Rev. Kathy Cunliffe

Senior Minister

I am thrilled to have been called to serve as the 18th Senior Minister of this lively and authentic gathering of faithful people! My ministry passions include:

  • Creating vibrant worship that helps deepen spirituality and our experience of God.
  • Having fun! I love a good sense of humor, laughter, and occasional goofiness. I believe God's heart sings when we play and express our joy!
  • I am excited about intergenerational ministry. Everyone has unique gifts to offer, from infants to seniors!
  • I love to preach, sing, create worship "scapes," lead retreats, and spend time with others in silence and prayer.
  • I am passionate about creating relationships beyond the church and seeking to serve God through ministries that reach out to those in need and seek justice for all people.

I was raised nearby in Southington, Connecticut. I attended college at SCSU and UMass and spent seventeen years as a corporate executive travel consultant. My call to ministry came at mid-life.

Raised in the Catholic Church, I had a period of faith wandering in my late teens and early twenties. After marrying my husband, Fred, and the birth of our first child, Joshua, I found my way to The United Church of Christ, the church of Fred's upbringing. I was compelled by the welcome and inclusivity. The Plantsville Congregational Church became our home church and we raised our children there. It was there that I heard God's call to pursue ministry as my vocation.

One of the greatest influences on my life and vocation was the experience of raising a child with a progressive, degenerative, and ultimately terminal muscular dystrophy. Our eldest son, Joshua, who died in December of 2009 continues to inspire others and myself each and every day. There is a lot more to that story. Feel free to ask me about it!

We are also very blessed by two additional children, Ian and Hannah. They are now young adults and still living with us at home. I am grateful for their spirits and their creativity. We have shared a challenging life together and they continue to amaze me each day.

After eight years of part time seminary study, I graduated with my Master of Divinity degree in May 2011 from Andover Newton Theological School. I served my home church during that time for twelve years as the Lay Associate Pastor. After graduation, I was approved for ordination and called to serve as the Associate Pastor at The First Congregational Church of Bristol, CT. During my time there I was active in the wider church serving as Moderator of the Farmington Valley Association and a dean at Silver Lake Conference Center. I was a founding member of the Bristol Ending Family Homelessness Task Group and received the 2016 United Way of West Central Connecticut "Special Initiative Award." I also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Bristol Community Organization.

Fred and I have been married for thirty-two years. As a family we enjoy outdoor activities, especially camping on Cape Cod and spending time outdoors by the water. I also enjoy singing, bird watching, creative writing, painting, reading, jewelry-making and collaging.

We share our home with four furry feline friends, Lily, Oreo, Leo, and Evie. They complete our family and bring us much joy.

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