Staff

Reverend Mara Dowdall

Reverend Mara Dowdall

Senior Minister

The Reverend Mara Dowdall has served as Senior Minister of the First UU Society since August 2013. Prior to her call to First UU, Mara served UU congregations in Montpelier, Vermont and the Boston area. She also spent a year at the Unitarian Universalist Association as Interim Youth Ministry Director. Mara is a native of Philadelphia and a life-long Unitarian Universalist. Before her call to ministry, she worked in politics, including stints with NARAL Pro-Choice America and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School, Mara lives in Burlington with her husband, Ben, and their two young sons. In addition to ministry and spending time with her family, Mara's favorite things include enjoying the incredible natural beauty of our city and state, long walks, discovering new podcasts, the beach, urban adventures, and coffee in pretty much any form.

 

Andre Mol

Andre Mol

Ministerial Intern

 Andre Mol is a candidate for UU ministry and currently attends seminary at Meadville Lombard Theological School. He recieved his undergraduate degree in film production from Boston University. He is transitioning out of a 15 year career as a Human Resources professional at a global firm where he focused on leadership and organizational development. Through his varied experiences, Andre has become deeply interested the role of transformative stories and dialogue in our spiritual lives. Most recently, he put this work into practice as a restorative justice volunteer in Rutland and as a chaplain intern at the UVM Medical Center in Burlington. Andre lives in Brandon with his wife (Carrie) and two young children (Chloe and Parker).

Martha Dallas

Martha Dallas

Director of Religious Education

 Martha has been our Director of Religious Education (DRE) since 2006. She was a DRE for four years at a UU congregation in Massachusetts, and has directed several UU summer camps. Her early career involved teaching religious studies at a college preparatory school, and when she first moved to Burlington in 2000, she directed after school enrichment programming at Edmunds Elementary School.

Martha was raised Episcopalian, but has been a Unitarian Universalist since 1995, after years of intellectual and experiential searching for liberal spiritual engagement. Martha holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s degree in Theology and Education from Union Theological Seminary in New York. In 2015 she was granted Religious Education Credentialing through the Unitarian Universalist Association at the Credentialed level. She loves to sing, garden, be outdoors, and expand her woodworking skills. She lives with her spouse, Lucy Gluck, and their ferocious feline, Dandylion, in Burlington’s Old North End.

 

Christina Fulton

Christina Fulton

Director of Operations and Finance

Christina has worked at the First UU Society in Burlington since 1998. Prior to working at the church, she was the Education/Volunteer Coordinator for Women Helping Battered Women where she provided volunteer management for over 100 volunteers and did school and community education about domestic violence.

Christina has also worked as an Office Manager for the Essex Vermont Police Department and for Mitsubishi Motors America headquarters in Southfield, Michigan. She has volunteered as a hotline worker at Women Helping Battered Women, as the board treasurer for SafeSpace and as the board co-chair for RU12? Community Center. Christina lives with her partner, Woody Fulton, in Burlington, Vermont. 

Nina Dahlstedt- Buss

Nina Dahlstedt- Buss

Membership Coordinator

 Nina was raised UU in upstate New York and began attending the First UU as soon as she moved to Burlington in 1981. A couple of years later she moved to New Haven VT where she helped start a UU Fellowship which is now the Champlain Valley UU Society. A few years ago Nina became interested in meditation and Buddhism and spent her Sunday mornings at the local Shambhala Center before returning to the First UU as Membership Coordinator in 2015. After working for several social service programs and the State of Vermont as a social worker, rehabilitation counselor and public health advocate she feels blessed to have found a part-time position doing something she loves in a place that holds great meaning for her. Nina enjoys quilting, gardening, biking, and watercolor painting. She and her husband Mel have three children and two grandchildren.

Bob Furrer

Bob Furrer

Facilities Manager

Bob Furrer has recently joined the First UU Society staff as Facilities Manager. He was born and raised on the south shore of Nassau County, Long Island. After High School he attended Denver University, which was not particularly suited to his liking, so he decided to enroll in a one year apprenticeship as a high rise construction worker.

Later, Bob moved to Vermont where he was employed by the Shelburne Museum. During his 37 years of service at the museum, he worked primarily in the Buildings and Grounds Department and became director in 2001.  

After leaving the museum, Bob felt the need to do something different. After considering the possibility some 40 years ago, he finally decided to join the Peace Corps. He served for two years in a tiny village in the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania where he did environmental work and was responsible for facilitating HIV/AIDS Prevention/Awareness programs.  While in Tanzania he became a proud grandfather!

Bob lives in Shelburne with two well-behaved cats, Suki and Strider. His interests include gardening, woodworking, archery, chess and reading.

He is pleased and proud to be employed by the First UU Society, grateful to share the responsibility of maintaining its beautiful meetinghouse designated as a National Historic Landmark,  and is looking forward to working with everyone involved with the Society in a positive and productive way.  

Jennifer Carpenter

Jennifer Carpenter

Music Director

Jennifer Carpenter has recently returned to Vermont after having studied and worked around the U.S. and abroad as a conductor, singer, and as a vocal instructor. She received her B.M in Vocal Performance at the University of Vermont, and her Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Indiana University at Bloomington. During her Masters program at Indiana, Ms. Carpenter conducted the Symphonic Choir, a large ensemble consisting of over 100 undergraduate music majors where she conducted diverse repertoire ranging from Renaissance to Contemporary works. After her studies at Indiana University, Ms. Carpenter moved to the Seattle area to continue her studies at the Doctorate level. While in Seattle, she served as Music Director at Faith Lutheran Church of Redmond, Washington, where she conducted the area’s first Messiah Sing-Along, an event that attracted over 100 singers and professional soloists. Ms. Carpenter has performed internationally as a guest conductor and as a choral singer in the Republic of Ireland, in the U.K., and in Paris, France. In Paris, she participated in the European American Musical Alliance Conducting program, where she received master classes from Mannes and Juilliard faculty. In December 2015, Ms. Carpenter conducted the Rutland Area Chorus and a regional chamber orchestra in performance of Handel’s Messiah at Grace Church in Rutland, VT. Her experiences as a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Senegal and in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, and as a former Associate Instructor for the International Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University have further enhanced her passion for multicultural programming and sharing musical experiences with people from all over the world.

Mary Williams

Mary Williams

Society Administrator

Mary is originally from the Midwest, but spent most of the past 25 years in New York State. She and her husband moved to Burlington in 2016 from northern New York, where they attended the UU Church of Canton. They were happy to find the First UU Society of Burlington and have been attending services over the past year. Mary’s professional background includes working as an administrative assistant at Cornell University, as well as at a youth services agency. She was also a teacher for several years, focusing on environmental, preschool, and science education. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, drawing, and exploring local forests. Mary is thrilled to have joined the staff team in helping to support the Society’s mission.

Wayne Schneider

Wayne Schneider

Organist

Wayne Schneider is an Associate Professor Emeritus in the University of Vermont's Department of Music where he teaches music history.  He lives with his spouse Paula and several cats.
 

Myra Timmins

Myra Timmins

Caretaker

Myra has been a member of our society scince 1999.  Employed as Caretaker scince August 2007, Myra takes both pride and pleasure in keeping our society's buildings clean and "green".  She resides in Burlington  with her son Joseph and has a large extended family here in Vermont.  Myra enjoys cooking for friends, all things nature, and reading and learning about other places.
 

Erika Reif

Erika Reif

Childcare Coordinator and RE Assistant

Erika has been working in the nursery since 2009 and is now the childcare coordinator. She is also employed at Burlington Children's Space as an infant/toddler teacher.

Originally from Bangor, Maine, she has spent most of her adult life in New York City. She moved to Vermont shortly before the birth of her son, Max.

A chronic transfer student, she attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts; the University of Vermont; and Hunter College in New York City. More recently she has been taking courses at Childcare Resource of Chittenden County.

Charlie Delaney

Caretaker

Anne LaPierre

Bookkeeper

I have worked at the First UU Society as a part-time bookkeeper since 2001. I have met some wonderful people here over the years and enjoy working with Christina Fulton. I have been an insurance agent for 23 years and work for Smith, Bell & Thompson full time. I am married to a wonderful husband and have three children, a stepdaughter and five grandchildren. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and love to vacation in Maine.