“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Social Action at First Parish Needham involves all generations of the congregation through the Religious Education program, the High School Youth group, and the myriad projects that occur throughout the year by various committees and members of the congregation. 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 is chaired by Leslie Nelken and Chris Miara. We can help you find the activity that fits your interest, time, and concerns.
Consider getting involved in one of First Parish’s
Social Action projects:
- Minister to the homeless of 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.
- 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.
- Green Congregation Committee – To keep First Parish in the forefront of environmental stewardship, the Green Congregation Committee welcomes help in setting up educational events, organizing an Earth Day service, working on our Sharing the Harvest environmental justice program, participating in interfaith and community green initiatives, and more. Opportunities range from a onetime effort of a few hours to an ongoing commitment of a couple hours a month. Contact Eleanor Rosellini.
- 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 or Mark LaPointe.
- Social Action Reserve Corps – Interested in occasional opportunities for social ministry? Sign up for the reserve corps! You will be added to our contact list and informed when opportunities arise for one time, task specific social ministry. You choose according to your availability and interest. Contact Chris or Leslie.
Learn about UU 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.
- 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. If you would like to facilitate communication between First Parish and UU Mass Action please contact or Chris or Leslie at SocialAction@uuneedham.org.
- 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. Contact the Rev. Cheryl Lloyd, UU community minister and coordinator to find out how you can help — tutoring, in the classroom, after school.
Support the work of other First Parish members:
African Baobob: First Parish member Jackie Shepherd and her late husband Ron founded African Baobob, a non-profit which, with support from First Parish, is helping feed and educate orphans of AIDS in three villages in Uganda.
Youth Group: The Youth Group needs adult advisors for its spring service trip. Costs absorbed by the Youth Group — unless you are moved to pay some or all of your expenses. Contact Director of Religious Education Mark LaPointe.
- Prison ministry: For several years, First Parish has provided social contact and support for the education of a prisoner in Central Massachusetts. For more information, contact Cathy Livingston.
Social Action goes far beyond the projects listed above. For more information, please contact the Church Office at 781-444-0823 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact chairs Leslie Nelken and Chris Miara at SocialAction@uuneedham.org. Contact information for the other people named above can be obtained from the online directory (password required) or by calling the office.