Who We Are

We are a diverse and welcoming congregation filled with warmth and tenderness. Our community offers opportunities for connection, spiritual growth, social justice, and a place to call your spiritual home.

Meet Our Community

Meet our Staff, some of our Members, our Board of Trustees, and some of our Groups. We all look forward to meeting you.

Our Staff

Our Minister
Elea Kemler

Elea (she/her) has been our minister since 2000. Her leadership offers a path of hope, humor, and kindness while her deep connection to our congregation helps hold our spiritual community together. She lives in Groton with her husband, Alan. Their four children are (mostly) launched.

Explore her past sermons, weekly newsletter, and published essays.

Our Director of Music Ministry
Shawn McCann

Shawn (he/him) joined us in 1995. He has over 30 years of professional experience as a director, conductor, accompanist, and soloist on piano, harpsichord, organ, and other keyboard instruments.


Our Office Administrator
Cyndy Premru

Cyndy, aka “the original Cyn!” (she/her), found community at First Parish in 2010 and joined the staff in 2020 after years of teaching our youngest citizens.  She loves greeting visitors and practicing her newfound administry. Cyndy lives in Groton with her family, two cats, James and Snickers, and dog, Zoomer.

Cynthia Williams02 SQUARE crop 2.2022

Our Religious Education Coordinator
Cynthia Williams

Prior to joining us in 2021, Cynthia (she/her) worked in school psychology and college admissions. She lives in Groton with her husband, Eric, 2 young children and family dog, Roxy.

Our Youth Ministry Coordinator
Emerald Carter

Emerald (she/they) joined us in 2023 for people ages 13-18. She enjoys teaching English and programming events that reinforce diversity, equity, and inclusion goals at Lawrence Academy. They’re interested in youth spiritual development and faith formation, specifically how art and literature can foster that journey. She pays the bills for Orchid the Tuxedo cat to live in luxury.

Some of Our Members

Sadie and Sophie

Sadie’s and Sophie’s families met at First Parish when they were in kindergarten. The girls grew up together in our Religious Education program and have been best friends ever since.

Bob and Sue

Bob and Sue are grateful for over 40 years with the First Parish Community. They enjoy Groton’s natural beauty, adventures – frequently with their kids and grandkids – and laughing often. They share interests in books, movies, music, and pickleball. They are active with area non-profits.

Peg and Trish

We feel so welcomed, accepted and loved here. One Sunday at Coffee Hour people were saying, “Congratulations! “Good for you!” “We’re so happy for you!” “What are you talking about??” we asked. “Don’t you know? Gay marriage was legalized in MA yesterday!” They knew before we did! Their joy for us was heartwarming and genuine.

Cassie, Casey, and Gianna

Cassie, Casey and Gianna enjoy being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with their many pets, friends, and family. Gianna loves singing in the children’s choir and doing service projects with the other kids in Religious Education.


Julie has attended for the last 4 years and loves the roles of Greeting, Ushering and being Worship Leader. Meeting new people is the highlight of her Sunday! She lives in Groton and has 3 sons, Charlie, Rory and Theo.


Buddy, our affectionately named steeple weathervane, originally hatched over 250 years ago. In 2017 he was carefully removed from his perch and lovingly restored. After being re-gilded, he was returned to his home atop the steeple. 

Our Board of Trustees

Some of Our Groups

Caring Committee

Members make themselves available to provide meals, rides, etc. when people need a helping hand.

Pastoral Visitors

Supports anyone in need of a gentle presence during a challenging time.

Racial Justice Ministry

In active support of anti-racism and BLM, an ongoing program combining education and action. Includes a 6-week class, books and readings, vigils and worship services.

Prison Ministry

The Prison Ministry Team raises awareness and understanding about our incarcerated neighbors and works to reduce prison recidivism by way of educational and experiential programs.

To learn more read our 2022 Annual Report. To get involved with these or any of our other groups, please email welcome@uugroton.org