Rev. Dr. Geordie Campbell
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What do kayaks, bicycles, a small dog and cameras all have in common? Our Senior Pastor, Geordie Campbell, loves to spend time with them! They are high on the list of the things that matter most in his life.
The core values that guide Geordie’s vocation form around words like benevolence, goodness, trust, mystery, gratitude and community. Geordie has a deep love for the church, having grown up with both his father and grandfather having been ordained ministers. He enjoys teaching and the art of spiritual guidance. He loves the relational life of being a pastor and the challenges of building communities of Christian engagement. He loves to preach and blends narrative and story in expressing Biblical truth in the midst of daily life. And his vision for the church, even in these current times of change, is one of hopefulness and optimism.
Geordie was called to First Church in 2004. His educational credits include earning his Bachelor of Arts from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania (1975), his Master of Divinity, cum laude, from Andover Newton Theological School (1980), and his Doctor of Ministry, with distinction, from Hartford Seminary (1991).
Geordie married Pamela Lewis Campbell in 1977. Pam is a Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Registered Nurse. The Campbell’s have two grown children: Karen and her partner Meredith, and Tim. The Campbell family also includes, Yofee, their delightful Shih Tzu puppy whose name is Hebrew for wonderful.
Rev. Elliott Munn
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Elliott was born and grew up in Maine where his family still resides. It remains a place very close to his heart. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College from which he earned his Bachelor of Art degree in Classics in 2012; and of Yale Divinity School from which he earned his Master of Divinity degree in 2015. In addition, this past summer Elliott was offered a grant to study in the Holy Land.
Elliott is passionate about skiing and likens the art of ministry to the challenges and beauty of a ski trail. “Skiing is reaching for encounters with the Divine and subsequent moments of awe,” he writes. “My approach to skiing is not so different from how I understand my ministry. On the one hand, ministry is striving to align our will with God’s will. On the other, it is stepping back to appreciate the bounty of God’s blessings and mercy. Much like skiing, the ministry is a balance between striving to glorify God and enjoying God’s handiwork with the Holy Spirit appearing in the dance between the two.” Needless to say, the Search Committee enjoyed his creative expression!
When asked of his aspirations for the church Elliott writes, “It’s easy to be negative about the state of the church. But we are an Easter people. Our God continuously refashions the remnants of death into new life and the depths of sorrow into radiant joy. At their best, churches are communities and centers of such transformation. God embraces us in our weakness and sends us out into the world to follow Christ together in strength. People need this message of hope. People need to feel God’s transformation love. I am searching for a church eager to share God’s love and hope with the world.”
Rev. Susan Izard
Minister of Spiritual Life
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Susan was educated at Yale University, Candler School of Theology, Emory University and the Spiritual Life Center. She is the co-author of the award winning book Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry and numerous articles on spiritual topics. An amateur photographer, Susan loves to photograph interesting images of nature and compose haiku to express the spiritual experience conveyed in the picture. She enjoys long walks and hikes, playing golf, gardening and spending time with her husband, three adult children and extended family, including her two dachshunds.
Susan is a contemplative, compassionate listener who brings a creative approach to her ministry.
Minister of Faith Formation
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Dawne began working with the Christian Education program at FirstChurch in 2001.
As the Minister of Faith Formation, she provides overall leadership to the educational and formational ministry of FirstChurch. She provides educational programming for infants through eighth grade and faith formation opportunities for all ages. She is passionate about providing families with opportunities to grow in their faith through their involvement at church and through faith practices at home. It brings her great joy to watch children and families celebrate God’s presence in their lives through milestones celebrations like Baptism, receiving their first Bible, or graduating from high school.
Dawne lives in West Hartford with her husband Jimmy and four daughters. She enjoys gardening, walking her dog, and being with friends and family. She has been an active member of FirstChurch since 1996.
Dawne is a United Church of Christ Commissioned Minister of Faith Formation. She has a marketing degree from Bentley University, and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Hartford. Additionally, she is a Connecticut certified teacher for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.
Director of Music
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He graduated as a music teacher from Central Connecticut State College, taught public school music in the Winchester Public School system, was rehearsal pianist for the Nutmeg Ballet Company, and toured professionally with the top 40 band, Countdown.
More recently, he is a founding member of Gaudeamus, a Grammy award winning chorus based in Torrington, CT. With this group, he’s had the good fortune to perform at Ozawa Hall at Tangelwood, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City with noted musicians such as Pete Seeger, the Paul Winter Consort, and Paul Halley. He’s also directed or played in numerous Broadway musical productions, including Godspell, and A Chorus Line. Throughout his entire music life, he’s been involved with church music as an organist and choir director, at churches in Burlington, CT, Winsted, CT, and his current post, the First Church of Christ, Congregational, in West Hartford, CT. Jim brings all of these varied interests and experiences together in his approach to music, preferring to perform works in as authentic a style as possible, but with something special and unique with each performance.
It’s hard to believe, but music is Jim’s part time profession, as his full time position is Configuration Manager at MassMutual in Springfield, MA. Jim resides in Canton with his very understanding wife, Kathi, and two sons: Jeffrey, who is studying music composition, and Keith, who is studying drama. A third son, Michael, a doctoral candidate of mathematics at UMASS, Amherst, is married and resides in West Hartford.
Youth Ensemble Director