Thursday Morning Bible Study, 10:30 to 11:30am in the Youth Room
Join Pastor Bryn or Pastor Jen to study the lectionary scripture for an upcoming Sunday sermon. This is a chance to learn more about the text in its historical and literary context, as well as to prayerfully explore what wisdom it might hold for you that will help you relate its message to your personal life and faith journey. No previous Bible knowledge is presumed or expected. All are welcome!
The Rev. A. Bryn Smallwood-Garcia began her ministry with us as our senior pastor on January 22, 2007. As a creative and incredibly spiritual fellow traveler, Bryn asks probing, thought-provoking questions, and leads several adult Christian education initiatives, such as a Monday 5pm book study and a Wednesday 7am meditation group (both now on Zoom), as well as continuing our weekly (Thursday morning 10:30am) Bible study in the Youth Room.
Bryn began working in senior high youth ministry at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, California, in 1988, starting a new position in youth and campus ministry there in 1994. From 1998-2006, she served as the associate pastor at the Orinda Community Church, the United Church of Christ in Orinda, California. In that family-oriented suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area, she reorganized and restarted youth ministries, children’s choirs and pageants, parish callers, and prayer and adult study groups. She also created multigenerational retreat programs and support groups for parents. She wrote and directed liturgical drama on a regular basis, and helped to lead creative worship with a new Family Choir as well as The Dancers Circle -- a regional liturgical dance group based in the church. She was active there in many outreach projects, mission trips, homeless shelters, and the domestic violence task force of Contra Costa County. Prior to her work in Christian ministry, she worked for McKinsey & Co., an international consulting firm in San Francisco, and as a newspaper copy editor and film critic in Raleigh, NC.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, B.A. Journalism, 1981
American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco,CA, S.T.C. 1984
Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, M.Div 1992
Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, M.A. 1998
Contact Reverend Bryn Smallwood-Garcia by email here
The Reverend Jennifer (DeBisschop) Whipple was ordained in the Naugatuck Valley Association in December 2005. Jennifer resides in Naugatuck with her husband and two children. She has been a part of the CCB family since August 2005.
As Associate Pastor, Jennifer assists with Sunday morning worship services, including sacraments and preaching. She oversees the youth programs -- Church School, Confirmation Class, and Junior & Senior Youth Fellowship -- and assists with Adult Education as well. She also works with the Church In Society Committee to vision and plan hands-on mission projects for the CCB family. Her passions in ministry revolve around watching youth grow in faith and helping people make connections between their faith and service. As a part of the CCB community Jennifer continues to be excited about her work with the youth and the great ministry being done by and with this congregation!
Jennifer graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from La Salle University in Philadelphia and an M.Div. from Yale University Divinity School. Before coming to CCB, Jennifer worked for the Waterbury YMCA with its Aftercare and summer camp programs, teaching youth to be counselors and helping to lead challenge courses and teambuilding workshops. She also spent 6 months living in the Dominican Republic where she worked with the Good Samaritan Mission in La Romana.
Sean Lewis comes to us from the Congregational Church of Naugatuck, having served there as organist and choir director for nearly 7 years. He has served as a professional music educator and choir director for 28 years, in both public and private schools, and is set to begin his 6th year as Director of Music and Performing Arts at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.
Sean and his family live in Thomaston. He has lived in the Naugatuck Valley for most of his life, having grown up in the Naugatuck United Methodist Church. Sean had his first job as a summer substitute organist at the age of 15. He then pursued a minor degree in Organ Studies and Liturgical Music alongside his Music Education degree at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where he had an assistantship at the Congregational Church of Keene in his senior year. In the past 30+ years since then, Sean has served various churches throughout Connecticut as organist and choir director, before beginning serving as our Director of Music Ministries on September 3, 2023.
Sean’s also directs shows at local theaters including Seven Angels, Thomaston Opera House, and The Phoenix Stage Company. He also can be found playing piano and singing with the Billy Joel tribute band Stiletto, and he performs regularly as a solo entertainer at 88 Keys Piano Bar in Watertown.
Barbara Crandell is our Church School Coordinator. Although raised Presbyterian, she became an official member of The Congregational Church of Brookfield in March of 2013. Her husband and three children make their home in New Milford. As a stay-at-home mother, she also works part-time as a personal trainer and swim teacher as well as organizing road races for the town of New Milford. Prior to motherhood, she worked for 10 years as a Health Education teacher. She has also coached cross country, track & field, and swimming. She holds certification in Physical Education as well as Christian Education, through the United Church of Christ.
Barbara writes, "What drew me towards this position is that I could use my talents in education to help expand upon an already great program. I still get excited each new year to create a program that will excite our children to strengthen their relationship with God."
If you need to contact someone through the Church Office after office hours you can leave a message on our main line (203-775-1259) or through a staff extension (by following the prompts). All voicemail messages are delivered through staff emails as well.