First Parish in Needham Logo

23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Path to Membership

The Membership Commitment

We truly hope that you will choose to become a member of First Parish, but we ask that you not do so lightly. As members, we hold the following expectations of ourselves:

  • Showing up:  There are many ways to participate in First Parish life. Sunday services, Social Hour, and lifespan religious exploration are the foundation of our community, and they are all enriched by the presence of every member who is able to regularly participate. We all accept that some choose to be present more often than others. After all, for many of us spiritual enrichment comes in solitary settings or small groups. However, sharing important moments with the entire congregation is a fundamental part of being a member of a spiritual community.
  • Service:  We are a community built on and committed to service—service both to First Parish and to the greater communities of which we are a part. Each of us finds our own way to contribute our time and effort, whether through committee work, Social Hour hosting, lay ministry, volunteering for church functions, or social action initiatives. If our community is to thrive and reach others with our spiritual message and social justice actions, we each must make a heartfelt commitment of service.
  • Stewardship:  Each of us annually pledges financial support to First Parish according to our ability to contribute. The act of contributing is far more important than the amount of the contribution. Some give thousands of dollars each year and others less than one hundred. Many “friends of the parish,” who are not official members, also contribute generously. Because our unique local governance structure means that we do not receive any funding from our national or regional bodies, pledged contributions provide the bulk of the First Parish budget. These pledges are essential for maintaining the building, compensating our wonderful staff, and funding our programs. Our annual canvass campaign of members and friends happens in the late winter.

Determining One’s Own Needs & Timeline

There are various possible paths to membership at First Parish, and each person’s path is unique.

On the one hand, becoming a member of First Parish is as simple as signing the Membership Book, something that can be done on any Sunday in the presence of the Minister or an officer of First Parish.

However, the path to membership typically consists of several steps, beginning with your first visit to First Parish and hopefully gaining momentum through subsequent Sunday mornings and gradual involvement in some of the many facets of congregational life.

Some people participate in church life without becoming members. In short, there is no “right” length of time to wait before joining—it’s your decision.

Stepping Stones to Membership

We invite anyone interested in membership to join us for our occasional Newcomer Cafe, where you will have the opportunity to talk with the minister and members of the Membership Committee. These informal sessions give you a chance to get to know some current members as well as some other newcomers, and learn about First Parish.

Also, always feel free to visit committee meetings, attend church events, and inquire about joining activities like the choir if you are interested!

We would love to help you learn more and find your place in the First Parish community. For more information about becoming a member, please contact the Membership Committee at

In addition, please feel free to contact our minister or another member of our staff with questions or to learn more about becoming a member.

Signing and Celebrating

Every signing of the Membership Book is a cause for celebration — both for you and for us.

We honor that celebration in a worship service each fall and spring where new members are recognized and welcomed by the congregation in a special New Member Recognition ceremony.