Ministers and Staff

Posted on: October 14th, 2011 by

revJimThe Rev. Jim Mitulski
Interim Senior Minister
phone: 781-444-2510 ext. 106
email: revjim(at)

The Rev. Jim Mitulski started on August 1, 2016 as our intentional interim senior minister and will accompany and guide us for up two years as we continue our ministry and prepare for the future. He has been a consultant for churches engaged in re-set and transformation in California, Colorado and Texas, notably at one of the largest congregations in the United Church of Christ, which is also the largest LGBT church, the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. He served settled pastorates in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and was the Campus Pastor/Worship Director at Pacific School Religion , where he also taught courses on Liberation Theology, Liturgy and HIV/AIDS. He is an activist with a passion for racial justice and women’s reproductive rights. Jim is also a former librarian, and has worked in law firms and at the San Francisco Public Library as a program coordinator in the Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center. He has a BA from Columbia University, an M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, and was a Merrill Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School. He received an Honorary doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Starr King School for the Ministry in recognition for his work as an “AIDS Liberation Theologian, “ This work has taken him to El Salvador, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Jim loves to read literary novels, mystery thrillers and poetry, writes book reviews and op-ed pieces for publication, and lives in West Roxbury with his two cats Keats and Zwingli and their roommate Dwayne. He has ordained standing with the United Church of Christ the Disciples of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Churches, and The Fellowship of Affirming Churches.

Here are some pieces Jim has published recently
Book Reviews from Lambda Literary review
Dale Peck’s memoir Visions and Re-Visions
Jim Downs “Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation”

Op Ed Pieces in the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter
Why Charleston Matters to the LGBT Community
The Real Christmas Story 2015
from Denver OUTFRONT World AIDS Day 2015

Photo of Rev. Heike WerderThe Rev. Heike Werder
Associate Minister/Director of Educational Ministries
phone: 781-444-2510 ext. 105
e-mail:  revheike(at)

Heike came to the church in 1999 from Essex Junction, Vermont, after being Associate Minister for the First Congregational Church there for four years. Heike was born in East Germany. After completing high school, she studied at the Leipzig Theological Seminary. In 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Communist government, she came to the U.S. for further study. She has decided to remain in the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen in 2009.

Heike received a Master of Divinity degree from Bangor Theological Seminary in 1992 and a Masters degree in psychology and religion from Andover Newton Theological School in 1994. Her career path has included hospital chaplaincy and education and youth programs in various churches.

Heike’s interests include hiking, camping, reading, cooking, and woodworking. She also plays the piano, flute and organ.


Madelyn Downer
Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries
phone: 781-444-2510
e-mail: youth(at)

Maddie comes to us from North Brandford, CT where she graduated from High School, started her lay ministry and continues to be a Member in Discernment. She did her undergraduate studies at Southern Connecticut State University and has a newly earned Master’s of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School.

Maddie has felt the call to Youth Ministry since her formative years in Connecticut. She brings her enthusiasm as well as her experience as a seminarian at the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church to our programs. In Wellesley she recently completed two years as a seminarian, Pastoral Associate and Interim Coordinator of Children’s and Youth Ministries.
In her free time Maddie enjoys running, sewing and playing guitar, drums and piano.


Valerie J. Becker – Director of Music
phone: 781-444-2510

Valerie J. Becker, is a graduate of Boston University, where she received both her Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in piano performance. While at B.U. she was awarded membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society and was chosen most outstanding senior in music by Mu Phi Epsilon. Her post graduate studies led her to the University of Illinois where she worked on an accompaniment and coaching degree.

Ms. Becker taught for 15 summers in the Boston University high school program at Tanglewood, working with both choral and chamber groups. She also taught at the North Carolina School for the Arts from 1980 – 1983 and was the pianist for the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions.

In 1994 Ms. Becker joined the staff of the Treble Chorus of New England as the pianist, and in 1998 directed the new intermediate choir. As Associate Director, she directed the Training Choir and Concert Choir. In 2007 she was appointed Artistic Director and she now directs the Schola choir and My Own Voice Choir(a choir for children with special needs.)


Danielle Jurdan
phone: 781-444-2510
e-mail: office(at)

Danielle came to The Congregational Church of Needham in May 2012 from her previous job as Director of Communications for a title insurance company where she worked for fifteen years.

Originally from New York, Danielle has lived in the Boston area for over fourteen years. Danielle is also a potter, working out of a pottery studio in Brookline, MA. She lives in Dedham with her husband and children.