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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

First Parish Carol Sing

  Sunday, December 12th 2:00pm - 3:00pm First Parish Lawn and Parish Hall   Come one, come all to enjoy a family-friendly afternoon of song and fellowship! All ages are welcome on the Sunday afternoon of December 12th as we sing together our favorite holiday...

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Laura Nevitt, First Parish Music Director

Hello, all! My name is Laura Nevitt (she/they) and I am so glad to be joining you as the new Music Director. I have grown up and served in many churches, but this will be my first time in a UU Congregation. I am so excited for this, because my beliefs much more align...

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Kelvyn Koning, Collaborative Pianist

  Greetings, new church family! My name is Kelvyn Koning (he/they) and I am thrilled to be serving as your Collaborative Pianist. My dad is actually a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church and I have spent most of my life playing piano, singing, and writing music...

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Welcome to our new Music Director and Accompanist!

Dear First Parish,   As chair of the Music Director Search Committee, I am so happy to announce and welcome Laura Nevitt as our new Music Director. Laura comes to us with years of experience as a singer, teacher, and choral conductor, leading both youth and...

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Steeple/Bell Tower Work

  The Steeple/Bell Tower work is now finished and ready to welcome us back to a new Church Year.     The work was...

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Rainbow Values Banner Debuted

  Over Thanksgiving weekend, our rainbow values banner was affixed to our program building facing the large parking lot on Lincoln Street. We give special thanks to our Social Action Committee, Racial Justice Task Force, Parish Committee, and Property Committee...

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Thank You to Needham Town Meeting

  On Sunday, October 4th, Needham Town Meeting voted to authorize Community Preservation Act funds for historic preservation to support a major renovation of our bell tower. Rev. Catie, Carl Franceschi, and Ann Barrett stewarded the application process for these...

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Notes on Ranked Choice Voting Lyceum

This week's Tuesday Night Lane Lyceum featured an informative presentation and discussion with Jim Henderson, General Counsel and Treasurer of the Yes on 2 campaign, non-partisan, citizen-organized campaign to introduce Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) to Massachusetts,...

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Meatless Monday Challenge

  Here is a win-win action that you can do today. Good for your health, good for the environment. One day a week, cut out the meat! Needham’s Meatless Monday Committee has launched a community-wide effort to encourage eating foods that prioritize human and...

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First Parish Remains Virtual Through December 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...

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