First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Get Involved


Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet people and get involved in the community. Some of the most common ways to volunteer are below. Please indicate your interest in volunteering by completing the Volunteer Form.

Help Host Our Social Hour

A team of 4-6 volunteers typically hosts Social Hour, and everyone is encouraged to take a turn or two each year.

This involves setting up Parish Hall, making the coffee, setting out the food and drinks, and cleaning up afterwards.

Yes, it involves some work, but it’s also fun, a great way to meet people, and a great service to the community.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or contact the First Parish office at

Donate Sunday Flowers

Every Sunday flowers grace the chancel at the front of the Sanctuary.

Flowers may be donated in memory of loved ones, in celebration of special events, etc., and the dedication will be published in the Order of Service if you wish.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form.

Volunteer with Our Kids & Youth

Our Children’s Religious Exploration Program and Youth Groups need caring and enthusiastic adult leaders and mentors.

If you’re interested in multigenerational community and connection, please contact our DLRE at for more information about volunteer opportunities and our Safe Congregations policies.

Contribute to the Tech Team

Are you gifted with AV, Zoom, online communications, or social media?

For our multiplatform/hybrid Sunday services and programming, we welcome volunteers with technological know-how to join our volunteer teams that keep our livestreams, Zooms, and web presence running smoothly.

Please contact our administrator at for more information.

Memorial Gardeners

Although First Parish retains a landscaping service for general maintenance, much of the “fine tuning” of the grounds – and especially the Memorial Garden — is done by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or send an email to

Supporting Memorial Receptions

The opening words of First Parish’s Covenant stress our members’ commitment to caring for one another: We gather as a loving community to encourage and comfort one another. A Memorial Service and the Reception that follows provide members of our Parish, their families, and friends an opportunity to gather in community as we support one another through the loss of a loved one.

When the family is ready to begin planning for a Memorial Service, Reverend Catie collaborates with them to select a date, time, and the elements that will be part of the Service. Rev. Catie connects the family with Cathy Livingston, a member of our Parish who has volunteered to coordinate the Memorial Receptions.

Cathy meets with members of the family to go through the myriad decisions and details that go into planning a welcoming and nourishing reception to follow the Service. Through the combined efforts of the family and volunteers from our Parish, we provide food and beverages in an attractive, comfortable setting in Parish Hall.

Our goal is to create a welcoming space where we can gather to express our support to family and friends as they grieve the loss of a loved one.

We rely on volunteers from our Parish to help with the tasks associated with the Service and the Reception. Prior to each scheduled Reception, Cathy will place an announcement in the weekly Bell Notes seeking volunteers who are able to assist. Since we hope to plan each event in accordance with the family’s wishes, our needs will vary for each event.

If you would like to volunteer to assist in supporting this Ministry as your time allows, please email Cathy at . Prior to each event, Cathy will send an email that identifies where we need assistance.

Click on the links below for a brief description of what each task involves:

  • Setting Up Parish Hall
  • Serving as Greeters and Ushers
  • Donating Food/Beverages
  • Serving as Floaters
  • Making Coffee/Tea – Serving Initial Offerings
  • Preparing Punch (Optional)
  • Using the Sliver (Optional)
  • Cleaning Up

Setting up Parish Hall

Involves setting up tables for food and beverages, putting out chairs. Depending on when we can gain access to Parish Hall, we’ll set up on Friday evening if possible; otherwise, we’ll set up early Saturday morning.

Greeters and Ushers

The number of greeters and ushers needed to support each event will vary with the estimated number of attendees. For fifty or fewer anticipated attendees, two greeters and two ushers should be sufficient. Those volunteering for these roles need to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. Greeters will stand outside the doors welcoming people as they arrive. If we’re using both entrances for a Reception we’ll need additional greeters. The ushers assist in seating people in the Sanctuary, handing our Orders of Service, and with any other needs that arise.

Donating Food/Beverages

Cathy will send out a list of specific suggestions for donations to complement the items that the family is having catered. The list of requested donations will be helpful in gaging the level of support needed from our volunteers. We like to have the donations delivered to Parish Hall 20-30 minutes prior to the beginning of the Memorial Service.

Serving as Floaters

Depending on the estimated number of attendees, we’ll need 3-6 floaters per reception. Floaters will be present about an hour prior to the Service to “set” the food/beverage tables with cloths, arrange the China plates and cups along with any decorative elements that are part of the display. They will also be in charge of accepting and arranging food and beverage donations. During the Reception, their tasks include bringing out more food as needed, clearing dirty plates, and attending to any lose ends.

Making Coffee/Tea _ Serving Initial Offerings

Tasks include making coffee and tea and setting up serving stations. Initially, it might be helpful to have two people on this task, as they could also be helpful in serving the coffee and tea to individuals at the start of the Reception. Once everyone has their first cup, individuals can serve themselves unless someone wants to sit at the serving table and pour as people request refills.

Preparing Punch (Optional)

It seems like having punch is a key part of our receptions for some in our Parish. Including serving punch as an offering requires someone’s dedicated time and effort. Signing up to cover this task includes completing the required shopping, refrigerating of needed ingredients, and preparing the punch on the day of the Reception. Here’s the recipe if someone chooses to sign up to purchase the ingredients and prepare the punch on the morning of the Reception. If no one is able to volunteer for this role, we’ll serve a nice lemonade instead.


  • Large bottle of cranberry juice
  • Bottle of plain seltzer water
  • Bottle of white grape juice
  • Large container of frozen orange juice (Tropicana or Minute Maid)

Using the Silver Service (Optional)

In the past, FP has used our silver service as part of the reception. We’re happy to continue to use it, but we need someone specifically designated to be responsible for this task because of the time involved. The silver needs polishing in advance of the Reception. The value of the silver necessitates that someone take responsibility to oversee its use, including cleaning the silver and returning it to its designated storage area after the Reception ends. Since the silver is on display before the Memorial Service begins, someone needs to remain in Parish Hall throughout the Service. If no one volunteers for this task, then we won’t include using the silver during the reception.

Cleaning Up

Depending on the size of the event, we’ll need between 4-6 volunteers to make easy work of packing up leftover food, cleaning up the kitchen and parish hall. With so many hands helping we should be able to complete this task in less than an hour.

Although First Parish retains a landscaping service for general maintenance, much of the “fine tuning” of the grounds – and especially the Memorial Garden — is done by a dedicated group of volunteers. Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form.

Serve as an Usher

Ushers greet people as they come in, hand out order of services, and gather the mornings collection.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or send an email to

Serve as a Greeter

Greeters provide a warm welcome to all at both of our entrances on Sunday mornings. Another great way to meet people while serving the community.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or send an email to

Join the Bell Elves

Volunteer help in the office is always appreciated. Answering phones, preparing mailings, copying materials, filing and computer assistance are just some of the opportunities available.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or contact Susanna Whitman, office administrator, at

Help at Homegrown Coffeehouse

Volunteering to help at the Homegrown Coffeehouse is a great way to get involved — AND hear some great music. Volunteers set up for the shows, collect tickets, bake, serve food and drinks, and break down at the end of the night.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or send an email to

Sign Up for the Caring Crew

Many people in the parish volunteer to occasionally help out those in need — whether it be for meals during sickness, rides to medical appointments, or just helping out with the odd task or errand.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or send an email to to get your name on the list of Caring Crew volunteers.

Worship Associates

Worship Associates help out with various logistics of the worship service.

Indicate your interest on the Volunteer Form or send an email to the Worship Committee at

Friendly Feasts

  • Friendly Feasts are a tradition at First Parish. They provide an opportunity to build community and get to know your fellow parishioners — to get together to enjoy one another’s company over a meal, without any greater agenda or purpose to the gathering.
  • The Friendly Feasts work as follows: over the coming months, each household that signs up will attend two dinners on dates to be agreed upon by the hosts and guests. Please consider hosting. 
    • Dinners will be pot-luck style.
    • The more people who sign up, the more people we each have a chance to get to know.
    • Groupings will be randomly assigned, except that the organizers will do their best to make sure you do not dine with the same people twice.
    • Friendly Feasts are intended primarily for the adults in the congregation, but hosts can opt to invite the children of guests.
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