Welcome to our Church…


First Congregational Church of Vernon has been a Teaching Parish since 1996 when a Church member, Joanne Meyer, requested that we be a self initiated site for Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS). Those FCCV members who Joanne selected to be her committee included Bob Taylor, Judy Doremus, Warren Clay, Marilyn Newton, Mike Swan and Karen Prewo. We were joined later by Betsy Gerakaris, Larry Bates and Steven Boucher.

Initially founded as a subcommittee of the Board of Deacons, we ultimately became a separate FCCV Teaching Parish Committee at the suggestion and encouragement of ANTS. We continue to have one member as a Deacon Representative.

A number of our members have received special training at ANTS with a special training for the chair person. Some students have chosen to have two years of field placement at FCCV. We have worked with both on-site and off-site supervisors assigned by ANTS. Our congregation has provided the stipends requested by ANTS for both the student and the supervisor. This mission has been seen by the congregation as a vital ministry our Church performs for the greater Christian Church. At present we have served 10 students over a period of 19 years.

PICTURE: In 2008 we celebrated our 12 years as a Teaching Parish with a special service where our students returned to participate in a service –with Sarah Drummond, Field Placement Coordinator from ANTS providing the sermon. L-R Rev. Martha Nilsen, Rev. David Nelson, Rev. Ckharles Michols, Rev. Kevin Munroe, Rev. Betsy Polglase, Rev. Sarah Drummond (ANTS)

At the time of this writing all our students had become settled pastors or interim ministers, except for our most recent student, Barbara Hesse, who continues in seminary.

We look forward to continued years as a Teaching Parish. FYI: News Article about ANTS merging with YDS.

2017 T.P.C. News

On the weekend of Saturday/Sunday, April 22 and 23, FCCV will celebrate 20+ years as a Teaching Parish. Many of our past students will be with us participating in the worship service with our guest preacher, Rev. Sarah Drummond from Andover Newton.

TPC Potluck Dinner and Celebration: Saturday, April 22, 6 PM in Fellowship Hall and Sunday, April 23 during the worship service. Join us as we celebrate 21 years as a Teaching Parish. Visit with our past students and our newest student at the potluck. Please sign up for the potluck on the Women's Fellowship bulletin board. Check out the display on the Communion Table of pictures, our award and the symbols, provided by the students, which represent their time with us. Symbols of our students’ experience with us and the award presented to us by Andover Newton will be on display at the potluck and also on the Communion Table on Sunday morning.

Our students…
Joanne Myer (1996-1999), Sam Snow (1999), Martha Nilsen (2000-2001), Nancy Allen (2001-2003), Charles Nichols (2003-2005), Betsey Polglase (2005-2006), David Nelson (2006-2008), Kevin Munroe (2008-2009), Joseph Tobin (2011-2012), Barbara Hesse (2014-2016)

This will be a very special day and celebration, so please mark your calendars and plan to join us.

Your Teaching Parish Committee
Karen Prewo, Chair, Marilyn Newton, Betsy Gerakaris, Steve Boucher, Tom Sweet

2016 T.P.C News

Barbara HessAfter two wonderful years, our student, Barbara Hesse, was decommissioned on April 10. She assisted with the Easter Sunrise Service at FCCV and due to an emergency at her home church in West Hartford, she preached her first Easter Sunday sermon there. Her last sermon at FCCV was on April 3 and her last Bible Study on April 4. She will be graduating from Andover Newton Theological Seminary on May 14. Anyone interested in the video presentation of Barb’s Border Crossing program can view it at http://vimeo.com/161705617.

Next year Barbara will be doing her clinical placement after which she will be able to move forward with ordination.

Once again, we wish to thank the congregation for your support of FCCV as a Teaching Parish and for your comments that were included in Barbara’s final evaluation.

Recently, we have been contacted by another Andover Newton student and began a preliminary dialogue that may lead to a formal interview process. We look forward to this possibility that could lead to FCCV’s 21st year as a Teaching Parish.

2015 T.P.C. NEWS

Our Field Placement Education student, Barbara Hesse, from Andover Newton Theological Seminary has begun her second year of field education at FCCV. Her learning contract will concentrate on 4 areas:

• Preaching
• Visitation
• Bible Study
• Work with lay leaders to create meaningful services

She will preach on October 25th and present the homely at the Thanksgiving Breakfast. She has the opportunity to observe the interim process and the development of the Stephen’s Ministry.
She regularly attends Theology on Tap and is conducting Bible Study in 6-week segments.

2014 T.P.C. NEWS

We are happy to welcome Barbara Hesse as our field placement student from Andover Newton Theological Seminary for the 2014-15 school year. This is our Church’s 19th year as a Teaching Parish.

In preparation, Barbara met with the Teaching Parish Committee in August and began to attend Church on September 19. On September 28 she was commissioned during our Church service.

Barbara meets every 2 weeks with the TPC. We have recently completed her learning contract which emphasizes 4 areas upon which she will focus:

* Creating cohesive worship services and preaching
* Learning to minister to children and adults
Working with the laity
* Pastoral visitations in homes and hospitals

On October 19, after working with the Deacons on the Laity Sunday Committee, she presented her first sermon at FCCV which was well received.

* In November she will preach at the Thanksgiving Breakfast.
* In December she will help in the planning of the Lessons and Carols Service.
* We are well underway and are looking forward to a very exciting year.

2013 T.P.C. NEWS

We are sorry to report that there were no Connecticut students at Andover Newton Theological Seminary looking for a placement in our area this year.  So, we will not have a student for the coming program year.

2012 T.P.C. NEWS

We have finished our 2012 student, Joseph Tobin's final evaluation. He has completed his time with us but we hope to see him at church from time to time this summer. We have very much enjoyed working with Joseph this year and wish him all the best in the future.

PICTURE: L-R Mike Swan, Joe Tobin, Betsy Gerakaris, Karen Prewo, Marilyn Newton

From our T.P.C. Student…

May 18, 2012

Dear Friends,

It was very difficult to not be with you on Mother's Day Sunday to participate in the worship service, to express in person my gratitude for everything First Congregational Church has done for me during the last nine months, and be decommissioned. As many of you know, I was prevented from being with you by a case of acute bronchitis.

The time I have spent as a seminary student intern at FCCV has been extraordinary. The Teaching Parish Committee has shepherded my growth in ministry by meeting with me almost every other week, and providing guidance and suggestions for improvement. Both Pastor David and Pastor Cindy have been enthusiastic supporters, offering their wisdom and experience and their encouragement for the journey; and Linda Shivers has helped me understand and appreciate the challenges and rewards of youth ministry. Sunday after Sunday, I never ceased to be spiritually uplifted by the wonderful music provided by a very dedicated choir and the excellent musicianship of James Burr and Mary-Jo Simonds-Huneger. What a gift they are to the church.

Last, but certainly not least, is the gratitude and friendship I feel toward the members of this church. You welcomed, encouraged and supported me through these many months, gently guided me whenever I was uncertain or had questions, shared your joys and pain, participated in the Lenten Bible series, came on Easter morning when I thought there might be five people, and made the best soup and cookies. I have been privileged to serve such a warm and caring community of faith for whom the best is yet to come.

Susan and I thank you so much for everything. You will forever be in our hearts.

Joseph M. Tobin, Jr.

On Sunday, October 20, 2013 the Teaching Parish Committee and several FCCV members attended the ordination and reception for our most recent student, the Reverend Joseph Tobin, at the First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford. We presented him with several gifts - a Pastoral Record Book and a Ceramic Communion Cup and Plate made by the hands of FCCV’s very own Betsy Gerakaris. Included in the ordination service bulletin was a special thanks to the TPC, the FCCV congregation and the Reverend David Minnick (FCCV’s Interim Senior Pastor during the time Joe was with us). Joe indicated that he spent “a wonderful year learning and growing into ministry among caring people.” We rejoice in the realization that the congregation of the First Congregational Church of Vernon has, once again, assisted in bringing another minister into the service of Christ. Reverend Tobin is currently serving as an Interim Minister at the Hampton Congregational Church, in Hampton, CT.

Prior Years T.P.C. NEWS

On April 22, 2012, we attended the Installation of former student, David Nelson as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of West Haven. It was a joyful occasion for David's family, friends and new parish community. Parts of the service were spoken in Vietnamese and French. This small church will surely flourish under the energetic leadership of David. Our very best wishes and prayers are with them all.

Our students have included:



PICTURE: Reverend Joanne Meyer : 1996-1999




Sam Snow: 1999 (Sam came to us at the age of 87 years. He was the oldest ANTS student ever and was to intern with us, but unfortunately he was incapacitated by an auto accident and was unable to complete his internship. We were, however, gratified that we could go through the Commissioning Service with Sam before his accident. Sam’s legacy is evident in the daffodils which were planted in the Memorial garden and around the Church. : Sept – Nov 1999



PICTURE: Reverend Martha Nilsen : 2000-2001. L-R Larry Bates, Marilyn Newton, Karen Prewo, Rev. Martha Milsen, Betsy Gevakaris, Mike Swan







PICTURE: Reverend Nancy Allen : 2001-2003 (2yr)













PICTURE: Reverend Charles Nichols : 2003-2005 (2yr)






PICTURE: Reverend Betsey Polglase : 2005-2006









PICTURE: Reverend David Nelson : 2006-2008 (2yr)






PICTURE: Reverend Kevin Munroe : 2008-2009. L-R Larry Bates, Karen Prewo, Rev. Kevin Muonroe, Betsy Gerakaris, Mike Swan, Marilyn Newton


Reverend Joseph Tobin : 2011-2012. See photo and write up at top.





PICTURE: Field placement student, Barbara Hesse : 2014-2015. See above for more information about Barbara.





For more information about this Committee click here to see the FCCV Annual Report.
The Committee's report to the Church is included in the main body of the document
and a list of current Commitee members and their terms is at the end.

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