HARTFORD, CT - On Sunday, December 2, the congregation of Asylum Hill Congregational Church of Hartford called the Rev. Erica A. Thompson as its tenth senior minister - the first female senior minister in the church’s 150 year history.
Rev. Thompson received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Concordia College in 1997, and in the summer of 1997, accepted a position with the US Peace Corps in Guayaquil, Ecuador where she lived and worked for three years. Upon return to the US, she started seminary at Princeton Theological Seminary where she graduated in the spring of 2003. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree at Hartford Seminary.
Rev. Thompson began her ministry at AHCC as associate minister in September 2006 where she led the Youth Group, and the Women’s Spirituality Group, as well as helping plan and lead worship services. Following the resignation of Rev. Matthew Laney in May 2017, Rev. Thompson was appointed acting senior minister.
Erica’s experience in the Peace Corps and her affection for the people of Guayaquil, Ecuador led her to help found the non-profit organization Adopta Una Familia (AUF), which partnering with community leaders in Guayaquil, Ecuador, works to use local and global resources to promote opportunities for quality housing, education, and health. Rev. Thompson, president of AUF, leads annual trips to the barrio for hands-on mission trip experiences.
The United Church of Christ, the governing body of Congregational Churches, prescribes the process of recommending a senior minister candidate. "In the congregational tradition, we created a search committee,” according to David Figliuzzi, Chair of the Senior Minister Search Committee. “This Committee spent months working together on behalf of our church family and in the end, we realized that the leadership we needed for the future was right here leading us in an interim capacity.”
“Our search committee, diverse, thoughtful and engaged, has shown us that even though we are very different, in our love of God, our church and each other we are the same,” said Church Moderator Bart Halloran. “I am proud to be a member of this congregation, and am delighted to be able to say that we are moving forward, with eyes, hearts and minds open to confront the challenges of our times together, with the leadership of our new Senior Minister, The Reverend Erica Thompson.”
Rev. Thompson was recognized by Hartford Business Journal in their 2014 Forty under Forty class. Each year, Hartford Business Journal selects 40 of the top up-and-coming young professionals who are leading their respective organizations. At the time, Rev. Thompson stated, “Growing up, my dad always reminded my sister and me: "Remember who you are." That simple, yet profound, phrase has helped me through more of life's tough situations than I could ever count. Remembering who I am as a child of God has shaped the spiritual, ethical, and emotional landscape of my very being.”
“I believe that as Christians, we are called to transmit the love of God from one to another; sometimes it is simply a matter of igniting a spark and then fanning the flames.” Rev. Thompson said following the vote of affirmation. “With that in mind, it is my sincere hope that through my preaching, teaching, presence, and outreach at AHCC, I can help to ignite the flames in others so that we might go out into the world illuminating the way of hope in the darkest night.”
Rev Thompson will be installed on Sunday, January 27 2019 at 4:00pm with a ceremony celebrating the church’s rich history and looking ahead toward a bright future.
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