Our Minister and Staff
Dan Harper, Minister
Reverend Dan Harper has served in UU churches for more than 20 years. Dan was raised as a Unitarian Universalist (UU) in the Concord, Mass., congregation. After receiving his undergraduate degree in philosophy, he worked in the residential construction industry for a number of years. Then in 1994, he began working as a Director of Religious Education in UU congregations. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Meadville-Lombard Theological School in 2002.
Dan has served as lead minister, interim minister, and minister of religious education. He was the Parish Minister at First Unitarian in New Bedford, Mass., from 2005 to 2009, then served as Associate Minister for Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. He began serving as minister of First Parish in Cohasset in 2022.
In his spare time, Dan is a Sacred Harp singer with a passion for eighteenth century choral music. He’s also a nature lover and is currently completing Mass Audubon’s Field Naturalist Certificate Program. You can follow him on iNaturalist. He blogs at Yet Another Unitarian Universalist.
Dan lives in Cohasset with his partner of more than 30 years, Carol Steinfeld.
Kate Sullivan, Director of Religious Education
Dr. Kate Sullivan has worked as a Director of Religious Education in various UU churches on the South Shore for nearly 20 years. Kate has a PhD in developmental psychology, with an emphasis on social and cognitive development in children and youth. Her entire career has been spent in education, always with a focus on children and youth. She brings her wide and deep understanding of development to the care and keeping of our beloved children and youth.
Kate has served as a Leadership Consultant for many South Shore UU congregations, developed religious education curricula at Meadville-Lombard Theological School in Chicago, among other denominational leadership. She’s a regular staff member at the Religious Education Week conference at Ferry Beach Conference Center in Maine, where she teaches a workshop for adults, “Sacred Seeing: Photography as Spiritual Practice.”
Kate joins First Parish in Cohasset as of August, 2023. She lives in Pembroke with her husband Chad.
Mary Beth Courtright, Music Director
Mary Beth began playing the piano and organ as a child, taking lessons privately with Teresa Newman and at the Oberlin College Conservatory. By age 9, she was playing organ and singing for daily, Sunday, and special services in her church. Mary Beth earned her degree in Music Performance from Capital University in Ohio, where she studied organ with William Haller, and piano with Verena Dambrans and Bela Szilagyi.
Prior to joining First Parish in Cohasset, Mary Beth was a substitute organist for numerous churches and denominations in Massachusetts, the organist at High Street United Methodist Church, and, most recently, the Music Director at First Church in Pembroke (UCC) where she selected music to coordinate with the liturgical theme of each service, played the piano and organ, and directed the adult choir.
Mary Beth sang for many seasons with The Harbor Choral Arts Society in Hanover, the Mystic Chorale in Arlington, and currently sings with the Fine Arts Chorale in Weymouth. In addition, she has accompanied musical groups in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts; the Opera Workshop in Columbus, OH; elementary and high school choirs; and vocal and instrumental soloists.
Mary Beth is passionate about the transformative power of music and how it can enhance the worship service and enrich the spiritual experience of the congregation. She encourages amateur and professional musicians in the parish and wider community to participate in the many musical opportunities available in the church.
Robert McKetchnie, Minister Emeritus
The Reverend Robert W. McKetchnie served as Minister at First Parish in Cohasset from 2016 to 2022. In April of 2018, he was called by a unanimous vote of the congregation, and in a service on September 30, 2018 he was installed as the 20th settled minister since Nehemiah Hobart in 1721.
Reverend Bob, as First Parish knows him, was born in the Bronx, New York, but his family moved to Jamaica Plain in Boston when he was ten months old. He is the seventh of eleven children. Bob received a Bachelor of Science and Art in business management at Northeastern University and a Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 2000. He served churches in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for over twenty years, first as a settled minister Medfield for ten years and then as interim minister in East Greenwich, RI, and Attleboro and Fairhaven, MA.
When Bob retired in 2022, the congregation voted to honor him with the title “Minister Emeritus.”
Patty Mycroft, Congregational Administrator
Patty joined us in September 2021 with a diverse background in healthcare including human resources, fundraising, home care, and holistic health. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from Stonehill College.
Patty is a multi-tasker of many roles here at First Parish ensuring the smooth functioning of church operations and lending administrative support to the Carriage House Nursery School, as well.
As a current holistic health practitioner and freelance writer, Patty is used to wearing different hats and prioritizing all responsibilities. Her motto is “Be that kind soul who makes everybody feel like a somebody!”