First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

First Parish Blog

Most Recent Post

A Change in Masking Policy for Sunday Services

We have just passed the 3rd anniversary of the pandemic lock down. We’ve gone through many changes in how we’ve done church, and now we are proposing one more on the journey to the new post-crisis normal. The recent survey regarding people’s attitudes about masking has generated a lot of conversation, from which has emerged a growing realization that our current masking policy excludes those in our community who are just plain tired of masking and are feeling disconnected from the community. We miss you and want to include you in person at Sunday services. Covid is still around and continues to represent a threat to the health of our vulnerable members. The Covid Task Force has been searching for a solution that protects our vulnerable members and makes space for those that do not wish to mask. To support this goal, the Parish Committee has adopted this resolution:

“Parish Committee will relax our mask mandate by the end of March and instructs the Covid Task force to create a mask-required safety and buffer section in the Sanctuary, ending our mask requirement elsewhere.”

Using a smoke generator, we have been able to map the airflow in the Sanctuary. We found that, on both sides of the room, there is a point in the middle of the room where smoke rises directly up and moves slowly toward the choir loft, drawn by the fans. In these two sections, smoke does not move forward, even when singing without a mask or coughing. The smoke is an excellent proxy for the aerosols created by our breath. This means that people sitting in the pews toward the front of the Sanctuary will not be exposed to aerosols generated by unmasked people in the middle and rear pews. Thus, we can accommodate attendees who wish not to mask along with people at increased risk from Covid who may sit in the sections reserved for masking.

Beginning on Sunday March 26, the mask-required and mask-optional sections will be clearly marked, and the ushers will help guide you to the appropriate area if needed.

Thank you for your care and patience as the Task Force weighs many factors in its recommendations. You can see a sample of the smoke test by clicking here.

Previous Posts

Strategic Listening Sessions Begin

As described in the recent Congregational Storytelling post, the First Parish Strategic Task Force is beginning the process of inquiry into our calling and direction by understanding where we are currently. This calls for a series of listening sessions, where we can...

read more

Lane Lyceum: Something Evil This Way Comes

Lane Lyceum presents...   Something Evil This Way Comes: a History of U/U Understandings of Evil offered by Rev. Catie Scudera Tuesday, March 14th 7:30 - 9:00pm via zoom Zoom Link:   All human beings have experiences in which they...

read more

Congregational Storytelling

The First Parish Strategic Task Force was recently formed to implement a process of congregational self-reflection, as well as a broader inquiry into societal trends and examples of successful congregational models. This process is a collective inquiry to understand...

read more

Have you been wanting to do the Welcome in a service?

  The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee wants to extend the privilege of giving the Welcome at our Sunday service to everyone in the congregation. We see this as part of our mission of living into the 8th Principle, which includes working to overcome...

read more

Rev. Catie Featured on “TUUSK”

  Last year, Rev. Catie was interviewed by fellow UU minister Rev. Sarah Skochko for her Things UUs Should Know video series about our congregation's research into our enslavement history. That video has now been edited and is available both on Rev. Sarah's...

read more

Considering Our Future

The Parish Committee recently approved the creation of a strategic task force that will implement a process for congregational reflection on ministry and community engagement, in the context of emergent societal trends. The goal of the task force will be to provide...

read more

Upcoming Lane Lyceum: Female Genius with Dr. Mary Bilder

Female Genius: Eliza Harriot and George Washington at the Dawn of the Constitution with Dr. Mary Bilder Tuesday, January 24th 7:30 - 9:00pm via zoom Zoom Link: Dr. Mary Bilder will speak about her new book Female Genius: Eliza Harriot and...

read more