Gathered 1712 | Meeting House 1849 | Center for Christian Education 1987


The Reverend Stephen C. Washburn

Intentional Interim Senior Pastor

Meet Interim Senior Pastor Stephen Washburn

On June 29 the Church Council affirmed our Interim Search Committee’s choice of the Rev. Stephen Washburn as Interim Senior Pastor.

His first day in our Office was Wednesday, July 6. Thanks to all who helped him move in. Thanks to all who have reached out to welcome him.

On Sunday, July 10, Co-Lead Deacon Jim Bement introduced Pastor Steve at the start of our Mission Sunday Service. On July 17 Regional CTUCC Minister the Rev. Tom Clough joined us in a Litany of Covenanting for our Interim Ministry and Pastor Steve will preached here for the first time.

Pastor Steve comes to us through the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. He has previously served as interim in ten other congregations in RI, MA, NH and CT. He was ordained in 1982. He trained for Intentional Interim Ministry in the United Church of Christ with the ecumenical Interim Ministry Network in 2000. Before specializing in transitional ministry, he pastored local churches in IL and MA, one as co-pastor with his spouse, the Rev. Dianne Arakawa.

In 2013 the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ chose Pastor Steve to facilitate one of their Clergy Communities of Practice for Interim Pastors. These groups offer continued education, provide collegial support and uphold clergy ethics. This group uses insights from Family Systems Therapy to help pastors minister more effectively in local church families. Pastor Steve continues leads this group in MA monthly, fall through spring.

Pastor Steve graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York City with an emphasis on the Bible and Church History. Earlier he received an A.B. in History from Haverford College (PA) and an M.A.T. from Wesleyan University (CT). For seven years he taught Social Studies in public and private schools in MA, PA and NY before preparing to become a pastor. Between teaching jobs he also volunteered for one year as a citizens’ lobbyist relating to issues of balanced public passenger transportation in eastern MA.

Pastor Steve’s favorite forms of exercise include bicycling and swimming. He learned to sail on Cape Cod. His regular spiritual practices include chant, centering prayer and spiritual direction. His personal interests include History, Classical music, Japanese film, nature and travel (especially railroads). For two summers while in graduate school, he helped to lead summer service projects staffed by international volunteers with low-income children in Glasgow, Scotland. Once a month he takes part in Spiritual Direction with a mentor with whom he has worked since 2009.

Interim Pastor Steve was raised in Sharon, MA, a suburb of Boston. For 38 years he has been married to the Rev. Dianne Arakawa. Originally from Honolulu, HI, also an intentional interim pastor in the UCC. Formerly she chaired the Transitional Ministry Committee of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. Recently she completed a transitional senior pastorate at the First Church of Christ, UCC, in Simsbury, CT. Rev. Dianne and Pastor Steve are blessed with an only son who graduated from college in June and has begun further studies.

Interim Pastor Steve’s typical work weeks will include Office Hours: Mondays through Wednesdays, Noon – 4 pm. He is also available by appointment. On most Thursdays he will be reading and writing for our ministry at his home. Fridays and Saturdays will usually be his time off. A typical work will average 40-50 hours, but vary according to need.

In addition to sustaining regular ministries, Pastor Steve will collaborate with the lay leadership to minister with our immediate needs for understanding and healing. When we are ready, he will coach us to address five special themes that promote healthy transition. These are: (1) learning about strengths and growing points in the history of our church, (2) caring for people as roles change, (3) visioning what God asks of us for the future of Christ’s ministry here, (4) reviewing and renewing local, denominational, ecumenical, and interfaith ties, and (5) preparing for healthy transition from interim to called pastor.

When asked why he chose to specialize in Intentional Interim Ministry, Pastor Steve commented, “During Interim Ministries church people face the departure of a significant spiritual leader and an unknown future. Interim Pastors invite people to deepen faith in God for learning and reawakening Christ’s ministry. It is a privilege to serve as a spiritual coach for change as people redevelop their faith during transition.” Pastor Steve is honored and eager to share Jesus’ ministry of healing and hope with us.

In case of pastoral emergencies if you do not connect with him in the office at 860-742-8487, then please reach Pastor Steve directly through cell phone # 617-645-3982.