham Community Farm is our environmental justice partner, raising food for the Needham Food Pantry and offering garden space and educational programs to low income families. The Farm’s 3rd Annual Online Auction will take place from March 7th – March 20th at The auction will feature cool items for the entire family. You can also go to the auction site to learn how to enter a drawing for a $500 gift card to Whole Foods Market!

There is no better time to go solar!

Now that Needham has been accepted into the Solarize Mass program, residents have an incredible, limited-time opportunity to have solar electric panels installed at substantially discounted prices. After a thorough vetting process, the Solarize Needham Team has selected Astrum Solar as Needham’s “One Trusted Installer.” Homeowners and businesses who sign contracts with Astrum Solar by June 30 will be eligible for the special discounts. Options will be available for outright purchase and for no-money-down arrangements.

To learn more, please come to the “Meet the Installer” night on Wednesday, March 5th, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Powers Hall in Needham Town Hall.

At this event the Solarize Needham Team will formally introduce Astrum Solar’s Needham representatives and will explain in detail what Astrum Solar has to offer. The goal for the night will be to answer any and all questions.

Can’t get to the meeting? Check out the Solarize Needham website at or contact “Solar Coach” Artie Crocker at

Solarize Needham is a collaboration of the Mass. Clean Energy Center, the Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources, Green Needham Collaborative, our “One Trusted Installer” Astrum Solar, the Town of Needham and our Local Volunteers!

Planet Earth Film Screenings

Breathtaking! Amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it! These are common reactions to the BBC’s incredible “Planet Earth” series. On two Sundays in March a 50-minute segment will be shown in the Sanctuary at noon. On March 9, the “Jungles” episode will be shown and March 16, “Seasonal Forests.” You can expect to see unforgettable footage of remote places and fascinating creatures, some of which have never before been filmed. These films are appropriate for all ages and engender a sense of awe and wonder that reinforces our commitment to care for the Earth.

On Sunday, April 6, the final episode of the series will be shown in the Sanctuary at 7 p.m., open to the public and hosted by Katie Lee and her husband, Dr. Jonas Barciauskas. “Living Together” presents prominent voices from scientists to theologians exhorting us to give our planet the respect and reverence it deserves as we work together to ensure its — and our — future. Watch for more information in the April bulletin.

Revitalized Music Committee Begins Planning for New Music Director

By , February 14, 2014
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The newly reconvened First Parish Music Committee is starting the work of hiring a new Music Director for the 2014-2015 season. In writing the job description for this critical role, we’re using multiple tools, including:

  • Data gathered by the Transition Team’s surveys about music
  • Conversations with the First Parish Choir, parents in the Children’s Choir, musicians at First Parish, various church Committees, and others
  • A look back at the rich history of music here in our church
  • Input from our experienced music staff, Roderick Phipps-Kettlewell and Kate Campe
  • A “listening tour” of nearby UU churches by committee members for fresh ideas and inspiration
  • The deep experience of the UU Musicians Network and other on-line resources

We’re also eager to hear more voices as we continue this work. Let us know what you want from music at First Parish – or any other ideas about music and community. Send us an email at, talk to our music staff, or speak with any of our committee members: Carol Alper, Betty Byers, Andrea Goldberg, Cynde Hartman, Jim Sargent, John Smith, Becky Siebens, and Emily Weiland. We hope to have potential candidates for the new settled minister to consider, after he/she is called.

Harmoniously Yours,

Emily Weiland and Becky Siebens

New class: Build Your Own Theology

“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.

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