The Reverend Joseph Blotz joined us as our Minister of Faith Formation in August 2010. In August 2014, upon mutual agreement with the congregation, his call was modified to Co-Pastor. Joseph grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He has served congregations and community-based ministries in California, Ohio, and New York, most recently as Pastor for Educational Ministries at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Syracuse, New York. He is an accredited Godly Play teacher (a Montessori-inspired model of religious education) and has an interest in intergenerational worship, education, and service-learning. His ministry outside of the congregation has been with individuals experiencing homelessness, as an outreach worker for an AIDS resource organization, and as a writer for a local human sexuality curriculum. His published works include a feminist commentary on the book of Ruth and liturgical resources with a preferential option for Earth in the Earth Bible series. He is also a movie buff and enjoys playing guitar.
Contact Pastor Joe: joseph.blotz@FirstChurchMansfield.org
Erik Haeger has been the organist at First Church since 2000, and a covenantal member since 2006.
A graduate of the University of Connecticut, he lives locally with his wife, Rebecca, and their daughter, Julia. Erik started playing piano at a young age. He was a subsitute organist at local churches for years before settling at First Church. He teaches piano for beginners and enjoys jazz and the Red Sox.
The Reverend Ann Plumley was called as our Senior Pastor in November 2010. In August 2014, upon mutual agreement with the congregation, her call was modified to Co-Pastor. Ann received her Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School. Since 2006 she has been the Assistant Minister at the United Church of Christ in Keene, NH. For the three years prior to her service in Keene, she helped complete a comprehensive analysis of Committees on Ministry of eleven Massachusetts UCC Associations, leading to a new vision of their processes.
Ann is a lifelong member of the United Church of Christ who found, in the midst of a successful international consulting career, that God was calling her to church ministry. She states in her ministerial profile “I’m often asked about my career transition… I believe every experience I accumulated in my ‘former life’ is useful in the complex, often confounding journey of congregational life. God uses it all.”
In addition to extensive involvement in local, state, and national UCC projects, Plumley is an active community volunteer. She is an organizer for church volunteer groups that serve the largest soup kitchen in southwestern New Hampshire, has participated in a SCUBA research team with the Earthwatch Institute in the Philippines that implemented projects to promote sustainable fishing practices, and helped organize adult service trips to Honduras that focused on child nutrition, cooperative housing development, and micro-credit training.
Contact Pastor Ann: ann.plumley@FirstChurchMansfield.org
Director of Music
In January 2013, Catherine Rowe began her second stint at First Church, having previously served as Choir Director from 1987 through 1996. A graduate of the University of Connecticut (BS, cum laude) and the University of California (MFA, magna cum laude), she retired in 2012 after 20 years as the Director of Choral Activities at E.O.Smith High School in Mansfield, CT. During her tenure at EOS, Cathie led the Women's chorus, Men's chorus, Chamber Choir and a large mixed chorus. In addition, she taught music appreciation, music history, music theory and piano class, and also directed school musicals. Prior to EO Smith, Cathie worked with students in grades K-12, in five other Connecticut school districts, including East Hartford, Willimantic, Lebanon and Mansfield. She directed Summer Youth Theater in Columbia for 18 years, served as President of the Arts Council in Columbia and currently teaches voice privately. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and describes herself as a voracious reader. Cathie is married to Ed DiGiovanni. They live in Columbia and have four sons.
Wendy O'Connor has, quite possibly, the most difficult job at First Church - supporting its ministry by taking responsibility for all church office activity/operations. She does this by utilizing her training, talents, experience as well as her sense of humor. Wendy received her formal education at Mitchell College. She resides in Scotland, CT where she is also the Registrar of Voters.
Contact Wendy: FirstChurchMansfield@snet.net
Where Faith Takes Action!
549 Storrs Road
(Junction of Routes 195 & 89)
Mansfield Center, Connecticut
Child Care Provider
Emely Salman and her family arrived in Connecticut from Iraq in July 2009 with the help of Jim Woodland, our church family, and other area faith communities. A U.S. citizen since 2014 and a graduate of Manchester Community College, Emely is always a warm, smiling presence at our church.