“The Mission of our Church is to proclaim and celebrate the Good News of God, to foster love and reinforce feelings of self-worth for all people, and to grow together as the ‘Body of Christ,’ each of us combining our talents with others.”
Rev. Mike Duda
Reverend Michael Duda has served as Senior Pastor of First Church in Wenham since 2006. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA and currently holds standing in the United Church of Christ (UCC) serving as an active member of the Essex Association.
Mike was formerly Chaplain and Director of Community Services at Endicott College and the founder and director of the Youth at Risk Initiative of the Essex County Community Foundation. For 23 years he was the Executive Director of the Anchorage, Inc., a residential program for at-risk adolescents in Beverly, MA.
He consults for the Public Conversations Project in Boston and has a long history in the non-profit arena. He is currently serving as the President of Family Promise North Shore Boston, a program for homeless families on the North Shore.
Abby Frost, a native Minnesotan, serves as Conductor of Choirs for First Church in Wenham, as well as Ipswich High School. She conducts three choirs and serves as music director for the musical. Her select choirs have been awarded Gold and Silver medals at MICCA Ensemble competition, and the women's choir was featured at Gold Medal Showcase at Symphony Hall in 2017.
Prior to 2015, she led the choral program at Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District. She has also served as Musical Director for 14 musicals at HWRHS and MRMS. She has served as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Middle School Choruses for the Massachusetts chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. An active clinician, Abby has guest conducted several regional middle and high school honor choruses on the East Coast. She has served on the music staff of Manchester Summerstage, Stebens Children’s Theater, and Luther College Opera Theater.
Prior to her time on the North Shore, she inspired singers in Mason City, IA, and Tucson, AZ. Abby earned a dual music education/performance degree from Luther College (IA), where she toured internationally and served as president of the Nordic Choir under Weston Noble. She earned her Masters in Choral Conducting from University of Arizona and National Board Certification. She, her orchestral-conductor husband, and daughter live in Beverly.
Organist and Pianist
Joe Stroup has been the organist and pianist at First Church since 1986. He is a graduate of Ohio’s Oberlin College School of Music with a degree in Organ Performance. His varied musical career on the North Shore has included regular performances with the New England Light Opera Company, with whom he recently recorded the soundtracks for two of their original productions, as well as guest appearances with the Boston University Chorale, the Salem State College Chorus, and the Hillyer Festival Orchestra. At Suffolk University in Boston, Joe has been the accompanist and Music Director. He is a Board Member and contributing editor to the Boston Singers Resource website.