The Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell is the thirty-first minister of the First Church in Salem and was ordained here in December of 1998. His responsibilities include planning our weekly religious services, pastoral counseling, outreach and managing the staff and programs for our growing congregation. Jeff works to develop ongoing programming including children's religious education, adult discussion groups, lectures and social functions like our Pancake Breakfasts and Family Fun Nights. While he always finds enough to keep himself busy, he makes it a priority to be available for conversation and discussion about the various faith issues and/or challenges that inevitably arise in one's life.
In addition to his responsibilities at the church, Jeff locally is a leader of the Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE) and a member and Healthlink. He also is an active member of the City of Salem’s Renewable Energy Task Force and has been a longtime member of the Salem Interfaith Council, whose members commit to advancing the cause of peace in the City of Shalom (Salem). He also serves on the Board of the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice, a group founded on the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Hysteria in 1992.
Regionally, Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light. He has been active in a variety of interfaith environmental and lobbying initiatives on the state level. In addition, he is a member of The Climate Project, being one of 2,000 people around the world who have been personally trained by Al Gore to give presentations on climate change. He regularly lectures to businesses, religious communities and schools about climate change issues and ways that all of us can live more lightly on the planet.
Previously, Jeff has served as a board member of Lifebridge (formerly The Salem Mission), the Salem YMCA, and as a Trustee at The Salem Athenaeum. Ecumenically, he has served terms as Clerk of the Council of Christian Churches within the UUA and as the Secretary for the Evangelical Missionary Society in Boston.
Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Religion from Bates College and a Masters of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Policy from Tufts University, with a concentration in sustainability and renewable energy policy. He firmly believes that sustainability must be a part of any authentic spirituality here in the 21st century.
Jeff regularly publishes columns and letters to the editor in the Salem Evening News and Salem Gazette. He is working on a collection of essays.
Jeff is married to a wonderful woman named Jennifer and they have three very active children. They sleep well at night.