First Visit

If you’re considering a visit to First Parish, then you probably have a variety of questions. Hopefully this section will provide some of the answers.

Frequently Asked Questions

9:15 am Needham Lyceum and assorted other programs
Selected Sundays, see the Schedule of Events for information about upcoming sessions. All are welcome.

10:30 am — Worship Service in the Meetinghouse (To get more
                  of a feel for our service, visit the Our Services page
                  in the Worship section.) Services can also be enjoyed
                  in a relaxed setting in the Worship Cafe.
               — Religious Exploration Classes for children 
               — Free childcare available

11:30 am — Social hour in the Parish Hall

5:00 pmJunior Youth Group (~ 2 Sundays/month)

7:00 pmSenior Youth Group (most Sundays)

Our summer services consist of a worship service at 10:30 am in Parish Hall followed by Social Hour.

The emphasis here is on the plural, as in styles. Some of us still wear our “Sunday best,” while others relish the opportunity to escape weekday formality and just keep it casual. As with most things about our community, there is widespread acceptance of how others choose to express themselves. The same goes for the children; however, note that many of our classes involve crafts projects, and classes often take full advantage of our playground as weather permits.

Directions to First Parish can be found under Find Us.

Most of us park in the town lot next to First Parish. You get there by turning off of Dedham Ave. onto Lincoln St. and then right into the parking lot. We ask that you not park in the driveway unless you have a handicap sticker. There is limited parking on Dedham Ave., but there is additional parking in the lot behind 60 Dedham Ave. (across and down the street from First Parish). This lot is recommended if you are going to be in the building for more than 2 hours, especially on Saturdays.

On Sunday mornings you can enter the church via either the Meetinghouse doors facing Dedham Avenue or the Lincoln Street door. During the week and on many winter Sundays, the Meetinghouse doors are locked, so please use the Lincoln St. door.

First Parish in Needham makes every effort to be fully accessible to all. In 2013, we built a new earthen ramp to provide access to the Meetinghouse doors. Other accommodations include:

  • Parking: There is a handicapped parking space in our driveway and plentiful additional parking in the adjacent lot, which is just a short and level walk or roll from our door.
  • Elevators: There is an elevator immediately inside the Lincoln Street entrance. There is a second elevator that serves the lower floor only by the back entrance. This elevator requires a key that must be obtained from the Parish office.
  • Restrooms: A unisex, handicap-accessible restroom is available on the main floor. Additional handicap-accessible restrooms are available on the lower level. Child-size handicap-accessible facilities are available in several of the classrooms.
  • Hearing: Small receivers with earphones are available as you come in the sanctuary. The Ushers can assist you with operations.
  • Large-print hymnals are available in the sanctuary. See the Ushers.

Greeters usually welcome people at both the Lincoln Street and Dedham Avenue doors, and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have. If it’s your first visit to First Parish, we ask that you fill out a gold Visitor’s Card; among other things filling out this card puts you on the mailing list for our newsletter, The Bellman. Everyone wears a nametag, and the Greeters will have a supply of blanks for you to use. 

By all means, please join us. Social Hour is a long and honored tradition among UU congregations and we are no exception. Newcomers are encouraged to take a red mug which serves as a signal to us that you are new and may not have anyone to talk to or may have questions. The Minister is usually there and is especially interested in welcoming newcomers. Your children are also welcome and will find plenty of energetic company to keep them amused, as well as a mix of healthy and fun snacks. And if you become an active member of our community, you’ll quickly realize that the conversations at Social Hour are a critical part of what keeps First Parish running.

Fill out a yellow visitor card providing us with your email address and we will add you to the mailing list for our weekly Bell Notes email.  Alternatively, check the home page and schedule of events on this web site.

Yes, once you have filled out a yellow visitor card, we enter you into our database and send an email inviting you to register. If you register, you’ll have access to the database and can see everyone’s contact information and, if you wish, print a photo directory.