First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

First Parish Remains Virtual Through December 2020

by | Aug 31, 2020


At our August 19th meeting, the Parish Committee voted to keep our buildings closed to First Parish gatherings until the end of 2020. This is from an abundance of caution to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our congregation and wider community; we love and care for each other at First Parish, and we don’t want to risk exposing any of our members and friends to this disease. We encourage First Parishioners to continue connecting through our online Sunday services, lifespan religious exploration and affinity groups, and Small Group Ministry. We mourn with the whole First Parish community the loss of in-person gatherings—and, we believe that we can do this hard thing of virtual church in service to averting an outbreak in Boston Metro West.


First Parish’s buildings will remain open to our staff, essential on-site volunteers, and our primary renters, who are following public health guidelines for their specific businesses. Please be in touch with our Parish Administrator, Susanna Whitman ( if you hope to complete volunteer tasks that must happen within First Parish property. First Parish staff and volunteers are implored to only enter the building after consulting with Susanna so that we can ensure social distancing, appropriate cleaning, and contact tracing if necessary.


If you must access the Church building, please adhere to these recommendations:


Sign in on the sign-in sheet at the Lincoln Street entrance
Wear a mask at all times, even when you think you are alone in the building
Use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the building
Only access the location required for your visit and that you’ve noted on the sign-in sheet
Refrain from using the bathrooms if possible
Maintain 6 feet distance from any other persons in the building
Wipe down high-touch surfaces with cleaning wipes after use
Do not allow others to enter our buildings

Do not enter the building if you have a fever, if you have symptoms of coronavirus (see the CDC for more information), or if you are not feeling well or if you have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks. Regardless of whether you have recently tested negative for coronavirus, we all wear masks and physically distance because local testing capacity is inadequate and not sufficiently reliable to determine who is asymptomatic with the virus.


The Parish Committee and Rev. Catie will decide at their December meeting whether to extend the building closure; move to some sort of a “hybrid model” of reopening; or, reopen fully. If circumstances with this global crisis change dramatically before that time, the Parish Committee will reconsider this decision sooner. In its deliberations, the Parish Committee will continue to keep public health recommendations, the latest scientific knowledge on COVID-19, and the availability of effective treatments and vaccines for the disease at the forefront of their decision-making. As a congregation, we will also continue to strive to make our online offerings accessible to as much of our membership as possible.


If you have questions about this policy, please be in touch with Parish President Darren Zinner ( and Rev. Catie (