Ministers and Staff

The Rev. Angela Herrera

Senior Minister

The Rev. Angela Herrera

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.

    The Rev. Bob LaVallee

    Associate Minister

    Before coming to First U, Bob served as a chaplain and as Interim Minister at South Valley UU Society in Salt Lake City, UT. A graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School, Bob’s first career was in non-profit management.


      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.

        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, PA and was awarded the UUA’s Religious Educator Credential in 2019. She is also serving our District as the Chair-Elect of the MDD Liberal Religious Educator’s Association (LREDA).

            Laira Magnusson

            Director of Membership & Communications

            Laira joined the staff of First Unitarian in January 2015 as the Church Administrator. In the fall of 2018 she moved into the Communications Coordinator position, and in September 2019 she became First U’s Director of Membership and Communications. With a background in arts administration, PR, and volunteer management, the combination of these two portfolios is a perfect fit for her. Laira received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1997 with an emphasis on theatre and still acts in community theatre productions (when she has the time!) She and her husband Blake are church members and have three delightful children: Shane, Miranda, and Esme.

              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.

                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.  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.

                  Reinier Rodriguez


                      Gabriel Longuinhos

                      Church Pianist

                      A native of Brazil, Gabriel Longuinhos began learning the piano in 2005 at the age of 17 in his hometown of Santos, Brazil, where he performed in his first recitals. He earned his B.A. from the University of Campinas in 2012 under the guidance of renowned Brazilian pianist Maria José Carrasqueira; he also worked as the resident vocal pianist, a position which he held for two years, playing in the studios of Profs. Adriana Kayama and Luciano Simões. In the interim, he performed in numerous concerts, including a solo recital in the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture (MuBE) as well as a voice and piano recital with Dr. Simões, both in São Paulo city. As of 2017, Gabriel has finished a dual Master’s degree in Collaborative and Solo Piano under Juilliard alumna Pamela Pyle, during which he held an assistantship as a resident collaborative pianist, working intensely with the great chamber, vocal and solo piano literature; he was also a recipient of the Friends of Music scholarship. Gabriel was part of the NM New Music contemporary music ensemble for two years and worked as a collaborative pianist at the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


                        Alana Rodriguez

                        RE Assistant

                        • Tel:

                          Arianna Coriz

                          Religious Education Aide

                            2 Responses

                            1. Chalice Singer Bass Dean Strassburger says:

                              Jane Davis – Your February 24 sermon on interdependence was powerful and personally hit home. I took notes and have reflected upon them several times; will do so more. Thank you for sharing your story and for giving me good ideas how I can personally better contribute to the world. It was heartening to hear how your career change has brought you more peace in your life. Thank you for sharing a most positive self-examination and for sharing it with us.

                            2. Anonymous says:

                              Really enjoyed my visit with this vibrant congregation. I’m bringing some good ideas home to our UU church in New Braunfels, Texas. I especially loved the music and the natural nature of the various presenters. – and the humor. Also enjoyed the Explorations class on Emerson.
                              Mary Hitch (husband was in the Senior Games)

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