Vanessa has been serving First Church since 2013, and the congregation voted her Senior Pastor in 2022. She loves being a part of the First Church community and is honored by the trust the congregation has placed in her, the first woman to serve as Pastor in our church’s 384 years.
Vanessa grew up in Wellesley, MA, where the Village Church was her second home. She is deeply connected to our Congregational roots and our denomination, The United Church of Christ. Vanessa felt called to ordained ministry at the age of 13 while leading her home congregation in prayer during worship, and she began to deepen her faith through Bible Study, a lifelong passion of hers. One of her most significant experiences from growing up in church was her first vote, as a newly confirmed church member at 15 years old, to declare the church Open and Affirming. That witness drew her to First Church’s welcoming community when she moved to Fairfield. As a high schooler, Vanessa participated in the Boston to New York AIDS ride in the 90’s alongside members of the church. To her, church is at its best when it proclaims the radical message of God’s love for all humanity.