Meet our Minister and Staff

Pastor Dan Russell – Interim MinisterPastor_Dan

After receiving his master’s degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, Dan was ordained as an associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, New York in 1989.  It was there that he met his wife of almost thirty years.  In 2005, he completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Drew University.  His family, including a daughter who is a college junior, son who is a high school senior and two cats, resides in Canandaigua.


Our country was celebrating its 200th birthday and I on the verge of turning eighteen when he first heard the call to serve God and was baptized in a small Italian Pentecostal church where Pastor Barney spoke in tongues on Sunday and sold shoes at the local department store to make ends meet on weekdays. 


Dan served in Batavia for eight wonderful years before venturing off to the residential suburbs of NYC, serving two more churches as solo pastor through 2009. Stepping away from local church ministry at that time, his employment adventures have been diverse. Connecting to experience leading church group tours abroad, he enjoyed interacting with groups as a part time motor coach operator, worked for the NYS Thruway for a decade, earned an Associates degree in Applied Sciences that has led to work in technological fields related to fiberoptic data collection and electronics.

Joseph Pepper – Music Director and Accompanist

_DSC7767_BWJoseph Pepper grew up in Lancaster County, PA, where he studied piano from an early age and began as a church musician with the Church of the Brethren toward the end of elementary school.  While studying piano at Ithaca College, Joe played for the campus Protestant Community services and choir directed and played for Newfield United Methodist Church.  After graduating from IC, Joe moved to Kansas City to pursue his Master’s in piano, where he played for the Kansas City Ballet and KC Ballet School.  In 2006 he moved to Vermont where he
taught Piano and Music Theory at several universities and colleges, worked as an announcer/board operator and audio engineer for Vermont Public Radio, and was the pianist for the Burlington Unitarian
Universalist Church.  In 2012 Joe relocated back to the Ithaca area to again work with Edward Swenson, an historic piano restorer (who restored the Steinway in FPCU’s sanctuary).  He regained his position
at Newfield United Methodist as choir director and quickly realized settling in Interlaken was where things were headed.  Joe now owns one of the row buildings in Interlaken where he restores pianos, teaches students and makes recordings.  He is excited to lead the FPCU congregation in music.

Kristin Parry – Administrative Assistant  

Kristin Parry provides administrative services to the Pastor, staff and church 2017-09-13 10.03.17organizations.  Kristin brings a wealth of computer knowledge gained from operating her own online business and her experience as a retail manager for a big box store, which aid her in keeping up the online presence of FPCU and taking care of the administrative needs of FPCU. She quite enjoys being a part of FPCU and working with the members here.