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23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

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Pastoral Message on Roe v. Wade

The news is in: the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization ruling is final, which, as many of us suspected it would, has officially overturned the historic Roe v Wade decision.

From your ministers, Rev Catie and Rev Jenna, there is shock; there is grief; there is outrage. We know that people who can become pregnant will suffer serious injury, even death, from the barriers to abortion access that this ruling will set in motion in certain states across the country. We also know that the folks who will be impacted the most from this decision are people of color, people with few financial resources, young people, and folks in rural areas. We are also deeply concerned and angered by the concurrent opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas in its suggestion that other women’s and LGBTQ rights established in historic Supreme Court cases should be reviewed. 

Our faith affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and covenants to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions. We echo Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s press release this morning, in which she emphasizes that “The Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health decision does not alter Unitarian Universalists’ commitment to Reproductive Justice.” Here at First Parish, we will keep fighting to defend our values of gender equality, bodily autonomy, religious liberty, LGBTQ equality, and reproductive justice, and will not rest until people who can become pregnant have access to the comprehensive healthcare that they need. 

We also encourage you to ground your work for reproductive justice in our Unitarian Universalist faith. Rev Catie and Sara Elizabeth have recorded a centering meditation and prayer from UU minister Rev Julia Hamilton to listen to today and for the long haul of reproductive justice work:

All Souls DC is hosting an online vigil of support at 7 pm ET tonight, with the Zoom information on their website. You can read statements and prayers from the UUA on their website, and you can watch First Parish’s Reproductive Justice Sunday service on our YouTube channel. Abigail Bengson has just released a powerful refrain for bodily autonomy, and UU poet-minister Rev Lynn Ungar has released a new poem. Also, we highly recommend you check out Side With Love’s press release statement from earlier today, including their list of action items and resources for further organizing. 

Rev Catie and Rev Jenna are both at General Assembly this week (Rev Catie in Portland, and Rev Jenna, from home, in Somerville). At this morning’s worship service, Rev Kathleen Rolenz spoke about the Dobbs ruling, explaining that –even before the fight– there needs to be a place for lamentation and rage. And even before lamentation, we need prayer. So, following Rev Kathleen’s wisdom, we wanted to leave with you with a prayer.

Before and beyond all the legal minutiae of the ruling, we hope you can find your breath. We hope can sit, for a moment, with whatever constellation of emotions this day brings up in you. We hope you’ll let each of those in for a moment, without judging. We hope that you know: you are loved, beyond belief. We hope you feel the embrace of that which is greater than all of us.

We hope that you know that in your pain, you are not alone. If despair is a part of your constellation, you are not alone in that either. Maybe in the crossroads where our pain, or outrage, or despair meet each other’s is our way through this devastation.

Inspired by Rev Kathleen’s words, we add: We pray for this, our wounded world. We pray for our own woundedness or otherness–which is not completely separate from the wounds we see in systems around us. We pray, Spirit of Life, that our judgments soften. We pray for the compassion, and courage, and wisdom that we will need to respond as faithfully as we can.

In faith and love,
Rev Catie & Rev Jenna

Previous Posts

Pride Sunday 2022

We rallied! We marched! We partied! 🌈 It was a great honor and joy to co-host, co-organize, and co-sponsor today’s Needham Has Pride: Family Sized gathering. We deeply appreciate every person (and puppy) who "came out" to show their Pride as members of the queer...

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Youth Led Sunday Worship

Our Youth-Led Sunday worship was absolutely wonderful, and so special to have in-person for the first time since 2019! The youth offered thoughtful reflections and words, skillful music, and surprised their service trip guides with a lovely gift. The whole community...

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We Kept the Bell Ringing! Celebrate on June 16 at 5:30

Please join us on Thursday afternoon, June 16, at 5:30 on the First Parish Lawn for an “official” inaugural bell ringing within our beautiful restored tower. We have invited Needham town officials to the ceremony to thank them for their generous support through the...

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Memorial Service for Greg Condon

  Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 11:00 am, Live Streamed from the Sanctuary    All are welcome to celebrate the life of our member of blessed memory, Greg Condon, who died at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. We are honored to finally hold his memorial...

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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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 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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Digital Order of Service

      This is our final Saturday Bell Notes because the order of service is now available on your smart phone or tablet via this QR code or by entering (bookmark it!) in your browser. Each Sunday's order of service will become available on the...

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The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: A Community Teach-In

  Join Us for a Special Lane Lyceum: Wednesday, March 16 at 7:30 pm via Zoom link:   Speakers: Ilana Pavlotsky and Cinzia Solari Moderator: Smriti Rao   Is Ukraine part of Russia? Is Ukraine Europe? Why do some Ukrainians...

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Kay and Clark: Because They Said Yes

  Anyone who has the pleasure of knowing Kay and Clark Taylor appreciate that they have had a 60+ year love story.  But many of you may not know about all the other valuable contributions they have made to our community, as well as, to the people in Guatemala. ...

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Pastoral Message on the Invasion of Ukraine

    At the time of this writing, Russian airstrikes have impacted twelve major Ukrainian cities, and tens of thousands of Russian troops and tanks have invaded the borders of the smaller nation. Significant fighting and damage has been reported in Chernobyl, where...

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Reopening Task Force

  As a result of the sharply dropping number of cases of Covid 19 in our community, the Reopening Task Force, using the algorithm developed at MIT, considers the risk acceptable to return to hybrid worship beginning February 6, 2022 in the Parish Hall.  It is...

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