Faith Development Staff



Director of Faith Development
Deborah Levering

Deborah has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of UU religious education, and brings a lifetime of passion and energy to her work. She has directed the religious education programs of the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church, and First Parish Universalist Church of Stoughton. She worked for six years as a religious education specialist with the Clara Barton District, which is now part of the New England Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is eager to partner with First Unitarian Worcester to grow people of week-articulate faith, who value spiritual practice, realize justice-seeking and right relationship practice as a moral imperative, and understand the transformational promise of a multigenerational religious community.


Children’s Ministries Coordinator
Abigail Hannaford-Ricardi
Abby has been attending First Unitarian since 1996 and joined the staff in 2006. Known to many as “the creator of the bulletin boards,” Abby taught Sunday school for many years and was a long-time weekly newsletter volunteer in our church office.
Abby received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Clark University and then spent another three years there completing her Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. She was the manager of a craft studio, and is a former case administer for adults with intellectual disabilities. After earning her National Activities Director Certification she worked for 5 years as the Director of Activities at a psychiatric long term care facility. She next got an Associates Social Work License and spent two years as a nursing home social worker, before leaving to be a full time mom to her then very medically fragile child.
Abby is also active in the greater community, having worked 5 years as a hospital volunteer, 3 years as a volunteer crisis intervention /suicide prevention counselor and 19 years as a weekly public schools’ classroom volunteer. She serves on the Steering Committee for Worcester Community Connections Coalition which is dedicated to addressing poverty, educating and empowering parents, strengthening families and preventing child abuse. Abby is also a regional representative for the national organization Stop CMV dedicated to educating the public about cytomegalovirus, the number one cause of childhood disabilities in the U.S. and the world. A step-mother of 3, former special needs foster mother, and the adoptive mother of two remarkable young men, Abigail lives in Worcester with her husband Ken and son James. 


Youth Ministries Coordinator Lesa McWalters

Lesa McWalters joined our staff at First Unitarian in September 2011. She has twelve years of experience as Christian Education Director and three years of experience as Youth Group Director, both at her home church at First Presbyterian Church of Worcester. She is founder and was Director of the Vacation Bible School for the past five years, which invites children throughout Worcester County to participate in a week-long ministry.
Lesa graduated from Worcester State University in May 2014 with a BS in Urban Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management at Worcester State University. She is certified in youth mental health first aid and as an OWL facilitator. She is also founding member of Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP), a non-profit organization that helps refugee families and unaccompanied youth from Burma resettle in Worcester.

Lesa lives in Millbury with her husband, Tom, and four children, Vanessa, Delaney, Erin, and Trevor.

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