Stephen has been serving as Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church since January 2016. Having lived in New York City for over 13 years, two churches played important roles in his life. Stephen was a long-time member and part of the leadership team at Metro Hope Church in East Harlem under Rev. José Humphreys. It was here Stephen re-embraced his faith and found his calling. After deciding to seek out ordained ministry with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), it was Park Avenue Christian Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson that affirmed his call and ordained him in April 2015.
Stephen received his Master's of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York where he worked as the director of the Millennial Leaders Project after graduation. In addition to his work as Pastor at Central, Stephen is also serving as chaplain at the Wooster School, an Independent K-12 school in Danbury.
Stephen traveled several different paths leading up to being pastor of Central Christian Church. His first love was athletics which led him to Southwestern Oklahoma State University where he was a member of the football team. Following his football career, Stephen made a move to the stage where he worked professionally as a stage actor, eventually bringing him to New York City. After years of chasing down the acting bug and working in the service industry, Stephen began to feel the pull into non-profit work and faith-based community organizing. It was here that he began to accept the call into attending seminary and eventually the pastorate. All along this path Stephen was able to meet and work with a diverse array of people with many different interests, ideas, philosophies and theologies which has played an important role in Stephen's growth as an individual and his understanding of God.
Stephen is passionate about serving God through the radical love ethic of Christ. Being a strong believer in servant leadership, he strives to be one of God’s artists carefully sculpting a part of the beloved community. He is married to Bianca and has one daughter, Kayden Noelle (pictured above).
Pastor Stephen would love to meet you, if you would like to set up an appointment you can email him directly at email@example.com or call the church at 203.748.3020.
Hope Jackson - Community Outreach
Hope Jackson was born and raised in the Danbury Area. She attended and graduated from Danbury Public Schools. She received her Associate of Science Degree in General Studies from Naugatuck Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in Human Services with a minor in Secondary Education, and received her Masters of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary in New York. Hope has a passion for music, dance, traveling, helping others and most importantly spending time with family. She is the proud mother of five beautiful children and lives in Danbury.
Rev. Chantilly Mers - Arts & Innovation
Rev. Chantilly Mers-Pickett is a minister, educator, musician and activist. For almost 4 years, she has worked as a Faith and Justice Educator for the United Methodist Seminar Program, located at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary (MDiv ’11) and ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she hopes that her ecumenical work of facilitation, arts and education empowers everyday people of faith to join God in the “movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.” In her free time, Chantilly loves to explore small towns in the Hudson Valley with her husband, John Pickett and their daughter, Leila Simone.
Danielle Baker - Youth Leader
Danielle was born and raised in the Danbury area. Central Christian Church has been her home since she was born. She went through Danbury Public Schools, graduating from Danbury High in 2013. Danielle is studying Early Childhood Education and currently works at a preschool in Danbury. She is passionate about getting her nails done, helping others, and spending time with family and friends.
Christian Mortera - Worship Leader
Christian Mortera is a lifelong resident of Newtown and is currently a sophomore studying audio production and engineering at Western Connecticut State University. Christian is a talented musician who is able to sing and play a couple of different instruments such as piano, guitar, bass, and some drums and violin. He is happy to be a part of this church as it's new worship leader and excited to a bring a a new sound to enhance the musical experience of worship.
Janet Johnson - Organist
Janet is a long time member of Central Christian Church and has been volunteering her services as a musician for many years. Janet also organizes our coffee-hour fellowship and is a member of the church board.
Faculty & Staff Team
Rachel Valluzzo, Administrative Assistant
Rachel Valluzzo was raised in Danbury and has been working at Central Christian Church as the Administrative Assistant since 2012. One of the best aspects of her job that she loves is having the opportunity to interact with members of the congregation as well as the community. Before coming to Central Christian Church, Rachel previously worked and volunteered at the Association of Religious Communities. She enjoys seeing movies, spending time with family and friends, and is an avid coin collector.
Mark Joyner, Sexton
Mark has been the church Sexton since 2013. He came to Central Christian through Family and Children’s Aid (FCA) where he has worked since 2000. In addition to being the church Sexton, Mark is also the lead treatment worker at the FCA Extended Day Program, which is housed in the basement of Central Christian Church. In addition to his work, Mark loves boxing and the NFL. He also is a lover of music with a collection that ranges from Johnny Cash and Parliament to Andraé Crouch and obscure contemporary Christian artists like the Seventy Sevens.
David Driensky - Groundskeeper
David has been a member of Central Christian Church since his youth. He has served the church in many capacities and has been taking care of the church grounds for many years. Currently serves as the church groundskeeper and makes sure the church is prepared to host the many different community groups that use our space.