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23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

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Pastoral Message on Roe v. Wade

The news is in: the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization ruling is final, which, as many of us suspected it would, has officially overturned the historic Roe v Wade decision.

From your ministers, Rev Catie and Rev Jenna, there is shock; there is grief; there is outrage. We know that people who can become pregnant will suffer serious injury, even death, from the barriers to abortion access that this ruling will set in motion in certain states across the country. We also know that the folks who will be impacted the most from this decision are people of color, people with few financial resources, young people, and folks in rural areas. We are also deeply concerned and angered by the concurrent opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas in its suggestion that other women’s and LGBTQ rights established in historic Supreme Court cases should be reviewed. 

Our faith affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and covenants to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions. We echo Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s press release this morning, in which she emphasizes that “The Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health decision does not alter Unitarian Universalists’ commitment to Reproductive Justice.” Here at First Parish, we will keep fighting to defend our values of gender equality, bodily autonomy, religious liberty, LGBTQ equality, and reproductive justice, and will not rest until people who can become pregnant have access to the comprehensive healthcare that they need. 

We also encourage you to ground your work for reproductive justice in our Unitarian Universalist faith. Rev Catie and Sara Elizabeth have recorded a centering meditation and prayer from UU minister Rev Julia Hamilton to listen to today and for the long haul of reproductive justice work:

All Souls DC is hosting an online vigil of support at 7 pm ET tonight, with the Zoom information on their website. You can read statements and prayers from the UUA on their website, and you can watch First Parish’s Reproductive Justice Sunday service on our YouTube channel. Abigail Bengson has just released a powerful refrain for bodily autonomy, and UU poet-minister Rev Lynn Ungar has released a new poem. Also, we highly recommend you check out Side With Love’s press release statement from earlier today, including their list of action items and resources for further organizing. 

Rev Catie and Rev Jenna are both at General Assembly this week (Rev Catie in Portland, and Rev Jenna, from home, in Somerville). At this morning’s worship service, Rev Kathleen Rolenz spoke about the Dobbs ruling, explaining that –even before the fight– there needs to be a place for lamentation and rage. And even before lamentation, we need prayer. So, following Rev Kathleen’s wisdom, we wanted to leave with you with a prayer.

Before and beyond all the legal minutiae of the ruling, we hope you can find your breath. We hope can sit, for a moment, with whatever constellation of emotions this day brings up in you. We hope you’ll let each of those in for a moment, without judging. We hope that you know: you are loved, beyond belief. We hope you feel the embrace of that which is greater than all of us.

We hope that you know that in your pain, you are not alone. If despair is a part of your constellation, you are not alone in that either. Maybe in the crossroads where our pain, or outrage, or despair meet each other’s is our way through this devastation.

Inspired by Rev Kathleen’s words, we add: We pray for this, our wounded world. We pray for our own woundedness or otherness–which is not completely separate from the wounds we see in systems around us. We pray, Spirit of Life, that our judgments soften. We pray for the compassion, and courage, and wisdom that we will need to respond as faithfully as we can.

In faith and love,
Rev Catie & Rev Jenna

Previous Posts

Pastoral Message on Roe v. Wade

The news is in: the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization ruling is final, which, as many of us suspected it would, has officially overturned the historic Roe v Wade decision. From your ministers, Rev Catie and Rev Jenna, there is shock; there is grief; there...

read more

Service of the Living Tradition

On Sunday, June 26 at 10:30am, we will be replaying a shorter version of the "Service of the Living Tradition" from the General Assembly 2022. Please note that this service will not be available on Zoom on Sunday but will be available at our usual First Parish YouTube...

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Fallow & Fertile Season: Flower Communion Sunday

June 19th at 10:30am, livestreamed from the sanctuary (Rev. Catie leading) Our creativity, adaptability, and wisdom are strongest not just after we’ve had rest, but as we’re having rest. How do we maintain our curiosity and “beginner’s mind” in a dominant culture that...

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Pride Sunday 2022

We rallied! We marched! We partied! 🌈 It was a great honor and joy to co-host, co-organize, and co-sponsor today’s Needham Has Pride: Family Sized gathering. We deeply appreciate every person (and puppy) who "came out" to show their Pride as members of the queer...

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Lane Lyceum: The Ghosts of Our Interfaith Past

The final Lane Lyceum of the year will be Tuesday, June 14 at 7:30pm. It will feature our own, Rev. Jenna Crawford, speaking on: "The Ghosts of Our Interfaith Past: What our Unitarian and Universalist History of Interreligious Encounter can Teach Us about Our...

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Youth Led Sunday Worship

Our Youth-Led Sunday worship was absolutely wonderful, and so special to have in-person for the first time since 2019! The youth offered thoughtful reflections and words, skillful music, and surprised their service trip guides with a lovely gift. The whole community...

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We Kept the Bell Ringing! Celebrate on June 16 at 5:30

Please join us on Thursday afternoon, June 16, at 5:30 on the First Parish Lawn for an “official” inaugural bell ringing within our beautiful restored tower. We have invited Needham town officials to the ceremony to thank them for their generous support through the...

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Youth Led Worship Service: One Great Bundle

June 12th 10:30am, livestreamed from the sanctuary, with a social hour, weather permitting, outside to follow with light snacks To quote African American writer and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, “we are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity.”...

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The Ordination of Jennifer E. Crawford

June 4th 4:00-5:15pm, Live streamed from the sanctuary, with a social hour, weather permitting, outside to follow with light snacks On March 9, the Parish Committee voted “yes” to ordaining Jenna at our congregation around the close of her internship with us. Though...

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Blue Masking Tape

June 5, 2022 at 10:30 am,  Live Streamed from the Sanctuary Reverend Jenna Crawford In this service, Jenna reflects on her recent move across town and her enthusiastic use of blue masking tape in the packing process. In her last sermon at First Parish, she’ll share...

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Pastoral Message on the US Epidemic of Gun Violence 

  Dear First Parish,    My family and I were on the Cape this past weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and the morning of her wedding we took our daughter to a small playground in Hyannis. Little did we know that a walk for suicide prevention and awareness was...

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Memorial Service for Greg Condon

  Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 11:00 am, Live Streamed from the Sanctuary    All are welcome to celebrate the life of our member of blessed memory, Greg Condon, who died at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. We are honored to finally hold his memorial...

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