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Rev. Wendy Vander Hart, Interim Senior Minister

I most recently served as an Associate Conference Minister in the newly minted Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ. In this role I was a minister to the ministries of the churches in two different regions within Massachusetts.  These regions comprise 115 churches and roughly 20,000 members and 330 clergy.  Since 2007 I have seen many changes within our Conference and have been grateful to provoke mission/purpose in our collective work together.

This feels like a time to explore serving a local church again in the role of Intentional Interim Ministry.  Having worked with so many churches in transition I want to bring those experiences to the life of a congregation and help imagine God’s future for them.

Previous to this work, I served two congregations in the Greater Boston area.  After ordination in 1989 I was an Associate Pastor for an 800 member church, First Congregational Church of Reading, and worked primarily supporting faith formation programs for all ages.  In 1998 I was called to be a sole Pastor of a 220 member church, Melrose Highlands Congregational Church, that had just come through a rather conflictual, turbulent time. Together we grew and initiated several new ministries including a use of a Labyrinth, establishing an annual mission trip and a singing group entitled Choir Light.

I come to the ministry steeped in church life as a child of a preacher father and Music Director mother growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan then Sleepy Hollow, NY. I attended the denominationally related school of Hope College in Holland, MI before completing studies at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA. This past year I was elected a Town Meeting Member in Arlington, MA where I reside.  I serve on two non-profit Boards and also sing in a local community chorus.

Beyond my ministry I am an avid golfer, daily walker, player of Scrabble, enjoy gardening with my spouse Joanne and delight in traveling to my paternal homeland of the Netherlands and this country’s National Parks.

Wendy’s email

 

Rev. Lauren Baske Davis,  Minister for Congregational Life

It is my joy to get to serve alongside people of all ages at First UCC. My role encompasses congregational care ministry, faith formation for all ages, worship leadership and preaching, and all of the general ministries pastors do. My favorite thing about my job is developing relationships and building community. In my role, I work to support continued growth at every stage of life, and to encourage care for both the congregation and the wider community. I am interested in how perspectives shift, relationships develop, faith builds, and wisdom may be gained when people of many ages and varied experiences spend time together. I am also interested in justice work, specifically racial and environmental justice. I am a graduate of both St. Olaf College and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Prior to working at First UCC, I served a congregation in another town for 5 years as an Associate Pastor and before that, worked at a congregation in the Twin Cities for 3 years. Before I went to seminary, I was an Education Director and a Unit Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, Minnesota. I am married to a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor. We have two children and a wily cat.

Lauren’s Email

 

Gladys Ehn, Office Manager

Gladys Ehn joined First UCC as Office Manager in spring, 2015. She grew up in northern Wisconsin and is an avid Packer fan. A graduate of Concordia University, St. Paul, Gladys and her husband Jerry are enjoying living in Northfield. They are empty nesters but manage to spoil their yellow Labrador and their grandchild when he visits. Gladys loves to read, travel, and try new recipes on unsuspecting guests.

 Gladys’s Email

 

Andrea Pegram, Finance Manager

Andrea Pegram has been the Finance Manager for First UCC since 2008.  She was born and raised in Northfield, and studied Economics at St. Olaf College.  After graduating she lived and worked in the Twin Cities metro area for several years, and had multiple jobs in the budgeting world before moving back to town.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and traveling to warm climates.  She is married to Chris, a physical therapist, and they have two wonderful sons and a playful pup.

Andrea’s Email

 

Chris Brunelle, Director of Music

Christopher Brunelle has served First UCC as the Director of Music since 2003.  He grew up attending Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, where his father Philip has been the organist and choirmaster for over fifty years—like our own Theo, he started his current position in 1969.  After earning a degree in Classics and Music from Carleton in 1989, Chris spent two years at Cambridge University, where he was the first American to sing with the King’s College Choir.  From 2002 to 2018 he taught Classics at St. Olaf College; he is now part of the Alumni Relations team at Carleton, and his wife, Serena, is a professor in the History Department.  They have three sons in middle and high school and a genial yellow Labrador.

 Chris’s Email

 

Theo Wee, Organist

    Currently retired from a long career of teaching piano and organ at St. Olaf College, Theo started her career as a church musician during her high school years in Vermillion, South Dakota, playing organ at the early service of Trinity Lutheran Church, then dashing the few blocks to the downtown First Baptist church to play for its later service.  Her music education continued at the University of South Dakota, Union Theological Seminary in New York City, with further study at Indiana University (Bloomington) and the Royal School of Church Music (London).   Two daughters were born in Indiana while her husband, DeWayne, completed his doctoral degree in piano performance, following which the family moved to Northfield for their new positions at St. Olaf.   Theo soon became the Minister of Music at the Congregational Church (1st U.C.C.) and has continued to nurture the music mission of this faith community throughout several decades, more recently serving as organist and coordinating the project to refurbish the church’s large historic organ.

Theo’s Email

 

Bob Gregory-Bjorklund, Spirit Voices Choir Director, Arts Coordinator

Bob Gregory-Bjorklund serves as Arts Coordinator and Director of Spirit Voices at First United Church of Christ, Northfield, MN. He is a UCC workshop presenter at the state and national levels and was a member of the music worship teams for General Synods 24, 25 and 26. A graduate of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, Bob spent twenty-five years producing, directing and performing professionally.  Bob is also a veteran theater educator and director, currently teaching and directing at Arcadia Charter School, Northfield High School and the Northfield Arts Guild. He has directed many productions at all levels from professional to elementary, some of the most memorable being The Crucible, The Laramie Project and West Side Story. Bob’s experience at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music fueled his passion to help progressive congregations integrate theater into their worship experiences.

 Bob’s Email

Katie Hagaman, Angel Choir; Amanda Goldberg, Rainbow Choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Fischer, Sexton
Mark’s Email