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Rev. Liza Arulampalam

Rev. Elizabeth Arulampalam (Pastor Liza) holds degrees from Emory University (Bachelors in Religion and Spanish) and Yale Divinity School (Masters in Divinity). Liza grew up in a UCC church, was ordained in the American Baptist Church, and now has dual standing in both denominations. In addition to pastoring two churches, Liza has worked in a variety of ministry contexts including middle and high schools in New Haven and Hartford International University. Liza was one of the founding clergy of the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance and is passionate about interfaith work, racial justice, and teaching the rich stories of Jesus to disciples of all ages. Liza lives with her husband Arunan and five children in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford. You may email Pastor Liza at

Director of Music/Organist:
Robert F. Gilbert

Robert F. Gilbert is Director of Music/Organist of Center Church, where he directs a choir made up of professionals, college music interns and seasoned volunteers and plays the church’s 4 manual 63 rank Austin organ.   Bob oversees the church’s Music and Arts Concert Series which annually hosts the Greater Hartford Handel’s Messiah Community Sing which he founded in 2006.  As a church musician for over 40 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 Director of Music and Organist at Trinity Methodist Church in Windsor, Connecticut (2001-2017), where he co-directed a comprehensive music program including graded vocal and handbell choirs for children and adults, a contemporary music team, and a concert series.   Bob is a native of New Jersey and a three-time winner of the American Guild of Organists Biennial Organ Competition. Bob and his wife Eileen have three adult daughters.  Bob worked for 38 years in the Connecticut Public Schools and recently retired from his position as Superintendent of Schools in Woodbridge, Connecticut.  He is currently the Part Time Superintendent for the Colebrook Schools. You may email Bob at

Coordinator for Justice & Faith Formation Ministries: Eric J. Hearst

Eric J. Hearst joined the Center Church staff in early September 2021.  He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and previously lived in that state as well as Maryland, New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Eric considers himself a life-long learner and has completed degrees in the fields of education, social work, and theology.  He is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC (Bachelor of Science; Master of Social Work), Argosy University (Doctor of Education), and Princeton Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity/Master of Arts).  He has worked as a social worker in public and private school systems in the National Capital Region of the United States, serving students and families with distinction.  Eric has also served churches in administrative and pastoral capacities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Flemington, New Jersey and South River, New Jersey.  He recently completed a Chaplain Residency program at Penn Medicine Princeton Health in Plainsboro, New Jersey, a component of the University of Pennsylvania Health Care System before coming to Center Church.  Eric is currently pursuing further theological training in interreligious studies at Hartford Seminary.  He is excited about working with Center Church and looking forward to our adventures in ministry together.  You may email Eric at

Office Administrator:
Emily McKenna

Emily joined the Center Church staff in August 2021, bringing with her years of experience managing religious organizations and events. You can find Emily at Center Church House in the office, ready to assist you with your building, tech, or administrative needs. When she’s not at church, she’s at church! Emily also serves as Youth Ministry Coordinator for Oasis Multi-Church Youth Group, made up of six New Haven, CT area churches. She is a long time volunteer at Silver Lake Conference Center, the UCC’s outdoor ministry site in CT. Emily loves living in the West End of Hartford with her partner Casey and their four year old son, Peter Parker. You may email Emily at

Brenda Russell

Brenda Russell joined the church staff in the summer of 2019, following an extensive career in managing bookkeeping for a variety of organizations.  Originally from Jamaica, Brenda brings expertise and grace in all she does.  She and her husband, Michael, live in East Hartford. Brenda works in the church office Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30am-2:30pm.  You may email Brenda at

Thomas St. Amant

Originally from Louisiana, Tom St. Amant 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.

Sunday Meal Program & Outreach Coordinator:
Carrie Howe

Bio soon. You may email Carrie at