Meet the Staff
The Rev. Dr. Sue Foster
Pastor Sue grew up in Connecticut and has been active in the United Church of Christ since childhood. She has fond memories of learning about God and being with friends through Sunday School, youth choir, and youth group. After graduating from Allegheny College with a B.A. in German, she spent several years living in Germany experimenting with a variety of career options including being a teacher, tour guide, nurse’s aide, and export manager in a glass manufacturing company.
After discerning God’s call into ministry, Pastor Sue attended Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA. She graduated magna cum laude in 1987 and was called as the pastor of the East Woodstock Congregational Church in the fall of that year. Since that time she has engaged in numerous continuing educational courses and events. Her particular areas of interest include helping others explore their personal relationship with God, approaching God through many forms of prayer, worshiping God through music, and interfaith dialogue.
Pastor Sue completed her Doctor of Ministry studies at Hartford Seminary in December 2014. She studied theologies of hospitality and how to live out the welcoming and inclusive love of God. The title of her dissertation was “A Theology of Hospitality: Discovering who is missing and inviting them in.” The purpose was to be aware of who might be missing from worship and from our church community and discover creative ways to reach out to them.
Pastor Sue has served on many wider church as well as community groups. Currently she is serving as the chair of the Spiritual Care Advisory Committee at Day Kimball Hospital, chaplain to the Muddy Brook Fire Department, and a mentor/facilitator of a “community of practice” group, supporting new clergy.
Sue is also an experienced retreat leader, offering retreats on a variety of topics. Pastor Sue often leads retreats to encourage people to take time to nurture their spirit and reconnect with God’s love. She is currently working on a book of planned retreats as a resource to other spiritual leaders.
You can read Sue’s reflections on discovering God in our everyday lives on her blog: www.fosteringyourfaith.wordpress.com
Pastor Sue and her husband Roger Solomon are the parents of three adult children. They live in Woodstock and enjoy kayaking, gardening, traveling, and being outside.
Danielle will be serving our church while Pastor Sue is on sabbatical from May 1 – August 31, 2021
Danielle Arnett Keller is in her final year at Boston University School of Theology pursuing a Master’s of Divinity. Pre-pandemic she would commute from Brunswick, Maine on the 4:30 AM train. These days she attends class through Zoom while her children, Max age 13 and Oliver age 10, cavort in the background with her cat, Captain Poof Duster, making occasional appearances. Her husband of twenty-four years, Aaron, is the only member of the family who does not join in as he is busy teaching high school chemistry or cooking dinner. She is a member of First Parish Church in Brunswick where she has served as a deacon. She was approved as a Member in Discernment in the Cumberland Association of the United Church of Christ in March 2017. Although Danielle grew up in Maine she is no stranger to Woodstock as her mom, Beverly Child Arnett, was born and raised there. Every holiday weekend and the occasional week in the summer would find Danielle and her family in Woodstock. She was the only grandchild who would get up with her Grandmother, Inza Child, to attend the Easter Sunrise service, perhaps because it meant that she got a jump on Easter chocolate. East Woodstock Congregational Church has been her family’s church for as long as it has been around and it continues to be her extended family’s church home. Family stories include her Grandmother’s recounting of the hurricane that toppled the steeple into the sanctuary. Danielle and her family typically spend summers camping and hiking in Maine, but this year she is looking forward to jumping into Pond Factory every afternoon to cool off. She is excited to continue on the journey towards ordained ministry while serving the community of EWCC this summer.
East Woodstock Congregational Church has always been a part of Heidi’s life. She visited as a child with her grandparents, Dot & Einar Hansen, was married to her husband Dennis here in 1982, and later became a member and for a time, a Sunday School teacher. A graduate from Smith College with a degree in Elementary Education, Heidi has been the Administrative Assistant of the church since February 2002. Heidi and Dennis own and operate Brunarhans, which specializes in beautiful hand-crafted cabinetry for kitchens and bathrooms. They have four grown children (all of whom went through Sunday School and Confirmation here). When not busy with her two jobs, Heidi loves to read and sew. She enjoys cruising on South Charlton Reservoir in Charlton, MA on their pontoon boat with friends.
Co-Director of Youth Ministries
Anne became a member of the East Woodstock Congregational Church shortly after moving to Woodstock in 1998. She felt immediately at home in our church and knew she wanted to be an active member of the congregation. She served as the Christian Education Director from 2002-2007. During that time, she completed the ACE program, Associates in Christian Education, at Hartford Seminary.
After her time as CE Director, Anne started volunteering with combined Senior Youth Group of the EWCC and our sister church, the First Congregational Church. She did this for many years enjoying the time with her two high school aged sons and their friends. Currently, she is the Co-Director of Youth Ministries with Kate Murdock from the First Congregational Church. She has served in this position since 2014. Anne’s hobbies include photography, cooking, gardening, and keeping up on the latest trends in social media. All skills helpful when working with the Senior Youth Group!
Director of Christian Education
Louise stepped in as Interim Director in August of 2018. She and her family (her wife Paula and their two girls Olivia & Amelia) moved to the area in 2011. In addition, they were blessed to welcome Louise’s niece Sarah into their home in 2018. Louise works for Sodexo at Nichols College where she currently is the baker. She believes that our faith continues to be formed throughout our entire lives…not only as children. She is a big supporter of inter-generational activities and events. We all benefit by working together, and learning from each other. Working in Christian Education is something she feels very privileged to do. Louise loves to see God’s work as He helps our children grow into young leaders.
Music Director and Adult Choir Director
Nancy grew up in a musical family and started formal piano lessons at the age of 5. She attended Hartt College of Music where she majored in Music Education with an emphasis in Special Education. As an accompanist, she has worked at The Bradley Playhouse, The Little Theater, Woodstock Academy, Marianapolis Preparatory School, Nichols College and many other schools in the area, and has accompanied private voice lessons at the University of Connecticut. In addition to her fabulous work at the East Woodstock Congregational Church, she is currently an accompanist/piano teacher at the Pomfret School and has a growing private piano studio.
Bell Choir Director
Andy started playing handbells in the fourth grade at the Christ Church Episcopal in Avon CT and continued throughout high school and college. He graduated from Plymouth State College (now University) with a degree in music and psychology. Andy and his wife Taryn have two children in our Sunday School and Youth Ministries programs. Andy and his son enjoy hiking and camping with the Boy Scouts.