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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

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 choral scholars and seasoned volunteers from the 4 manual 63 rank Austin organ.   Bob oversees the church’s Music and Arts Concert Series, which hosts the Annual 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 the Director of Music and Organist at Trinity Methodist Church in Windsor, Connecticut (2001-2017), where he  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. A resident of Windsor, Bob is a public school administrator and serves as the Superintendent of Schools in Woodbridge, Connecticut.  You may email Bob at

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 manages 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, studying multifaith spirituality, and spending time with family and friends. Marie holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford, Connecticut, is an active Spiritual Director, and is a member of Spiritual Directors International. You may email Marie 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 through Thursdays from 9:00am-2:00pm.  You may email Brenda at

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

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.

Housekeeper/Sexton Assistant & Sunday School Administrator

Ileia Belton is a long-time member of Center Church. In addition to keeping our Church House immaculate and tidy, she is serving as our current Sunday School Administrator. She lives in Hartford with her two daughters, Xyon and Isys, and also serves on the Faith Formation Team.  You may email Ileia at

Sunday Meal Program Coordinator:
Carrie Howe

Bio soon. You may email Carrie at