Reverend Marta Flanagan
Rev. Marta Flanagan began her ministry as our twentieth called minister at First Parish in the fall of 2009. She is a genuine and forthright preacher. In conversation she is direct and engaging. She speaks of prayer with as much ease as she laughs at human foibles. We call her “Marta.” Marta is a religious liberal, a theist, a feminist, and a lover of the woods. As a student of American history at Smith College she was captivated by the stories of social reformers who were motivated and sustained by their faith. That led her to consider the ministry and to study at Harvard Divinity School from where she was graduated in 1986. She was the first woman minister in the city of Salem, Massachusetts, serving at the First Universalist Church there (1987-1997). She served in a co-ministry at South Church (Unitarian Universalist) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, (1997-2005) from where she is minister emerita. Marta served as interim minister in Montpelier, Vermont (2008-2009). She is trained as a spiritual director. For three years she lived in the Vermont woods practicing voluntary simplicity and the spiritual life. Marta enjoys the vitality of First Parish and our strong sense of community. She celebrates the yearning for depth and the desire to make a difference in the world that she finds here.
Reverend Erica Richmond
Rev. Erica Richmond joined the First Parish team in August 2020. After several years as a hospital chaplain and one year at the Unitarian Universalist congregation in North Andover, Rev. Erica is thrilled to be settling into Arlington. She brings humor, warmth, and curiosity to her ministry, all the while making space for grief and injustice to be heard and honored. Rev. Erica grew up as a Unitarian Universalist at the First Parish in Brookline- she will be forever grateful for the faith formation she received there. She then went onto Clark University in Worcester where she studied International Development and Gender Studies. After completing her undergraduate degree she stayed at Clark to earn her Masters in Community Development. Next it was onto New York City- she graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 2013. Rev. Erica spent two years in Seattle at Harborview Medical Center and then served as the Palliative Care chaplain at Hartford Hospital from 2015-2019. In this complex and aching world, she believes we must hold each other tenderly, creating a beloved community that can journey together, through joys and sorrows, through triumphs and challenges. She loves all things New England, including our sports teams, our autumns, and our history. Beyond that, she loves reading psychological thrillers, going on rambling walks with friends, and perfecting her newly-discovered commitment to biking.
Director of Religious Educationtina@firstparish.info
Tina Schultz brings to her position of Director of Religious Education a background in early childhood development, teaching and corporate training. Tina’s commitment and skillfulness meet the needs of our growing congregation. She has a deep love of children of all shapes, sizes and ages that have fueled her work as DRE since 1994.
She says ” Each year I look forward to meeting new families to draw them into our great program, and watching our children grow to be active Unitarian Universalists. The RE Committee, minister and I have created a clear plan for what we want our children and youth to come away with after being part of our vibrant, stimulating and loving church community.”
Prior to becoming DRE Tina was active in our religious community for 8 years, serving on the Welcoming Congregation Committee and the Religious Education Committee and teaching children and youth programs.
Learn more about our RE program.
Rose Sawyer Marsh
Youth Program Coordinatorypcfirstparish@gmail.com
Rose Sawyer Marsh joined the staff at First Parish as the Youth Program Coordinator in the fall of 2019. Having grown up in Arlington, Rose attended religious education programming at First Parish. Rose studied religion at George Washington University in Washington, DC. While there, Rose continued to be involved with the Unitarian Universalist community, volunteering with All Souls Church. Most recently, Rose graduated with her master’s in clinical social work from Smith College in 2019. Rose has a deep love for the youth group program and feels passionate about empowering youth in the community.
Jonathan Colby, a native of Middlesex, England joined First Parish as Music Director in Fall 2014. His conducting has been praised by the Cape Cod Times for its “precision and vitality.” He was recently appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra (CT) where he leads a 90-member orchestra in five subscription concerts each season. He enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Worcester Youth Orchestras, where he conducts the Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra and Worcester Youth Baroque Orchestra. In two years he has grown the organization from one orchestra to three orchestras, and rejuvenated the 67-year-old program into a thriving member of the central Massachusetts music community. In demand as a guest conductor and clinician, he regularly conducts district orchestra festivals and appears with orchestras around New England.
Jonathan had his first UU experience as a tenor section leader at First Unitarian Society of Newton before going on to serve as choir director at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst for three years, and music director at First Parish in Framingham prior to his arrival First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington.
Kenneth Seitz, First Parish Staff Accompanist, brings to First Parish extensive experience as a seasoned soloist and accompanist, as well as director of a number of Boston area choral and instrumental ensembles. He was chosen to serve as Music Director at First Parish beginning in the fall of 1984, and remained in that position until the fall of 2002. Continuing his musical connection with the congregation, Ken was designated Music Director Emeritus as of 2008, and was asked to serve as interim director of music in the fall of 2014 while First Parish sought a new director. He was again asked to serve in the 2018-2019 church season, this time as staff accompanist, and continues in that position to this day.
Joe joined the First Parish staff In January 2023, as Office and Communications Associate. Joe manages the News and Events feed on our web site and helps edit and send the weekly eBulletin. He can also help you schedule or rent space at First Parish.
Joe grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, one of five children. He has been a resident of Arlington since 1991. He and his wife Laura have two adult sons. Joe worked for over 25 years at Harvard University, retiring in 2017, and then was on the staff at the Arlington After School Program, at Thompson and then Hardy school — where both Cook children attended elementary school! Joe’s favorite free time activities are tennis, biking, tennis, tennis, tennis and reading mysteries.
Jose began working at First Parish in the sexton position in August 2022. He is very happy and grateful to be part of First Parish. Jose has a vast experience in the custodial work, he is originally from Brazil and has live in MA since 1998, you will see Jose on Sunday mornings and during the week helping us keep First Parish looking its best.
Office Hours and Holidays
Mon – Wed, 10am – 4 pm, Thur 12pm-6pm
Fri 10am – 3pm
Office hours are reduced during the summer and around Christmas and New Year’s. Visit the News Feed for the latest update or call 781-648-3799.
June 27 – August 5
The First Parish office is closed during the following holidays:
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King’s Birthday
Indigenous Peoples Day