Laura Ruth Jarrett
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 Bachelors 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.

In 2017, being generously given a sabbatical, Laura Ruth visited the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery so to see the Lynching Museum to see what we have done. She traveled to Iona, Scotland, to pray. She got to go to Soweto and Johannesburg, South Africa, and Inhamachfo, Inharrime, Inhambane, Mozambique. She saw family and friends in San Francisco and the PNW. Laura Ruth began and ended her sabbatical with prayer retreats in Essex and at the Weston Priory in Vermont. She came back to Hope Central rested and restored, grateful and ready to begin work again. Thanks be to God.
Laura Ruth’s personal interests include whittling, gardening, cooking, reading, singing with embarrassing gusto, gathering with friends and family, watching football, and spiritual practices. She began working for Hope Central Church on June 1, 2010.

Courtney Jones
Pastor: Rev. Courtney Jones 

Children’s Spiritual Formation and Community Life

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, Auggie, and their dogs Beau and Huck. 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

Vanessa MorrisMusic Director: Vanessa Morris

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.

Gillian De Lear

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.

neil helmeBass: Neil Helme

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.

Bob Hall
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 has been with the church since 2006 as Building Manager and Church Manager/Bookkeeper.  Prior to joining Hope Central she worked for Filene’s Department Stores as Divisional Sales Manager for 13 years. She has three children, Lexi, Lilly, and Maddoc.  She currently lives in Dedham with her son Maddoc.

 Administrative Assistant: Sara R. Dean

Sara comes to Boston from Mansfield, Connecticut. She recently graduated from Northeastern University with an M.A. in History and concentration in Public History. Prior to this, Sara graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University, where she was awarded the Ann and Kenneth Tucker Scholarship and the Thomas P. Anderson Memorial Prize in History. Although she is New England-raised, Sara was born in Utah. She travels back regularly to hike, enjoy the outdoors, and catch up with old friends.

Leonel Cermeño
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.




Questions, comments, ideas or issues with the website?  Contact

Website development: Carla Imperial

Design and content: Carla Imperial & Hilary Allen

Maintained by: Sara Dean & Sari Mauro

Photo credits: Laura Ruth Jarrett, Kolya Lynne Smith, Carla Imperial


For a full description of our leadership and organization, click here