Meet Our Staff

Rev. Kevin Pleas

Rev. Kevin Pleas

Senior Pastor

Contact Rev. Kevin at 603-625-5093 or KPleas@FCCManchesterNH.org

Read more about Rev. Kevin...

The church has been a beloved part of my life as far back as I can remember. Beginning with the First Methodist Church of Riverside in California, where I grew up, I’ve been actively involved in one church community or another everywhere I’ve lived. I was blessed to feel a strong call to ministry early in my life, and after more than 30 years as a pastor, I am still deeply grateful for the privilege of serving.

After High School, I joined the Coast Guard for four years of active duty, then attended college at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where I received a degree in Psychology. Then came three years at Andover Newton Theological School, a Master of Divinity Degree, and, in 1987, a formal Ordination to Christian ministry in the United Church of Christ. I have served churches in Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, and Maine, and, in November of 2015, I was thrilled to be called as the Senior minister of the First Congregational Church of Manchester.

My ministry rises from knowing that God is gracious and extravagantly welcoming, that Jesus Christ provides a wonderful blueprint for faithful living, that life is abundant, that our hearts are best served by living close to a spirit of compassion, and that we are all invited into what Martin Luther King, Jr. liked to call the “Beloved Community.”

Personally, I have been happily, no joyfully, married to my wife, Pamela, for nearly 36 years. We have two beautiful daughters living in Maine: Sarah and Corinne. Sarah is married to a great guy named Sean, and the two of them recently gifted us with our first grandson: Caleb, who is perfect. And then there’s Coco, our lovely poodle-mix rescue dog.

Church office phone 603-625-5093

Contact Kevin Pleas at KPleas@FCCManchesterNH.org

Adam Peithmann

Adam Peithmann

Director of Music Ministry

Contact Adam at 603-625-5093 or APeithmann@FCCManchesterNH.org

Read more about Adam...

Adam has been the Director of Music Ministry for the First Congregational Church since the Fall of 2014. Originally from Nebraska, he has worked in a variety of churches in the northeast.

Adam completed an undergraduate degree in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Master’s Degree with a church music certificate from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale. He also completed additional studies as a Fulbright scholar in Bremen, Germany.

Adam and his wife, Lauren, and daughters, Audrey and Annie live in Chester, New Hampshire. Lauren, also a graduate of the Institute of Sacred Music, is a music teacher at Salem High School in Salem, New Hampshire. Adam and his family are delighted to be a part of the First Congregational Church of Manchester, NH.

Contact Adam Peithmann at APeithmann@FCCManchesterNH.org

Barbara Papagian

Barbara Papagian

Director of Parish Care

Contact Barbara at 603-625-5093 or BPapagian@FCCManchesterNH.org

Read more about Barbara...

As Director of Parish Care, I am dedicated to keeping in contact with the congregation, paying special attention to shut-ins, the hospitalized, anyone going through difficult life changes. My ministry is one of caring, listening, and connecting.

 

I have a Certificate in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from Andover Newton Theological School and am working toward Commissioned Ministry in Parish Care.

Since I have been an active member of First Congregational Church for twenty-three years, I have worked on many committees, and was Deacon of Discipleship before joining the staff in my capacity of visiting ministry.

I grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts and attended The University of New Hampshire. I now live in Manchester, New Hampshire and have two adult sons.

When I am not working, I enjoy reading, swimming, golfing, playing my oboe, and spending time with family and friends.

A Bible verse that really speaks to me is Romans 12:10. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” That is the essence of my ministry.

Contact Barbara Papagian at BPapagian@FCCManchesterNH.org

Betsy Green

Betsy Green

Church School Coordinator

Contact Betsy at 603-625-5093 or BGreen@FCCManchesterNH.org

Read more about Betsy...

I came to First Church in 2004 looking for a permanent church home to raise my daughter Emma. I found that First Church had similar qualities to the churches I had attended in Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts while growing up. I have lived in Manchester since 1989 which is the longest place I’ve ever stayed. In 1995 I married my husband Burton, who is a native of Manchester. Before having my daughter I spent 20 years with Sears as a manager and trainer. I also taught childbirth classes for 6 years after Emma was born. Today most people know me as the school bus driver for Bedford High School, but coordinating First Church’s school programs for children are where my talents lie.

While attending First Church, I was a part of the church school program from Nursery through the teen youth group. I also found myself as a Girl Scout leader for 8 years. It only made sense that when the Children’s Education Coordinator position was made available, that I apply. I am now in my 4th year as coordinator and feel proud that we have a vibrant program of church school for pre K through 8th grade on Sunday mornings each week.  We have recently begun a new program called “Me Too!” for grades 2-5 where families and children can come together once a month for bible study, fellowship and fun. First Church also offers a Vacation Bible School program each summer.

I look forward to “retiring” from so many hats and putting my efforts into more volunteering in the future. But for now, each Sunday the children’s weekly stories of their lives make my day!

Contact Betsy Green at BGreen@FCCManchesterNH.org

Larry Dearborn

Larry Dearborn

Building Manager

Contact Larry at 603-625-5093 or LDearborn@FCCManchesterNH.org

Read more about Larry...

Larry joined the staff of First Church as the Building Manager in July 2014. He’s no stranger to First Church though, as he has been a member and active volunteer since 2002. Larry retired from BAE Systems in 2001 and brings a wealth of maintenance and technical talent to First Church.

 

 

In his spare time, Larry belongs to a bowling league and volunteers his time at the Elliot Hospital.

Contact Larry through the church office at 603-625-5093 or LDearborn@FCCManchesterNH.org.

Linda Bonetti

Linda Bonetti

Church Administrator

Contact Linda at 603-625-5093 or LBonetti@FCCManchesterNH.org

Read more about Linda...

In the fall of 2014 I had come home late and pulled up Craigslist to update some job listings I was running, and up popped the listing from First Church for a Church Administrator…and at the very same moment I heard a horrendous crash! Long story short, a tree had fallen on my car, totaling it! I took this as a sign that I needed to make some changes from the very long days and stressful work environment I was in…and the rest is history.

 

I have been blessed to work at First Church since 2014 with a talented, compassionate staff and a host of members and friends who have embellished my life in unbelievable ways! My husband, Michael, two children and four grandchildren will attest to this! I now have time to enjoy puzzles, reading, sewing, cooking…and every weekend at our camp swimming, boating, and enjoying friends and family.

Contact Linda through the Church Office at 603-625-5093 or LBonetti@FCCManchesterNH.org

Sokhom Sar

Sokhom Sar

Sexton

Contact Sokhom at 603-625-5093

Read more about Sokhom...

Sokhom fled Cambodia via Thailand in 1983. First Church welcomed him and his family, sponsoring his entrance into the United States and hiring him as our Sexton. A highlight was when Sokhom and his wife, Yean became American Citizens! Sokhom faithfully dedicates his days to the cleanliness and organization of First Church.

On his off days, he cares for his 14 grandchildren, his 25’x50’ garden, his model train collection, and he escapes to go fishing as often as he can.

Contact Sokhom through the First Church office at 603-625-5093.

Lauren Henderson

Lauren Henderson

Front Office Assistant

Contact Lauren at 603-625-5093 or LHendersonFCC@Yahoo.com

Read more about Lauren...

 Lauren is a delightful new presence on our First Congregational Staff, and brings many new gifts to our membership. She has learned the ropes rapidly, and is settling in very well.

Lauren lives here in Manchester. She is married to Mitchell and together they have a ten-year-old daughter named Violet. Lauren’s professional experience includes library work in Manchester and Bedford. She has worked at the Currier and Shaker Village Museums, and teaches Meditation and Yoga as well. We hope you’ll drop by to welcome the most recent member of our staff!

Contact Lauren at LHendersonFCC@Yahoo.com .  

First Church Choirs

Our choirs enrich your worship experience, which includes children’s story, music, sermon, and prayer. 

Learn more...

Communion

Communion is celebrated during worship on “Threshold Sundays” – the first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the New Year, the first Sunday... Learn more...

Bible Study

Rev. Kevin offers a variety of multi-week book and Bible study classes at different times during the church year. Past classes have included... Learn more...

Families and Children

Families and children are prominent in our church life. Children participate in worship and events throughout the year. Children... Learn more...

“It is my time at First Church that helps me "recharge" my spirit with faith and hope for the coming week!”

Sue Hannigen

“A path which leads me forward in a journey of grace and love with my family, friends, and community."

Bruce Attridge

“Cherished elements of core traditions live on at First Church…” 

Grant Dugan

“I hope others will find such joy when they come here.”

Eleanor Flint Campbell

“We treasure our many friends and colleagues in this wonderful congregation.”

Susan and Bruce Felmly

“I love First Church because of my involvement with Women's Connection.”

Pamela LeBlanc

 

“I get an overall feeling of being uplifted.”

Joan Currier

 

Children's Education Coordinator sought...

Some people brought children to Jesus so that he would place his hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded them. “Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” Then he blessed the children and went away from there.             —Matthew 19:13–15 (CEB)

In all that we do at our church, few things are as important as our children and youth. Ensuring that they know they are loved and safe when they are in our care, and providing classes and activities that bring them up in the faith — these are priorities for us that are as important as anything else we do together. 

Our CE Coodinator will be moving this summer, so we are seeking an enthusiastic Children and Youth Education Coordinator for 12-15 hours a week.  The CE Coordinator is responsible for the leadership and guidance of our Sunday School program for pre-school through eighth grade students.  The person must be strong in building relationships among parents, teachers, volunteers, and the larger congregation to bring vitality and growth to the program.  Strong candidates will possess excellent communication skills, including social media, and organizational skills; and be computer proficient.  Teaching and working in children’s ministry experience are a plus.  References and a successful criminal background check are required.  If you are interested in learning more about this position, please click here.

 Upcoming Events 

Worship Sunday

Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 10:00am. 

This is the Fourth Sunday of Easter.  We welcome our member, Pip Adams, to lead traditional worship at 10am in the Sanctuary.  

Prior to the 10am service, please enjoy the new Time of Greeting ... meet new friends and share fond memories before worship begins.

Learn more... 

Tuesdays at 1pm and Wednesday at 6pm   

Bible Study Class is a weekly gathering led by Reverend Kevin. This week’s session, Tuesday 4/17 & Wednesday 4/18, will be about Joseph's Story.

Read: Genesis 37-40   & Kenneth Davis: “Don’t Know Much About the Bible” pg.87-92

Every week will we update the next reading for discussion.  Watch the Sunday News.                             

Learn More...         

Sunday, April 29th, 2018   

Great Bay Choral Festival

The First Congregational Church Chancel Choir will join 100 voices at the Choral Festival at the Christ Episcopal Church in Exeter.

Learn More...

Saturday, May 5, 2018   

"Canoeing the Mountains" Workshop 9am-12noon

Come to this important discussion about the future of Christian Leadership in our ever-changing world.  

Learn More...

Sunday, May 13, 2018   

Service of Prayer and Healing

Inspired by the Celtic Tradition, the roughly half-hour service will include music, readings, prayers and an opportunity to receive a “Laying on of Hands” blessing. Service will be held in the Chapel following the 10:00 am worship service and fellowship, on the 2nd Sunday each month.

Learn More...

Latest News

Current Videos

Click here to enjoy our current videos on Vimeo!

From the Pastor's Desk

Get connected to Rev. Kevin's insights! Learn more...

Sunday Bulletin

See the order of worship at First Church for the Sunday Service, including the Scripture Reading. Learn more... 

The Sunday News

What’s happening this week in the life of First Church? Learn more...

Church Window

What’s happening this month at First Church? Learn more...

ONA Update   

ONA Celebration Service on Sunday, November 18th at 3pm

Join us as we celebrate our Open & Affirming status with a special worship service and Celebration on Sunday, November 18th at 3pm.  All are welcome to attend.

The faith community of First Congregational Church, Manchester NH reaffirms our shared covenant and beliefs that the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to love one another and to extend welcome to all people. We affirm that each individual is a child of God and that all are worthy of God’s love and grace.

As witness to these beliefs and as covenant members of Christ’s church, we proclaim and celebrate God’s love for people of all ages, all races and ethnic backgrounds, all mental and physical abilities, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all sexual orientations, all gender identities and gender expressions, and all other diverse attributes that are woven into the fabric of humankind. 

We are called to be as one body, seeking to walk together in the complete life and ministry of our church. With God’s grace, we resolve to be an open, inclusive, affirming, and accessible community of faith. We invite all to participate and share in the life and leadership, ministry and fellowship, worship and sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of our Christian community.

Approved by the Congregation on Sunday, November 19, 2017

Learn More...