First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Your Immigrant Witness Part 1

by | Oct 4, 2018

The immigrant and refugee crisis has grabbed us all by the heartstrings. As we deepen our spiritual commitment with this month’s theme of “Sanctuary” at First Parish, I want to call your attention to the many ways we can help ease this crisis. All of these actions help fulfill our mission of being a level 2 (supporting) congregation.

Join the Sanctuary Movement – Volunteer w/ Our Level 1 Partner

First Parish partners with a Level 1 sanctuary church in Newton Highlands, which houses an immigrant family. Through our efforts, we are stopping a family from being ripped apart and possibly saving the life of the mother.

How can you help? Volunteer for shifts. Two volunteers need to be onsite 24/7 at the Newton Church. We are looking to fill 3 hour, 4 hour, and overnight shifts. Please talk to Tabby Rappolt about signing up.

Accompany an Immigrant to Court or a Medical Appointment

Framingham Companeras helps coordinate volunteers to accompany immigrants to court and medical appointments. The court appearances are for small infractions, e.g. traffic violations.

Under new, harsher policies, ICE will wait for an immigrant at the courthouse and deport him or her. However, ICE will stand down if the immigrant is accompanied. There is a training on Sunday, October 7 from  2:30-4:30pm at Temple Beth El, 105 Hudson Rd, Sudbury. If you want to attend, please RSVP here. or email

Join a Demonstration or Vigil

Your presence at a demonstration or vigil sends a message not only to elected officials, but also to immigrants, whose own resolve can be strengthened by knowing we stand in solidarity with them.

There is a #EndFamilySeparation vigil at the Needham Town Common on Weds 5:30pm – 6pm. For more information, contact Si Si Goneconto (

Jericho Walks are a silent interfaith prayer and act of solidarity at the ICE facility in Burlington, MA. Contact Laura Wagner at for more info.

If you cannot walk or travel, consider making an eye catching sign and lend it to a friend who will attend.

Sign up for Progressive Needham ( and UU Mass Action ( for more opportunities.

Contact Your Elected Officials

Contact your representatives about passing the Safe Communities Act which has been waiting to be passed for six years. You can reach rep Denise Garlick, a sponsor of the bill S.1305, at, or state senators Ross ( and Rush (

You can reach our US senators Warren and Ed Markey  at, and our congressman, Joe Kennedy III at (202) 225-5931 to press issues at a national level.

I will follow up with another blog post with even more ways to help. In the meantime, please know that however we personally decide to get involved, it makes a difference. It strengthens our spirit, the spirit of our church community, and the spirit of our human community.