large outdoor chalice with stone base and dark metal shallow bowl surrounded by garden plantings

Social Justice

“We Cannot Walk Alone” – January 15th, 2023

Reading: “Choose to Bless the World,” Rev. Rebecca Parker Your gifts—whatever you discover them to be— can be used to bless or curse the world. The mind's power, the strength of the hands, the reaches of the heart, the gift of speaking, listening, imagining, seeing, waiting Any of these can serve to feed the hungry, bind up wounds, welcome the stranger, praise what is sacred, do the work of justice or offer love. Any of these can draw down the prison door, hoard bread, abandon the poor,...

“Our Soul’s Address” – November 14th 2021

I am so proud to be a part of this church. What a vibrant, big-loving, truth-telling people you are. I hope you hear that this morning. Part of our commitment to being a Welcoming Congregation, for that is what this the First Parish of Watertown is, means considering what it means to truly belong in this place. And we can do this in a myriad of ways. Being a place of welcome can mean a lot of things. But at its core, and underneath all the different ways that we express and live welcome, is...

Remembered Names of Trans Americans Killed in 2021

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. During our service on Sunday, November 14th First Parish of Watertown commemorated these trans siblings who were lost in 2021: EJ Boykin, 23 Oliver Taylor, 17 Taya Ashton, 20 Samuel Valentin Shai Vanderpump, 23  Bianca Bankz, 30 Miss CoCo, 44 Natalia Smut, 24 Pooh Johnson  Fifty Bandz, 21 Zoella Martinez, 20...

A Conversation with Barbara and Beverly Smith

A Conversation with Barbara and Beverly Smith

First Parish Watertown held the inaugural Sue Kuder Memorial Lecture on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 7:00 pm.
Beverly and Barbara Smith are founders of the Combahee River Collective. They discussed their early activism in the Civil Rights Movement; their work to build Black feminism; and their life-long commitment to social justice. A recording of the talk is available.

Beyond Categorical Thinking

Will the new minister hear me? Will my concerns and needs be met? Will the minister understand what I’m living with? How will the community respond to our minister? In answering these questions, a picture of the “ideal minister” (categorized by age, gender identity, nationality, physical or cognitive ability, race, sexual orientation, etc.) comes to mind. With this picture in place, it can be easy to unintentionally exclude ministers who fall into certain categories. At times, as we get caught...

Fair Is Not Always Equal – August 16, 2020

Before I begin my homily, I invite you to participate in an art activity. Today’s story,It’s Okay to be Different, is appealing for many reasons, one of which is Todd Parr’s bold and accessible art style. The beauty of the illustrations lie in their simplicity.  The differences of the characters are presented simply and boldly to be celebrated.  For this activity, if you were to add a page to the story about yourself, what would it say? What would the illustration look like? Why? I invite you...

Why Bother? – July 12, 2020

Our opening words today are a paraphrase and extension of words from a speech by John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Some look at things as they are, and ask “Why? Others see things as they could be, and ask “Why not?” Still others take just one look/see, and say “Why bother?” When I was approached about doing a summer service, my partner and I had recently started volunteering with a local Sanctuary Church. I'd like to share a few thoughts from that experience: In the orientation, we were asked not to...

“The Language of the Unheard” – A Homily for Pentecost

We find ourselves once again at the threshold of a new month. Tomorrow is the first day of June, which means the beginning of Pride Month. When we met for our staff meeting on Tuesday, we thought we might focus this morning on Pride and on this congregation’s commitment to being welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ+ persons. That afternoon, I started watching the documentary “How to Survive a Plague.” It sounded timely given our current state. It recounts the story of AIDS activists in the 1980’s...

Flower Communion Sunday – June 21, 2020

What an exquisite bouquet of people you are! I am touched and moved, even today, even in this time of physical distancing – or perhaps especially because of it – by this ritual and by Rev. Capek’s original message to his people…the simple message that each person is as beautiful and wonderful as a flower in bloom. Each one of us possesses an inherent worth, an inherent goodness, and an inherent beauty that neither time nor our distance from one another can diminish. That was Rev. Capek’s...

April 2024