The United Community Church, UCC, 1325 Main St., St. Johnsbury, has named Elisa Lucozzi as its first pastor. Formed 18 months ago, the new church immediately embarked on the search process for a settled pastor, with the Rev. Douglas Moore and the Rev. Joan Vincent providing interim leadership. At a Special Congregational Meeting held on Sept. 17, the congregation officially voted to name Lucozzi as its pastor. She will begin her ministry on Nov. 12, leading the 10 a.m. worship service.
Pastor Lucozzi is not new to the area or this congregation. She served North Congregational Church at the present United Community Church site as associate pastor for four years, beginning in October 2010. She held this position while finishing her seminary work at Andover Newton Theological College in preparation for ordination. In 2014, Pastor Lucozzi left her position at North Church to become the Advocacy Program Manager and Sexual Violence Specialist at Umbrella, a local organization supporting women and children in crisis. She was approved for ordination by the United Church of Christ in June of 2015. That service of ordination in conjunction with her official installation as the pastor of United Community Church will occur at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.
Pastor Lucozzi was born and raised in the Boston area. From a young age, she had felt a desire (calling) to ministry, but it wasn’t until she worked with the Rev. Nancy Richards, the chaplain at Lesley College, that she felt it was even a possibility. It was at this time that Pastor Lucozzi developed her passion for and advocacy and activist skills in support of social justice. In June of 2009 she and her spouse, Rosanne Hebert, moved to Vermont, where Hebert was the assistant director of Milarepa Buddhist Center in Barnet. Hebert is presently an RN at Kingdom Internal Medicine.
Four years ago North Congregational and South Congregational churches began seriously exploring the possibility of forming a new church together. In April of 2016, the new congregation officially became the United Community Church, UCC of St. Johnsbury. Pastor Lucozzi said she is excited about the new church, and the possibilities for its future.
Pastor Lucozzi said she wants to “… empower the congregation to ‘Be the Church’ in our community, not just in a building. We need to stop and take a breath and see and celebrate what United Community Church has accomplished so far and to acknowledge its gifts and challenges in order to move forward as a stronger body to do God’s will.”
The community is invited to Pastor Lucozzi’s first official service on Nov. 12.