Meet the Disaster Resource and Response Team

Meet the Disaster Resource and Response Team

Fred Meade

Rev. Fred Meade  Fred has been ordained for over 34 years and initially got involved in disaster work while serving a UCC church in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.  Educated in CISM, he now serves on the Metro Boston Cape and Island CISM Team and is the senior instructor for the National Disaster Interfaith Network.

Rev. Michele Bagby-Allan is the minister of First Congregational Church, UCC in Norwood, MA.

 Rev. Rachel Bickford  is the minister at Union Congregational Church in Braintree, MA.  She has a heart for inter-generational ministry and missions working throughout the community with Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity, Penelope's Shelter, Boston Common homeless ministries, Appalachia Service Project and Schools on Wheels placing an emphasis on youth and family service.  She is certified in Gang and Drug violence prevention, Children and Bereavement and Disaster Chaplaincy, and is currently on the Board of Directors for Union Towers Elderly Housing in Weymouth, MA.  She holds a Masters in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School.

 Lucy Costa is a recovery caseworker with the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.  She has been a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2005 when she deployed to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.  She is also a longtime member of Old South Church in Boston.  She has worked in the domestic violence and youth development fields.  She hold a Masters degree in social policy and nonprofit management from the Heller School at Brandeis University.  As a caregiver to her parents, Girl Scout leader, and Sunday school teacher, she is passionate about making sure that older people, people with disabilities, and children are prepared for disasters and receive appropriate support and resources after disasters.

Rev. Brita Gill-Austern, M.Div., Ph.D. is the Austin Phillip Guiles Professor of Psychology and Pastoral Theology at Andover Newton Theological School.  She teaches courses in the field of crisis, trauma, depression, loss and resiliency.  She also teaches a course on the Healing Power of Joy!  She is Faculty Director for the Border Crossing Program at Andover Newton.  Before joining Andover Newton in 1988 she previously served UCC parishes for eight years.  She has been trained by the Critical Stress Incident Foundation in Individual and Group Crisis Work and has done several continuing education seminars and workshops with Besel van der Kolk M.D., and multiple continuing education seminars on caring for returning veterans.

Rev. Philomena Hare
is serving as chair of the DRRT and Conference Disaster Coordinator for the SNEUCC.  She is passionate about building relationships, and healing brokenness; she is trained to guide congregations through the complex challenges and opportunities for service and witness during periods of pastoral transition.  She holds degrees from Boston University School of Theology and Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.  Rev. Philomena is the Interim Pastor at The Federated Church of Hyannis, MA.

Rev. Jeff Gallagher is an ordained UCC pastor serving local churches for 20 years, has served in fire and police chaplaincy for five years, and is a life-long New Englander.

Rev. Mr. Chris Hart 
is an Intentional Interim and Revitalization Pastor. He serves on the Committee on Standing for the Northeast Association of Southern New England Conference and on the education team of the Interim Ministry Network which is rewriting the training curriculum for Transitional Ministry.  Pastor Chris is married to his high school sweetheart, and they have 3 children, ranging in age from 22 to 9.  He loves long road trips, good coffee, science fiction, and things “made at home from what you have.”  His hobbies include augmented reality games and Amateur Radio.

Rev. Dr. Jessica McArdle brings more than 20 years of experience as a minister, educator, and chaplain, with a strong emphasis in interfaith ministry.  A trained interim, she has long been invested in cultivating resiliency for congregations, their leaders and communities.   On the basis of what she observed in transitional ministry, her doctoral research and thesis focused on the intersection of resiliency and lifelong learning.  A member of the Environmental Ministry Task Team as well as the Disaster Resource and Response Team of the Conference - Jessica is committed to addressing the intrinsic connection between climatic changes and the impact it has on God's people and creation, through writing, advocacy, and service.  She also serves as the UCC representative on VOAD -  Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.  Having just accepted a position as chaplain at Carleton-Willard Village, Jessica will continue to work with people from different backgrounds and religious traditions.   

Rev. Kimberly Murphy serves as the pastor of Quincy Point Congregational Church.  She was the first woman graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s first Law Enforcement Chaplain Program in October 2003.  She was one of three women certified by the State of Maine and the Law Enforcement Academy to be a Law Enforcement Chaplain, and served as a lieutenant and chaplain with the Winthrop Police Department from 2003 to 2008.  She was a member of the Kennebec Valley Emergency Management Services Critical Incident Response Team and has been involved in and led Critical Incident Debriefing sessions for various first responder agencies; she has also received CERT training in MA. 

Judie O'Donnell is a retired nurse with 35 years as an oncology certified RN, is President of the Wachusett Medical Reserve Corps, the Assistant Emergency Manager in Hubbardston, and a member of the First Congregational Church in Gardner, MA.  Judie holds a BS in Health Science and a Masters in Public Health.

Rev. Jim Tilbe is Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Raynham UCC, and Chief Chaplain of the Mass Corps of Fire Chaplains.

Karin Wetmore, Ph.D is a 2016 graduate of the Boston University School of Theology and daughter of a volunteer fireman.  Karin works as a hospital chaplain.  Her Clinical Pastoral Education included service at the time of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Karin has completed additional training in disaster chaplaincy and medical ethics.  She is a Member in Discernment at Old South Church in Boston, MA.

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