Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell
Office Hours — Jeff is at church Tuesday through Friday and other times by appointment. Mondays are his sabbath and he attempts to unplug that day.
Called by the Congregation on May 20th, 2018 to be the 15th Minister of The First Parish Church in Weston.
Jeff is no stranger to First Parish Church, having completed his student-minister internship here from 1995-1997. He began his ministry here at First Parish in August of 2018.
In addition to his responsibilities at the church, Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light and the Steering Committee of MetroWest Climate Solutions, a group founded in 2019. He also is proud to be a core-member of the Sustainable Weston Action Group. Jeff has had a longtime passion for environmental issues has been active in a variety of interfaith environmental and lobbying initiatives on the state and federal level. He is a member of The Climate Reality Project, being one of more than 9,000 people around the world who have been trained to give presentations on climate change. He has regularly presented to businesses, community groups and schools about climate change and ways that all of us need to live more lightly on the planet.
Prior to Weston, Jeff served as the minister of First Church in Salem, UU. There he served as a board member of the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice, (a group founded on the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Hysteria in 1992) and Lifebridge, a homeless shelter and transitional housing agency. In the latter case, Jeff was a member of the board that purchased an old Catholic Church building, raised significant funds, and then renovated and transformed that multi-building facility for use as the new headquarters for the shelter as well as 21 units of transitional housing. He was also a longtime board member and Co-Leader of Salem Alliance for the Environment and is quite proud of the work SAFE has done and continues to do.
Denominationally, he has been a long supporter of the UU Christian Fellowship. He also serves on the board of several small foundations connected to the UUA including the Unitarian Service Pension Society, the Society for Ministerial Relief, and the Society for the Welfare of Native American Communities in North America, where he serves as President.
Jeff is a graduate of Bates College with a BS in Psychology and Religion. After college, he studied performing arts for a year at The Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, training that has served him well. In addition, he holds a Masters in Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, completing coursework at Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Law School. He also holds a Masters in Public Policy from Tufts University (UEP), with a concentration in sustainability and renewable energy policy. At Tufts, he completed coursework at the Fletcher School for International Diplomacy.
Growing up and during the early part of his life Jeff worked a variety of different jobs that has shaped how he sees the world. This includes working as a grocery store cashier, a video-store clerk (back when there was such a thing), an industrial solderer, a delivery man, a warehouse worker, a camp counselor, a waiter, a bartender, a construction worker, a salesperson, an EMT, an organizational consultant, and a manager of renewable energy projects. He has driven dying people to the hospital, built housing for the homeless, performed in several Shakespearian plays, served dinner to celebrities (ask him who), written climate action plans for colleges and banks, and consulted to the US military among other things. His experience working for so many different types of businesses and organizations helped get him through school and taught him as much about people and life as any of his graduate degrees. Perhaps more.
Jeff is married to Jennifer. They have three children (in the process of “adulting”) and a very rambunctious but sweet pit-bull mix who looks like a “mini Scooby-Doo.” An avid hiker and tennis player, you can often find him on his off hours walking and running on one of the many trails around Weston and Wayland with his dog.