Ministers and Staff

The Rev. Angela Herrera

Senior Minister

The Rev. Angela Herrera
aherrera@uuabq.org

Angela has served on First Unitarian’s ministry staff since 2010, and was called as our Senior Minister in September 2017.

Angela is originally from Oregon, where she was raised in a working class neighborhood in the Willamette Valley. She writes, “In that time, the UU faith of my childhood was tested against some of society’s harder realities, and I developed an early passion for social justice, and a deep love for life and for people.” These experiences continue to inform her ministry and theology.

“I am humanistic in the sense that I believe humans have the ultimate responsibility for what must be done in the world,” she says. “I also draw inspiration from our Judeo-Christian roots. I want not just to think about God but to experience God: in relationship with other people, in prayer, in the arts and in nature. God as love, as yearning, as the stillness, peace, or power that can erupt into the world even when it seems least likely. I also accept that there are many paths to meaning and ultimacy, some very different from mine, and I honor those.”

Angela holds a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. She has completed a chaplaincy internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and a parish internship at First Parish in Concord, Massachusetts. She is the author of the Skinner House meditation manual, Reaching for the Sun, and co-creator of Lifting Our Voices: Readings in the Living Tradition.

Angela and her husband Carlos have two grown children, and are a bilingual, bi-cultural family. When they are not at church, they can often be found biking, hiking, running, or putting green chile on things.

      Jane Davis

      Ministerial Intern

      Jane is serving First Unitarian for a 2 year ministerial internship as part of her Master of Divinity degree at Meadville Lombard Theological School on her path to becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and has spent several years working in Human Services organizations following her retirement from the nuclear power industry.

        Dan Lillie

        Ministerial Resident

        Hello! I’m Dan Lillie, and I am pleased to be the congregation’s Ministerial Resident. Serving as the intern here at First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque last year was the final requirement I needed to graduate from Iliff School of Theology in June of 2017.

         

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            Susan Peck

            Director of Music

            Susan Peck moved to Albuquerque in January 2016 to accept the position of Director of Music. She has been a Unitarian Universalist music professional since 1997, serving as music director in three congregations in Oregon. Susan has been an active member of the UU Musicians Network since 2000, serving on the UUMN board of directors in several roles. She was the Music Coordinator for UUA General Assembly in 2015 (Portland) and 2016 (Columbus). Her background includes piano and voice studies, teaching privately and in college classrooms, songwriting, arranging, performing and directing opera, choral music, music theatre, cabaret, and a few rock bands. Susan recently joined the New Mexico Women’s Chorus as Associate Director.

                Mia Noren

                Director of Religious Education

                Mia came to Albuquerque with her family in 2009, and she and her husband Skip have been members of First Unitarian since 2010. Following careers in banking and museum administration, Mia has held a number of positions at First Unitarian, allowing her a unique perspective on church operations. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

                    Paul Browne

                    Director of Finance Operations

                    Paul has lived in Albuquerque since 2012, following a 40-year career in leadership and management education. With a background in public policy studies and development economics, he holds a doctorate in business administration from the Harvard Business School. He taught business at several universities, served as dean of the business school at Wilkes University in Wilkes Barre, PA, and consulted on business strategy and management development for many organizations in the U. S. and abroad.

                    During his early years, Paul lived in Brazil where his parents were Presbyterian missionaries. He grew up speaking Portuguese and has since mastered Spanish.  He and his wife Carol, who met in Ethiopia where they were Peace Corps volunteers, are members of First Unitarian.

                      Alana Rodriguez

                      RE Assistant

                        Beth Elliot

                        Membership Director & Justice Coordinator

                        Beth is an Albuquerque native and first joined First Unitarian in 2002. You may recognize her from her years of ushering or as a current Worship Leader.  She has a B.A. in Intercultural Communications and an M.A. in Interpersonal Communication. She has been working for the last few years as an End of Life Doula. When she is not working or at church, you can often see her performing in local community theatre, teaching children’s theatre at The Growing Stage, or hanging out with her favorite person, her daughter Emma.

                            Beth Welt

                            Church Administrator

                            Beth Welt is an Albuquerque native who has spent the years of her working life primarily in non-profit management, with a strong draw to creative pursuits. She has worked with diverse populations of people ranging in age from elementary aged children to seniors; in locations from the desert pueblos of the Jemez mountains to Explora! Science Center & Children’s Museum; and,most recently, a local program teaching visual and performing arts to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has worked as an archaeological field tech, theater director and stage manager, after-school program educator, informal science educator, volunteer coordinator, and quality assurance manager – to name a few! She holds her BA in Anthropology, concentration Archaelogy with a minor in Theater Arts. She also moonlights as the Front of House Manager for the Adobe Theater in the North Valley. While not a member of the congregation here at First Unitarian, Beth’s philosophies are in line with those in practice by the church: she is an ally and advocate, and is pleased to be in service here. Beth and her husband Ray live on Albuquerque’s west side with daughter Maddie and son Nicholas.

                                Carla Nieto

                                Bookkeeper

                                    Alymay Atherton

                                    Youth Coordinator

                                        Arianna Espinoza

                                        Religious Education Aide

                                          Laira Magnusson

                                          Communications Coordinator

                                          Laira joined the staff of First Unitarian in January 2015 with a background in arts administration and volunteer management. She received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1997 with an emphasis on acting, directing and playwriting. Since graduating she has worked in two local community theatres—Sol Arts and The Vortex—where she acted, directed, produced performances, recruited volunteers, created publicity campaigns, and managed all aspects of the box office. She and her husband Blake are church members and have three delightful children: Shane, Miranda, and Esme.

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