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.
  • Annual collection of Christmas gifts for the children at the Grow Clinic in Boston.

 

UU Urban Ministry Bookshelf is looking for donations of one or more of the titles listed below? It is okay to have duplicates. They would also appreciate other books that focus on similar themes and writers as the ones on the list.

They also need: New, unmarked SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement test preparation books for 2018.

Here are the titles they requested: 

Lies My Teacher Told Me: What Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen 

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendo

The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcolm X with Alex Haley

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison 

The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. by Chancellor Williams

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Sula by Toni Morrison

Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin

Rest in Power, The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Blueprint for Black Power: A Moral, Political, and Economic Imperative

Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez

The Altar of My Soul: The Living Traditions of Santeria by Marta Moreno Vega

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz 

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros 

The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat 

The Boy Without a Flag: Tales of the South Bronx by Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.

Where a Nickel Costs a Dime by Willie Perdomo

Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto 

Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez 

Forgotten Founders: How the American Indian Helped Shape Democracy by Bruce E. Johansen

100 Hispanics You Should Know by Ivan Castro 

Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans by Martha Menchaca 

Latinos: A Biography of the People by Earl Shorris 

Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America by Gina M. Pérez, Frank A. Guridy, and Adrian Burgos, Jr.

Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race and Work in the Deep South by Angela Stuesse

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.”