The First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist

Ministerial Search Committee Candidates September 2018

Bob Allen:  I joined the church in 2000, and during these 18 years, I have attended Sunday services regularly. I have served as First Church Treasurer twice, and been on other committees including Fellowship. I was Chair of the Board during a ministerial search at my prior church. I have worked professionally in a field that requires sensitive negotiations, compromise, and confidentiality. 

Joe Bayne:  I’ve been a member of the congregation for close to 2 years now and have been exploring how I’d like to get more involved. I’ve tried my hand working on the Stewardship Committee and briefly with the Social Justice Committee. I think being on the Ministerial Search Committee would allow me to connect with more members, and put my graduate training in the collaborative process and education background to good use. I’m also a good listener with a tiny ego.

Theodora Burbank:  My name is Theo Burbank, and my family joined this church when I was five years old. In the past 18 years, this church has been a central part of my life. Growing up here in such a welcoming and engaging community led me to become a Sunday School teacher, hoping that I could help give children the kind of experience that I had. If I were to join the Ministerial Search Committee, I would bring this mentality to the search in order to foster this sort of community for everyone at First Church.

Christiane Hansen-Mitev:  In 2005 I looked for a church for my mentally ill friend Anne. She moved on, however, while I stayed at First Church inspired by the Rev. J. B-Snell's  ministry. Fellowship Committee: Contributed ongoing to the adult "Hospitality" table. Flower (indoor)  Committee: intermittently provide beautiful flowers on Sunday morning with very intensified work at Christmas and Easter.  Choir: active member. Participated in  Book discussion group. In my previous church: presentations in the adult forum; taught Sunday school; and served a 3 year commitment as deacon three times during my presence at that congregation.  I served on Committees: Finance  - canvassing, Endowment; Board of Christian Education; Bylaw-rewriting-committee; Ministerial hiring: pleaded for their first gay minister who was then accepted. I cooked homeless dinners choir festival suppers and finance gourmet dinners. Educated in Europe and US : (Gordon College A.B., Boston Univ. Fine Arts  M.M.) Control Data Institute :resulting in work as Systems' Analyst at State Street Corporation. I like the long and distinguished history of First Church in Salem and feel honored in serving a thriving, active, inclusive and happy congregation.

Carol Hedstrom:  I have been a member of the Church since 1993 and have been active in many roles during that time. I have served on the Standing Committee twice over the years and one year as the Chair. In addition, I served as the SC's liaison to the Human Relations Committee and co-leader of the Youth Group. I have raised my three children in the Church and watched them benefit tremendously from the Religious Education programs including Our Whole Lives (OWL), Coming of Age and the Moving On Ceremony. Participating in the selection of a new minister is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility both of which I would be happy to accept. 

Jessica Kane:  Jessica Kane joined First Church in 2006 with her husband Matt. They were looking for a church of love and inclusion, where they could raise their family, and are very glad to have found it. Since then, Jessica has served on the Welcoming Congregation Committee, hosting discussions and adjusting bylaws to bring a Welcoming Congregation certification to First Church; Standing Committee, where she served as secretary for two years and Vice Chair for one; and is currently on Social Justice Committee, and Coordinator of Family Promise at First Church, where we host up to 4 homeless families for one week at a time. Jessica feels that her experience in these roles shows a dedication to the improvement and growth of the church as a whole, and would like to participate in the search for a new minister with her children in mind; how will this new minister shape the congregation into the future, and what sort of effect will that have on our youth? 

Tommy Leon:  Tommy has been a member of First Church since 2005 when he and his husband Don Glover moved to Salem. Having been a member of churches small (Methodist) and large (Episcopalian) he finally found a church in which he feels at home here at First Church. He has served on the Finance Committee and the Stewardship Committee including being Stewardship Chair or Co-chair for 3 years. Tommy also sings in the choir and has also been involved in the OWL program and the Coming of Age program as a Mentor.

Nicole McLaughlin:  Having joined First Church for 15 years ago and raised my children here, I’ve experienced the support of this community in times of joy and times of struggle.  Having gotten to know Church members from a wide variety of circumstances during my roles as Standing Committee Chair and Capital Campaign Chair, I’m inspired by First Church’s ability to serve a diverse membership while being determined to drive toward further inclusion.  Having spearheaded the process through which we were recognized by the UUA as a Welcoming Congregation, open people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and now as a volunteer for Family Promise, I draw energy from practicing worship through deeds rather than creeds. With experience as a lawyer and as a senior leader in a foster care organization, I’ve worked in roles that require curiosity, reflection and discretion.  As a recent “empty nester,” I have time on my hands and can’t think of a better way to use it than in service to this community that means so much to me.

Katherine Palmer:  I joined the First Church in the early 1990’s along with my husband Steve and our two young children Alison and Hannah. The girls have grown up in the church and we have all benefited greatly from being part of this enlightened spiritual community. I was honored to serve on the Ministerial Search committee that resulted in Jeff’s call to the church. I have served on a number of committees over the years including chairing the Ministerial Relations and Human Resources committees. In that capacity I was involved in hiring church staff and Henny Penny directors. I have also chaired the Fellowship committee, served as a member of the religious education committee, co-leader of the youth group, and even sung in the folk choir! I am a human resources professional known for strategic vision and fairness. I am committed to listening to and representing the congregation and would welcome the opportunity to serve the church at this important time of transition.  

Lynn Taggart:  During my twelve years here, First Church has become an integral and rewarding part of my life.  From painting walls to digging in the gardens, from Family Promise sleepovers to singing with the choir, I have found that working with people who also treasure our community has deepened my appreciation for our ability to accomplish much more together than we might as individuals.  My term as chair of the Standing Committee during our construction project and our sojourn with our sister Universalist church taught me a great deal about our collective values and what matters in a community like ours.  The choice we make to settle a new minister will send out ripples for years to come, and I feel called to contribute to that in any way I can.

Nancy TenBroeck:  I have attended a number of UU churches since the 1960s, and served two terms on the Board of the Brooklyn Heights, NY church.  I am volunteering to serve on this committee and use my editing, organizing, and computer skills to help First Church to hire the best possible replacement for Jeff Barz-Snell.  I have been a member of First Church since 2012.