There’s a new face at the big white church on the green. After a bittersweet retirement farewell to longtime Senior Minister The Reverend Tod King last September, the Orange Congregational Church now welcomes The Reverend Suzanne Wagner as the Interim Senior Minister.
Rev. Wagner joins the OCC community with critical experience as an interim minister. She was formerly the Interim Sr. Pastor at Wilton Congregational Church in Wilton, CT, the Interim Pastor at Olivet Congregational Church in Bridgeport, CT and Associate Pastor at First Church Congregational, Fairfield, CT where she was on the ministry staff since 1999.
The job of an interim pastor is a very specific type of ministry. It will be Rev. Wagner’s goal over the next 1-3 years to guide the congregation as they transition from Rev. King’s productive 27 year ministry into the next stage of the church’s life, including determining what type of pastor is best suited to becoming the next “settled” senior minister.
This transition is an exciting time for the church community! It’s a time to reflect on the past, assess the present, and look into the future. Rev. Wagner will be integral in helping the church discern its strengths and weaknesses, areas for growth, and ways to continue to work together as a strong community of faith.
“I am very excited to be here and to explore new avenues during this special time at Orange Congregational,” said Rev. Wagner. “They have a strong foundation from which to build an exciting and spirit-filled future.”
Rev. Wagner will work closely with the existing staff and the members of the church throughout her tenure as the Interim Senior Minister.
“It’s been a relief and a delight to welcome Suzanne, after this fall with all of the transition and wondering what the future held for our church community. I look forward to working with her and seeing all the ways in which we can help God’s Spirit come alive even more fully here at OCC,” said Rev. Lee Ireland, OCC’s Associate Minister, who has served the church in this capacity since 2008. “It’s a joy to walk with a fellow ‘ANTS’ grad, but, having done so many Interim ministries myself, I also know this will be a great time for the congregation.”
The members of the congregation are also looking forward to working with Rev. Wagner during this time of discernment. Ron Rosenberg, the current chair of the Church Council (the OCC’s lay leadership) said, “We are very fortunate to have Rev. Wagner joining OCC and the greater Orange community at this time. Congregation members have enthusiastically welcomed her and seconded the belief of the OCC search committee that she is ideally suited to lead us through this transition into our next chapter.”
Prior to Rev. Wagner’s service as an Interim Minister, she has a rich career history. She was ordained into ministry in the United Church of Christ in 2002 after earning her Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Center, MA where she was named to the Jonathan Edwards Honor Society.
Her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was conferred in 1974 from William Woods University in Fulton, MO with a major in watercolor painting. Additionally Rev. Wagner has studied at the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel where she spent a yearlong Sabbatical of learning and reflection. She is active in the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, and currently sits on the board of the Anti-Defamation League, Connecticut Region.
Together with the rest of the OCC congregation, Rev. Wagner invites all members of the local community to visit the church–whether for Sunday worship or one of the many events in the robust life of the congregation–and be part of this exciting time.
To learn more about Rev. Wagner or the Orange Congregational Church, visit the website: www.orangecongregationalchurch.org, or call us at 203-795-9749.
Here is her welcome message
— Stephanie Nash