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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MICHAEL AHEARN,
TREASURER

Michael Ahearn, a member of Park Street Church for 33 years, has served as its Church Administrator since 2019. He worked for nearly ten years at Gordon College as its Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance & Administration and was a Financial Program Manager for Massport during the redevelopment of Logan Airport. Mike holds an MS in Finance & Applied Economics from the University of Rochester Simon Business School, an MBA from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a BA in History from Colgate University. Mike also serves on the boards of Amira and Elevate New England.

JEAN ALEXANDER

Rev. Jean Alexander is a retired pastor with extensive leadership and board experience. She was the Maine Conference Minister in the United Church of Christ from 1997-2005 and has served on the UCC Insurance Board and the UCC Executive Committee, as well as two terms on the board of trustees of Bangor Seminary. As a member of the First Congregational Church in Washington, DC, she has played a pivotal role in keeping and sharing their history. Jean received a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin and her MDiv from Chicago Theological Seminary. Now retired, she enjoys gardening, singing, traveling, and reading anything and everything she likes.

RICHARD BOLES

Dr. Richard J. Boles is an Associate Professor of History at Oklahoma State University. He received BA and MA degrees from Boston College and a PhD from George Washington University. His first book, Dividing the Faith: The Rise of Segregated Churches in the Early American North (New York University Press, 2020) examines the transition from racially diverse churches during the early eighteenth century to separate American Indian and African American congregations by the early nineteenth century in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Richard is working on a new book about religious interactions among Native Americans and African Americans in early America. He teaches courses in early North American and United States history, including African American history, Native American history, and American religious history. His book and article publications have been supported by a Huntington Library Fellowship, American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Grant, Albert J. Beveridge Grant, Oklahoma Humanities Grant, Gilder Lehrman Research Fellowship, and Massachusetts Historical Society fellowships.

DIANA BUTLER BASS

Dr. Diana Butler Bass is an award-winning author, popular speaker, and inspiring preacher. She holds a doctorate in Religious Studies from Duke University and is the author of eleven books. Her bylines include the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN.com, Atlantic.com, USA Today, Huffington Post, Spirituality and Health, Reader’s Digest, Christian Century, and Sojourners. She has commented on religion, politics, and culture in the media widely including on CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR, CBC, FOX, Sirius XM, TIME, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and in multiple global news outlets. Diana’s passion is sharing great ideas to change lives and the world through informing the public about spiritual trends; challenging conventional narratives about religious practice; and writing books that help readers see themselves, their place in history, and God differently.

CAROLYNE CALL

Rev. Dr. Carolyne Call is the Conference Minister of Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC). She oversees 170 churches located in 11 counties in central Pennsylvania. Prior to serving as Conference Minister, Carrie worked as the Executive Director of Development and Communication at Lancaster Theological Seminary. She also worked for 10 years at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, as an instructor in the departments of Psychology and Education and director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement. Carrie holds three degrees from Cornell University: BS in Rural Sociology (1986), MS in Development Sociology (2000), and PhD in Education (2004). She received an MDiv from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in 1990 and was ordained in 1994. She lives in Lancaster, PA with her husband Randall Zachman (Prof. Emeritus, U. of Notre Dame, Theology). They love hiking, time in the Adirondacks and Michigan, and history.

DAVID CLEAVER-BARTHOLOMEW

Rev. Dr. David Cleaver-Bartholomew is an Enrolled Agent specializing in clergy tax preparation and the founder of DGCB Tax Service. Previously, David served as the Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, the Association Minister for the Eastern Ohio Association of the United Church of Christ, and has been the minister for churches in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, and New York. He has also held several positions at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. David has a PhD and an MA in religion from Claremont (CA) Graduate School, an MDiv from Yale University, a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, Austin, a BA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and a BS in Accounting from the State University of New York at Oswego.

BRETT FREIBURGER,
SECRETARY

Brett L. Freiburger has been working in cultural heritage institutions for over a decade. Currently, he is the Local History Librarian at the West Hartford Library in West Hartford, CT. He previously worked as the Institution Archivist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where he fulfilled documentary footage requests from National Geographic, PBS, and others by initiating a digitization program for the Institution's tens of thousands of items in the analog moving image collection. Brett has worked as a Contract Archivist at the Congregational Library & Archives, as Print Department Project Supervisor for the Boston Public Library, as Library Director at Babcock Library, and as a Manuscript Assistant at the Schlesinger Library, part of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. His career began at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, CT as an historic interpreter and collections assistant. Brett has a MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons University as well as a MA and BA in History from Central Connecticut State University.

SARA GEORGINI

Dr. Sara Georgini has worked for the Adams Papers editorial project at the Massachusetts Historical Society for 15 years, where she is series editor for The Papers of John Adams. Committed to the preservation of and access to rare primary sources, Sara has worked on the selection, annotation, indexing, and team production of nearly 20 scholarly editions drawn from the Adams Papers (Harvard University Press, 2009– ), covering the history of American life in the era from the Declaration to disunion. Sara is the author of Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family (Oxford University Press, 2019), Our Library in Paris (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), and is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Family History and Genealogy. She writes about American history for Smithsonian and acts as Reviews Editor for The New England Quarterly.

MAXWELL GRANT,
CHAIR

Rev. Dr. Maxwell Grant has been the Senior Minister at Second Congregational Church (UCC) in Greenwich, CT since 2012. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, where his family attended Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims (NACCC), he has a long-standing interest in public history, with fellowships at the Historic Deerfield Museum and the Mark Twain House. Max has also held positions as School Minister at Collegiate School in Manhattan, Chaplain for Pediatrics and Obstetrics at Yale New Haven Hospital, and Pastor of Community Church of the Pelhams in Pelham, NY.

He is a graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale Divinity School (where he earned the Mersick Prize in Preaching), and the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), where he earned a PhD in Practical Theology. Previously on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, he currently serves on the Committee on Ministry for the Fairfield West Association of the UCC, and Day 1 Radio, a Christian preaching ministry.

JONATHAN GUEST

Rev. Jonathan Guest became a UCC pastor at The Park Church in Elmira, NY, where he also taught religion and philosophy at a local college and maximum-security prison after graduation from Harvard Divinity School where he was a Rockefeller Fellow. While a doctoral student at Harvard in New Testament/Ancient Christianity, he was an editor of the two-volume Introduction to the New Testament by Prof. Helmut Koester, and served as a part-time pastor at Second Church in Newton, MA. Following a legal education at Cornell Law School where he participated in its Law, Ethics and Religion Program, he joined large Boston law firms and as a partner specialized in corporate and securities law (public and private offerings of equity and debt, domestic and international mergers & acquisitions) and institutional governance (including non-profits). After a law firm career, Jonathan was chief executive officer of a New York biomedical research foundation supporting research on neurodegenerative diseases and an adjunct professor in the Transactional Law Program at Boston University.

He serves on the Board of The Trustees of Jaffna College Funds (supports schools in Sri Lanka) and chairs the Investment Committee of Historic Massachusetts Conference of the UCC (now part of the Southern New England Conference). He also earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University and LL.M. in taxation from Boston University. Jonathan is a member of the First Congregational Church of Natick (Massachusetts) where his wife was the minister for 20 years.

LAURA HAMBY

Laura Hamby is a lifelong member of the Congregational Church of Soquel (CCS) and served on staff at CCS as Director of Christian Education and Youth for 27 years. Her current involvement includes serving on Church Council and chairing the Board of Trustees, Vision Support Team, Media Team, and Taste of Soquel. Living in Tijuana, Mexico for two years, Laura taught English at the Instituto Pan Americano. She is retired from her 35-year career at Mission Hill Middle School as Site Program Director of technology and categorical programs, including ESL & Title I. Locally, Laura is active in the Mid County Interfaith Homeless Coalition and Soquel Pioneer & Historical Society.  She is past moderator of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC) and currently the President of the NACCC Congregational Foundation Board of Directors.

DON HILL,
VICE-CHAIR

Don Hill works as a consultant to nonprofits in governance, strategic planning/visioning, and financial development. He has served on the national staff of the United Church of Christ (2000-2013), as chief development officer for several nonprofits (including Andover Newton Theological School from 1991-1999), taught planned giving at New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy (2007-2013), and was a member (2011-2020) and chair (2015-2020) of the Board of Directors of Pacific School of Religion.

THOMAS KNOLES

Dr. Thomas Knoles is the Librarian Emeritus at the American Antiquarian Society, where he served as Marcus A. McCorison Librarian from 2006 to 2018, Curator of Manuscripts, 1990-2018, and Head of Readers’ Services, 1995-2000. He earned a PhD in Classics, an MLIS from Rutgers University, and has written and presented extensively on topics relating to digital humanities and manuscript editing. At present, Tom is editing The Diary of William Bentley, 1783-1819, for the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. He is also an Academic Affiliate in The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau Project, University of California, Santa Barbara, reviewing and revising transcripts of Thoreau journals prior to their publication. Tom is a member of the Collections Committee of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Website Committee for the Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

CHARLES PACKER

Rev. Dr. Charles A. Packer is the Senior Minister of the Pine Hill Congregational Church in West Bloomfield, Michigan (National Association of Congregational Christian Churches), and Adjunct Professor at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, for which he teaches courses in biblical interpretation, pastoral theology, interfaith dialogue, and research and writing methodology. He has also assisted with instruction in biblical Hebrew at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, and the Congregational history and polity course, most often held in Boston, Massachusetts. Charles serves on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit and has published in the fields of biblical studies and Congregationalism. He earned a BA in Religion (with concentration in Hebrew Bible) from the University of Iowa, an MDiv from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and a DMin from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Charles was Dean of the Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies for the NACCC from 2015-2023.

JULIA SPELLER

Dr. Julia M. Speller is Professor Emerita in American Religious History and Culture at Chicago Theological Seminary where she served for 25 years. Prior to and concurrent with that time, she served as the director of Christian Education for Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago where she has been a member for over five decades. Julia is currently a member of the United Church of Christ Historical Council and has been engaged in the work of several UCC committees over the years. She is the author of Walkin’ The Talk: Keepin’ the Faith in Africentric Congregations and holds a BS in Business Administration from Chicago State University, an MA in Religious Education from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, as well as an MA and a PhD in the History of Christianity from the University of Chicago.

NANCY TAYLOR

Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor is an independent trustee at Impax Funds and senior minister emeritus at Old South Church in Boston. She is a retired UCC minister, having served churches in Maine, Connecticut, Idaho, and Massachusetts. Nancy is also a founder of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights Education and of the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, both located in Boise, ID. She is a former Moderator of the UCC’s General Synod and former Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC. She currently serves on several boards, including at Yale Divinity School where she co-chairs the capital campaign, The Miller Center for Interreligious Leadership (Hebrew College), and The Boisi Center for Religion in American Public Life (Boston College). She has an MDiv from Yale Divinity School, a DMin from Chicago Theological Seminary, and three honorary degrees.