|Rev. Darrell Goodwin and Rev. Dr. Debbie Pollato-Fontaine|
Rev. Pollatto-Fontaine began working at the Storrs church in January 2021, in the middle of a pandemic. Rev. Goodwin asked her to share what it was like to begin working at a church during that troubled time.
Rev. Pollatto-Fontaine had previously done interim work in Woodstock, CT and was there when the pandemic started.
"We did have our office open every day," she said. "I was in the office every day. And my goal was to just keep everyone connected in, in creative, innovative ways."
Carrying this experience to Storrs, Rev. Pollatto-Fontaine said learning to put faces to names in a new church was a struggle because most people were on Zoom for worship and vespers. Those who did visit the church in person were wearing masks.
According to Rev. Pollatto-Fontaine, there is much to be excited about in the Storrs church. She acknowledges a strong lay leadership heading many ministry teams. She mentioned several outreach ministries including the newly dedicated food pantry that is housed in one wing of the church. The church partners with the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry team to support a homeless shelter in Willimantic, and has donated supplies and prayer shawls to an orphanage in Haiti.
Storrs Congregational Church is on the very edge of the UConn campus in Storrs. Due to its proximity, Rev. Goodwin asked what programs the Storrs church offers to students.
Rev. Pollatto-Fontaine said the church has a dedicated ministry team to university outreach. They offer a choral music program for music majors. They have a breakfast on Sunday mornings before worship where students are welcome to join. They also offer an evening program for students to come enjoy some fellowship at the church. One unique program she described is a tag sale the church holds at the beginning of the semester during the university's move-in weekend. The church offers items that college students might need for their dorm rooms or apartments and also hosts an informational table in the student union.
Storrs Congregational Church is meeting in person for worship at 10:00am on Sundays. Others can join through Zoom or watch later on You Tube. Information on accessing these channels can be found on the church's website. Rev. Goodwin will be joining the service this Sunday, December 5, at 10am.
Watch the full interview here:
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...