Welcoming our new Director of Faith Formation!
Introducing our new DFF, Bethany Giammalvo
Bethany comes to us with a bachelor’s degree (Boston University) in Elementary Education, and a wealth of experience in child and family programming. She worked for the Levanthal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton for six years, serving as a lead teacher in their preschool program, a group leader, and as acting director of their after school programs. She also served the Schwartz Center for Children’s early intervention program for seven years, and will bring not only teaching but significant administrative experience to her new position with us.
Bethany is a missional Unitarian Universalist, connecting her faith with her larger life in ways large and small. One of her early memories is attending the ordination of her uncle at Oxford, U.K.; he continues to serve the Unitarian movement in Britain. At UUSF, where Bethany and her family have been members for 11 years, she has helped to organize family worship services, coordinated playgroups, led youth programming, and served as one of the key leaders and voices of our OWL program. Bethany is also a currently-serving member of the Board of Governors (her term will end as of this year’s annual meeting, as she transitions into this new role), and she was invited into leadership in church governance after a highly successful stint on the nominating committee.
Bethany is married to Michael, who is a small-craft pilot and a member of the UUSF stewardship team. They have one daughter, Emily, who is part of our 3rd and 4th Grade Harry Potter class this year.
As the standing ovation in response to Sunday’s announcement demonstrated, all who know Bethany are enthusiastic about this shared opportunity. For those who could not join us in person, here is a window into our excitement about this hire:
From Reverend Jordinn Nelson Long: I would have been delighted to interview an applicant of Bethany’s caliber as part of a national search. To find a candidate like Bethany locally, however—someone who is already committed to the Fairhaven community, who makes UU faith part of her family life and whose dedication to and enthusiasm for the work of UUSF are already deeply rooted—I was excited from the first moment that we realized this could be a possibility.
From Board President Claire Goyer: To say that I am enthusiastic about this appointment would be an understatement. Bethany is both thoughtful and creative, qualities which will serve her well in her new position. She has served our UUSF congregation with deep love and commitment, and will now bring her many talents to our faith formation programs. I am eager to watch her spread her wings!
From RE Committee Chair and Visioning Team lead Deb Becker: I cannot be more pleased about the appointment of Bethany as the Director of Faith Formation. In addition to her education, experience and organizational skills, I am particularly excited about the passion that Bethany brings to the position. She is committed to helping us live into our vision of Full Week Faith opportunities, which serve the spiritual needs of our congregation and deepen its connections.
From fellow RE parent and Search Team member Chris Larkum: I couldn’t be more excited about the passion and experience Bethany brings to the program. The future is bright!
Bethany will serve us 30 hours/week, making this a three-quarter-time position. Our congregation currently serves 74 children, ages 3 weeks to 18 years old, and 170 adult members. Bethany and Rev. Jordinn will be partnering together, and in shared ministry with UUSF’s incredible team of RE lay leaders, to administer and deliver faith formation programs for all ages.
All together, this programming includes nearly everything we do: worship, both as a whole group on Sunday mornings and with smaller groups at other times during the week, as well as classes for children, teens, and adults at various life stages, spiritual direction and pastoral counseling, and service in partnership with our wider communities and our denomination.
What this means: While Bethany will often be first point of contact for families and children, and Rev. Jordinn for adults, a teaching ministry is all of our shared work, and our entire program staff team will be partnering closely with one another as we live into this vision, using shared monthly themes to connect us congregation-wide.
Bethany joins us permanently beginning Monday, August 14, and will begin work on the UUA/LREDA credentialing process for religious educators at that time. (“Growing” a religious educator involves a multi-year educational process; we are honored to support Bethany as she embarks on this learning journey, and we welcome the new possibilities and knowledge it will bring into our community.) Earlier in the summer, Bethany will spend the last two weeks in June working closely with Acting Director of RE Katy Joseph and Rev. Jordinn, including an orientation to Harrop Center, and attending General Assembly in New Orleans.
Welcome, Bethany, to this new role.
Welcome, UUSF, to this new chapter.