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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

Sanctuary Service Welcome

Parishioner John Gallo delivered this inspiring Welcome to start the service on February 18, which focused on Immigration: Me llamo John Gallo, y mi familia, incluida mi esposa Traci Abbott, hija Julia, en el noveno grado, y hijo Sebastian, en el séptimo grado. Nos...

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Bring a Friend to Church Follow-up

  For those of you who were able to get your friends to First Parish on March 4th, thank you very much. We hope they enjoyed the service and the conversations at Social Hour. If your friends wish to know more about what’s going on at First Parish, please give us...

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Clean Lines

Happy New Year!  Here's hoping 2018 is filled with joy, love and peace. We got a request to share a bit more about what the various folks in the RE program do and who to contact for various issues.  We wish we could offer a simple list for you all, but there is a lot...

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You can leave a last legacy at First Parish

The Legacy Giving Committee is delighted with the interest in the Challenge Campaign.  Over the coming weeks we will be sharing stories and ideas for including First Parish in your estate plan. Many of you may not know of the generous bequest that Roberta Crocker...

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Legacy Giving – A Simple Codicil to Your Will

The Legacy Giving Committee would like to thank all of you who stopped by our table at the Volunteer fair.  Many people asked how they could include First Parish in Needham (FPN) in their estate plan with a codicil to their will.  You are not required to have an...

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Where Have You Found Transcendence?

Tuesday, May 23rd, at 7:30 in the Parlor We wrap up this year’s Big Question Forum series with a big question about personal geography.  As many anticipate summer travels, we thought it would a fine send-off to reflect on those special places in our lives, where there...

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Video tutorials- Using the Realm- Log In, Profile, and Groups

Have you been hearing about the Realm but not known how to use it?Are you frustrated because you have tried to log in to the Realm for the first time and did not know how to make it work?If you want to know more about using the Realm at First Parish, these videos are...

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Introducing the First Parish Podcast!

What is a Podcast and Why do I want to subscribe? For many years, the weekly Sermon has been audio recorded and available to listen to through a link on our website. This year, we have made the weekly Sermons available, not only on the website, but in the form of a...

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