Our Minister & Staff

Reverend Dr. Elaine Peresluha, Interim Minister

Rev. Dr. Elaine Beth Peresluha is an Accredited Interim Minister and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Her PhD in Social Science was earned through the Taos Institute and the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands where she expanded and integrated her life long interest in right relationship, collaborative leadership styles, and social change. Her passion is inspiring social change through anti-oppression and anti-racism. By bringing diverse groups of people together for personal growth, discovery, and creative engagement, she works for personal and communal transformation. She is an outdoor enthusiast and spends her leisure time on bikes, boats, skis and her yoga mat. You can learn more about her professional experience on her website.

If you would like to reach Rev. Elaine, please email minister@firstparishportland.org.

Benjamin Holbrook, Music Director

Benjamin Holbrook is the Choral Director at Massabesic Middle School in East Waterboro. He also serves on the Board of the American Choral Directors Association as Repertoire Manager. Benjamin received his Bachelors in Music Education from DePaul University in Chicago. He has plans to matriculate into a Masters program in Choral Directing at USM in 2023. Benjamin served as a music teacher for secondary schools in Chicago and Los Angeles before returning to Maine. While living in Los Angeles, Benjamin also wrote and arranged music for a variety of performance media including: The Call of Cthulhu (2005), Long-Term Relationship (2006), Kiss The Bride (2007), and Where Seagulls Cry is a Song (2009). He was recognized by LA Weekly for Outstanding Original Music for a Stage Play: The Grey Zone (2007). Benjamin currently lives on the West End in Portland with his partner Darry and their dog Abigail. He enjoys spending time with them, hiking, and walking around the Peninsula when he is not teaching or practicing.

You can reach Benjamin at musicdirector@firstparishportland.org.

Laurie Hasty, Membership Coordinator

Laurie Hasty is a third generation UU. She came to First Parish as a teenager when her father was called to be this church’s minister. She was married in our Meeting House and has raised her children in this congregation. In December, she coordinates our historic Nativity Pageant. Laurie believes deeply that personal connections are essential to growing a community within our church and healing our world. Laurie lives with her husband, Benson Gray, in the woods on the northwest corner of Falmouth where they enjoy reading, gardening, hiking, cross-country skiing, and canoeing. After a winding path of volunteer activities, elementary school teaching, and arts management, Laurie is now back to her passion of painting in her studio. Please say hello to her at Coffee Hour!

You can reach Laurie at membership@firstparishportland.org.

Hannah Gilman, Congregational Administrator

Hannah joined the First Parish staff in March 2021.  She lives locally in Portland, but is originally from China, Maine.  Hannah felt called to First Parish because she was looking for a career where she could help build and strengthen a community that is welcoming to all.  She believes that we are all connected to each other and to nature, and honoring that connection is of the utmost importance.

Hannah received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from the University of Maine in Orono.  When she is not in the First Parish office, you can find her outside in nature, reading, traveling, spending time with her family, or volunteering for Humanity and Hope United.

You can reach Hannah at office@firstparishportland.org.

Moe Blanchard, Sexton

Our Sexton, Moe Blanchard, has been with First Parish since 2002. A Portland, Maine native, he is a valuable member of our staff. Together with various committees, volunteers, and paid hourly workers, Moe ensures the care and upkeep of our lovely historic meeting house and memorial gardens. He enjoys working with the Staff as well as the members of First Parish in Portland and is happy to help where he can.

Moe is caring, helpful and honest. And he makes the world’s best popcorn and coordinates the bountiful display of goodies for our coffee hours!

If you have questions or requests for Moe, please direct them to office@firstparishportland.org.