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 Coordinatoryouthadvisor@firstparish.info
Rose Sawyer Marsh is returning to First Parish in a new capacity as the Youth Program Coordinator. 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 Brennand, 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.
Sara joined First Parish in August 2016 in the position of Executive Assistant to the Minister and began working in the office assisting administratively in 2018. Sara manages the News and Events feed on our web site and sends the weekly eBulletin. She can also help you schedule or rent space at First Parish.
Sara moved to the Boston area in 2013 and holds a Bachelor of Music from CSU Sacramento, CA. She is active both on stage as a performer and behind the scenes as a producer in Boston’s theatre community. Sara’s favorite thing (aside from singing) is board games!