Rev. William Burhans began his ministry at First Congregational in September of 2015. He received his M.Div. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA in 2000 and spent 15 years as pastor of the Charlotte Congregational Church, UCC in Vermont. He is a singer songwriter with two CD’s of contemporary spiritual folk music and brings his love of music to bear on his worship leadership. Committed to Centering Prayer, Rev. Burhans believes that the daily discipline of contemplation through silence is essential for nurturing the spiritual life and maintaining openness to God’s Spirit in all endeavors. He is married to Tracy Vartenigian Burhans, a relationship initially nurtured in the soil of a Benedictine monastery in Bethlehem, Connecticut. They have raised their three daughters; Haliana, Naomi and Augusta Claire, within both the Catholic and Protestant traditions and are committed to ecumenical and interfaith work.
Judy has been serving the people of the First congregational Church since September, 2003. She believes that working with Youth is one of the best-kept secrets in ministry because that’s where the fun (and the food) is. It’s also where spiritual questions are wrestled with honestly, and love is shared fearlessly. Judy feels blessed to be part of this community – young and old alike.
Judy was brought up in a New York suburb very like Winchester and attended the First Congregational Church there. Church life and youth activities were important to Judy then and continued to be, especially in times of transition and trouble. Ministry, however, came later in life when her desire to delve deeper into her faith led her to seminary at Andover Newton Theological School. Judy graduated in 1996 with a Masters in Divinity and was called to serve as the Pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Londonderry, Vermont. She served there until her arrival here with us.
After serving 3 years as the church school director, Ben Pulaski started in 2015 as our full time Minister of Christian Faith Formation. He serves all the children and youth of our church from birth through 12th grade. Ben is an integral part of our ministry team as he is an advocate for the younger generation of our church. He works closely with the families as well as their children.
Ben grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania where he was a vital part of his church to help grow their third campus’ children program. He had been actively involved with the youth program since he joined the church in 1998. Before starting at FCC Winchester, he was a training store manager of a major shoe company where he learned how to equip others to be successful. Ben is an avid lover of coffee and you can usually find him hanging out at Roast Coffee Company or Starbucks around Winchester. He worked in the coffee business for many years after leaving his job at the shoe company. He believes that working alongside many people with different skills has helped him fine tune his ability to work collaboratively among every one.
Ben has completed the Effective Education for Youth Ministry course and is about to finish is certification for Christian Educators in the Massachusetts United Church of Christ Conference.
Ben believes that no matter how old we are…we all need to “Keep Shining!”
Jane Ring Frank has been our talented Minister of Music and Worship Arts since 2003. From 1998-2003, Ms. Frank was Director of Chapel Music at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, where she worked extensively with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to that post, from 1991-1998, Ms. Frank was Director of Music at Boston’s Arlington Street Church, where she conducted a 65-voice volunteer chancel choir.
With degrees in conducting, as well as collaborative piano, Ms. Frank is a Resident Senior Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center of Brandeis University, Artistic Director of the 60-voice Concord Women’s Chorus and Artistic Director of Cantemus, a 40-voice chamber chorus located on Boston’s North Shore. From 1997-2009, Frank was the Artistic Director and Founder of Boston Secession, one of the city’s premiere professional choral ensembles. Critically acclaimed by the Boston Globe (“extraordinary chorus, notable for its beautiful balance, and musical surety…”), Ms. Frank conducted and produced two CDs which were outstandingly reviewed by the New York Times, Gramophone, and American Record Guide, along with other journals, magazines and blogs. For a number of years, she served as Conductor for E. C. Schirmer’s professional recording choral ensemble, Philovox, as well as a 10-year faculty member at Emerson College.
Ms. Frank is a frequent guest conductor, lecturer and pianist, touring Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Canada and the United States. She is also a respected Producer/Editor of CDs, working with some of Boston’s best professional artists and labels.
Jeffrey Mead has been delighting our ears at First Congregational Church since 2005. In his musical career, Jeffrey has been an organist, harpsichordist and pianist in churches, solo recitals, chamber music ensembles and orchestras. He has collaborated with ensembles in New England and abroad, most notably while serving as accompanist for the acclaimed Boston Cecilia chorus, as well as the New Hampshire Symphony and the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany). He currently serves as the keyboardist to the Cantemus Chamber Chorus, based in Hamilton, Massachusetts, and as the Treasurer of the Old West Organ Society. Jeffrey also holds the position of Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer with the Investment Management Group of Rockland Trust Company.
Jeffrey holds degrees in Organ Performance and Classical Civilization from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and a Master’s degree from Westminster Choir College, with further study at the New England Conservatory and the North German Organ Academy in Bremen, Germany.
Kathleen Zagata, MSN CS, joined the team as Health Minister in January 2001. Christian faith has been central to Kathleen’s personal life journey and professional work. As a nurse, she has witnessed how faith is essential to well being, and mastery of life’s milestones as well as how it makes a difference in times of crisis, illness, and addiction.
Our Christian tradition makes clear that Jesus was not just about fixing a diseased person, his intent was to heal in God’s name and to restore each person to fullness and community. Thus health ministry is based on a whole person model- mind, body, emotion and spirit- encouraging us to become the person God is calling us to be at each developmental stage. Kathleen’s education in Community Health and personal development studies in BodySoul Rhythms, Interplay, and Mind/Body training in Positive Psychology and Healing Touch are the foundation of her leadership.
Kathleen believes that a faith community is an unparalleled source of health prevention. She encourages all to enhance their faith by living the connection between wellness and spirituality, both personally and in ministry to others.
Sarah has been with us since 2008. She started with a one page job description and it has gone up to three. She handles parts of the communications, administration, and facilities management.
Before joining us, Sarah has worked in coffee shops, restaurants, an animal hospital, and for the Green Party. She moved behind the scenes at Dick’s Sporting Goods where she barely knew what Excel was. She is self taught and has held administrative positions with the Green Party and a state government office right before she came to us.
Sarah lives with her husband, and cats Jasper, Ramona, and Winston in Tewksbury. She is active in her community and currently serves on the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, interior design, gardening, fishing, singing show-tunes, and Jeopardy! Unfortunately for her husband Ryan, she has been known to sing and fish at the same time! In 2011, she was a crowds person in a community theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar with her twin sister.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Orth was ordained in 1976 when he was serving as the Minister of Youth here at FCC Winchester. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological School, he has served in parishes in the Boston area, while specializing in pastoral psychotherapy and spiritual direction. He is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and has been an affiliate on the staff of the First Congregational Church in Winchester since 2000. He offers spiritual direction and pastoral counseling to the community at large and leads groups, retreats, and workshops on spiritual growth and transformation. His direct number at the church is (781)-376-0022.