Church Staff

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Pastor John Wesley Taylor

Pastor John was appointed to serve as pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Westborough on July 1, 2006.
Pastor John has been leading a United Methodist church since he was a student Pastor at Edgartown United Methodist Church and Chilmark Community Church on Martha's Vineyard in 1986. He served as a student pastor there until his graduation from Boston University School of Theology in 1990. After two years of full time ministry on Martha's Vineyard, he was appointed to First United Methodist Church of Hudson, MA. and served there from 1992 to 2000. Nancy, his wife, and Pastor John met at First UMC of Hudson. It did not take long for them to know that God had plans for them as a couple. In love with each other and both in love with the Lord, they were married on June 21, 1997. The wedding took place at Wesley UMC, Worcester MA, where Pastor John's father served as pastor during his childhood and youth.
You can contact Pastor John at pastor@firstumchurch.com.  Nancy and Pastor John are the proud parents of Shaw, Ashley, Ethan, and Max.
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Reverend Elizabeth Kubota, Music Minister and Deacon

Rev. Elizabeth Kubota has been music director at First United Methodist Church since 1996. After completing her Master of Sacred Music and Master of Divinity degrees in 2004 at Boston University, she was ordained a permanent Deacon in the New England Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 2012 she was nominated Chair of the Order of Deacon in the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church which includes the responsibilities of serving on the conference ordination board and including/ministering to Diaconal Ministers, Deaconesses and Home Missioners of the conference in the Order of Deacon. Other responsibilities include arranging for retreats of the order. In March of 2013 a deacon formation retreat was held at St. Scholastica Priory in Petersham, MA. Rev. Anita Wood, GBHEM national Deacon, Nashville, TN, led  this retreat.

 
Over 100 people participate in the church music program. Cynthia Hamburger and Alice Morrison direct the bell choirs. Rev. Elizabeth Kubota directs Sanctuary Choir, Jubilate Deo, several small ensembles, and IMPACT, a praise band. Other musical groups of the church include Red Fire Sax Choir and two flute choirs.
 
It is expected that all Deacons have a ministry in the church besides that of their specialty. Rev. Elizabeth fulfills this expectation by serving as a Stephen Leader and teaching the Monday morning Bible study. Deacons must also have a ministry outside the church. Rev. Elizabeth gives private music lessons for Apple Tree Arts of Grafton, MA, a community arts school. She also does worship services with guitar, harp and voice at Whitney Place and Beaumont long term care facilities.
Rev. Elizabeth lives in Grafton, MA, with her husband and mother. Her two children live and work in the Boston area.
 
For questions on participation in the music program please contact Rev. Elizabeth Kubota at music@firstumchurch.com.

 

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Cynthia Hamburger, Handbell Director

Since founding the handbell ministry at First UMC in 1984, Cynthia has blessed our worship through her leadership with handbell choirs for all ages and levels of experience.

She currently leads handbell groups at First UMC for experienced adult ringers as well as two youth ensembles for students in fourth grade and up. Cynthia also offers short-term opportunities for children in Sunday School, women (on Valentine's Day), and men (for Mother's Day). The handbell programs are most widely known for their annual Christmas concert, held for the community in early December each year.

Her handbell ministry has extended beyond First UMC, as Cynthia held the position of Massachusetts State Chair of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers for 6 years. She served on the organizing committee for the Massachusetts Youth Spring Ring for 13 years, 9 of them as chair.

Cynthia teaches music at the elementary school level in the Westborough Public Schools has taught piano privately for several years. She holds a bachelor's degree in Music Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

Cynthia is a 30-year member of First UMC and has two adult children, Jim and Laura.

For questions on participation in the music program please contact Cynthia Hamburger at bells@firstumchurch.com.

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Stephanie Granger, Director of Christian Education

First UMC is blessed to have Stephanie serving with us as our Director of Christian Education.  In this role, she is responsible for leading an outstanding Sunday School program and confirmation program at First UMC, with the help of many loving, committed teachers and parents.

A native of Springfield, MA, Stephanie graduated from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, with a degree in Religious Studies, and recently completed her Masters of Arts in Religious Education at Andover Newton Theological School.

Stephanie joins First UMC with prior experience as a Director of Christian Education, working with children and youth. She has also served as a student minister, and as a counselor at a religious camp.

For questions on participation in the Sunday School or other children/youth activities, please contact Stephanie Granger at christianed@firstumchurch.com.

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Carleen Shaldone, Director of Congregational Care

A healing presence within the faith community, the Director of Congregational Care is a person with a strong desire to help others and who possesses a deep Christian faith.  This individual visits and ministers to members of the congregation who, for any variety of reasons should be in need of this.
 
The Director of Congregational Care is also responsible for directing those in need to the most appropriate health care and life planning resources.  
 
A strong desire to help others influenced my going through 50 hours of rigorous training to become a Stephen Minister.  It also led me to creating Caring Visitations.  I have served off and on, for the past ten years as a member of the Board of Directors for BayPath Elder Services in Northborough.  This, as well as, my Stephen Minister training has provided me with a wealth of information for health care resources. My journey of faith has culminated with God’s guiding me to First United Methodist Church.   I look forward serving you.
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Gina Downing, Operations Manager

Gina Downing, Operations Manager, brings over 14 years of experience as a church staff member and active volunteer within the NE Conference.  Gina worked as a program coordinator for the Carter Memorial UMC in Needham, providing support and leadership to 5 ministries (Technology, Welcoming, Missions, Children and Youth) within the church.  Prior to that, she attended FUMC Hudson where she taught Sunday School, assisted in youth programming and served as editor for the church newsletter.  Over the past year, she has been attending FUMC Westborough and has helped teach in our Sunday school program.  Gina and her husband Jim have 4 children- 2 in college and 2 at home- and reside in Hudson, MA.