Reverend Denise Terry – Interim Senior Minister
The Reverend Denise Terry comes to FCC Darien as our Interim Senior Minister after eight years at the East Granby Congregational Church, UCC in East Granby CT, where she served as Senior Minister. She was born in Providence, RI, and grew up in Manchester, CT. Denise is a second career pastor, with prior education and experience in Accounting and Business Administration. She earned a Bachelors degree in Theology from UCONN, and a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. She was ordained in the United Church of Christ, in February, 1998, and has served churches in Montana, Florida, and Connecticut. Denise has served as an Interim Minister at churches in Montana and Florida, and she has a particular affinity for interim ministry. She views times of pastoral transition as opportunities for the church to pause and reflect on their history and accomplishments, while also becoming prepared for new leadership, with a shared understanding of what God is calling the congregation to do, and to be.
Email: Denise Terry
203-655-0491 x 101 (Office)
Benjamin Geeding – Minister of Youth and Pastoral Care
Pastor Ben serves FCC with multi-generational connection and deeper theological education for all church members. With a focus on discovery and conversation, Pastor Ben oversees planning and implementation of Youth Ignite Group events, meetings, outreach, and social gatherings. He teaches confirmation, fills the FCC pulpit monthly, leads Come As You Are contemporary services, serves on the Music Committee, and provides pastoral care for individuals and families. Pastor Ben leads a Theology Book Club and a faith-topics Crash-Course for adults looking to expand their faith knowledge. Benjamin holds a Masters of Arts in Religion (concentrating in Philosophy of Religion) from Yale Divinity School (’19). He also received his Master of Arts in Christian Thought from Olivet Nazarene University (’17, Bourbonnais, IL) and a Bachelor of Arts in Music (’15). He is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity at Yale Divinity School and is a Member in Discernment pursuing ordination for the Fairfield West Association in the United Church of Christ. He is married to Christine Geeding.
Email: Benjamin Geeding
203-655-0491 x 105
Christine Geeding – Director of Christian Education
Christine works alongside the FCC ministers to form and implement opportunities for Faith Formation. Christine runs FCC’s Church School and nursery, Junior Choir, Middle School Bible study, Youth Band, and many outreach and social opportunities for FCC’s families with children. She serves on the Music Committee, fills FCC’s pulpit when needed, and assists with Youth Group, Confirmation, Communications, and Faith Formation in the FCC Nursery School. She is a Member in Discernment pursing ordination in the Fairfield West Association of the United Church of Christ, and is a full-time student at Yale Divinity School pursuing a Master of Divinity. Christine and her husband Benjamin (FCC’s Minister of Youth and Pastoral Care) live in Darien, where Christine teaches music lessons for the Darien Arts Center. Christine received her B.M. in Music Ministry (’14) and an M.A. in Christian Ministry (’16) at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. Christine is from Idaho.
Email: Christine Geeding
203-655-0491 x 105
Dennis Hanlon – Church Administrator
Dennis has served as our church Administrator since March 2007. He attended Northeastern University and Mercy College and pursued a degree in Public Administration & Emergency Management. He has worked in the field of church administration/facilities management for over 20 years. Dennis is responsible for our church administration, working closely with the pastor and supervision of assigned staff.
Dennis offers free Notary Public services to church members. Just contact Dennis to set up an appointment, he is in the office Tuesday-Thursday, 8a-4p and Friday 8a-12n.
Email: Dennis Hanlon
203-655-0491 x 102
Cara Blatney – Church Treasurer
Cara Blatney took over the role of Treasurer in March of 2019. She is a Certified Public Accountant and graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a degree in Economics and Accounting. Having lived in Darien for the past 20 years, she is very involved in the community, and all four of her children attended the First Congregational Church Nursery School. Cara is responsible for keeping track of church finances and budgeting.
Email: Cara Blatney
203-655-0491 x 103
Dan Hague, Music Director
Having been our Bass Section leader in the choir for 12 years, Dan assumed the position of Music Director in 2005. He has a BS in Music Education and a Masters of Music in voice. Dan coordinates the musical life of our church, including both the senior and junior choirs, and is caretaker of our musical instruments.
Email: Dan Hague
203-655-0491 x 107
Max Pakhomov – Organist
Max became our organist in September 2008. He is a graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory and brings many years of musical talent to our Sunday services. In addition to being a piano and voice instructor, he performs with The Westchester Chorale and is principal accompanist of the Bronx Opera Company. He formerly served as music director for Rugby Congregational Church in Brooklyn, NY.
Sylvia Walsh – Interim Nursery School Director
Sylvia Walsh is the Interim Director of the First Congregational Nursery School, where she is responsible for the daily oversight of the Nursery School’s 120 students and 20 faculty members.
With a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education from College of New Rochelle, Sylvia has years of teaching experience at the pre-school level as well as in first and third grade. She has been an Assistant Principal and a Principal of a Lower School (Pre-K- grade 4). Her career has spanned multiple school settings, including Catholic school and public schools as well as an independent school. As the mother of four grown children and twelve grandchildren under the age of seven, Sylvia also brings significant personal experience to our Nursery School.