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23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

First Parish Blog

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Meaning in the Layers

Sunday, July 31, 2022

10:30 am via You Tube Video

Worship leader:  Rev Joan Javier-Duval has been the settled minister at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, Vermont since April, 2016

Before responding to her call to ministry, Rev. Joan followed a call to public service as a community and political organizer and nonprofit leader. Joan organized young voters in New Mexico, fought for workers’ rights in Boston, MA, and trained progressive political leaders in Washington, DC. She also volunteered her time serving the Asian American community as an advocate for women’s rights and immigrant and worker justice. In these contexts and through her ministerial training, Rev. Joan developed her passion and dedication to social and economic justice, anti-racism and anti-oppression, and creating Beloved Community.

Rev. Joan believes in the power of the Unitarian Universalist community to connect us deeply to one another and to the interdependent web of existence. Her personal theology is influenced by her Roman Catholic roots, historic Unitarianism and Universalism, contemporary Unitarian Universalism, progressive Christianity, and engaged Buddhism.

She was born and raised in Chicago, IL, the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines. She is a 2003 graduate of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA and earned her Master of Divinity degree in 2012 from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, CT.

In addition to serving on several committees for our denomination over the past decade, Joan recently had the honor of leading the Sunday morning worship service for the UUA Virtual General Assembly in 2020.  Currently she serves as Board President of Vermont Interfaith Action and has recently served in leadership roles with the Rights and Democracy Institute, Justice for All, and the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont.

Rev. Joan and her family have lived in Montpelier since August 2014. Together, they enjoy hiking the area’s beautiful trails, eating delicious local food, and finding adventures in day to day life. Joan also enjoys yoga, running, photography, and time in the garden.

Previous Posts

Woven in a Single Garment of Destiny

  Sunday,  May 22, 2022 10:30 am, fully pre-recorded service streamed live to the Parish Hall and available live online Service by the Unitarian Universalist Association; Rev Susan Frederick-Gray, preacher   Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said,...

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Annual Meeting 2022 – Including Documents

  Our First Parish Annual Meeting will be hybrid (in person and on Zoom), right after worship and social hour, on Sunday, May 15th, at 12:30 in person in the sanctuary. For folks participating online, use the same Zoom link as for worship and social hour. The...

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Memorial Service for Gordon Doerfer

  Saturday, May 14, 2022 10:00 am, live streamed from the sanctuary Rev. Catie Scudera officiating   Join in-person or online for our celebration of the life of our member, the Honorable Gordon Doerfer, who died after prolonged illness in June 2021. The...

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Acquaint Thyself Firsthand with Deity

  May 15, 2022 10:30 am, Live Streamed from the Sanctuary Rev. Catie Scudera   Our Universalist and Unitarian ancestors had wildly different theological understandings, which led to great controversies within those respective denominations and delayed their...

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Pastoral Response to Draft SCOTUS Decision Reversing Roe

  Dear First Parishioners, My heart breaks with the news leaked yesterday that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, revoking the right to access to safe abortions as a nationwide protection. Though in Massachusetts we have fairly strong...

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Senior Youth Group

  Last week, our Senior Youth Group set out on a 5 day service trip to Maine. It was an incredible time of bonding, service, and spiritual growth for all of our youth and chaperones in attendance! You can see many photos from the trip on First Parish’s Facebook...

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 Announcing our 2022-2024 Ministerial Intern

  The Ministerial Intern Committee, Parish Committee, and Rev. Catie are thrilled to announce that Darrah Bryans will join our staff team this fall as our 2022-2024 ministerial intern! Welcome, Darrah! Here’s a message from Darrah herself: Hi First Parish in...

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Immanent Divinity, Radical Equality

The first of May invites us to consider the teachings of pagan tradition on the cross-quarter holy day of Beltane, as well as the fight for worker’s rights on May Day. What does a theology of immanent divinity have to teach us? And, how do we build relationships of...

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Letting Go While Holding Tight

  May 8, 2022 10:30 am, livestreamed from the sanctuary Jenna Crawford   In The Blue Jay's Dance: A Memoir of Early Motherhood, Louise Erdrich writes, "This is our human problem, one common to parents, [children], too--how to let go while holding tight, how...

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Get Rooted, Get Ready!

  April 24, 2022 10:30 am, prerecorded on YouTube/Zoom and streamed into the Parish Hall   “It will take all of us, working with all of us… doing what none of us can do alone” –All of Us, the new climate hymn by Dana Clark   Our faith calls us into...

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