Minister & Staff
Who We Are
Rev. Karen LeBlanc
Our minister is in the rare position of having been an active member of this congregation (on and off) for over 25 years. She began as a worker in the kitchen for coffee hour, joined the church, and over the course of more than two decades has been on the Board, Chair of Religious Services, Youth Group Advisor, RE Teacher, on innumerable committees. With the love and support of UUNB, and a long-in-the-making M.Div, she studied and preached her way to ministering to this congregation and community, and tending to the church she knows and loves.
Karen earned her M.Div from Cherry Hill Seminary, the only Pagan Seminary in the world that offers real Master's degrees. She brings the perspective of a Poet and Priestess to our church, with a prophetic voice both in the pulpit as a writer, singer/songwriter, and musician. She loves history (ancient and local especially), languages, the natural world, comparative religion, philosophy, reading and writing, gardening, and communing with the ocean.
Karen is invested in helping the homeless community in downtown New Bedford and keeps her fingers on the pulse of that community’s needs. She also serves on the Boards of Community Action for Better Housing and NB Seaport Cultural District. She sang, played, and rocked out pretty hard with local bands Blessed Thistle, Eclispsis, Big Nurse, Hula Hillbillies, Silver Branch, The Rasta Band, and the TDD Bards.
Karen lives in Fairhaven with her husband Torrey, her stepson Talen, three dogs, five chickens, and one fish. But she loves New Bedford.
Director of Religious Education
Our extraordinarily creative DRE began here in September of 2011 and immediately created the Way Cool Sunday School, which is exactly as it’s name implies…WAY COOL! Our Sunday School kids can’t wait to get in and start working on their next project! Yasmin always has something fun and interesting for them. With a background in teaching and an amazingly positive attitude, Yasmin has transformed our Sunday School into a place where kids love to learn.
Randy, a graduate of Brown University, is our amazingly versatile, irrepressible, enthusiastic organist-pianist. He studied classical piano under Linda Jorle and Diana Smirnov and studied organ under Donald Dame. His keyboard work is bright and spirited, and wonderfully varied from classical to jazz, to folk, to modern. He has a background in choral accompaniment and is also an accomplished performer on the accordion. Randy has a small Web site with recordings of some of his performances.
Jessica has a graphic and web design background, social media management, nonprofit management, and fundraising. As well as working with the UU, she has her own business designing websites for small businesses and nonprofits. She lives in Mattapoisett with her family, which includes a corgi, a cat, and nine chickens.
With a background in electrical and HVAC work, Tony Gonsalves works part-time as our sexton, overseeing the maintenance of our historic building. He also has a background in other building trades, computers, and industrial processes. His vast store of knowledge and abilities help keep the building and grounds in top operating condition. Besides all that, Tony is just a really nice person to have around.