The Reverend Vicki Kemper, Pastor:
A former journalist with the Los Angeles Times, Common Cause, Sojourners, and other publications, Vicki comes to Amherst from Washington, D.C. Her father, grandfather and great-grandfather were fundamentalist preachers, and her Texas roots run even deeper than her ties to the pulpit (though she usually manages to keep “y’all” out of her sermons). She holds degrees from Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and Wesley Theological Seminary. Vicki's commitments to spirituality, social justice, reconciliation, Christian community and truth-telling have taken her from the American Southwest to Nicaragua, the Middle East, South Africa, urban slums, rural outposts, wilderness outposts, the White House, and the District of Columbia jail. Vicki enjoys hiking, travel and all things out-of-doors, as well as music, poetry, gardening and time with friends. First Church’s first bungee-jumping pastor, she lives with her dog, Emmylou, in Belchertown, just steps from the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.
Open office hours: Monday-Thursday, 10-1. Appointment for other times can be made by calling the church office, 413-253-3456
Richard S. Matteson, Minister of Music:
Richard S. Matteson is a graduate of Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. Prior to moving to Western Mass in 2006, Dick served as Minister of Music at a variety of Hartford area churches for 39 years. He was Director of Music at Old First Church, Springfield, until its closing in December, 2007. As a performer, he is known for his solo organ, two-piano and organ with orchestra concerts. In addition to his position at First Congregational, Dick is director of the Vivace Chorus at the Community Music School of Springfield and accompanist for the South Hadley Chorale.
Director of Youth and Family Programs
Ruth Morse, Administrative Assistant:
Ruth is a member of First Congregational Church in Hadley. There she chairs the Music Committee and directs the bell choir, and her husband, Kurt Betchick, is a deacon. Ruth is active in Girl Scouts --- after leading her daughter's troop for 12 years, she now leads outdoor activities with high school troops and is a trainer of leaders. A former gymnast and coach, she is now a judge, and spends many of her weekends judging gymnastics meets of all levels. She has recently taken up figure skating and ice dance; she now competes both individually and as part of a Theater on Ice team. An accomplished seamstress, she currently uses her talents to make costumes for her skating team. Ruth and Kurt have a 22-year-old daughter, Rachel, who attends art school in Nova Scotia.
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00-1:00
Dennis Szuhay, Sexton:
Caretaker of the First Congregational Church building
Jerry Provost, Lockup:
Doris Peterson, Treasurer:
My "day" job is as a computer support person with the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Academic Computing group. I help faculty integrate technologies into their teaching. Most days I learn something new and work with terrific folks too.
For 10 years I was a systems and methods analyst for IBM in New York, then editor of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly for 27 years. A member of First Church since 1962, I've been a choir member for 40 years and, in 1972, was the first woman moderator. I was co-founder of the Merry Musical in 1966, and have held a number of other leadership positions. At the drop of a hat, I play my uke for singalongs, or to promote church events, and I've recently co-edited/authored two published books.