News Archive

The articles below are selected news highlights. See the Newsletters page for current and past issues of our monthly newsletter The Visitor.

Church Activity Ramps Up for Fall on Sept. 9

In many ways (if not liturgically), the church’s New Year begins in September with a fresh surge of activity similar to the schools’. Christ Church Needham will return to a full Sunday worship schedule and many programs will ramp up again after the languor of summer.

Starting the Sunday after Labor Day, September 9, worship services will be held at 8:15 am in the chapel, 10:00 am in the main sanctuary and 5:30 am in the chapel. The 8:15 and 5:30 services are simplified and usually do not include music or singing. Childcare is available during the 10:300 worship service, beginning at 9:30. Sunday school starts at 9:45.

Opening day activities on September 9 will include commissioning Church School teachers, Blessing of the Backpacks for kids and a special outdoor Coffee Hour to welcome everyone back from summer travels.

In September, adult and youth choirs will begin singing again, and the youth group will start up for the year.

Adult formation activities will include “Putting Down Roots,” on Sundays beginning September 16 and Bible Class on Wednesdays beginning September 19 and (see related items).

Men: Hunker Down at Cuttyhunk

Men of Christ Church, mark your calendars: this year’s sojourn to Cuttyhunk Island off the coast of Massachusetts will take place Friday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 23. Activities will include fishing for the wily striped bass as well as hiking, sailing, reading, napping … and praying. There is an early option to sail (from Woods Hole) or ferry (from New Bedford) in on Thursday, Sept. 20. Here’s the full schedule:

Thursday, September 20 (optional day)

  • Morning or afternoon ferry from New Bedford to Cuttyhunk or
  • Morning sail from Woods Hole on Steve Peck’s sailboat Lotus II

Friday, September 21

  • Morning or afternoon ferry from New Bedford to Cuttyhunk
  • 5:00pm Welcome reception, raw and grilled oysters and dinner

Saturday, September 22

  • Explore Cuttyhunk Island — read, hike, sail, nap, fish

Sunday, September 23

  • 9:00am Morning service
  • 10:30am Sail back to Woods Hole or
  • 3:00pm Ferry to New Bedford

Please contact Mike Niden ASAP to RSVP (!


Celebrate Mr. Rogers

Children’s television host Fred Rogers will be the topic of discussion at a potluck supper at Christ Church on Sunday, August 26. Many parishioners have seen the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, which was released 50 years after his program first aired in 1968.  The movie explores the impact Mr. Rogers had way beyond the neighborhood, as he found gentle ways to help children participate in the transformation of American culture in a period of rapid social change. Many of us found it moving, and have indicated a desire to discuss its impact on us with others … so, to that end, please join us for a potluck supper and facilitated discussion at the church after the 5:30 pm service on August 26.

Christ Church Welcomes Ken Cook

Christ Church Needham warmly welcomes its new Facilities Manager, Ken Cook of Quincy. In this role, Ken works with parishioners to keep the church user-friendly, efficient and structurally sound. He also supports the many partners whose use of our facility helps make 1132 Highland Avenue a vibrant center of community life beyond the parish.

Born and brought up in Massachusetts, Ken recently downsized from his home of many years in Braintree and moved to Quincy with his wife and dog. He is the proud father of two grown sons and six awesome grandchildren.

Ken worked many years as a self-employed builder/carpenter, completing projects all over the South Shore. He then went on to become a Facility Manager at a property on Beacon Hill, at Hellenic College and at senior housing on the South Shore and West Roxbury. Ken and his wife are active members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in North Quincy.

Welcome, Ken!

July 29 Environment Talk and Pot Luck Supper

Please join us on the last Sunday in July following the 5:30 pm service for a potluck dinner and a talk by Dr. Robert Sluka of A Rocha (“the Rock” in Portuguese), an international network of environmental organizations with a Christian ethos. Dr. Sluka is the lead scientist of A Rocha’s Marine and Coastal Conservation Program, and a friend of parishioners Jenny and James Burton. He is also an associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. For an introduction to Dr. Sluka and his global work, view this video:

Sum-Sum-Summertime at Christ Church

The days are lazy, long and hot … at least they will be, if the weather ever cooperates. Regardless, it is a Christ Church tradition to celebrate the joys of summer with a more relaxed schedule.

Sunday services are held at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM in the chapel. This schedule continues from June 17 through Labor Day Weekend. Reminder: the chapel is air-conditioned!

During summer, there is also an opportunity to be music director for a day. Do you have a favorite hymn you’d love to hear during the 9 AM service? You can decide while also making a contribution to support a summer accompanist with a donation in any amount you choose. (We need a total of $100 per week; if you write a check, please make it out to Christ Church and note “summer music” in the memo line.) Donors will be recognized in the weekly bulletin. Please see official Music Director Pam Goody or contact her at to arrange your selection and preferred summer Sunday.

Another summer delight is the substitution of the traditional coffee hour with a Lemonade Break after the 9:00 AM service, beginning June 17. If you are interested in hosting, please sign up on the ledger in the Upper Parish Hall. You can provide iced tea, lemonade, cookies or whatever refreshments you like. Please get in touch with coordinators Debby Rempis at or Joanne Neale at to to ask questions or volunteer.

The Sanctuary Garden will be in full bloom, and that applies to weeds as well as flowers. Please consider volunteering a week or two this summer to help care for this lovely oasis. Tasks include light weeding, dead-heading and keeping walkways and benches clean. (No watering or lawn care is required.)  A sign-up sheet is posted in Upper Parish Hall. Your support is very much appreciated! Please contact Winnie West at 781-444-8739 or with questions.

Volunteer to make B-SAFE a success

Join our Christ Church team to help sponsor B-Safe Camp for 2 days in July. The dates for Christ Church participation are Monday, July 23 and Tuesday, July 24. We will be responsible for serving snacks and lunch at the Epiphany School in Dorchester. (This is a change from last year: We will provide lunch and snacks for twice the number of children and staff on each given day, but for only two rather than four days).

B-Safe is a summer program of our diocese that provides a safe and fun day camp experience for kids from Boston and other urban communities, and that provides jobs and leadership opportunities for the teens in the communities who serve as staff at the camp. Kids in B-Safe enjoy healthy snacks and a lunch, daily activities and play, and a field trip each week. The Epiphany School program serves about 140 campers and staff each day.

B-Safe is a great way to do some service and to help kids and young people in our diocese. This is a project that families can do together and that children and young people can participate in. We need volunteers to help make snacks and a lunch. We also need volunteers to join us at the Epiphany School to help set up lunch and clean up afterwards.

Please contact the Rev. Scottie Miller ( or 781-444-1469) to offer your help, to make a donation, or for more information.

Study Buddies … Going Strong thru Year 5

With kids’ interests and attention turning away from Social Studies and compound fractions and more toward days at the playground, Christ Church Study Buddies volunteers are also closing their books on another school year. Each week, a small group of volunteers has ventured to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, often twice a week, to help 3-6 graders with arithmetic, science, language arts… and even “Romeo & Juliet.” Like all kids, they are anxious for guidance and help as many now face the anxiety of MCAS testing.

While the Study Buddies ministry can be challenging, it is extremely rewarding to see kids formerly struggling with long division and vocabulary words now make the Honor Roll and, according to their teachers, consistently “Exceed Expectations.” If you’d like to become a Study Buddy this coming fall, be sure to contact Barbara Baker or Harding Ounanian, Jr. It’s your opportunity to make an impact.

Inviting youth choir participants for Fall 2018

We are happy to announce the revitalization of our youth choir program beginning in September 2018.
Aspiring singers ages 12-18 are invited to participate in weekly Monday rehearsals and performances at occasional Sunday services and other musical events. This is a great opportunity for young people to learn about music, community, and fellowship.
Lea Peterson, our mezzo-soprano soloist and section leader in the adult choir, will direct the youth choir, assisted by former youth choir director and current choir member Myra Anderson.  Lea is passionate about choral music of all genres, including classical, musical theatre, spiritual and folk, a cappella and chamber, and traditional gospel.
We look forward to bringing the youth choral tradition back to Christ Church! To learn more, please reach out to one of us:
            Lea Peterson (
            Myra Anderson (
            Pamela Goody (

Stop in to See Needham Community Art

Come see Needham Community Art! Christ Church has opened its doors to artists and art lovers and all who enjoy the healing power of art. We are sponsoring  rotating artists’ exhibitions  in the church’s Upper Parish Hall. Visitors, stop in to enjoy the exhibits anytime the church is open. Click here to view the Needham Channel’s recent coverage.

We are always looking for new artists and communities to display their art and educate us about their causes. For more information, please contact Lucy Nims-LaFleche at 617/947-0671 or

May/June Exhibit: In honor of Mother’s and Father’s Day, during May and June the Community Gallery at Christ Church will be exploring the theme of parenting — a tribute to this glorious, challenging and sometimes heartbreaking role, and to all who have helped to raise us and to who we are helping to raise. We invite people of all ages and artistic abilities to submit a framed or matted piece of art, photo or sculpture pertaining to this theme. Bring your piece to Upper Parish Hall at Christ Church in Needham on Tuesday, May 8between 10am-2pm or call Lucy Nims-LaFleche at 617-947-0671 to arrange another time. Attach an index card attached with the artist’s name, contact info and brief story or description of the work. You do not have to sell your work but if you would like to, include a price on the card with an understanding that you will donate a minimum of 10% to or a parenting charity of your choice. Spread the word to friends and family! You don’t have to be a Christ Church member to participate. One of the gallery’s goals is to invite people from all walks of life into our community. Help us fill this great space with new art and new faces!

March/April Exhibit: We welcomed Dan DePlaines, photographer, and Margueritte Swartz, watercolorist, to our gallery in Upper Parish Hall in March. Dan and Marg are siblings who are both local artists and 20% of their sales will go to The Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation. One in five of us lives with a mental illness. One hundred percent of contributions to this foundation is invested into research grants to scientists thanks to the generous support of two family foundations which covers their operating expenses. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. This Foundation awards scientific grants to discover how to improve treatments of mental disorders.

Dan and Marg are also generously donating 10% of their sales to The Friends of Music at Christ Church which supports all special musical programs that are not funded by the church. Dan DesPlaines has traveled around the United States with camera in hand. He is self-taught and is always striving for that unusual shot or angle. Favorite spots are New England, Florida and Washington. He attributes his adventurous and curious personality to his dad
Gabriel and mother Yvonne. Gabriel was a camera collector and Gabriel and Yvonne had an uncanny appreciation of the world around us. Dan has strived to have the same appreciation and looks at his photography as a way to show off the beauty or our world and try to motivate us all to get outside whenever possible and enjoy the wonders of our planet. Dan can be reached at:

Marguerite Swartz has been drawing and painting since her early teens. She has taken various night classes and watercolor courses along the way and also favors painting nature and water subjects. Marguerite’s aunt was a skilled oil painter specializing in still life and Marguerite thinks she may have acquired an “artistic gene” from her. She also has a passion for photography and never tires of the hunt for that next great shot.

If you would like to purchase a piece of their art just drop off in the church office, payment in cash or check made out to the artist and take the piece with you at any time that the office is open.