Our Staff

Rev. James Henry – Interim Pastor

Rev. James Henry to lead summer worship services.

The Deacons are excited to announce that Rev. James Henry will return in September as our interim minister. Henry is the son of a minister, born in Beaver Falls, PA, where he completed high school. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from Nyack College in Nyack, NY, and received his divinity degree from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. After some time as a minister, he explored a career change in serving as a guidance counselor, but he soon realized that he yearned to return to the ecumenical, community atmosphere of a pastoral calling.

He served as the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Middleboro, MA, and then, as he said, “geography trumped denomination.” and he was called as the settled pastor of the Elijah Kellogg congregation in Harpswell, ME, for 13 years. He “retired” in 2010, but has continued as an interim pastor for four congregations on the coast of Maine since then.

First Church is happy to welcome him back!

 

Joyce Painter Rice, Music Director

img_6187-webJoyce Painter Rice became Music Director at First Church in December 2015. She was attracted to the position because of her love for historical keyboard instruments, and she immensely enjoys playing the church’s one-manual E. & G. G. Hook organ, built in 1854. She also is Assistant Organist at Holy Family Parish in Amesbury, MA.

In addition to playing the organ and the 1905 Steinway upright piano (both wonderful instruments in need of restoration), Joyce enjoys directing the church’s dedicated choir and accompanying the congregation in the singing of hymns. She appreciates and admires the congregation for their fine singing of old, traditional hymns and their willingness to learn new hymns. She feels that her enthusiasm for music at First Church is matched by the members’ love for music.

Joyce has held church music positions in nearly every mainstream denomination. Her primary former positions include music director at the Arlington Street Church, in Boston; at St. Catherine of Genoa parish, in Somerville, MA; at Trinity Episcopal Church, in Haverhill, MA; and interim positions in Lexington and Milton, MA. She also has been music teacher at St. Charles Borromeo Elementary School, in Woburn, MA, and accompanist for 12 years at Temple Emanuel (Reform Judaism), in Andover, MA.

A native of North Carolina, Joyce holds the Master of Sacred Music degree from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. Following a year as Assistant Organist at Duke University, Durham, NC, she moved to Boston and studied further with Yuko Hayashi, chair of the Organ department at New England Conservatory of Music.

Since 2008, Joyce has been a Trustee at the historic Methuen Memorial Music Hall, in Methuen, MA. She has performed there numerous times, playing the four-manual “Great Organ” and helping to plan community outreach programs. Her other recital venues include Trinity Church, Boston; Old West Church, Boston; and the Washington National Cathedral.

Joyce has served as Sub-Dean of the Boston Chapter, American Guild of Organists, and Dean of the Merrimack Valley Chapter. She also is a member of the Organ Historical Society.

Working closely with Rev. Norbert and the Organ Restoration Committee (Barbara Vennell, chair), Joyce is delighted to assist First Church with plans to restore the Hook organ.