Pastor Daniel J. Russell – Interim Minister

Pastor Dan first heard a call to ministry as he turned eighteen. He earned his master’s degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained as an associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, New York in 1989.  In 2005, he completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Drew University.

Dan served in Batavia for eight years before venturing off to the residential suburbs of NYC, serving two more churches as solo pastor. 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, and earned an Associate degree in Applied Sciences that has led to work in technological fields related to fiber optic data collection and electronics.

Dan and his wife of 30 years, daughter, son, and two cats, reside in Canandaigua.

Joseph Pepper, Music Director and Accompanist

Joe Pepper grew up in Lancaster County, PA where he studied piano from an early age and began as a church musician near the end of elementary school. While studying piano at Ithaca College, Joe played for the campus Protestant Community services and was choir director and accompanist at Newfield United Methodist Church.

After graduating from IC, Joe pursued his Master’s in piano in Kansas City, where he played for the Kansas City Ballet and KC Ballet School.  In Vermont he taught piano and music theory at several universities and colleges, worked as an announcer and audio engineer for Vermont Public Radio, and was the pianist for the Burlington Unitarian Universalist Church.

In 2012 Joe returned to the Ithaca area to again work with Edward Swenson, the restorer of historic pianos who refurbished the Steinway in the sanctuary.  Joe owns one of the row buildings in Interlaken where he restores pianos, teaches students, and makes recordings. He is excited to lead FPCU in music.

Kristin Parry, Administrative Assistant

Kristin provides administrative services to the pastor, staff and church organizations.  Operating her own online business and serving as a retail manager provided her with computer skills to maintain FPCU’s online presence and care for its administrative needs. She says she enjoys working with the church and its members!