Staff

 

 

Transitional Pastor:

The Reverend Rochelle A. Stackhouse

The Reverend Dr. Rochelle A. Stackhouse (Shelly) was born in Cleveland, Ohio the same summer as the United Church of Christ. Her academic degrees include a BA in English from Millersville State College (PA), a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies from Drew University. Ordained in 1982, Shelly has served as settled pastor for UCC churches in Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She has served as Interim Pastor for churches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As a professor of Worship and Preaching, she has been on the adjunct faculty at Lancaster, New Brunswick, Hartford, and Moravian Seminaries, and Yale Divinity School. Shelly is the author of one book, The Language of the Psalms in Worship, and numerous articles and book chapters. Currently, she serves as Transitional Minister at First Church of Christ (Center Church) Hartford, Connecticut. Shelly is married to Dr. P. Gavin Ferriby, University Librarian at Sacred Heart University, and they are the parents of three children, Luke, Leah and Benjamin. You may email Shelly at rstackhouse@cchartford.org

 

Director of Music/Organist:

Robert F. Gilbert

 

Robert F. Gilbert began his work at Center Church in July, 2017.  As a church musician for over 30 years, Bob has served as Director of Music/Organist at UCC churches in Wallingford, Connecticut and Longmeadow, Massachusetts, as well as serving as interim organist at Hartford's Asylum Hill Congregational Church. Prior to his work at Center Church, Bob was the Director of Music and Organist at Trinity Methodist Church in Windsor, Connecticut (2001-2017), where he directed a comprehensive music program including an adult choir (with Choral Scholars), a graded children/teen choir program of three choirs, multiple handbell choirs, a contemporary music team, and a concert series including the Annual Greater Hartford Handel's Messiah Community Sing. Bob is a native of New Jersey and a three-time winner of the American Guild of Organists Biennial Organ Competition. A resident of Windsor, Bob is also a public school administrator having worked in the Granby Public Schools for 22 years and, currently, in Woodbridge, Connecticut.  You may email Bob at rgilbert@cchartford.org

 

Church Administrator: Marie Ferrantino

Born and raised in Newington, Connecticut, Marie Ferrantino joined the staff of Center Church in 2000. Marie manages the Church Office, assists staff and church members with various tasks, and assists in managing the church buildings and grounds. Marie has worked exclusively in church administration since 1982, and strives for excellence in church office procedural and technological efficiency. Marie enjoys reading, gardening, the arts, and studying multifaith spirituality.  Marie holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford, Connecticut, and is an active Spiritual Director.  She is a member of Spiritual Directors International. You may email Marie at mferrantino@cchartford.org

Director of Faith Formation:  Jana Russo-Priestley 

 

Jana Russo-Priestley is a Connecticut native and life-long member of the United Church of Christ.  She is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, where she studied the performing fine arts, and Andover Newton Theological School, where she completed the Masters in Divinity.  Her educational journey exploring the arts, justice issues, urban ministry, and theology has all led to her call at Center Church.

 

Jana’s life has been enriched by her vast experiences in advocating for women’s health and justice, and her eagerness for adventure and meeting new people.  Her experiences as a campus leader for the LGBT fellowship and active participation in the African-American Women fellowship, as well as a border crossing experience in Ghana, are all huge highlights. 

 

She views ministry with children, youth, and families at Center Church as a blessing of which to be a part. To be part of another’s faith journey and provide encouragement, teaching, and support as they discover how their faith can call one to action in their community and the world is a gift that she is excited to explore with the whole congregation.   

 

You may email Jana at jpriestley@cchartford.org

 

Bookkeeper: Charlotte Cardone

 

Charlotte Cardone has worked as needed with Center Church since the 1990s, and also works as a freelance bookkeeper/accountant with many area churches.  We are grateful for her expertise in all financial matters.  She lives in West Hartford with her husband, Ed. 

 

You may email Charlotte at ccardone@cchartford.org

Receptionist/Office Assistant:  Monique Young

 

Born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, Monique Young joined the staff in August, 2015.  She worked as a Program Coordinator/Facilitator for over seven years in the adult education field.  She has also served the community through outreach, always with the goal in mind of empowering people and changing their lives. Monique was blessed with her son - her pride and joy, and her rock, Khalique Brown - in 2007.  She enjoys being a mother, listening to music, singing, dancing, cooking, reading, and most of all, helping people to be their better selves. 

You may email Monique at myoung@cchartford.org

 

Sexton: Thomas St. Amant

 

Originally from Louisiana, Tom is a long-time member of Center Church and serves as Sexton both during the week and on Sundays. Tom was employed by Cigna before retiring several years ago.  He and his wife, Sally, live in Hartford, and are frequent babysitters for their two granddaughters, Violet and Olive, who live with their son, Brendan St. Amant and daughter-in-law, Shirley Hwang, in the Boston area.

 

Youth Coordinator:  Anne Russo-Priestley 

 

Anne Russo-Priestley grew up in Milford, Connecticut and completed her Masters of Arts in Art Therapy Degree from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has worked with children, youth, and families professionally for over ten years. Anne currently manages a foster care program, which supports relatives raising their family members, such as grandparents raising grandchildren aunts and uncles raising nieces and nephews and siblings raising siblings.  This program is called Kinship Care Support. 

 

Anne believes in utilizing art as a safe space, to connect with the Holy, meditate and express one's self.  She offers art therapy groups for children and youth, and tries to incorporate art and creativity in all that she does.  She has volunteered with the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ using these skills with teens at Synod, Silver Lake Conference Center, and True Colors. 

 

Anne loves spending time outdoors, as well as spending time with friends and family. She loves animals, especially dogs, and has an obsession with Snoopy from The Peanuts! She enjoys Dollar Tree shopping, listening to all types of music, and watching movies.  She looks forward to getting to know the teens and their families, through mission, service, prayer and fun! 

 

You may email Anne at arusso@cchartford.org