Our Ministers and Staff
Rev. Dr. Len De Roche, Minister
Len was the Interim Senior Minister First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa until the end of July and then moved to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Somerset Hills, Somerville, NJ. He was settled minister (probably an oxymoron) in the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, PA. He served churches in West Hartford, CT, Norwell, MA, Amherst, NY, Charleston, WV and at Kingston, MA. He trained as a pastoral counselor at Kanawha Pastoral Counseling, Charleston, WV and as a Pastoral Counselor/psychotherapist and Chaplain at the University of Chicago and its Hospital. For four years, he was enrolled in the Analyst Training course at CG Jung Institute-Boston. Len also had a brief career as a financial advisor and stock broker.
He is a second career minister whose first career was as a USAF officer. He started his Air Force career flying F-111’s but after breaking too many, he was sent to maintenance to fix them. He ended his service closing bases in England and Germany after the Berlin Wall fell. Len lived 15 years in England and attended two British Unitarian congregations and was involved with the British and Foreign Unitarian Association. Upon retirement, he went back to graduate school and entered seminary and has served the UU Ministry since 1997. Len has specialized in serving congregations that had troubled ministerial endings, needed some organizational restructuring or a change of culture.
He is the father of two daughters. One daughter is a special education teaching consultant in Bucks County, PA and the other is a LEED Architect in Cambridge, MA who designs and builds life style structures like condos and dorms. Len partners in ministry with a large black Labrador.
Rev. Craig Hirshberg, Minister Emerita
Rev. Craig Hirshberg is a UU minster who retired after serving for five years as the Executive Director of UU Faith Action NJ (formerly the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey (UULMNJ). She has a wealth of experience in the pulpit and in the community. She is Minister Emerita of the UU Congregation of Somerset Hills where she served as the founding minister. She brought to her ministry extensive non-profit experience including training, planning, community organizing, and program development. She is a spiritual director and hosts meditation classes, retreats and other spiritual development activities. Craig is a graduate of Drew Theological School, and a lifelong student at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. She received her spiritual direction training at Shalem in Washington DC and from the Rowe Spritual Direction Program. Rev. Hirshberg currently serves as an adjunct consultant with the UU Central Eastern Region and serves as a UUA Transitions Coach for congregations seeking new ministers. She serves on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Trauma Response Team board, being deployed in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. She currently lives in Easton, PA with her husband, Dominick De Pinto, and has three grown children.
This vibrant team of professionals helps the congregation to deepen their spiritual connections and put their faith into action.
Jennie Belmonte, Religious Education Coordinator
Stay tuned for her bio!
Avianca Bouchedid, Office Administrator
Avianca was born in Germany, raised in Brooklyn, and came of age in Manhattan. She now lives in northern NJ with her two daughters: the eldest speaks while the (not so) little one barks.
Prior to UUCSH, Avianca was the Vice President at COLOTRAQ, a global telecommunications firm, where she handled commissions management and vendor relations. Before that, she was a Vice President at the American Cancer Society – Eastern Division. There, she was accountable for a P&L of $3.2mm and supervised a staff of 15. For two and a half years before — and two and a half years after — the September 11 terrorist attacks, she ran Safe Horizon’s Families of Homicide Victims Program in New York City.
Avianca holds an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University and graduated cum laude from St. John’s University with a BA in literature. She also completed the Innovating for Sustainability certificate program at Harvard Business School in 2013.
William Magalio, Music Director & Accompanist
Will has been working for UUCSH for over 13 years. He has played piano for 36 years, but has also studied violin, tuba and voice. During the week, Will serves as the Marching Band Director and Director of Orchestras at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. His bands and orchestras consistently earn superior ratings and high scores in competitions and festivals throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Will received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) and his Masters in Music Technology from the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Will is also very active in local community theater. He serves on the Board of the Readington Community Theatre where he and his wife, Cindy, have participated in the cast and have served as music director and choreographer for many musicals over the past decade.
Susan Schneider, Choir & Music Director
Soprano Susan Schneider has sung twentieth and twenty-first century music, as well as standard repertoire, in the US and Europe with companies including Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Institute, American Chamber Opera, Composers Concordance, Downtown Opera, Die Zeltmusik Festival (Germany) and the Vesprem Chamber Orchestra (Hungary). Several composers, including Eric Ewazen, Charles Kuskin and John David Earnest have written roles and song repertoire for her. Her recording of Akanthos by Iannis Xenakis on Mode CD’s was praised by the New York Times as “superb.”
Susan studied conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where she got her degree in voice and opera, and has conducted children’s choirs and high school choirs. She teaches voice privately and owns a small virtual assistant business in her home in Chatham, where she lives with her husband, and has two sons.
Susan has been serving as the UUCSH Choir Director since 2012, and enjoys being able to enrich the music program at UUCSH.