OUR STAFFThe people of Groton Congregational are our ministers. These are the people who serve them.
The Rev. Joan Withers Priest
Born in Illinois, Joan spent most of her childhood and youth in Ohio. She graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religious Studies. She received her Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Ordained for 30 years, she has served Churches in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; Durham, North Carolina; Westerly, Rhode Island; and New Canaan, Wilton, Greenwich, West Hartford, and Old Lyme, Connecticut as Associate Pastor, Stated Supply, Interim Pastor, and Parish Associate. Since May of 2018, she has served here as our Interim Minister.
Joan serves with dual standing in the UCC Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) which ordained her, and remains active in the Presbyterian Church serving in the Presbytery of Southern New England. She is also a member of PEO, a Philanthropic Educational Organization which raises money for women’s education. She lives in Lyme, CT with her husband Jeffrey, who is a Financial Investor in NYC. Together they have two grown children, Jacob and Amanda.
Director of Music
Having served as Director of Music for almost 20 years at Groton Congregational Church, Sue is committed to present the most inspirational and appropriate music for worship every Sunday. Groton Congregational has Youth Singers, an inter-generational Alpha and Omega Handbell Choir, and a Senior Choir. Dedicated and faithful musicians participate in worship services throughout the year. All are welcome to practice with us on Thursday evenings, except for the summer. A “pick-up” choir practices and sings Sunday mornings throughout the summer months.
Sue is a lifelong keyboard player and for the past twenty years, a dedicated and trained organist. As a member of the American Guild of Organists, she is committed to preserving the use of our beautiful Moeller pipe organ for worship and encouraging young musicians to become organists.
Music is very important at Groton Congregational. It helps create an atmosphere for meaningful worship.
Director of Christian Education
We are pleased to introduce our new Christian Education Director, Lisa Lambert. Lisa has been educating students in our community for 20 years. She is a 6th grade math teacher in the Groton Public School’s system. She loves teaching and modeling lessons to meet the individual needs of her students and uses an activities based approach to learning to ensure her students create their own models for understanding. Lisa is compassionate, understanding, and dedicated to education.
Lisa has been happily married for 18 years and has four children. She and her family have been active members of the church congregation for sixteen years. Lisa has also been a member of the Christian Education Committee, a military wife for 20 years, and is the Treasurer of Groton Little League. She is very excited to step into her new role and work with your children.
Each Sunday during Sunday School, she will focus instruction on following the ways of Jesus and teaching children how to be active followers in their own lives. Lessons will be activity based so that children will be able to share them with their families and the congregation. Her lessons will also involve reaching beyond the church and tapping into community resources. The main goal will be to have fun and the share the wisdom about Jesus.
Youth Group Director
Growing up in the church, Rachel is excited to give back by creating and running the youth group. The youth group meets weekly, with an event once a month. Rachel is here to help the youth grow in faith and encourages them to question and challenge scripture and support them along their journey. She creates a fun learning environment for grades 8 through 12.