The Rev. Elva Merry Pawle is our pastor. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has a BA in English and Religion from Duke University, an MA in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and a Master’s of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School. Pastor Elva enjoys gardening, walking, swimming, and bike riding. She has three adult children and two grandchildren.
About her ministry, Pastor Elva says:
“Jesus came that we ‘may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10b). At the core of my ministry is the conviction that God offers all humanity abundant life in Jesus. This abundant life isn’t about having a lot of material things. Abundant life in Jesus grows from the assurance that we are deeply loved by God, and called to relationships of love and trust with God and one another.
“As Pastor of First Congregational Church, I preach sermons drawn from the wisdom of the Bible and our day to day experiences. Leading Bible Study, teaching confirmation class, and visiting with people both within and outside the church are priorities for me in ministry. I find deep joy in hearing peoples’ stories and discovering with them how God is active in our lives; how our stories are part of God’s story.
Allan F. Taylor is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, where he majored in Classical languages and studied organ with Clarence Watters. He later earned the MA degree in music at Smith College, Northampton, studying harpsichord with the late Lory Wallfisch, and researching English Renaissance choral music.
Mr. Taylor became the Minister of Music at First Church in the fall of 1987, having held similar positions at the Church of the Atonement, Westfield, and Church of the Good Shepherd, West Springfield. He is responsible for the instrumental and choral music for church services, and for maintaining the music library and instruments in good condition.
Mr. Taylor is also an adjunct professor of music at Westfield State University, where he has taught a wide variety of courses including music theory, music history, conducting, orchestration, and ear training. He has also directed the University’s two fine arts choral ensembles.
In 2001 he was appointed director of the Hampshire Choral Society, an auditioned community chorus based in Northampton, Mass, and the largest such ensemble in Western Mass. HCS regularly performs major works of the choral repertoire, with full orchestra.
Other musical activities have included directing the chamber choir Novi Cantori for twenty years, as well as the Greater Westfield Choral Association. Taylor co-founded Young Singers of Greater Westfield with noted choral director Janet St. Jean, and he has served as adjudicator, workshop presenter, dean, newsletter editor, and webmaster of the American Guild of Organists, Springfield Chapter.
- Peggy Corchinski is our church’s Office Administrator.
- Cindy LaPlante is Treasurer.
- Jesus Felix is our custodian.