The staff at First Churches works to ensure smooth operations of our Worship services and the many meetings and events here at the church. Each staff member brings their own character and expertise to the team.

The Reverend Sarah Buteux, Pastor | 413.570.4937

The Rev. Sarah Buteux, brings many and varied gifts along with 20+ years of ministry experience to her work at First Churches.

Although Sarah was raised evangelical, ordained by the Swedenborgian Church in 2001, and received Privilege of Call from the U.C.C. in 2014, she identifies most fully as Emergent. She is a graduate of Smith College and Harvard Divinity School.

After ministering for 11 years in traditional church settings, Sarah left in order to follow the call God laid on her heart to explore alternative ways of creating a fully inclusive Christian community. That call led her to found Common Ground, a farm to table dinner church. In July of 2014 the congregation of First Churches invited Sarah to come on staff as their associate pastor and not only offered Common Ground a home, but formally adopted it as a new ministry of First Churches. In 2018, Sarah was called as Co-pastor of First Churches along with the Rev. Todd Weir. And when Todd departed in 2021, Sarah accepted the call to be First Churches first female Senior Minister.

Sarah is charismatic and compassionate, intelligent and kind. She is a theological and social progressive with an evangelical heart whose greatest joy is welcoming people into the kingdom of God and then empowering them to extend that same extravagant welcome to others.

Sarah is well known and respected in the Pioneer Valley as an inspiring preacher and singer, a creative and adaptable leader, a voice people trust and a pastor they can count on. She is the mother of two children -George and Genevieve – which keeps her grounded and connected to the lives and challenges of other families. Sarah is happily married to Andrew Dole, a professor of Religion at Amherst College.


Rebecca Phelps, Minister of Music | 413.584.9592

Rebecca Phelps lives in Hatfield with her life partner Ann Michaels. She has two grown sons, Abe – a physics teacher who lives in Amherst with his wife and 2 sons, and Sacha who lives in Orlando Florida and is a professional violinist. Rebecca has been a life-long resident of the Pioneer Valley having spent most of her growing up years in Amherst in a very musical family. She is a third generation graduate of Smith College, Ada Comstock ’85, Summa Cum Laude. Both her mother and grandmother went there! While at Smith, she majored in music and studied piano with Lori Wallfisch. Her graduate degree is from Hartt School of Music in Choral Conducting. For the past 30 years, she has been teaching general music, chorus, piano and music theory primarily in the public schools, as well as private schools and area colleges. For 10 years, she served as the choir director and organist for Wesley Methodist Church – formerly of Amherst, now of Hadley. She also has an extensive background in musical theatre having musically directed many community and school productions in the valley. In June 2017, she retired as choral director from Hampshire Regional High School and although she enjoyed the newly found time to spend with grandkids in Amherst and her 94 year old mother, Rebecca found that she was profoundly missing her true calling – which is music! Rebecca is thrilled to have the opportunity to share, inspire, celebrate and worship with you through music at First Churches.


Emma Betters, Church Administrator | 413.584.9392

Emma is new this year to First Churches. Born and raised here in Northampton where she now resides with her wife Hollie Betters and five children. Emma graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelors in the Arts of Sociology and a certificate in criminal justice. Also holding an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Holyoke Community College. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, tubing on the Deerfield River, hiking, and going to the beach as often as she can. Emma is excited to be here and help First Churches anyway she can!