Standing Committees

In the tradition of Congregational Polity, our church is organized and governed by volunteer committees.

Governance Committees

Parish Committee

The Parish Committee is the governing board of the church. This committee makes policy decisions and manages the overall direction and business of the church.

Trustees of First Parish Watertown

The First Parish Trustees are responsible for the wellbeing and preservation of the church’s three endowment accounts. These include the Ministerial Fund, the Perpetuity Fund, and the Helen Robinson Wright Fund. Proceeds from the first two are used to support the parish’s operating budget, while the Wright Fund is used exclusively for charitable purposes in the broader community. The Trustees also work to increase the size of First Parish’s endowments through the encouragement of members of the congregation to provide for the church in their wills and estate plans.

Committee on Ministry

Appointed by the minister, the Committee on Ministry serves as the liaison between the congregation and the minister. It also addresses topics the minister wishes to discuss. Any discussion issues related to the minister should be brought to this committee.

Finance Committee

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 annual pledge campaign, which solicits annual pledges from all members and friends of the church.

Safe Congregation Committee

The Safe Congregation Committee works to ensure that this religious community is a place where there is maximum possible safety – physical safety, safety in our interactions, and spiritual safety.

Helen Robinson Wright Fund Distribution Committee

The Helen Robinson Wright Fund Distribution 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.

Personnel Committee

The Personnel Committee, appointed by Parish Committee, is charged with creating and maintaining Personnel Policies and understanding of job/salary needs and requirements for the congregation.

Program Committees

Worship Committee

The mission of the Worship Committee is to work with the Minister and the Music Director to ensure the spiritual needs of this congregation are met in the vision, structure, and tone of the worship services. The committee serves as the congregation’s means of actively participating in making its worship services meaningful and supportive or individual and communal spiritual growth and enhancement. The committee helps coordinate special services, lay-led services, and organizes lay-led summer services.

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 the hiring and direction of our Director of Religious Education.

Social Action Committee

The Social Action Committee addresses social issues such as poverty, homelessness, racism, and immigration. We commit to being a force for social change by working with others in the larger community to promote justice, equity, and compassion. The Social Action Committee coordinates monthly designated offerings to support the work of community organizations.

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.

Buildings and Grounds Committee

The Buildings and Grounds Committee supervises the maintenance, repair, and improvement of Parish buildings and grounds, including both the meeting house and the parsonage. This committee helps to select and supervise the sexton, and oversee all the regularly contracted service and maintenance work on the church. At times the committee will organize and lead the congregation in volunteer events to further the maintenance, repair, and improvement activities.

Fellowship Committee

The Fellowship Committee is responsible for coordinating social hour and many other social events at the church, including Newcomer Breakfasts and the annual picnic. Their goal is to make everyone feel welcome and part of the community.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee facilitates the process of becoming a member. The committee ensures visitors have information about the church, coordinates official welcome ceremonies, and tracks the growth of our congregation. The committee also organizes events that promote and support membership.

Communication Committee

The Communications Committee facilitates external and internal outreach and communications through production and publication of content in print, audio-visual, and electronic form.

Committee Member List

In the tradition of Congregational Polity, our church is organized and governed by volunteer committees.

Committee Member List

Planned Giving

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.



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.










Safe 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

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: