FAQs for Visitors
What's a Typical Sunday Service?
- 10:30 am — Worship Service in the Meetinghouse. To get more of a feel for our service, visit the Our Services page in the Worship section. Services can also be enjoyed in a relaxed setting in the Worship Cafe.
- 11:30 am — Social hour in the Parish Hall
- 5:00 pm — Junior Youth Group (~ 2 Sundays/month)
- 7:00 pm — Senior Youth Group (most Sundays)
- Our summer services consist of a worship service at 10:30 am in Parish Hall followed by Social Hour.
How do People Dress for Sunday Service?
The emphasis here is on the plural, as in styles.
Some of us still wear our “Sunday best,” while others relish the opportunity to escape weekday formality and just keep it casual.
As with most things about our community, there is widespread acceptance of how others choose to express themselves.
The same goes for the children; however, note that many of our classes involve crafts projects, and classes often take full advantage of our playground as weather permits.
How do I get to First Parish?
First Parish is located just off the Needham town square at 23 Dedham Avenue (route 135). There is ample 2-hour parking in the town lot off of Lincoln Street. (For longer-term parking, see Note on Parking below.) Only the Lincoln Street doors are open on weekdays; the main doors to the church are open on fair-weather Sundays. The building is fully handicap-accessible.
From the North: Take Route 128 (I-95) south to exit 19B (Highland Avenue Needham). Take Highland Avenue to Great Plain Avenue in Needham Center. Cross over Great Plain Ave. onto Dedham Ave., the church will be on your right. Parking is available on Lincoln St., the first right after the church.
From the South: Take Route 128 (I-95) north to exit 17 (Route 135). Take Route 135 to Lincoln Street (see map). Parking is off Lincoln Street.
From Boston and Cambridge: Take Route 9 west to Route 128 South. Follow directions above “from the North.”
Need additional information? Call 781-444-0823.
Where can I Park?
The Lincoln Street lot has a 2-hour limit except for Saturday nights and all day Sunday.
There is additional parking in the lot behind 60 Dedham Ave. (across and down the street from First Parish). This lot is recommended if you are going to be in the building for more than two hours, especially during the day on Saturdays.
We ask that you not park in the driveway unless you have a handicap sticker.
First Parish has Multiple Doors. Which one should I Use?
On Sunday mornings you can enter the church via either the Meetinghouse doors facing Dedham Avenue or the Lincoln Street door.
During the week and on many winter Sundays, the Meetinghouse doors are locked, so please use the Lincoln St. door.
Is First Parish Accessible to the Disabled?
First Parish in Needham makes every effort to be fully accessible to all. Both the Dedham Avenue and Lincoln Street doors are handicap-accessible. Other accommodations include:
- Parking: There is a handicapped parking space in our driveway and plentiful additional parking in the adjacent lot, which is just a short and level walk or roll from our door.
- Elevators: There is an elevator immediately inside the Lincoln Street entrance. There is a second elevator that serves the lower floor only by the back entrance. This elevator requires a key that must be obtained from the Parish office.
- Restrooms: A unisex, handicap-accessible restroom is available on the main floor. Additional handicap-accessible restrooms are available on the lower level. Child-size handicap-accessible facilities are available in several of the classrooms.
- Hearing: Small receivers with earphones are available as you come in the sanctuary. The Ushers can assist you with operations.
- Large-print hymnals are available in the sanctuary. See the Ushers.
- Braille Hymnals are also available in the sacntuary. Seee the Ushers.
What should I Expect when I Walk in the Door?
Greeters usually welcome people at both the Lincoln Street and Dedham Avenue doors, and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
If it’s your first visit to First Parish, we ask that you fill out a gold Visitor’s Card; among other things, filling out this card puts you on the mailing list for our newsletter, the Bell Notes.
Everyone wears a nametag, and the Greeters will have a supply of blanks for you to use.
Should I go to Social Hour?
By all means, please join us. Social Hour is a long and honored tradition among UU congregations and we are no exception.
Newcomers are encouraged to take a red mug which serves as a signal to us that you are new and may not have anyone to talk to or may have questions. The Minister is usually there and is especially interested in welcoming newcomers.
Your children are also welcome and will find plenty of energetic company to keep them amused, as well as a mix of healthy and fun snacks.
And if you become an active member of our community, you’ll quickly realize that the conversations at Social Hour are a critical part of what keeps First Parish running.
How do I Stay up on What's Happening at First Parish?
Do you have a Directory of Members?
Yes, once you have filled out a yellow visitor card, we enter you into our database and send an email inviting you to register.
If you register, you’ll have access to the database and can see everyone’s contact information and, if you wish, print a photo directory.
FAQs for Families
Can Families with Children Visit Children's Programs?
We welcome families with children to check out our Religious Exploration program at any time.
You may wish to check the church calendar, or to contact the Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration, Sara Elizabeth Dyer-Santa Cruz at DRE@uuneedham.org to confirm that church school is in session on the Sunday you plan to visit.
New or visiting families are welcome to have children go to childcare or one of our classes. (Note: There will be no childcare on Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year’s Day.)
If the children choose to go to class, parents are invited to accompany them to meet our Director of Lifespan Religious Education and the individual classroom teachers. You may then sit in on the RE class or, if you prefer, return to the sanctuary for Sunday worship.
What do Children do on Sunday?
- You are welcome to drop off your babies and toddlers in the nursery before service, or keep them with you during the service. (Note: There will be no childcare on Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year’s Day.)
- Preschool through 8th grade children usually gather in the sanctuary for the Time for All Ages portion of our service. On most Sundays, they are then sung out to Religious Exploration classes, accompanied by their teachers. Most of our RE classes are on the lower level.
- On other, special Sundays, we hold multigenerational services for all ages with music, stories and ritual that are designed to be accessible to all.
- On most holiday Sundays, there are “all-age” activities for the children.
- Regardless of the schedule, your children are always welcome to join you for the full service if you wish.
We do not have Sunday morning programs for high schoolers. They are always invited to join in the worship service in the sanctuary. However, faced with the choice between that and another hour or two of sleep, most of them choose the latter, and then show up later in the day to participate in our dynamic Youth Groups.
May Children join their parents at Social Hour after Service?
After the service, families are invited to join the congregation for social hour in the Parish Hall.
You’ll have an opportunity to meet other families and to learn more about our RE program and church.
If you have a child 6 or under, please sign them out from their classroom before joining Social Hour.
Do You have a Youth Group Program?
Yes. In fact, we have two – a Junior Youth Group that meets on Sunday mornings at the same time as children’s RE, and a Senior Youth Group that meets most Sunday evenings.
For more information visit our Youth Groups page.