Pastor: Rev. Laura Ruth Jarrett
Laura Ruth grew up on the south side of Atlanta, GA, a preacher’s kid, in the Christian Church, Independent, part of the Restoration Movement. She has always had a sweet and deep relationship with God. In her words, she is “a spiritual pilgrim who practices in a Christian way.” In her ministry, Laura Ruth has developed a reputation as a strong preacher and a creative worship leader. She possesses a compassionate spirit and a contagious sense of joy.
Prior to serving at Hope Central, Laura Ruth served as the Minister of Outreach and Evangelism at the First Church in Somerville, where she was instrumental in growing church membership. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Georgia in Athens and a Masters of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. Her field work included serving as a Student Minister at St. Luke’s and St. Margaret’s Parish, an Episcopal Church in Allston-Brighton. She worked at the Women’s Center in Plainville, MA, a Dominican retreat house, helping with retreat preparation and working on worship music with composer Carolyn McDade. Laura Ruth also served a two-year internship at Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC in Lexington, MA with her mentor, the Rev. Judith Brain.
Laura Ruth and her partner Marian (Meck) Groot have lived in Jamaica Plain since 1995. They have two godkids, Maia and Arlo. Laura Ruth’s personal interests include woodworking, music (drumming, guitar, singing), reading, gathering with friends and family, watching football, and spiritual practices. She began working for Hope Central Church on June 1, 2010
Associate Pastor: Rev. Courtney Jones
Children’s Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care
Courtney Jones is Hope Central’s first Associate Pastor, leading our Children’s Spiritual Formation program. Courtney was called to Hope Central in July 2014 and was ordained to the Christian ministry in the United Church of Christ in September 2014. An Arkansas native, she came to Boston University in 2007 and received a Master of Theological Studies from BU School of Theology in 2008. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in May 2014.
Courtney lives in West Roxbury with her partner, Theresa, and Beau the golden retriever. In her spare time, she sings with a local chorus, explores new-to-her spots in the greater Boston area, and spends time with her rich communities of friends. She finds the Divine in architecture, a good book, raucous laughter, live theatre, and, of course, children. She began working for Hope Central Church on July 1, 2014
Originally from Louisville, KY, Vanessa moved to Boston in 1993 to study jazz piano and voice at the New England Conservatory of Music. She received her Masters of Music and Graduate Diploma in 1996. Vanessa received her Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. She brings an eclectic musical taste to Hope Central. Her love of gospel and jazz is evident. Vanessa currently works with guitarist Scott Sandvik and gigs with her own piano trio. She is on faculty at the New England Conservatory and teaches privately from her home in Roslindale.
She is accompanied by our other musicians, Gillian De Lear, Bobby Hall, and Neil Helme.
Drummer: Gillian De Lear (morning service)
Originally from Menlo Park CA, Gillian De Lear began playing drums at age ten, and hasn’t stopped since. She moved to Boston, MA in 2005 and finished a Bachelor degree in Professional Music at Berklee College of Music. Gillian has played and toured with countless bands during her musical career. She has completed several cd’s, including a cd of original free jazz – duets with her favorite musicians in Boston (2009), “Genie in a Bottle”, a cd of original material for the Gillian De Lear Jazz Quintet (2012), and “On the Up & Up”, with the Jazz Barracudas (2013). Aside from playing in Hope Central’s morning service, you’ll find her playing at the HoJo’s on Boylston St. in Boston, every Tuesday with the David Ehle Trio Jazz Jam.
The story of Neil’s life–long relationship with music is a journey of discovery. Born into a house filled with music, taking piano & violin lessons in grade school, singing in choirs & in garage bands, all the while he was incorporating new musical ideas from as many different sources as possible. In essence, he was forming his personal version of what Gram Parsons would call “American Cosmic Music.”
For the last 35 years, Neil has played lots of music in lots of places with lots of musicians, including the Spring Hill Rounders, and The Demolition String Band.
Drummer: Bobby Hall
Bob Hall, originally from Dorchester, MA, is by day, a High School Special Education teacher, but has fit in his love for drumming since he started playing traps [set drums] at eight years old. Bob earned an Instrumental Performance Degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1975. He has played in the bands Starlight Dance Band, Black Tie, Philip Black Sextet, Brass Lantern and On the Road and has taught percussion at several schools. Since 1990, Bob has added to his repertoire a variety of rhythmic sounds using Congas, Timbales, Djembes, Udo, and Doumbeks. In 2001, Bob joined the newly formed “Holy Ghost Trio” at Hope Central Church and has continued to play with them during the Sunday service.
Church Manager: Lisa Pilat
Lisa Pilat joined Central Congregational Church in 2006 as the Office and Building Manager. When Hope and Central merged she became the Bookkeeper and Building Manager for Hope Central Church. Prior to Hope Central Lisa Worked at Filene’s Department Stores for 13 years as a Senior Divisional Sales Manager. She currently lives in Dedham with her three children Lexi, Lilly and Maddoc. She started working for Hope Central Church on October 9, 2006, we look forward to celebrating her 10 year anniversary!
Administrative Assistant: Sara R. Dean
Sara comes to Boston from Willimantic, CT. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Eastern Connecticut State University in December, 2016, earning the Ann and Kenneth Tucker Scholarship and the Thomas P. Anderson Memorial Prize in History. Sara will begin a Master’s program in Public History at Northeastern University just after Labor Day.
Sexton: Leonel Cermeño
Originally from Guatemala, Leonel is a father to three girls and a grandfather to six grandchildren. He has lived in the U.S. for over thirty years, twenty-five of them in Massachusetts. He has been at Hope Central Church for over twenty years.
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Website development: Carla Imperial
Design and content: Carla Imperial & Hilary Allen
Maintained by: Joy Auciello & Sari Mauro
Photo credits: Laura Ruth Jarrett, Kolya Lynne Smith, Carla Imperial
For a full description of our leadership and organization, click here.