Meet our Staff

Pastor Joel

Pastor Joel Risser

My call to ministry began in Myerstown, PA, where I grew up the son of the choir director at our UCC congregation. Church has always been a major part of my life. I earned my Bachelor of Music in Tuba Performance with a minor in English at Temple University. During my senior year at Temple, I finally accepted God’s call to ministry after saying “no” or “not yet” for at least seven years. I began my studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary the same day I performed my senior recital at Temple University.

Jess, my wife since 2006, is a medical social worker for a hospice agency. She is an alumna of Temple University with Bachelor and Masters degrees in social work. She has always been a voracious reader and volunteers a great deal of time on the board of directors of a community library. Our son, Stanton, is almost six years old. He loves LEGO, video games and anything with wheels and an engine. I have been a huge science fiction fan my whole life. My favorite thing to do in my free time is to spend time with my family and go to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts.
Before being called to serve First UCC, I was the pastor of St. John’s UCC in Jonestown, PA for over ten years.

Marji Hughes

Marji Hughes – Minister of Christian Education

I became a Christian Educator and Youth leader in 1982 after graduating from Wells College with a BA in Religion. As a career CE director I am somewhat of an anomaly – most use Christian Education as a stepping stone for parish ministry, but that has never been my desire. I am nationally accredited by the UCC as a church educator, am certified as a Christian Education director and youth leader through the Connecticut Conference UCC, and earned a Master’s Certificate in Ministry in Daily Life from Hartford Seminary.

My husband, Douglas and I moved from Connecticut to Moorestown, PA in 2014 and have 2 married children who also live in Pennsylvania. Other than sharing my faith journey with children and youth, I love being with my large extended family, singing, playing cards, the outdoors, and sitting around a campfire.

Patricia O’Connell – Minister of Music

Phyllis Scherer – Administrative Assistant

Phyllis is our Administrative Assistant.

Diane French

Diane French

Diane is president of our Consistory.

Woody Stauffer – Sexton

Woody is our church Sexton.