Pastor and Theologian in Residence: Rev. Dr. William A. Wright
Pastor Bill and his wife, Jessica Barr, arrived in the area when she took a position in medieval Comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Along with Jessica, he spent the previous eight years as Associate Professor of Religion at Eureka College (Illinois), where he taught world religions, Bible, Christian theology, and guided many students toward seminary. He was an Elder at Eureka Christian Church. He trained as a theologian at Yale Divinity School (M.A.R., 1994) and The University of Chicago Divinity School (Ph.D., 2006). In 2006 he was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He has published a book (Calvin’s Salvation in Writing: A Confessional Academic Theology) and several academic articles on justification by faith, John Calvin, and the Trinity. As a bi-vocational minister, Bill continues his research and writing. His main project is to complete a novel systematic theology: first exploring the multi-dimensionality of the Christian faith as displayed in the liturgical year; then offering a doctrine of God’s being in dialogue with philosophy; and finally, in light of the foregoing, revisiting classical doctrinal disputes, not to give the “right answer” but to make them productive of further understanding.
Pastor Bill gives thanks for this opportunity to authenticate his academic work by serving the church, and to deepen his service to the church by his academic work. He is thrilled to join in fellowship with the spiritual, thoughtful folks in Granby. His passion in ministry is to explore a path by which mainline churches like the Church of Christ can regain a confident future. He believes the way forward requires theological and liturgical experimentation and renewal, beyond the narrow scope of the typical mainline church. He both endeavors to revise Christian tradition where appropriate and to critically investigate Scriptures, but also to offer a strong critique of our culture by looking to the Word of God. Not only do churches like ours have a future, but the world needs the church–refined, purged, and confident–now more than ever. You can follow his thoughts on his blog: professortopastor.wordpress.com.
Bill loves cooking, good food and drink, and dialogue about all manner of things–preferably all at once. He is a fan of jazz, Cuban rumba and Lukumi toques. He avidly takes in all the wonderful offerings of this area with Jessica. And he simply can’t believe how wonderful life is with his three-year old son, Silas.
Administrative Assistant: Ginette Desrosiers
Ginette joined this church in 1997. Since that time, she has been involved in various volunteer capacities within the church. In February of 2011, she joined the staff. Her husband Dave, who is also very active in the church, is the DPW Director for the Town of Granby. Ginette and Dave have two adult daughters and one son-in-law, a Gordon Setter named Gunner and two granddogs, German Wirehair Pointers named Ranger and Piper. Her hobbies include quilting, flower gardening, and participating in dog-related activities. She is a member of the Gordon Setter Club of America, and the TarTan Gordon Setter Club, where she serves as Treasurer, and is a Board Member of the TarTan Gordon Setter Charitable Trust where she serves as Scholarship Coordinator.
Organist and Choir Director: Michael Sampson
Michael is excited to be welcomed into the community and music ministry at the Church of Christ. He works during the week as a music therapist in Springfield and Westfield with people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Michael went to school in Philadelphia, playing for churches, choirs, and music theater in the area, and came up to Amherst several years ago. He is moved to experience God’s presence in congregational music-making, and has eclectic tastes – so be sure to tell him what music you’re connecting with lately!
Christian Education Director: Tasondra Jardine
Tasondra has grown up in the Church of Christ with her family. She’s been a student, teacher and volunteer here for many years. She currently attends classes online furthering her education as well as working as a nanny and community organizer. She has received recent certifications as an Autism Specialist and in Special Needs Education. She’s passionate about making faith accessible to the children of all ages and walks of life.
Sexton: Dennis Doucette
Dennis (The Deke) has been a member of our church since 2000. He is very involved with the church in many ways, such as supporting our current “Loaves with Love” program, and conducting informal summer worship when vacations roll around. He also gets involved with the yearly C.R.O.P. Walk and of course “The Dino Fest”. He’s Deacon Emeritus, and is the Church Moderator. You might say he is our ‘Go to Guy.’ He also has a personal interest in helping the homeless and wayward, and mentors some young folks in the Holyoke and Springfield communities, including his “adopted” son, Joseph. Some of his life achievements include serving in the U.S. Air Force, being a Blacksmith for New York City, and having his own D.J. company call “Vinyl Request.” He has said he can’t think of a better job than cleaning and maintaining the “House of God.”