Pastors and Staff

Our Pastors

Matt in pulpit
The Rev. Matthew C. Emery – Senior Minister 

“Pastor Matt” began serving Storrs Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, as our senior minister at the beginning of 2011.  He came to us after nearly four-and-a-half years as the associate pastor of a United Church of Christ congregation in Rockford, Illinois, and has also served on the staff of a UCC congregation in the metro-Washington-DC area (Arlington, VA).

As senior minister, Pastor Matt’s day-to-day work focuses on the wide range of our congregation’s life together. He has significant responsibility for preaching and worship leadership, for pastoral care and visitation, and for congregational leadership, staff supervision, and administration.  He also is the primary pastoral liaison to our student group, UCC UConn, and for other things having to do with UConn students and the wider university community.

Pastor Matt has been very active in wider settings of the United Church of Christ.  He has previously served on a committee on ministry and a conference minister search committee in the Illinois Conference, and chaired the Nominating Committee for the Connecticut Conference from 2013 to 2016.  He has previously been active with the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, including as lead worship planner and coordinator for their 2007 National Gathering.  In 2017, he served as worship leader for the annual conference of the New England Association of United Church Educators.

Matt is a member of the inaugural class of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative: Target 2030, an initiative coordinated through the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (a subsidiary of our Pension Boards), that seeks out our denomination’s most-promising younger clergy for a multi-year intensive program of leadership development and education as an investment in the long-term health and vitality of the local congregations of the United Church of Christ.

A native of central lower Michigan, Matt is a graduate of the Chicago Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2006) and of Michigan State University (B.S., Computer Science, 2002).  He has also completed continuing education at Princeton Theological Seminary (fellow of the Engle Institute of Preaching, 2013 & 2014; Certificate in Youth and Theology, 2009; Forums on Youth Ministry, 2007-9) among other places.  Matt and his partner Adam Yates, an Episcopal priest serving in East Haddam, own a 300-year-old house in Andover where they live with Demon, their cat, and Daniel, their beagle puppy.

Connect with Pastor Matt:

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The Rev. Nancy Boldt McLaren – Minister for Faith Formation and Discipleship

“Pastor Nancy” began as Minister for Faith Formation and Discipleship at Storrs Congregational Church UCC in November 2012. She has a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Religion, Fine Arts, and Art History from Colgate University (2002) and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School (2006). Along the way, she studied abroad in both Italy and Scotland, and came to active Christian faith in her adult life while in Scotland.

As Minister for Faith Formation and Discipleship, Pastor Nancy’s focus is on leadership in the congregation’s education and formation ministries with persons of all ages, including especially children and youth, and also on catalyzing ministries in mission-outreach, service in the world, and justice-advocacy. She shares worship leadership and some preaching responsibility with Pastor Matt, and offers another pastoral presence for care and conversation with the whole congregation.

A native of Greenwich, Pastor Nancy came to Storrs after service in Presbyterian congregations in New Haven and Boston, and cherishes the journeys of her kids, Alisdair (“Allie”) and Margaret (“Maggie”).

Connect with Pastor Nancy:

Pastor Nancy, right, with Pastor Matt

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Our Staff


Dr. Patricia (“Trisha”) Snyder – Director of Music Ministry

Trisha began serving Storrs Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, as Director of Music Ministry in 2006.  She received her Bachelor of Music in organ performance from the University of Western Ontario, and her Master and Doctor of Musical Arts in organ performance from Yale University. In addition to directing our music ministries, Trisha has also served as Professor of Organ (adjunct) at The Hartt School, the University of Harford.

Before coming to Storrs, she was the Director of Music at the Pakachoag Church (UCC) in Auburn, MA, where she also taught organ and piano at the Pakachoag Community Music School.  Trisha has taught at Andover Newton Theological School, Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the College of the Holy Cross, and was the Director of Music at First Congregational Church in Guilford.

Trisha has received many awards and grants, including Artist-in-Residence, Cité des Arts (Paris, France), a Gian Silbiger grant, and a Laurence Korwin International Competitions Grant. She studied in Europe with Marie-Claire Alain, earning a Premier Prix and Prix d’Excellence from the Ecole National de Musique de Rueil-Malmaison. Trisha is a prizewinner of many competitions, including the Royal Canadian College of Organists National Competition, and has given recitals in the United States, Canada, England, France, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. A former Dean of the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), she has served the guild in many capacities.  Her solo performances have been broadcast on CBC, BBC, La Radio de la Suisse Romande and WICN Worcester. As a past director and accompanist of the choral ensemble Con Vivium, she can be heard on the compact disc “Love Came Down at Christmas,” featuring the choral music of Leo Sowerby, including ten world première recordings, released on the Albany/Troy label.

Trisha lives in Thompson, Connecticut, with her husband Christopher Dustin and their daughter, Abigail.

Connect with Dr. Snyder:

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Deborah Gacek – Office Administrator

Deborah has been part of our staff at Storrs Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, since mid-2010.  As office administrator, she oversees and carries out a wide diversity of important activities that keep the day-to-day operations of our congregation running–whether it’s greeting weekday visitors to the office with warmth and welcome, handling routine office tasks, facilitating the production of worship bulletins and newsletters, overseeing certain volunteer tasks and the work of our cadre of student helpers with us on work-study, or assisting with our financial operations, all is handled with care and competance with Deborah on the job.

Deborah, a native of Glastonbury, lives in north Coventry with her husband David and daughter Chloe.

Connect with Deborah Gacek:

Deborah Gacek, office administrator

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Antonio Aguilera changing lightbulb

Antonio Aguilera – Sexton

The longest-tenured member of our staff team here at Storrs Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, is our sexton Antonio Aguilera.  A native of Puerto Rico, Antonio lives in Willimantic with his wife Lucia, and enjoys close contact with his kids and grandkids.

As sexton, Antonio ably takes care of the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance of our facilities and grounds, assists with event setup and clean-up, and even gives many an evening and weekend to being on-hand for outside event users and more.  The great condition and sparkling cleanliness of our buildings is a testament to the tremendous care and dedication Antonio puts into his work.

To contact Antonio Aguilera, please be in touch through our office administrator, Deborah Gacek (email above).

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