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Committees at a Glance for 2020-21

The Parish Board has developed “Committees at a Glance” for two reasons. We want to make the “workings” of First Parish in Brookline more transparent so that every member can know who plays what roles in what kinds of decisions and actions here at First Parish. We also want to make it easier for everyone to have their voice heard and to deepen their connections in this community by joining or visiting one of the 20 committees, task forces, and boards identified here. Interested? Please reach out to a member to find out more!

If you’re interested in getting involved, have updates to this information, or have a question, please reach out to our Parish Administrator at You may also look up contact information in the Online Membership Directory.

Parish Board

Responsibilities: Calls meetings of the Congregation, supervises the senior minister, appoints other committees as needed, prepares and submits annual budget at Annual Meeting; ensures responsive communication with members of the congregation, and manages all the concerns of the congregation (from the By-Laws). Makes policy decisions.

Membership: 9 members, each elected for 3-year terms at Annual Meeting

Contact the Co-Chairs
Janet Britcher, Chair
Bob Williamson, Vice Chair
Karla Baehr, Clerk
Margaret Williams, Treasurer
Alfred Brownell
Emily Cherry
Micaela Coady
Jen Guillemin
Steve Pratt-Otto
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood, ex officio
Building & Grounds

Responsibilities: Supports the congregation with facilities and grounds planning and capital projects, in collaboration with the Parish Administrator who oversees the budget for routine maintenance

Membership: open to any volunteer
Clint Richmond, Chair
Tim Dailey
Sam Dennis
Will Spears
Bob Williamson

Responsibilities: Solicits from members suggestions for changes to the bylaws, considers further changes on its own, considers input from the Board and makes recommendations to the Board for amendments and/or additions in time for the Board to prepare recommendations before Annual meeting or any special membership meeting. (from the By-Laws)

Membership: chosen by the Board
Jim Womack, Chair
Jeff Cadow
Betsy Coons
Amy Stofflemayer
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood

Responsibilities: Coordinates the annual spring campaign for pledges to fund the annual operating budget

Membership: open to all
Whit Larrabee & Micaela Coady, Co-chairs
Karla Baehr
Margaret Williams
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Climate Justice Action

Responsibilities: Supports our congregation to know about and take action on climate issues affecting First Parish, our local community and the world

Membership: All are welcome
Alfred Brownell & Deane Coady, Co-chairs
Prilla Smith Brackett, Nancy Clark, Betsy Coons, Marga Dieter, Gina Giamei, Ann Gilmore, Perry Grossman, Megan Hansen, Ed Loechler, Ann Eldridge Malone, Paul Matthew, Tai Melendy, Clint Richmond, Elena Rippel, Peter Sakura, Barbara Simonetti, Mia Szymkowicz, Sara Warren, Jud Wolfskill

Responsibilities: As the “designated elders” of the congregation, the Deacons act as the institutional memory of the community and support the well-being of the congregation by being a strong presence in institutional life and ceremonies such as memorial services and four-time-a-year communion services

Membership: recommended by the Senior Minister, appointed by the Board
William Dwyer, Chair
Sheila Hussey
Laura Walters
Midge Wilcke
Bob Williamson
Ray Wellbaum
Jim Womack
Digital Ministry

Responsibilities: Is developing and leading implementation of a digital strategy that uses social media to make known our activities and events, including our website, First Parish Facebook, video messaging and worship service support

Membership: open to all volunteers
Ellie Boynton
Nathan Freitas
Keith Kirchoff
Paul McLean
Emily Wheeler
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood

Responsibilities: Advises and counsels the Board on budget and financial matters; communicates financial information to the community regularly and with transparency

Membership: current Treasurer, a current or past Canvass Team member, current church bookkeeper and up to 3 others chosen by Board
Margaret Williams, Treasurer
Margie Beal 
Steve Pratt-Otto
Charles Sandmel
Adam Berman
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Immigration Justice – Hearts Without Borders

Responsibilities: Takes action in solidarity with community partner organizations and in interfaith collaborations to raise consciousness and encourage engagement at First Parish

Membership:  open to all
Ellen Blaney & Tania Erlij, Co-chairs
Ann Gilmore
Julie Horvath
Sue Kalt
Jody Leader
Martha Leader
James Shillaber
Laura Walters
Ministerial Formation

Responsibilities: Supports Rev. Lisa to meet the UUA professional standards for ministry during her first three years as a parish minister

Membership: chosen by Rev. Lisa from volunteers
Kristen McIntire, chair
Nathan Freitas
Susan Larrabee
Martha Leader
Paul McLean
Ministerial Internship 

Responsibilities: Oversees the professional development of our ministerial intern, Jud Wolfskill, over two years in all competency areas of UUA ministerial formation

Membership: selected by the ministerial intern, in consultation with senior minister and supervising minister.
Midge Wilcke, chair
Michele David
Madeline Fine
Whit Larrabee
Scott Ullrich

Responsibilities: Recommends to the Congregation at Annual Meeting candidates for Parish Board, Clerk, Treasurer, Moderator, Alternate Moderator, and for open position(s) on the Nominating Committee

Membership: immediate past Chair of Parish Board, 1 current Board member, 3 members at large who have not served on Board during past 4 years
Chair, Mitra Morgan
Janet Britcher
Sarah Griffen
Whit Larrabee
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Pastoral Care Associates

Responsibilities: Provides and coordinates help with meals, rides and chores for members who need assistance (Care) and offers a compassionate listening ear and works directly with Rev. Lisa, assisting with candles of joy and concern, organizing small group ministry, and providing summer care coverage (Pastoral Care)

Membership: by invitation of Rev. Lisa and the chair; 3-year terms
Jeff Cadow, chair
Alfred Brownell
Marga Dieter
Madeline Fine
Tanya Gurian
Jami Jordan 
Anne Modena
Jud Wolfskill, Ministerial Intern
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Racial Justice Action

Responsibilities: Supports the congregation in our commitment – embodies in our mission statement – to become a multicultural, anti-racist beloved community

Membership: A covenantal group, open to all volunteers who commit to the covenant which requires that people make themselves vulnerable and commit to  learning that builds as conversations deepen over time through regular participation
Members collaborate on chairing the committee and facilitating the meetings
Karla Baehr, Alfred Brownell, Almas Dossa, Ann Gilmore, Hobson Goulart, Jami Jordan, Kathryn Kirschner, Martha Leader, Michael Luke, Ann Malone, Ron Wilkinson, Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Religious Exploration

Responsibilities: In collaboration with DRE and Senior Minister, helps shape the RE program for children and youth including recruiting teachers and volunteers, and planning and supporting activities such as parent breakfasts and social justice work

Membership: Open to all with three-year term limits
Chair, TBD
Jennifer Goulart
Nate Freitas

Reopening Planning Group (RPG)

Responsibilities: advises the Board on policies and practices related to facility use during the pandemic; maintains currency in federal, state, local and UUA guidance

Membership: selected by the minster and Parish Board
Susan Larrabee, Bob Williamson, Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood, Tri-chairs
Ethan Brackett, Janet Britcher, Michele David, Ben Davis, Almas Dossa, Mike Luke, Julie Palmer, Ron Wilkinson
Safety Task Force (meets on an as-needed basis)

Responsibilities: Meets on an as-needed basis at the discretion of the Minister; explores and implements training, equipment and adaptations in our facility to ensure the physical safety of our congregation

Membership: open to all
Mike Luke
Kristen McIntire
Bob Williamson
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Social Action Listserv

Responsibilities: Provides guidance and support for social action by maintaining  a listserv through which recipients communicate news and opportunities to learn and get involved in social justice work aligned to the FPB mission

Membership: open to all
Clint Richmond, Moderator
Space Use  (meets on an as-needed basis)

Responsibilities: Charged by the Board to expand use of First Parish facilities for rentals in ways that are consistent with our mission, recruits and advises potential renters; negotiates rental agreements; coordinates with FPB committees, staff and users; supports the church administrator in implementing the FPB space rental policy; and advises the Board
Membership: open to all
Debba Andree
Karla Baehr
Barbara Simonetti
Sara Warren
Bob Williamson
Worship and Welcoming

ResponsibilitiesCollaborates with the minister and staff to create a grounded and spiritual place for faith expression through the church year; organizes summer lay-led services; provides and relays feedback regarding Sunday worship; welcomes visitors to virtual Sunday worship and reaches out to newcomers about new member events. Members serve as the lay participants and worship associates in worship services.

Membership: Since 2019-20, open membership with three-year terms for congregants who have strong interest in planning and participating in Worship. Members choose whether they participate in worship planning, serve as Worship Associate during services, or both.
Elizabeth McIntire & Emily Cherry, Co-chairs

Nancy Clark
Ann Gilmore
Susan Larrabee
Martha Leader
Steve Peterson-Davis
Rev. Lisa Perry-Wood
Jud Wolfskill

Note on what the By-laws say about Standing Committees

Standing Committees other than those explicitly described in these Bylaws may be established by the Parish Board. The structure and functions of each such Standing Committee shall be determined by the Parish Board and described in the Standing Committee’s charter. Charters should be accessible to all members of the congregation. The charter may be modified by the Parish Board at any time. Once established, a Standing Committee shall report on its activities to the Annual Meeting, shall have its budget included in the annual operating budget of the Society, and shall continue in operation until its charter is revoked by the Parish Board. The Parish Board shall ensure a list of active Standing Committees is kept.