First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Why Are We Here?

by | Mar 8, 2024

When the Strategic Planning Task Force delivered its final report at the end of 2023, one of the few primary recommendations was to update First Parish’s statement of purpose. Clarifying and articulating why we exist as an organization impacts not only how we describe ourselves to others, but also how we can best serve our members and the wider community.

Announcing the Purpose Project

During the month of March, the Purpose Project team will work to collect input from as many of you as possible by asking a very simple question:

What value do you find or experience at First Parish that you can’t find elsewhere?

This is a critical question because, for modern individuals and families, there are many diverse outlets that could satisfy the yearning for community, the need to have an impact on social issues, and the instinct to deepen our experience. We will collect responses to this question and use them to derive several candidate purpose statements for consideration.

Next Steps

There are several ways we are looking to receive your feedback to the question.

  • Attend the “launching” of the Purpose Project Pizza discussion on March 17th
  • Stop by the Purpose Project table at social hour on any Sunday in March for more information.
  • Send an email to or to any team member to submit your answer to the question above, and/or to confirm your attendance at the pizza dinner on March 17th.
  • Submit your responses via this Google Form

Submit Your Own Purpose Statement

You are also welcome to submit your own purpose statement for consideration. What is a Purpose Statement? A purpose statement does not indicate what we do, or how we do it. It is a response to the question of “Why” you choose to be involved with First Parish. It should speak to the heart as much as the intellect. It should be short and memorable. We encourage you to speak in the “I” voice since we want to capture how we each experience involvement with First Parish.

Criteria for a good purpose statement:

  1. Energizes, produces joy, and/or provides a deep sense of meaning
  2. Provides clarity for moving forward
  3. Enables you to say no to an equally valid alternative
  4. Lives below the neck—engages heart and gut as well as the mind
  5. Compels enough to take a risk on its behalf
  6. Serves the greater community
  7. Builds resilience in your community
  8. Feeds spiritual, emotional, and physical hunger
  9. Provides something to work or grow toward

Thanks for your support and involvement!

Wendy Blom
Darrah Bryans
Tony Cicala
Cathy Livingston
Susan McGarvey
Tad Staley