The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola was called as our Conference Minister on August 6, 2022 and began her ministry on October 26. She comes to us via Penn Central, where she served as Associate Conference Minister, and from Vermont and Massachusetts where she served as a local church pastor. As ACM in Penn Central, Marisa helped many small churches to realize their God-given mission to be vital beacons to their greater community. Marisa has a passion for helping small churches discover and celebrate their vital role in God’s 21st century. During her time in Vermont, she helped two congregations come together as one – a United Methodist congregation and a United Church of Christ congregation. She enabled them to discover their shared ministry of mission to their community and eventually join together as one congregation, where they have become a focal point of mission to their community. Also in Vermont, she served at the conference level as chair of the Conference-wide Committee on Ministry, as a speaker for church vitality, and as a vitality coach for churches who wish to grow their ministry.
Marisa holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and Music History from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky, and a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. She taught music at Asbury College in the 1980’s before transitioning to a career in clinical psychology. Prior to her ordination to ministry in 2009, she was a licensed psychologist in clinical practice for over 20 years. She is published in the areas of recovery from the sequelae of childhood abuse and neglect, and also on the topic of small church vitality.
Marisa is thrilled to partner with clergy and lay folk in our conference, as we discern as faith partners, the vision and mission of our ministry into the 21st century. She brings a wealth of experience and love for the United Church of Christ. She and her spouse Carol live in Augusta. They have two grown children, Kristyn and Kathryn.
Rev. Alexis Fuller-Wright has joyfully served congregations in New Jersey, Iowa, Maine, and California. She represents a new generation of leadership within the United Church of Christ (UCC) who have been called by the Spirit to bring new life and energy into the church. Her passions in ministry are helping people deeply connect with the heart of God and empowering congregations to find new and relevant ways to live out their faith in the 21st century. She received her Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA .
Alexis is married to Liz, a science writer for Princeton University, and they spend their non-working hours chasing after their two young children, Nora and Will.