Minister & Staff
Contact Catie at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reverend Catie Scudera began her ministry at First Parish in August 2014. She previously served as the intern minister of Arlington Street Church in downtown Boston, as the student and summer minister of the Winchester Unitarian Society in Winchester, Massachusetts, and as a student chaplain at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Her personal theology is guided by historic Universalism and Unitarianism, as well as progressive Christianity and engaged Buddhism.
Before responding to her call to ministry, Rev. Catie co-founded the A. Margaret Barr Children’s Village in Meghalaya, India, with the Unitarian Union of Northeast India. The orphanage is currently run by local Indian Unitarians and is sponsored through the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council. She also served as a full-time tutor at Match High School, a Boston charter school committed to help “close the achievement gap” between urban and suburban students. In these contexts and through her ministerial training, Rev. Catie developed her dedication to economic and educational justice, anti-racism and anti-oppression, and creating beloved community.
Rev. Catie was born in New York City, but grew up in northern Virginia just west of Washington, D.C. She and her mother converted from Roman Catholicism to Unitarian Universalism when she was a preteen. She is a 2007 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned her Master of Divinity in 2012 from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At both universities, she was a leader in the Unitarian Universalist student groups and the Gay/Straight Alliances. Rev. Catie currently lives in Needham Heights with her spouse, Cole Stephenson. Together, they enjoy board games, traveling, photography, and the great outdoors.
For more information about Rev. Catie, visit her candidating website or read the brochure prepared by the search committee. She holds office hours at First Parish on Mondays from 1-4 pm and Wednesdays from 4-6 pm, and holds office hours on Thursdays from 8-10 am at Cafe Fresh Bagel in Needham Heights (on 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursdays) and Bagel’s Best in Needham Center 2nd and 4th Thursdays. Scheduling an appointment is recommended.
Contact Mark at DRE@uuneedham.org
Mark LaPointe took on the post of Director of Lifespan Religious Education for the First Parish Church in August of 2011. He comes to first parish after serving for nearly three years as the DRE at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church.
Mark has spent most of his career in higher education, teaching most recently at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he also sat on the board of the Meadville UU Church.He holds a BA in English, with minors in Women’s Studies and African-American Studies from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He has completed graduate work in Journalism and Communication at the University of Nevada, Reno and at the University of Washington in Seattle. He occasionally teaches courses at Endicott College in Beverly. Mark sees education as a radical, spiritual action that is at the center of Unitarian Universalist principles.
Mark is a native of Lakeville, Massachusetts. He currently resides in Salem with his husband, Jim and their son, Bryce. They are active in the First Church of Salem. As a family, they love spending time outdoors, camping and enjoying nature. Their collective ambition is to visit as many national parks as they can.
Alexis became Youth Programs Coordinator and LRE Program Assistant in August 2017. Previously, she served as DRE at two other congregations. Alexis has been active in Religious Education as a volunteer, committee member, or staff member for 15 years.
Alexis is a lifelong UU who grew up in Connecticut. After spending a few years in North Carolina, she came back north to be closer to family. She now lives in the Needham area with her husband, Hulki.
Contact Kate at email@example.com
Originally from upstate NY, Kate has always enjoyed singing in worship and performing in the community. Kate has recently completed her Master’s in Mind, Brain, and Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, which allowed her to focus her research on children’s development and music. She has a bachelors in Music Education and Voice from Westminster Choir College, and a masters in Music Theory from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. With over 5 years of experience conducting children, she is excited to be back at First Parish working with the Children’s Choir and Youth Group. Also, this fall she is opening up a private voice studio for interested members of the parish. She wants to encourage any one who is interested to speak with her and join the fun! Kate joined the First Parish staff in January, 2011.
Contact Susanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Susanna is a life-long Unitarian Universalist, now an active member of First Parish in Lexington. Her past church roles include vice-president, co-chair of membership, and on RE and other committees. She comes to us with impressive list of professional credentials including ten years in the Congregational Life group at the UUA. Prior to that she served as DRE at Melrose UU Church and worked for five years in London for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Most recently she has served as a Project Management Consultant assisting clients with program and curriculum development as well as project management. Susanna lives in Lexington with her husband Jonathan Kinghorn and their three children. Susanna is currently studying acting in her spare time.
Introducing an Intern Ministry Program to First Parish was one of the Reverend John Buehrens’ greatest contributions to First Parish. During his time First Parish in Needham became an established “teaching congregation,” regularly training seminarians and recent seminary graduates for successful service as Unitarian Universalist ministers. Our Intern Ministers have included:
- Thom Belote, now minister of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church of Johnson County, KS
- Sarah Gibbs Millspaugh, ordained at First Parish in Needham and now co-minister of the Winchester (MA) Unitarian Society
- Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa, ordained in September of 2013 by the First Church in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist
- Lucas Hergert, now minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, CA
- Molly Housh Gordon, ordained at First Parish in Needham in May of 2011 and now the settled minister of the UU Church of Columbia, Missouri.
- Christian Schmidt, ordained at First Parish in Needham in May of 2013 and now the Senior Co-minister (with his wife Kristin) at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (CA).
The Ministerial Intern Program is presently on hiatus. First Parish expects to continue the program in the near future.