First Parish Ministerial Search Committee


What Does the Ministerial Search Look Like?

Here’s What to Expect:

June-September 2022: Search Committee convenes, plans the upcoming year, and coordinates with UUA

October: Church-wide survey is sent out and collected

November: Cottage Meetings and Focus Group meetings are held to gather further input from members and friends

December: The position is posted and ministerial candidates submit applications

January 2023: Search Committee interviews all candidates via Zoom and chooses three to invite

February-March: Search Committee hosts three top candidates for a weekend; they preach in neutral pulpits (not at First Parish)

April-May: Search Committee identifies the top candidate for recommendation to the Board; if accepted, this candidate visits First Parish for a full week, and preaches to the congregation. The congregation votes on the candidate.

Mid-May: We welcome our next settled minister!

Meet Your Ministerial Search Committee

Contact Us At

Susan Cook (Chair) has attended First Parish since 2019 when she moved to Portland, and became a member in 2020.  Sue’s formal UU experience began in 1995 at the Waterville (Maine) UU church, where she was inspired by the spiritual commitment of UUs to one another and the greater community through voice and actions of the congregation.  In Waterville, she was a member of the choir and served on the Board of Trustees, including terms as President and Treasurer.  At First Parish, she sings in the choir, serves on the Finance Team, and chaired the Stewardship drive in 2021 and 2022.  Sue is retired from a career in college alumni relations and development.

Allen Armstrong (Vice-Chair) is a retired mechanical engineer and grandfather of two.  Allen and his wife Elissa became members of First Parish and were married here in 2007.  He chaired the Finance Committee, the Stewardship Committee and the first fundraising auction and produced two member and friends directories.  At his former UU church in Lexington, Massachusetts, he served on two ministerial search committees.  He presently serves as chair of Buildings & Grounds.

Jake Kulaw lives in S. Portland with his partner Carolyn and their sweet rescue beagle named Major.  He enjoys nature, hiking, the great outdoors and the beach.  He is a health and PE teacher at Deering HS and also the Portland Public Schools Health and PE District Coordinator.  Jake is an at-large member of the Governing Board at First Parish as well as serving on the board of Maine Healthcare For All.  He has been a social activist most of my adult life and is a fierce advocate of fighting oppression and injustice.  First Parish is the only church that resonates with Jake’s values and he feels a deep connection with First Parish values and its mission.

Jenn McAdoo grew up in the Episcopal church but has been a UU for almost 30 years and a member of First Parish for 10 years.  At First Parish, she has been involved with the Faith in Action committee and chaired the Friends of Safe Harbor subcommittee.  She also was a member of a chalice group and the Roots & Wings social justice ministry program.  Outside of First Parish, Jenn works as the executive director of Furniture Friends but loves to travel and explore other cultures in her free time.  She and her husband, Tom, are the parents of two grown sons.  They live in Cumberland with their cat, Marco.

Tom Rogers is a long-time member of First Parish who has served on the  Governing Board, Finance, Stewardship, Church for Everybody and Committee on Ministry teams.  A secular humanist, Tom’s religious upbringing was heavily influenced by his father’s background as an Episcopal minister and Buddhist scholar, and by Tom’s experience attending a Quaker high school and college.  First Parish and UUism have been a deep source of inspiration, growth and support to Tom.  A retired financial planner, he resides in South Portland with his wife, Leslie Runser.

Born in Northeastern Pennsylvania and having spent a decade and a half in Washington, D.C., Jason J. Shedlock has called Maine home since 2010.  He joined First Parish in 2011, with his daughter Josephine having been welcomed into the church a year later.  Jason is the immediate past president of First Parish’s Governing Board.  By day (and often by night!), he serves as a leader in Maine’s labor union movement as the President of the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council and a Regional Organizer for the Laborers’ International Union as well as Trustee and Executive Board member of both the Maine AFL-CIO and the Southern Maine Labor Council.  He also serves his community on the Board of the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition and as a coach for Portland youth sports.  Jason holds a BA in Political Science from Catholic University and an MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University.  He lives in Portland with his daughter Josephine, his partner Amber and her children Margot and David.

Mary Wheeler is a lifelong UU and has been a member of First Parish since 2011.  Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in France, Germany, and the Netherlands en route to settling in Maine in 2006.  At First Parish, she has served on the Membership and Worship Committees, serves as a Chalice Group leader and is a member of the choir, the book group, and Peaceful Harbor Buddhist Sangha.  She has recently semi-retired from a career as a teacher of English and French at educational institutions ranging from public schools to universities and language institutes.  Mary holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.  She has two grown daughters and lives in South Portland with her 14-year-old dog, Iris.