Meet Our Staff

Rev. Paulo Gustavo França, Senior Minister

Rev. França was born in Brazil and spent most of his childhood in a small town of 20,000 people located in the Serra do Mar two hours southwest of Rio.  His call to the ministry unfolded slowly over the years. It was while he was on a mission trip to the Brazilian rainforest in 1994 that Rev. França began to consider ministry as his true calling and vocation. By that time, Rev. França had already graduated from the Pharmacy School at the Universidade Federal Fluminense and was working as the Director of Public Pharmacy in the Unified Health System in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

In 1995, Rev. França left his career as a pharmacist to attend seminary in the United States. He chose to pursue his theological education in the United States because of the high caliber of biblical scholarship and the long history of social engagement of the American mainline churches. Rev. França attended Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, successfully completing two master programs: the Master of Divinity and the Master of Theology with the focus on the intersection of Christianity, Democracy, and Globalization from a Latin American perspective.

Upon his graduation from seminary, Rev. França joined the pastoral staff at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, IL as the recipient of a grant awarded to promising young pastors by the Lily Foundation. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Chicago in 2001. In the fall of 2002, Rev. França returned to Brazil and served for a year as a visiting pastor in Rio. The search for a more welcoming, socially progressive, theologically imaginative, and inclusive church led Rev. França to seek ecclesiastical standing with the United Church of Christ. In the States, He has served UCC churches in Chicago, IL; Hartford, CT; and New Hampshire.

Rev. França and his spouse Erik Pavesic met in Chicago in the summer of 2006. They became domestic partners in Cook County in 2010 and were married at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford CT in 2013. They have a beautiful cat, Noëlle. In his free time, Rev. França enjoys reading, traveling, watching movies and soccer, visiting historic sites, cycling and working out. Erik and Paulo love to entertain and spend time with their extended families. Rev. França’s family lives in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil and Erik’s parents have retired to Arizona where Erik’s older brother serves as a Lutheran minister. Erik and Paulo call New England their home.

 

Rev. Barbara E. Aiello, Associate Minister for Visitation

Rev. Barbara Aiello joined Acton Congregational Church, UCC in May 2009 in the role of Visitation Minister. Barbara grew up in Albany, New York and received her undergraduate degree from Manhattanville College. She answered God's call to ministry after a secular career, graduating from Andover Newton Theological School in 1992 with a master's degree in divinity (MDiv).

Prior to joining us, Rev. Aiello was Chaplain at Silver Bay Association Conference and Retreat Center (Lake George, NY), served as Pastor of the First Parish Church/UCC in Berlin, MA from 1993 to 2003, and was an associate and then acting Pastor at the Central Congregational Church/UCC of Newburyport from 2004 to 2008.

For the Massachusetts Conference/UCC, she serves as facilitator for a Clergy Community of Practice group and leads women's retreats for local congregations. Barbara is a trained volunteer for Partners Hospice of the North Shore.

Barbara enjoys road biking, pond swimming, river kayaking, snow shoeing, eclectic reading, jazz concerts, traveling near and far, connecting with friends and colleagues, and "ever practicing Sabbath."

Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Akyeampong, Associate Minister for Outreach

Emmanuel Akyeampong, a graduate of Andover Newton Theological Seminary with diverse Christian and cultural perspectives, became our part-time Affiliate Minister in October 2015 and Ordained as our Associate Minister in 2017 with a charge to initiate activities that expand the ways our church serves the community while providing opportunities for spiritual growth for all.

This position, created for Emmanuel, is a Ministry of Word and Sacrament, enabling Emmanuel to participate, as needed, in preaching, baptisms, and communion, while focusing the majority of his time on visitation, teaching, and initiatives in multicultural outreach. In addition to his position as Associate Minister, Dr. Akyeampong is a full-time professor of history at Harvard University, a position he has held throughout his seminary education and discernment process.

Emmanuel's relationship with ACC began in 2013 when he and Rev. Andy Armstrong agreed that Acton Congregational Church would become Emmanuel’s church for his seminary field education. In May 2014, Emmanuel received his Masters of Divinity degree. In January 2015, Emmanuel petitioned our church to accept him into In-Care status as the first step to ordination within the United Church of Christ. Shortly thereafter, Emmanuel was accepted by the UCC into the discernment process for eventual ordination. During the summer, Emmanuel met the final step of his discernment process (CPE), serving as a full-time chaplain at Saint Vincent's Hospital in Worcester. 

Rev. Ruth Richards, Interim Children's Minister

Originally from England, Ruth grew up in Canterbury, moved to the US in 1993 with her husband and two sons and has lived  in Acton since then. She came to Christian faith as a college student in the UK and was confirmed in the Church of England as a young adult. After graduating in Chemistry, she developed industrial catalysts for nine years.



She was a member of the Acton Congregational Church (ACC) 1993 – 2012 and served as the Coordinator of Children’s Christian Education from 1999 – 2003, during which time she began to feel that God was calling me to ministry. She left to study at Andover Newton Theological School. This led to an increased curiosity and excitement about where God is leading the post-Christendom church and desire to be part of that, together with a delight in teaching and worship leadership. 

Ruth was ordained here at ACC having been called to the Pawtucket Congregational Church, UCC in Lowell where she served from early 2012 – 2015, then moved to Christ Church United, UCC (Lowell) as interim Associate minister (Minister for Christian Education and the Arts) until the end of 2017. She has been active in the wider UCC for about 12 years, attending Association and Conference events and serves on the Committee for Ministerial Formation in the Northeast Association of the MACUCC. She looks forward to working at ACC as the Interim Children’s Minister, catalyzing children and their families connecting with God’s love, Jesus’ companioning and the Holy Spirit’s delight and playfulness.

Our Staff

We have a friendly staff that will be glad to respond to your inquiries. A minister is also normally available during office hours.  All ministers and staff members can be reached via email, firstname@actonc.org

Liz Carley
Organist/Coordinator of Music

 

Tracy Lane
Administrator
 

 

Michael Wilson
Facilities Specialist 

Renée Capachione 
Church Secretary
 

 

 

 

 

Not Pictured
Howard Webster, Night Watchman

Our regular weekday office hours during the school year are:
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday

Our Summer weekday hours are:
Monday - Thursday
9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m.
We are closed on Fridays in the summer.

The office is closed on most national holidays.

Phone: (978) 263-2728
Emergency Line: (978) 266-1311
Fax: (978) 264-9457