With much excitement and anticipation, and with a big “thank you” to the Interim Search Committee, PruCom is very happy to announce that the Rev. Kathleen Hepler has been called to serve as our Interim Minister for the upcoming Church year.
Rev. Hepler has a wealth of experience, having engaged in several long term ministries over the course of her career including Senior Minister with First Parish in Framingham Unitarian Universalist (2007 – 2018), Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County New Jersey (1993 – 2007) and Minister at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County Pennsylvania (1986 – 1991). In addition she served as an Interim Assistant Minister at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, MD from 1985 – 1986. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and received her Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California. Rev. Hepler was a Social Worker before entering the ministry and has two adult children, Jacob and Kim.
The Interim Search Committee was impressed by Rev. Hepler’s sincerity and humor as well as her familiarity with the day to day operations and ongoing needs of a Church like ours. We are confident that she will be able to hit the ground running and help guide us through the process of searching for a Settled Minister while also addressing the ongoing pastoral needs of our diverse congregation and the continuous requirements of successfully running our Church. She is as eager to join us as we are to have her!
Rev. Hepler starts her ministry with us on September 4 and her first worship service will be on September 9. Please stop by to introduce yourself and visit with her at the Church office when you can – let’s all make her feel welcome. Her office hours beginning on September 5 will be Tuesdays, 12:00pm-9:30pm, Wednesdays, 10:00am-3:00pm, Thursdays, 10:00am-3:00pm, and Sundays, 8:00am-3:00pm.
Cassandra Morgan is a graduate of the University of Connecticut where she received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education majoring on organ, flute ,and minor in voice.
Her undergraduate work was also earned at West Virginia University in Music Education. On both college campuses she served as organist for Lutheran and Catholic services while attending college. Prior to those years, she was the organist at Youngwood Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania for two years. She considers her musical talent a gift from God and has tried to incorporate these talents into many different churches and school systems during a forty five year span of time.
Cassandra has been a music educator in Connecticut and Massachusetts for 32 years. She retired form Belmont Public Schools in 2007 and currently resides in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts but also babysits her two grandchildren in Nashua, New Hampshire five days a week. During her thirty years of teaching music in public schools, Cassandra taught both instrumental and vocal music in Killingly, Connecticut and Bourne, New Bedford, and Belmont Massachusetts. She has been awarded the Lowell Mason award for Excellence in Music Education. The Distinguished Service Award from Massachusetts Music Educators for her 25 years of service to the state of Massachusetts, and was a semi-finalist for the 1997 Massachusetts Teacher of The Year. Cassandra has served on the Massachusetts American Choral Directors Association Board as a Repertoire and Standards Chairperson for both High School Repertoire and Jazz Choirs as well as the Massachusetts Instrumental and Vocal Association Board as co-chairman for Choral Festivals throughout the state. She has been a guest clinician, adjudicator, and conductor of District and State Festivals for Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Cassandra is the founder of the Tri-County Choral Festival held in Southeast Massachusetts and also the initiator of the first All-State Jazz Choir sponsored by Massachusetts ACDA.
After retiring from teaching Cassandra became choir director and organist at the First Congregational Church in Marion, Massachusetts. She was also involved in two competing barbershop choirs G20 of Fall River and Harpoon Harmonizers of New Bedford. Her last community choir ended last year with the Spirit of Song Ensemble of New Bedford, an 80 voice community choir. In 2010 she organized a singing ensemble called “The Occasion Singers” that is available for all occasion singing, weddings, and fundraisers. Many of these singers are former students who now share their love of singing together again with her.
Life takes us down many journeys and paths. Now she finds herself at the threshold of the First Parish Church United of Westford. She hopes to share her talents and gifts with the church, members, and the community of Westford.
Claire Lynch is Office Manager of First Parish Church United. Born and raised in Jackson, MS, she moved to Savannah, GA to attend Savannah College of Art and Design where she received a BFA in Film and Video in 1998.
In 2000, she moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue a career in film. While living in Los Angeles, she assisted executive producers in film and television, planned events and assisted in accounting for a women’s social club, and worked as an accountant for a commercial contractor.
Soon after moving to LA, she met her husband, Mike, a marriage and family therapist and comedy writer. In 2013, Mike and Claire moved with their daughter from Los Angeles to Massachusetts to be closer to Mike’s family and provide their daughter the best education. They have been Westford residents for five years and are grateful for this opportunity to be part of this wonderful community.
Nicole Tracey (Nicki) has worked part time here at FPCU as the Director of Religious Education, since 2012. She spends most her time here creating, preparing, implementing and leading RE lessons for PS-5th grade, while also overseeing the Nursery Caretaker, the Youth Group Advisor and many volunteers! She is a long time resident of Westford, graduating WA in 1999.
Nicki has also worked as a full time kindergarten teacher since 2006, at KinderCare here in Westford. She holds an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts, with a focus in Psychology, and her MA state teacher license in early childhood education (PK-2nd grade) and elementary education (1st-6th grade).
I’m AJ Ryan and I’m so excited to be able to call myself your new Youth Group Advisor! This is a new experience for me, but I’m confident it will be a joy filled one as I get to know you all more and more throughout the year. A little about myself… I’m 23 years old from Lowell, Ma. I’m currently working on obtaining a degree at Middlesex community college in psychology and early childhood education. I am also currently employed as a preschool (3 year old) teacher at the kindercare in Westford. Before that I was teaching preschool for a program called jumpstart for 4 years. I have plenty of experience with younger children as well as some experience with older youth through my own family! I myself am a very high energy person so I love being active and just having fun! I also really enjoy music and reading and writing. I find it very interesting to be able to teach about some things that I don’t know much about myself because them I’m learning as well and that’s awesome! I love including everyone and making sure that everyone can learn and have fun at the same time! I’m extremely hands-on and think that myself as well as learn best by doing! Once I again I really look forward to meeting and getting to know you all! Best wishes on a great year, see you soon!
First Parish Church United
48 Main Street, Westford MA 01886
978 692-8350 Login