Social Action

Church Mission

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.

Visit the Welcoming Congregation page for more information.

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
  • 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. Below is a link to a list of suggested gifts for this toy drive:

Suggested Gift List

Benefit Concert

In conjunction with the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston, we sponsor an annual benefit concert held at First Parish.

In recent years, this concert has been held to benefit our own Charitable Fund:  The Helen Robinson Wright Charitable Fund.

Socially Responsible Investing

As part of our congregation’s commitment to social justice, our Trustees work with a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) firm to manage our endowment funds.

Our endowments and charitable fund assets are invested in companies meeting strict standards for sound governance and responsible financial management, as well as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, using innovative approaches to the environmental and social challenges their industries face.

In addition to applying SRI principles to select stocks, the firm is an “active investor,” with a team dedicated to Sustainability & Shareholder Engagement actions to proactively promote social change.

In collaboration with other stakeholders, the firm engages directly with companies to address a wide variety of social issues, including Child Labor, Climate Change, Human Rights, Sustainable Agriculture, and Workplace Safety.

For more information, visit bostoncommonasset.com.

World in Watertown

The World in Watertown is Watertown’s human rights group that works to protect and promote non-discriminatory practices.

The group meets monthly at our church on the first Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

The World in Watertown has sponsored a number of programs over the years, including:

  • The Annual Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast
  • Hate Crime Forum
  • Bike Collection for Bikes Not Bombs

Most recently, the group sponsored 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.”