Reverend Mr. Shepard A. Parsons Senior Pastor
The Reverend Mr. Shepard Parsons joined First Church of Christ, Woodbridge, as Acting Minister on October 1, 2013, and was later elevated to be Senior Minister.
Reverend Parsons is originally from Orlando, Florida and graduated from Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1984. He is married to Karen Klein, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, has three children, Iris 11, Eli 8 and Charis 18, and lives in Westville Section of New Haven. He is an avid artist and exercise enthusiast.
His prior pastoral experience includes serving at South Congregational Church in Waterbury, Center Church on the Green in New Haven, First Church of Christ, Devon, and at the Shelton Congregational Church in Shelton. He has also served as Chairman of the New Haven Board of Ethics, as a delegate to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, on the Committees on Ministry of the Naugatuck Valley Association and the New Haven Association, and with the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Contrary to thoughts of ministerial stereotypes, Rev. Parsons tells of his days fresh out of college, working on a four-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Florida with his father. “I rode horseback,” he says, “with a lasso and a pistol for protection from snakes. We moved cattle, herded them in and out of pasture lands, roped and branded calves, and took the cattle to market.”
Morgan Aery Director of Christian Education "No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure." - Morgan Aery
Morgan joined First Church of Christ, Woodbridge in January of 2015 as the Director of Christian Education. She is excited to bring new ideas to the faith formation practices within the congregation and the community. Morgan grew up at First Church of Christ, Guilford where she served on the Board of Christian Service, taught Sunday School and was active in Pilgrim Fellowship. Morgan also grew up attending Silver Lake Conference Center where she later became a counselor, staff member, and dean. Morgan continues to stay connected with the Silver Lake community.
Currently, Morgan is a regional representative and coordinating member of CAUCE (Connecticut Association of United Church Educators). She is actively involved in professional development for faith formation leaders in Connecticut.
Morgan holds a degree in Recreation & Leisure Studies, and a Master of Business Administration, both from Southern Connecticut State University. She currently resides in the Westville neighborhood of New Haven with her dog, Deacon Brodie.
Nenad Ivovic Organist
Pianist Nenad Ivovic began his musical studies at the age of 4. He graduated from the University of Arts (Belgrade, Serbia) in the studio of Professor Nevena Popovic. Over the course of his career, Nenad has won prizes in over 15 international competitions, including IX International Competition “A Step Towards Mastery” in St. Petersburg, Russia where he performed with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (First Prize), “Arianne Katcz” Piano Competition in Tel Aviv (Second Prize) and “Jacob Flier” Piano Competition in New York, USA (Third Prize).
After Belgrade, Nenad spent three years in Tel Aviv, Israel at the “Buchmann-Mehta School of Music” – (Tel Aviv University), where he received his Master’s Degree under the guidance of Professor Emanuel Krasovsky. His recital schedule has taken him to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Holland, France, Israel, Egypt, USA as well as his native Serbia. He has participated in master classes with such esteemed musicians as Andras Schiff, Dmitry Bashkirov, Michele Dalberto, Aleksandar Madzar, Tatiana Zelikman, Alexander Toradze, Alexander Korsantia, Vladimir Feltsman and others. Currently, he is doing his MMA studies at the Yale University in the studio of Professor Boris Berman.
Faye Chen Director of Choir and Handbell Choir "It’s been a privilege to share some of my music background and experiences and to grow right along with our ringers. I can come in from a bad day and leave feeling ten times better. We laugh a lot, too. It is very rewarding."- Faye Chen
The bells have been ringing ever more beautifully since Faye joined our staff in 2004. Beside choosing repertoires, arranging music and conducting, Faye recruits our ringers, books engagements outside the church, catalogs, and files new music, keeps accurate financial records and continually inspires the handbell choir to new heights.
Faye received her BA in piano performance from Shih-Chien University in Taiwan. She continued her studies in California, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island before arriving in Woodbridge with her husband, Eaton, and three children, all equally talented. Faye has involved herself in church musical services all along her journey and has taught at Yamaha School of Music.
She enjoys gardening, tennis, reading, traveling, cooking and playing Mah Jonng. Faye says,
"It’s been a privilege to share some of my music background and experiences and to grow right along with our ringers. I can come in from a bad day and leave feeling ten times better. We laugh a lot, too. It is very rewarding."
Carole Prescott Office Manager "Our welcome mat is always out so feel free to call or stop by
the office between 9 AM and 2 PM, Monday through Friday." - Carole Prescott
Hat’s off to Carole who is approaching her 35th anniversary working for the church and who has been office manager since 1997. Carole tends to all administrative matters for the church and keeps the financial records. She is always ready to assist church members and friends when help is needed.
She has a B.S. in Business Education, worked as a teacher for 15 years and as a dental office Manager for 6 years prior to joining our church staff.
Carole demonstrates her commitment to us each day as she travels all the way from Thomaston, CT where she lives with her husband, Richard. They have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren. Besides working in the church office, Carole loves to travel and read in her spare time.
Carole provides an important ministry to our church. She says,
"Our welcome mat is always out so feel free to call or stop by the office between 9 AM and 2 PM, Monday through Friday."
Robert Turner Church Sexton
Robert joined the First Church staff in October 2015. He has been with the Milford Fire Department for 31 years and has worked in the emergency services for 35 years. Robert lives in Orange with his wife and three daughters. He also enjoys fishing, hiking, cooking, and reading.