Committee Governing Structure
In the tradition of Congregational Polity, our church is organized and governed by volunteer committees.
The Parish Committee is the governing board of the church. This committee makes policy decisions and manages the overall direction of the church.
Religious Education Committee
The Religious Education Committee is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of all aspects of the First Parish Watertown RE program. We meet monthly to review such issues as curriculum and class planning, RE policy, special programs, youth group and childcare concerns, adult RE programs and the hiring and direction of our Director of Religious Education.
The Finance Committee manages short- and long-term financial activities of the church. Its main areas of responsibility are managing the budget and performing an annual review and presentation of the church budget. It is responsible for the Every Member Canvass which solicits annual pledges from all members and friends of the church. It also sponsors the Annual Dinner and Talent Show.
Social Action Committee
The Social Action Committee’s mission is to initiate projects of social importance, most notably the monthly giving box. They also try to facilitate congregational participation in and advocacy for a variety of social action programs.
Building and Grounds Committee
The Building and Grounds Committee supervises the maintenance, repair, and improvement of Parish buildings and grounds, including the parsonage. It may recommend action on issues of furnishings and decoration. This committee helps to select and supervise the sexton, and oversee all the regularly contracted service and maintenance work on the church.
Helen Robinson Wright Fund Disbursement Committee
The Helen Robinson Wright Fund Disbursement Committee makes decisions on appropriations of grants to local charities and Watertown residents in financial need. It was established through the generosity of lifetime Watertown resident Helen Robinson Wright. Mrs. Wright’s estate endowed the trust fund that bears her name.
The Worship Committee advises and assists the minister in planning and presenting worship services. They provide overall guidance and technical support for our worship services, including arranging lay services, and special music. This committee helps to coordinate several special services during the year, and is also responsible for summer services.
The Fellowship Committee is responsible for coordinating social hour and many other social events at the church, including Newcomer Breakfasts and the all church retreat. Their goal is to make everyone feel welcome and part of the community, to the end that the church’s membership will increase in both numbers and warmth. They are especially charged with integrating new people into the congregation
Committee on Ministry
The Committee on Ministry serves as a liaison between the congregation and the minister, and also addresses any special issues the minister wishes to discuss. A sub-committee also serves to support and advise the intern minister. Any discussion issues related to the ministers should be addressed to this committee.
Trustees of First Parish Watertown
The Trustees of First Parish Watertown meets quarterly to monitor and review the stability of three endowment funds which support the church. The trusts are: The Perpetuity Fund, The Ministerial Fund and The Helen Robinson Wright Charitable Fund.
Planned Giving – How can you help insure that First Parish will continue for many generations to come?
See our Planning Giving brochure here – Planned Giving Brochure
Make a Lasting Gift by including The First Parish of Watertown in your Estate Plan
The First Parish of Watertown gratefully accepts bequests from donors who wish to include THE FIRST PARISH OF WATERTOWN in their estate plans. Bequests may be unrestricted or restricted to a particular purpose, and they may be in the form of specific property or amounts of funds, percentage of a total estate or balance of an estate after other bequests are made. Sample language for these bequests is set forth below, along with a sample bequest intention letter that can be sent to the Minister. If you have any questions, please contact THE FIRST PARISH OF WATERTOWN’s Minister, Mark Harris, or have your attorney or estate planning professional contact him.
Sample Bequest Language
To make a General Unrestricted Bequest: I give __________ Dollars ($_______) to The First Parish of Watertown, for its general charitable purposes.
To make a Restricted Bequest: I give __________ Dollars ($_______) to The First Parish of Watertown, to be used for ________________ [describe gift purpose, e.g. “to be added to Perpetuity Fund or its Helen Robinson Wright Fund ”; “to be used to support the building fund”].
To make a Specific Bequest: I give __________ [property description, e.g. “my residence located at 123 Main Street, Boston, Massachusetts”; “___ shares of XYZ Corporation common stock”] to The First Parish of Watertown, for its general charitable purposes.
To make a Residuary Bequest: I give the residue of my estate to The First Parish of Watertown, for its general charitable purposes.
To make a Percentage Bequest: I give ____ Percent (___%) of the residue of my estate to The First Parish of Watertown, for its general charitable purposes.
SAMPLE BEQUEST LETTER
Dear Reverend __________,
It is my/our pleasure to inform you that I/we have named The First Parish Of Watertown (FPW) of Watertown, Massachusetts, as a beneficiary of my/our estate plan. This letter signifies my/our intention to make a bequest through my/our estate plan of approximately $_________ to be used [STATE YOUR DESIRED USE FOR THE GIFT: e.g., added to FPW’s Perpetuity OR Helen Robinson Wright Fund; or to be used for general charitable purposes; etc].
This gift will take the form of being [STATE THE TYPE OF GIFT THIS IS, e.g., the sole beneficiary of my/our Individual Retirement Account (IRA), or life insurance policy, or bequest in a will/trust, bank or investment account, etc].
Understanding that this gift intention may be changed at any time I/we will inform you should I/we change my/our intent toward FPW or should the dollar value of my/our potential donation significantly increase or decrease.
I/we am/are gratified to be able to support First Parish and the wonderful work it does, both in Watertown and in the world.
BE SURE TO KEEP A COPY OF THIS LETTER WITH YOUR ESTATE PLAN DOCUMENTS.
Green Sanctuary Committee
The Green Sanctuary Committee is charged with informing the members about environmental issues and helping to transform individual lives and the church’s building and programs so that we can all reduce our carbon footprint and avert greater environmental desecration.
The Personnel Committee is charged with creating and maintaining Personnel Policies and understanding of job/salary needs and requirements for the congregation.
First Parish of Watertown Policies for a Safe Congregation
Maintaining Right Relations in the First Parish of Watertown Community
At First Parish of Watertown we aspire to be a religious community where there is maximum possible safety—physical safety, safety in our interactions, and spiritual safety. We aspire to be a place where we will not be physically or sexually threatened or abused; a place where we can respectfully give an opinion that rings true to us without being condemned or harshly criticized; a place where our thoughts and emotions are respectfully received and discussed; a place where telling the truth in love is the norm, and the increasing disclosure of ourselves and our thoughts and feelings toward larger realities is welcomed.
The well-being, strength, and reputation of our church depend on a sense of fellowship among the adult members and friends, the children in our community and our staff, which thrives in an atmosphere of trust, respect, and cooperation. Within such an atmosphere, differences of opinion and their resolution through compromise or consensus can enhance a sense of community. However, differences or misunderstandings that go unresolved and descend into prolonged conflict can threaten the social fabric of our church.
The policies and procedures in this document are intended to identify the steps to be followed in our church should serious challenges to the safety of a member of our community or our right relations with one another occur. The UUA Principles and Purposes and our own church Covenant are the guiding principles for these policies and for our behavior toward one another.
Documents which support our Right Relations within this community:
Approved and Available on First Parish Website
- Policy Regarding Disruptive Behavior and Emergency Information
- Child Protection Policy
- First Parish Emergency Information
- Electronic Media Policy and Guidelines
In Process of Being Develped
- Sexual Harassment Policy
- Conflict Resolution Policy
- First Parish Communication Map
The following are documents with which each member should be familiar: