Our Staff

Rev. Paula Norbert

img_6188-cropPaula Norbert serves as Pastor of our church. Born and raised in Maine, Paula has worked in ministry for many years, including close to 20 years as a college chaplain at Boston College and Loyola University, Chicago and in recent years as Director of Educational Ministries at Community Church in Durham, NH. She has extensive experience with social justice programs, including having led many trips with college students to communities in Mexico, Ecuador and Nicaragua as well as outreach in Boston and parts of Appalachia. Her background includes training and experience in retreats, worship, grief support and pastoral care.

She has lived in the Kennebunk area for the past 12 years with her husband, Rich, and their two children who attend local schools. Her interest include reading, walking, baking and relaxing with her family. She earned a Master of Education at Harvard University and a Master of Theological Studies at Weston School of Theology, now part of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She also worked as a Chaplaincy Intern at Maine Medical Center in Portland. She welcomes all for conversation, care and worship. She is active in the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ, the York Association, and with the Local Clergy of the Kennebunks monthly gatherings.

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.