Our Minister and Staff
Rev. 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. Gwen lives in Yarmouth with her wife, Kai, daughter, Arwen, her dog, Bellamie, and cats, Lexa and Clarke.
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.
Connie Densmore, Administrative Assistant, greets and welcomes all in our church office where, in addition to staffing phones, handling walk-ins, and answering emails, handles the bookkeeping and rentals. Connie lives in Yarmouth, not very far from the church, and has been a lifelong resident of Maine. She has previously worked in bookkeeping prior to joining us as Administrative Assistant. Connie has been working for First Universalist since June 2019.
Russ DuPree, Sexton, helps ensure that our church is beautiful and well-maintained. Russ has been working for First Universalist since October 2016.
Anna Bianconi, Children’s Teacher, facilitates learning, growth, exploration, development, and play for the children at First Universalist on Sunday mornings. Anna has been working for First Universalist since September 2018.
Fred Prown, Youth Group Facilitator, supports, empowers, and guides our junior and senior youth groups. A native of Virginia, Fred graduated from Nicolet High School in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Between 2013 and 2017 he served in the United States Marine Corps. Currently Fred lived in Portland and is studying Psychology at The University of Southern Maine. Fred has been working for First Universalist since September 2019.