First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Social Action


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Our mission is to coordinate outreach and service activities that promote positive social change, respect for the environment, and an active approach to solving local, national, and international issues. The Social Action Committee coordinates much of this activity and is chaired by Clark Taylor and Becca Malakoff.

We can help you find the activity that fits your interest, time, and concerns. Let us know what interests you by completing the Social Action Sign Up Form below or contacting Clark or Becca at

Social Action @ First Parish

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

The DEI Commitee began as the Racial Justice Task Force and became a permanent congregational committee in 2021. The DEI Committee’s mission is to advance anti-oppression and anti-racism within First Parish and beyond. 

The Task Force was  formed in the light of the crisis sparked by the killings of young African-American men by police officers. One of our goals is to provide multiple ways for our congregation to deepen our understanding of issues around race in our culture, and to explore ways of living our UU principles to make a difference and effect change, both socially and politically.

Our work is part of the larger Commit2Respond initiative that our congregation has approved. We have also been working closely with the Social Action and Green Congregation committees. We have learned that racial justice, social justice, and environmental justice are closely intertwined, as communities of color are often those most adversely affected by climate change and pollution. 

For more information, contact the DEI Committee at

Green Congregation / Green Sanctuary

At First Parish, we take great pride in having been recognized as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Form more information, please visit the Green Sanctuary page.

Welcoming Congregation

First Parish is among the many Unitarian Universalist congregations that have voted to welcome and celebrate the presence and participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender persons – just as we welcome persons of any race, age, ability, or economic circumstances.

Following a rigorous application process, First Parish was designated a Welcoming Congregation by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in October 1996.

For more information, please visit the Welcoming Congregation page.

Level-2 Sanctuary Supporting Congregation / Immigrant Ministry

First Parish is a Level-2 Sanctuary Congregation.

For more information, please visit the Sanctuary Supporting Congregation page.

Minister to the Homeless in Boston

First Parish provides two-thirds of the volunteers to Generic Ministry, Inc. Their van goes to Boston every Tuesday and Wednesday with food, clothing, personal care products, and outreach. Make sandwiches, donate clothing, drive, or help organize.

Contact: Rick Vincent at

Minister to Homeless Families

We partner with the Pathways Family Shelter in Framingham. Help with the Mitten Tree project, getting Christmas gifts for homeless children.

Each year we also help a family move from temporary shelter to more permanent housing.

Contact: Amy Gilmore

The Grow Clinic of the Boston Medical Center

One or two adult volunteers are needed to work with the 4th and 5th grade students to raise money, pack cases of food and make the trip to deliver food to the Grow Clinic of the Boston Medical Center. This is done over a few Sundays in January, with the loading of the food and delivery scheduled for an afternoon during the week.

The food pantry helps over 17,000 people and is affiliated with the Grow Clinic, a vital organization which helps treat children with severe malnutrition.

To get involved, contact Rick Vincent at or Roberta Altamari at

Social Action beyond First Parish

UUSC Local Rep

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee organizes domestic and international human rights and social justice work. Local Reps help raise funds to defend human rights, organize opportunities to engage in UUSC’s work, and build strong UUSC membership so we have an effective voice for advocacy.

First Parish local rep duties might include helping the RE Director with Guest at your Table campaign, participating in monthly conference calls to discuss current UUSC campaigns, and using the Social Action table to make the congregation aware of UUSC campaigns and social justice actions. 

For more information, please visit

UU Mass Action Liaison

UU Mass Action identifies the right time to address specific issues and organizes coordinated efforts throughout Massachusetts in an effort to have the greatest impact. Recent focuses have been homelessness and immigration.

For more information, please visit

If you would like to facilitate communication between First Parish and UU Mass Action please contact

UU Urban Ministry

First Parish has a history of working with the UU Urban Ministry to volunteer in Boston schools, most recently the Mather School on Meetinghouse Hill in Dorchester.

For more information, please visit

Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries

First Parish is a member of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, whose mission is to mobilize congregations and communities across economic, religious, racial, and ethnic boundaries so that, in partnership, we can work more effectively for a just and peaceful society and for spiritual growth and interfaith understanding.

Recently, we have partnered with them on Needham’s At My Neighbor’s Table program.

For more information, please visit

Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

First Parish is a proud supporter of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, and a partner in the work for a peaceful Greater Boston without gun violence.

We have hosted many Sunday services and lectures from Peace Institute staff members, and have supported their Mother’s Day Walk For Peace for many years.

For more information, please visit

Support the Work of First Parish Members

First Parish Youth Group Service Trip

Our Senior Youth Group offers community service throughout the year, and participates in a weeklong service trip during either February or April vacation.

The Youth Group applies for grants and fundraises to cover the costs of the service trip.

Please contact Sarah Elizabeth Dyer-Santa Cruz, the Interim Director of Religious Education, at for more information about how to donate to the Youth Group and for information about volunteering with our teens.

Tell Us How You would Like to Participate

Social Action Sign Up Form

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