The Reverend Nancy Elder-Wilfrid – Thank you for visiting the website for United Congregational Church, UCC, in downtown Worcester! I have been pastor at United since January 2011 and am grateful for the presence and witness United has in this community and within the United Church of Christ.
I grew up in an active church family: there are 6 ordained clergy in my family, and the church has always been a central part of my life. My husband is the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Holden, MA (and there are 4 clergy in his family – which makes 10 clergy within 3 generations!) Our daughter Karen teaches 7th grade English and our son Greg teaches elementary music.
I was in one of the first graduating classes from Hampshire College in Amherst MA, and was ordained at the Church of the Covenant in Boston in October 1980, following my graduation from Andover-Newton Theological School.
Over the past 32 years, I have served UCC churches in Plymouth MA, Brookside NJ, Harvard MA, Amherst NH and Worcester. Before coming to United, I served for five years as a clergy associate at All Saints Episcopal Church and as the Director of the Kairos Spiritual Life Center. I have found urban ministry to be both challenging and rewarding in different ways than ministry in “the white
church on the town green”; the diversity and opportunities for ministry within a congregation like United is a gift!
Since 1994, I have been offering spiritual direction to clergy and lay people – a way of reflecting on the “stuff” of our lives through the lens of our life with God. I truly believe that there is so much that pulls us away from God, prevents us from experiencing God’s grace or from recognizing God’s presence. Gathering for worship together, sharing in prayer with one another or being part of a faith community is vitally important to help ground us in God and remind us that we are God’s beloved people, called and empowered to love and serve God’s people in the name of Jesus.
If you look at the open Bible on our altar, you will find that it is always open to Isaiah 43: 1-7, a reminder that it is God who creates us, who forms us, who redeems us and calls us by name. I hope you will visit us at United, and will experience here the grace of God – alive and vibrant – in the people of God!