Pastor and Staff

Our Pastor

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.

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, chaired the Nominating Committee for the Connecticut Conference from 2013 to 2016, and was a Connecticut Conference delegate to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in 2017 and 2019.  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 their cat Demon (yes, that’s his name… although he’s actually very sweet and social) and their beagle Daniel.

Connect with Pastor Matt:

Schedule a time to meet with Pastor Matt:
Matt Emery’s Bookable Calendar

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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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