The Rev. Jane Willan
Pastor and Teacher
Before moving to New England with her husband and two dogs, Jane served congregations in the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ in the small town of Creston and the larger-but-still-small town of Burlington, Iowa.
She has been a pastor for 12 years. Before that Jane worked in Boston as a science editor, a freelance writer, a teacher, and a brief stint in biological research at Harvard. In 2003, she became a full-time pastor fulfilling her first call at a small church in Iowa.
Jane completed her undergraduate work at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. She has a Master of Science from Boston University, and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Belva Duncan Award for Pastoral Excellence. Jane has been a delegate to General Synod and a member of the Justice and Witness Board of Directors, one of four Covenanted Ministries in the UCC. Currently she serves on the New Ministry Initiative Team with the Massachusetts Conference.
Jane loves to read fiction, hang out at the dog park with Magi and Moses (dogs, of course), and enjoy life with her very awesome husband, Don. She spends her free time writing fiction: her murder mystery The Shadow of Death makes its debut April 10, 2018.
Desiree was born in Marlboro but moved to Boylston 20 years ago. She has been married for 32 years to her husband, Jeff, and they have two children together; Katie who is 25 and Joshua who is 24. Desiree works a couple of nights a week as a residential councilor in a group home for disabled adults.
When her children were in school she was a youth group leader for many years. During that time she went on several mission trips & participated in several 30 hour famines.
Desiree loves photography and is very active in helping to raise awareness and money for addiction and recovery programs.
Director of Christian Education
Stephanie graduated from Boston University in 1983 with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and worked for Digital Equipment Corporation for 11 years. She is married to Mike Collins (amazing church member in his own right), and mother of three beautiful young women, Kate, Amy and Ann-Marie. She has been one of our long-time Sunday School Teachers. Since September, 2013 she has been our Director of Christian Education. In June of 2015 she was certified in the UCC as a Christian Educator and continues to meet regularly with a Community of Practice (a group of professional peers).
Stephanie is so very happy in the work that she does for this church. Her personal mission is to share her faith and introduce Christianity to as many as possible.
Steve earned both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Hartt College of Music at the University of Hartford. He has extensive experience as a church musician having worked as a part-time choir director at several churches and recently retired after nine years from his full-time position as the Director of Music Ministry at St. Patrick Church in Fayetteville, NC. Steve also worked as a multiple award winning educator for 30 years in the Simsbury, CT high school as the choral and orchestral director.
A Worcester native, Steve recently returned to the area where he is active as a singer, soloist, assistant conductor and guest composer for several choruses in the area, including the Worcester Chorus, Master Singers of Worcester and the Salisbury Singers. He also teaches music privately and for the Joy of Music Program.
Steve’s wife, MaryAnne, is also a music teacher, teaching piano at Joy of Music, and has been a substitute for Cindy at church, accompanying Steve several times. Their children are spread across the globe, raising their families in Hawaii, Germany, Texas and here in Massachusetts.
A physical therapist by trade, Cindy currently works at Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital (where she met her husband of 24 years, Bill) and for CAPS Education Collaborative where she provides physical therapy services for the children of the Quabbin Regional School District.
Cindy is a lifetime member of FCCP who studied piano and organ with Jean Whitcomb, our former Minister of Music and Education. She began her role as assistant organist in 1979 and has been “on the bench” ever since. In her role as organist, Cindy accompanies the choir, provides organ and piano music for worship and oversees the Youth Choir (Grace Notes and Joy Singers).
Cindy lives in Paxton with her husband Bill and two daughters, Katie and Sara.
She enjoys baking, organizing, watching “sappy Hallmark shows”, drinking a good cup of coffee and making her family cringe with positivity quotes.
Rick has been the church sexton at First Congregational for almost 30 years and he has cleaned and straightened, buffed and polished the church through many changes. For Rick taking care of First Congregational is a labor of love. He especially loves the sense of community and fellowship. Rick began his professional career following a year of service to his country in Viet Nam. Upon returning home, he immediately started working for Norton Company in Worcester. He remained there until his retirement. Rick loves gardening, grandkids, and time spent with his wife Debbie—also a faithful member of the church. Thank you Rick for all that you do!