our pastors and staff

  • REV. ANDrew NAGY-BENSON


    SENIOR PASTOR

    I was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1998 after graduating from Yale Divinity School.  After pastorates in New Hampshire and Connecticut, my family and I moved to Middlebury, where I have served as pastor since 2009.  I especially enjoy leading worship and weekly Youth Group meetings, working collaboratively with a gifted team of colleagues and lay leaders, and caring for the members and friends of this church.  Being with people is where pastoral ministry begins, and I am grateful for the opportunity to teach and learn and serve and pray alongside the people here.  Beyond the walls of the church, I have served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Conference (UCC), coached youth lacrosse, and taught courses at Middlebury College, where I currently serve as an affiliate chaplain.  I like to read and write, walk in the woods, and play the drums in a local band, but my spouse Gwen and our three daughters are my heart’s home.


    andy@midducc.org

  • REV. ELIZABETH GLEICH


    ASSOCIATE PASTOR

    I grew up in the beautiful state of Minnesota, where I attended the College of St. Benedict. After college, I moved out to New England to attend Yale Divinity School, and it was there that I discerned a calling to ordained ministry. In this calling, my three passions meet: theology, people, and social justice. I am passionate about the power of church to transform our world into a place where all God's creation can thrive.  


    Since seminary, I have served as a neonatal hospital chaplain in New York City and a pastor in central Connecticut. I served on the board of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights of CT from 2013 to 2019. I was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2017. With my spouse Elliott, who is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, we love to hike, downhill ski, bike, and drink local ciders. 


    I thank God for leading me to serve this amazing church and community.


    Listen to a sermon preached by Pastor Elizabeth.


    elizabeth@midducc.org

  • JENNIFER SMITH


    DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH MINISTRIES

    I joined the church 15 years ago and served on the Board of Christian Development before accepting the position of Director of Children and Youth Ministries. In this role I oversee the Church School, lead the Jr. Youth Group, and work with the confirmation team. My greatest joy is working with children and youth over many years and watching them grow and learn. Outside of my work at the Church I love to travel, bake and spend time with my family and friends. I am thankful for the progressive, loving and open welcome that this congregation offers.


    Listen to a children's message by Jennifer.


    jsmith@midducc.org

  • JESSICA ALLEN


    MUSIC DIRECTOR

    I grew up singing in church and improvising on piano for worship services. I have been directing choirs since 2000 when I won the position of Assistant Conductor of my college choir. This inspired future work with church and community choirs that resulted in earning a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting. My connection with The Congregational Church of Middlebury began in October 2007 when my new husband Jeff Buettner and I moved to Middlebury from the Midwest. I am the Choir Director and Director of Music at the church, and I enjoy engaging in music teaching and performances within the community whenever possible. I love to travel and am a photographer and gardener at heart. Jeff and I live in Middlebury with our daughter. 

     


    jallen@midducc.org

  • JEFF BUETTNER


    ORGANIST

    I began playing the organ when I was thirteen, after a few years of piano lessons and listening repeatedly to my parents’ album of Bach organ music. That and a terrific teacher and mentor led me to study organ and church music at St. Olaf College. My focus shifted to include choral music through masters and doctoral degrees (Cincinnati and Michigan State), and I have been a church organist almost continually throughout that time and to the present. I live in Middlebury with my wife Jessica, and daughter Greta. I am also Christian A. Johnson Professor of Music at Middlebury College.


    buettner@middlebury.edu

  • JUDY ALBRIGHT


    CHURCH ADMINISTRATOR

    For 32 years I was an educator in New York state where I taught elementary school, directed an after school enrichment program and coached a LEGO Robotics Team. During that time and after retiring in 2006 my entrepreneurial spirit found me creating and running a bed & breakfast reservation service as well as a home staging business.  To realize a life long dream to paint, I studied painting with numerous acclaimed artists and now teach painting in my home studio and online. I bring the variety of skills that I have learned along the way to my job here at the church. I love working with this outstanding team and living in Middlebury Vermont with my husband Dory.


    office@midducc.org

  • Melissa Bartley


    building Manager

    My first visit to Middlebury UCC was September 2019 during Welcome Sunday. The passage read was Genesis:1. Pastor Elizabeth spoke the words that “all are welcome here” and I knew this was the place for me. Communication, inclusivity, reverence for the earth, and respect for lives of all of God’s children are the values that lead my heart onward with every step in my journey. The past seven years I’ve devoted myself learning the healing arts of massage, wellness coaching, yoga, meditation, and more. I used this knowledge and my background in business to develop and found Love, Play, Grow Wellness. My husband, Sean, and I moved to Addison County, Vermont in 2017 from southern New York in search of a slower pace of life where we could spend time in nature, with community, and creating through various artistic mediums. It’s at our lovely renovated schoolhouse in Shoreham we are able to do just that. I love to dedicate hours to the garden, painting, dancing, and hiking. 


    Whether through the human body or a sacred building, I believe that we all need a place of being and worship that feels clean, cared for, and loved and I hope to deliver this support for our community for many years to come.


    buildingmanager@midducc.org

  • JAMES CALVIN DAVIS

    THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE

    My wife Elizabeth and I, along with our two sons, have been members of this church since 2013. I am a religion professor at Middlebury College, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the theologian-in-residence at Middlebury Congregational Church, a volunteer position focused on adult Christian education. I normally offer about three or four short classes each program year, on a wide range of theological and ethical topics, like sin, end-of-life decisions, and racial justice. I really enjoy opportunities to talk about our shared faith tradition, and our conversations in church often inform my writing. In fact, my last two books, Forbearance: A Theological Ethic for a Disagreeable Church (Eerdmans, 2017) and Why God Loves Football: Theological Reflections on the Holy Days of American Culture (Cascade, forthcoming), grew directly out of my work as theologian-in-residence! In addition to this role, I have served on several committees, occasionally lead worship, and currently sing (along with Elizabeth) in the Chancel Choir.


    jcdavis@middlebury.edu

  • Cathy chase and Irene Zaccor

    Treasurer and Financial Secretary

  • Patrick Greene

    Caretaker