Melanie received her Master’s in Library and Information Science from Queens College and prior to joining First Congregational Church Watertown as our sabbatical minister through October of 2022, she was the the sole pastor of two United Methodist Churches in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Melanies responsibilities included administration, visioning, pastoral care, preaching, teaching and curriculum development, and community outreach. Melanie has worked in rural, suburban, and urban congregations since 2013.
Melanie cares deeply about the intersection of faith and politics from many faith perspectives, which allows her to use skills she learned in her undergraduate degree in international studies (islamic studies) into her daily life as a pastor.
Melanie is a foster parent and passionate advocate for the well being of youth in the foster care system and their birth or adoptive families. Melanie has adopted four children out of the foster care system.
Please join us in welcoming Melanie Ollett to First Congregational Church Watertown CT.
Cindy was born and raised here in Connecticut, where her family has also lived for generations. She is a graduate of Fairfield University with a degree in Biology, Yale University with a Master of Divinity, and Hartford Seminary with a Doctor of Divinity. She is also an experienced spiritual director, having been trained at the Spiritual Life Center. Cindy has served churches of various sizes and staff configurations in Simsbury, Vernon, and Unionville before joining us in Watertown in 2017.
In her preaching, teaching and pastoral work, Cindy is passionate about helping people establish a relationship with the living God through prayer, outreach, service and the arts. Her doctoral work at Hartford Seminary focused on revitalization in the mainline church in our rapidly changing culture. Cindy believes revitalization is key and happens as we center ourselves in scripture and a faith which values love, forgiveness, inclusion and extravagant welcome for all.
Cindy is the proud mom of Ian, a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, and Lydia, who currently attends there. Together they like to travel, watch movies, and go for rides with Andy, their rescue Lab. Cindy is also an avid quilter, knitter, spinner, felter, and she’s learning to weave.
FACEBOOK INVITATION FROM REV. CARR If you're interested in connecting, go to www.facebook.com/cynthia.carr and put in a friend request. Please keep in mind this page is designed to help church friends connect; customary guidelines for polite social networking are expected. If you have
questions, text, call or email Cindy.
Hope to see you there!
Our Director of Music Ministries here at First Church is Mr. Eric Trudel. A native of Quebec, Canada, Eric graduated with top honors from the Quebec Conservatory of Music. He won the prestigious Prix d’Europe competition, which enabled him to study privately with pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Marc Durand and Louis Lortie. He has taught and performed extensively throughout Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the United States. His New York City credits include recitals at Weil Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall and the 92nd Street Y.
Mr. Trudel has performed in association with many organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, Yale Institute for Musical Theater, Yale School of Drama, Montreal International Piano Festival, the Banff Center Festival for the Arts, L’Opéra de Montréal, Connecticut Grand Opera, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Oklahoma Mozart Festival, Pro Arte Singers, and Concora. Equally at ease in experimental projects, he has been involved in the creation of the hit musical Nelligan in Montreal, Christopher Cerrone’s opera Invisible Cities for Yale Institute of Music Theater, and the new Adam Bock/Todd Almond musical We Have Always Lived in a Castle for Yale Rep. In June 2018, he was appointed music director of the Stamford Chorale.
His faculty appointments include the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec in Trois-Rivières, Montréal Opera’s Atelier Lyrique, the Université du Québec à Montréal and more recently Yale University’s School of Music and Western Connecticut State University. He currently is on faculty at University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music and Southern Connecticut State University.
In 2008, the national publication Classical Singer Magazine chose Eric Trudel to be “Vocal Coach of the Year”, a crowning acknowledgment of his many years of collaborative work with opera singers. He has also been the principal pianist for the Classical Singer Convention Competition since 2006.
Nancy Harrell joined First Congregational Church in November 1988.
In 1989, she accepted the position of Director of Christian Education. She is responsible for coordinating the Church School for students age 4 through Eighth Grade during the regular church year and also coordinates of our summer week-long Vacation Bible School.
In October of 1999, Nancy accepted the position of Church Secretary in which she handles the day to day office responsibilities at First Church.