The Reverend Janet C. Bush

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Janet parlor

The Reverend Janet C. Bush began her ministry with USNF in August of 2009.

Janet feels blessed to have found her way to UU ministry and to have been called to our congregation.  She recently ended a six-year term on the Board of Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity, where she continues as a member of the Finance Committee.  She is currently a member of the Cooley Dickinson VNA Interfaith Hospice Advisory Board, and was also a member of the Steering Committee for Welcome Home: the Northampton Refugee Resettlement Effort, a group which advised Catholic Charities of Greater Springfield's Northampton program from July 2016 through September 2017.

Janet came to ministry after a varied career in business and educational settings.  She held leadership positions in many different organizations, always with an interest in facilitating interpersonal and organizational relationships.  She served as a CFO in several biotech companies in the Boston area, and also worked in a job-training program for disadvantaged adults, most of them welfare recipients, teaching office and communication skills and guiding them in the job search process.

She was active in her local UU church on boards and committees, as an RE parent volunteer, and in the choir.  She also served as a Board member and Treasurer of Discover Roxbury, a Boston non-profit whose mission is to build community pride and create bridges of understanding by increasing knowledge of Roxbury's historic and cultural contributions and fostering economic empowerment.

She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School, a Master's in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a Master's in Management from the Yale School of Management, and a Bachelor's degree in French from Yale College.

She served as a hospice chaplain in training with VNA Care Network of Needham, MA, and spent two years as ministerial intern at First Parish Church (UU) in Dorchester, MA.  Her husband, Booker Bush, is a primary care physician practicing in Springfield.  They have two adult sons, and three grandchildren.

Janet shares her ministry on our website via her sermons, which can be found on our Sermons page, and with her blog, From the Minister.


Manager of Congregational Operations

Michael Taylor

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Michael TaylorMichael has experience in managing community-based agencies, both large and small.  His commitment to economic and social justice took hold years ago as he volunteered in a Catholic Workers soup kitchen, leading him to obtain a master’s in Community Economic Development

He has worked to provide affordable housing for a wide range of people, including seniors, families, people with disabilities, and low-income community members.   Michael also served for several years as the Treasurer for Hartford’s Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He relocated to Florence in 2017 to be with his wife, Val Nelson Taylor, a long time Northampton resident. They are active in their Rocky Hill Co-housing community.

Director of Faith Development and Community Engagement

Jessica Harwood, M. Ed.

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Jessica's position covers lifespan faith development, crawling babies through adults. In terms of Community Engagement, she works with committees and teams that are directly involved in social justice and other aspects of congregational life, and works to strengthen connections both within and beyond the USNF community. Jessica (she/her) loves the myriad opportunities to connect people in our community, build relationships, learn together, and have fun. In any given day, she might get to play on the floor with a 3 year old, observe a group building game with middle schoolers, facilitate a racial justice planning meeting, and discuss sexuality with parents.

Jessica has worked in education for more than 20 years, as an environmental educator and administrator, a counselor for youth with mental illness, and a classroom teacher. Community service, leadership development, and hands-on experiences are vital to her teaching. Learn more about our education programming.

Jessica also serves as the treasurer for the New England Liberal Religious Educator Association Chapter and on the Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition. Jessica lives in Easthampton, with her wife and dog.

Music Director

Ellen Cogen

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Ellen CogenEllen Cogen is a Professor of Music at Holyoke Community College, where she directs the choral and musical theater ensembles and teaches jazz voice. She has years of experience as a church musician, singer, teacher, singing coach, accompanist, cellist, and choral director.

Ellen is proficient as an organist and pianist in a wide variety of genres, and has a special love of jazz. She served as Music Director at the Easthampton Congregational Church for over twenty years, and she has wonderful memories of serving as our pianist when we had a 4pm Sunday worship service—this was during the 1990s when we were a much larger congregation. Ellen holds a Master’s degree in Voice Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Youth and Young Adult Coordinator

Johnny Williams

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Johnny WilliamsJohnny (they/them) is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for self-directed learning, solidarity economies, comparative religion, and warm beverages. After a secular upbringing in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, Johnny was introduced to Unitarian Universalism by their mother and attended services at the Unitarian Church of Evanston throughout high school. Johnny continued to explore spirituality and religion as a student at Hampshire College, taking a variety of courses on comparative religion in addition to participating in the campus meditation group and in a local Friends (Quaker) meeting.

Johnny has worked with youth in a variety of settings, including as a camp counselor for Farm & Wilderness, as a music instructor at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens in addition to this role. Johnny is thrilled to be the first youth & young adult coordinator to get to work with youth at both the Unitarian Society of Northampton & Florence and the Unitarian Society of Amherst. Having lived in both of the communities that these congregations represent, they are very excited to see the kind of chemistry and cross-valley connections that form between both groups of youth over the course of the year.

Johnny started out on violin/fiddle at an early age and later picked up bass, guitar, piano, and ukulele. Music has been a big part of their spirituality and identity over the course of their life and they hope to share this passion with youth in both congregations. Johnny currently resides in Florence with four humans, four chickens, two turtles, two tortoises, a cat, and a dog.

Early Childhood Teacher

Emma Gaudreau

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Emma joined the USNF staff in the spring of 2020.  She grew up in Wilmington MA where her family attended the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, MA, and fell in love with Western MA when she attended Westfield State to study education. Currently, Emma is a preschool teacher in Agawam.  When she is not teaching Emma loves to hike, play with her adorable cat, visit the ocean and cook!


Frank Taillon

Frank Taillon has been helping us keep our building clean and well-maintained since 2015. He is a resident of Easthampton.