Reverend John Wesley Taylor, Senior Pastor
Reverend John Wesley Taylor was appointed Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in July 2006. He graduated from Boston University School of Theology in 1990 and has been a life long Methodist, as his father, the Reverend Blaine Taylor, also served churches in the New England Conference. Pastor John began his formal career in ministry as a student Pastor at Edgartown United Methodist Church and Chilmark Community Church on Martha's Vineyard in 1986.
As a full-time pastor, Pastor John served two years of full-time ministry on Martha's Vineyard and was appointed to First United Methodist Church of Hudson, MA, where he met his wife, Nancy. Pastor John and his family have most recently been serving the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church in Winchester, MA, before finding their new home at First UMC.
Pastor John and his wife Nancy have four children - Shaw, Ashley, Ethan, and Max.
Stephanie Granger, Director of Christian Education
First UMC is blessed to have Stephanie serving with us as our Director of Christian Education. In this role, she is responsible for leading an outstanding Sunday School program at First UMC, with the help of many loving, committed teachers and parents.
A native of Springfield, MA, Stephanie graduated from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, with a degree in Religious Studies, and is currently completing her Masters of Divinity at Andover Newton Theological School.
Stephanie joins First UMC with prior experience as a Director of Christian Education, working with children and youth. She has also served as a student minister, and as a counselor at a religious camp.
Reverend Elizabeth Kubota , Director of Music Ministry
God has blessed First UMC with Elizabeth Kubota’s musical talents since 1996. She coordinates the music ministry at First UMC, leading the sanctuary choir, the Jubilate Deo ladies’ choir, the flute choir, and the orchestra, in addition to accompanying other groups and serving as our organist.
Pastor Elizabeth possesses a life-long love of music and working with musicians of all ages. Ordained to the United Methodist Church Order of Deacon, Elizabeth seeks to extend Godís grace through her music ministry from the church into the world, working as a music teacher in the public schools and with private students of all ages and abilities.
Having discerned Godís call for her in church music ministry while yet a high school student, Elizabeth began her formal education in music at Minnesota State University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in music education. Elizabeth studied at the Vienna Academy of Music in Austria and completed recitals in both voice and organ.
In addition to her work at First UMC, Pastor Elizabeth enjoys teaching music in the Westborough Public Schools and also offers private music instruction (in piano, voice, harp, organ, and guitar) through Apple Tree Arts, a non-profit organization in Grafton dedicated to education in music and theatre arts.
In the second phase of her formal education, Elizabeth recently graduated from the Boston University School of Theology with Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Music degrees, including a graduate organ recital in 2004. She was ordained as a full member of the New England Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Order of Deacon, in 2009.
Elizabeth and her husband Morio have two children, Anne and Brian, who live and work in the Boston area.
Lisa Shufflebarger, Parish Nurse
Lisa, a Registered Nurse in Massachusetts, promotes overall, holistic health at First UMC, with an emphasis on connecting physical and spiritual health.
Lisa is a Certified Parish Nurse, having completed her parish nursing training at Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital in Binghamton, NY. Lisa holds a BSN from Alderson-Broaddus College, in Philippi, WV, and has completed continuing education in nursing at Northeastern University.
She lives in Westborough with her husband, Dr John Shufflebarger, and their 4 children - Amanda, Emily, Rachel and Ryan. The Shufflebargers have been members of First UMC since 1996.
Cynthia Hamburger, Director of Handbells
Since founding the handbell ministry at First UMC in 1984, Cynthia has blessed our worship through her leadership with handbell choirs for all ages and levels of experience.
She currently leads handbell groups at First UMC for experienced adult ringers as well as two youth ensembles for students in fourth grade and up. Cynthia also offers short-term opportunities for children in Sunday School, women (at Valentine's Day), and men (for Mother's Day). The handbell programs are most widely known for their annual Christmas concert, held for the community in early December each year.
Her handbell ministry has extended beyond First UMC, as Cynthia held the position of Massachusetts State Chair of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers for 6 years. She served on the organizing committee for the Massachusetts Youth Spring Ring for 13 years, 9 of them as chair.
Cynthia teaches music at the elementary school level in the Westborough Public Schools has taught piano privately for several years. She holds a bachelor's degree in Music Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia.
Cynthia is a 30-year member of First UMC and has two adult children, Jim and Laura.