Our Minister and Staff


Rev GillespieRev. Frieda Gillespie, Interim Minister, joined First Universalist in August 2018 and will be with the congregation during the next two years as the church searches for a settled, or called, minister. (For more about the ministerial transition process, you can review materials on the UUA website or speak with a member of the Board of Trustees.) Rev. Frieda attended seminary at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, and has served UU churches in Greenville, NC, Roswell, GA, Omaha, NE, and Berlin, MA.



Gwen Matthews, Program Assistant, holds a bachelor’s degree in education and joined First Universalist in January 2016. Prior to working at First Universalist, Gwen has been a freelance editor, advocate for children who survived abuse, and assistant overnight camp director. Gwen values approaching the world with enthusiasm and openness and strives to connect people of all ages with our justice-centered, active, and inclusive faith. She lives with her wife, two dogs, two cats, in the midst of an ever-expanding garden.


Gail working

Gail Mills, Administrative Assistant, spent family vacations in Maine as a child and became a resident in 2010 when she moved to Lewiston with her family. She began working for First Universalist in September 2016. Gail is fond of animals, art, antiques, and especially enjoys working with others. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb where she studied art.



Russ DuPree, Sexton, helps ensure that our church is beautiful and well-maintained. Russ has been working for First Universalist since October 2016.

Sam Chandler

Sam Chandler, Music Director, is a pianist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and educator. Sam seeks the connections that can be made with individuals and communities through music and is always looking to expand his knowledge and repertoire of music to better achieve this goal. As an educator, Sam has found great joy connecting children with their own innate abilities. Sam can be seen playing music both locally and abroad as a jazz pianist, songwriter, and keyboardist mostly in projects that focus on new original compositions. Sam holds a B.M. in Jazz Piano Performance from the University of Southern Maine and began at First Universalist in November 2017.