Contact information for ministers and staff can be viewed here.

Rev. Deborah Bennett
Interim Minister

Rev. Deborah Bennett began her professional career as a “minister of food” – also known as a chef. After being trained in whole foods cooking, she started and ran several organic restaurants. From 2005 – 2013 she served as the Executive Chef at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Ma. Prior to that time, in her twenties, Deborah lived at Kripalu Ashram as a full-time celibate yogini deepening her spiritual practices and learning about community care and leadership.
Rev. Deborah answered the call to Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2015 and graduated with her MDiv from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2018. She served as a hospital chaplain at Albany Medical Center, as the intern and summer minister at Winchester Unitarian Society in Winchester, MA, and then from 2019 – 2023 as the called minister for Emerson UU Congregation of Marietta, GA.
Rev. Deborah is committed to multi-dimensional living honoring the spiritual and temporal in our lives. She uses this awareness to call us into tending to our own inner worlds and connection to the spirit of life as we also work outwardly to create peace, compassion and justice in our world. Rev. Deborah is especially interested in Indigenous Justice and Prison Reform and is committed to several organizations who champion this work including: The Prison Mindfulness Project and the Lakota People’s Law Project. 
Deborah is the mother to two daughters, Rhea and Christin. step-mother to Eli and Maggie, and soon to be a first time grandmother (in addition to being a fur-baby grandmother to Sadie and Sasha). Deborah and her husband Jim Bennett live in the Berkshire Hills of New Lebanon, NY where Jim is a boarding school STEM teacher. They love hiking in the Berkshire woods, cooking farm fresh food with and for their family and friends, enjoying music and theater, exploring great restaurants and playing all kinds of games – including a little pickle ball on occasion.
Rev. Deborah is delighted to be joining the First Parish family for this time of interim ministry.

The Rev. Deborah Pope-Lance
Affiliate Minister
The Rev. Deborah J. Pope-Lance provides training and coaching to clergy and congregations on the ethics of ministerial practice and congregational life. In addition she maintains a therapy practice in Natick, Massachusetts, offering counseling to individuals and couples and supervisory support to ministerial staff teams. She holds Ministerial Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association in both Parish and Community Ministry, is an accredited Interim Minister with the Interim Ministry Network, and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Currently, she is engaged in a counseling ministry as an Affiliate Minister with the First Parish in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Kate Holland
Director of Lifespan Education
Kate Holland has been a religious educator for over 13 years, first serving on the staff of the UU Area Church in Sherborn as their Director of Religious Education for eight years and now working with us here at First Parish. She has also served on the board of the Unitarian Sunday School Society as their grant manager. Kate has worked with Children throughout her career as well as raising four children of her own. Kate’s role here at First Parish allows her to work with people of all ages to find programming that helps them to deepen their own spiritual center. Outside of work, Kate is an avid crafter, and enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs.

Pauline “Polly” Oliver
Music Director
Polly Oliver, First Parish Organist and Music Director, has enjoyed a lifelong career as a pianist, harpsichordist, organist, choral director and teacher. At First Parish, she conducts both the Adult and Children’s Choirs, each year preparing and conducting two major works with the choirs and orchestra. An active chamber musician herself, Polly truly loves searching out amateur musicians within the parish and surrounding community, encouraging them in their music and providing them opportunities to become involved in the First Parish Music Program.

Karen Plaskon
Parish Administrator
Although not introduced to UUism until her 20’s Karen feels she was born a UU in spirit. She is an experienced church administrator with strong skills in
communications, technology and financial systems. Karen studied and worked in computer software for many years and continues to work in a family owned internet marketing business building and maintaining websites. Karen is mom to 3 grown children and an adorable “terri-wawa”, Rubio. Having a lifelong love of water, she is currently able to walk, bike and kayak around the beach, living on the South Shore.

Leo Monzon
Our Lay Ministry
First Parish also has a team of Lay Ministers, parish members who receive special training to assume this role. Lay ministers lead a time of “Joys and Sorrows” in our services and provide important one-on-one support for parishioners in need.