Social Action

Our mission as a congregation is as follows: We, the members of the First Parish of Watertown seek to honor our religious heritage by providing a spiritual home for reflection and growth in a diverse, intergenerational, caring community for all. We commit to being a force for social change by working with others in the larger community to promote justice, equity and compassion.

Welcoming Congregation

The Social Action Committee is committed to strengthening First Parish's belief in becoming a Welcoming Congregation, a congregation that is inclusive and expressive of the concerns of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender (BGLT) persons at every level of congregational life. We hope that we are a place where people of all sexual orientations can feel at home and work together for justice and peace. On April 28, 2002, the congregation voted to officially become a Welcoming Congregation. In 2004 the congregation became very active in the same sex marriage campaign. We sponsored special services around love and marriage, we participated in gay pride marches, letter writing campaigns, workshop training, and political forums and programs. In the spring of 2004, First Parish celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, Mark and Andrea married the first same-sex couple in the town.

Giving Boxes

Part of the ongoing work of the Social Action Committee is organizing the Giving Boxes at the church, where parishioners donate items for the designated non-profit helping agency we are assisting for that month. In the past, we have supported the Alliance for the Homeless in Boston; Teen L.E.E.P. Books (Leadership, Employment, and Enrichment Program), based at the Rediscovery House group home in Watertown; Boston Medical Center Nutrition's Resource Center, an expanded food pantry that serves the Grow Clinic as well as the Women's Infant and Children¹s Program (WIC) and a Preventative Food Pantry and Demonstration Kitchen; Renewal House, a shelter for battered women and their children, a program of the Unitarian Universalist Urban ministry; and local Watertown Food Pantries which include the pantry at St. Patrick's Church, and the Watertown Food Pantry at St John's Methodist Church.. We also have an annual collection of Christmas Gifts for 75 children at the Grow Clinic.

Benefit Concert

We also sponsor an annual benefit concert held at First Parish. This is done in conjunction with the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston. In March 2005, we raised a record $1,800 for Aid to Incarcerated Mothers through a concert featuring Jacqueline Schwab, a pianist who has supplied the music for a number of Ken Burns' documentaries. Past recipients have included Renewal House and the Support Committee for Battered Women.

World in Watertown

The World in Watertown is Watertown's human rights group. It works to protect and promote non-discriminatory practices. The group meets monthly at our church on the first Thursday at 7:30 p.m. It has sponsored a number of programs over the years. These include the annual Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast, Hate Crime forum, Bike collection for Bikes not Bombs, and most recently an effort to establish Watertown as a No Place for Hate community. We want to celebrate cultural differences, and advocate fair and equal treatment of all - "Diversity, Equality and Human Rights"

35 Church Street, Watertown, MA 617-924-6143 fpwatertown at comcast.net