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The Raymond Fund & Fellows

For the past four years, the Trustees of the Raymond Fund have been working to find ways to use the resources of the Raymond Trust to accomplish the desires of Deacon Raymond in creative ways and to honor his memory and will. 

The Raymond Trust

The Raymond Trust The Raymond Trust was given to our church in 1883 by Deacon William E. Raymond, a local businessman and committed member of The Congregational Church of New Canaan. The purpose of the gift was to make sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in underserved communities in Connecticut. In generations past, this meant hiring something like a “circuit-rider pastor” who would preach to, and serve, communities that did not have a pastor of their own. With Congregational churches established on nearly every town green in our state, the need for this form of ministry has not been as pressing a need. Also, over the years, the fund’s principal had been drawn down to the point where a minister could not be employed in financially sustainable ways. The efforts of the Trustees, most recently, William Gardner, John Crum, and John Banigan, has been to re-envision the use of the fund while increasing the value of the fund to allow for future ministry. I am thrilled to announce on behalf of the Trustees that this has been accomplished! The Raymond Fellows 

The Raymond Fellows

With the help of Gabriella Kiniry, now a Raymond Trustee, replacing William Gardner, the Norwalk Probate Court has agreed to a broader interpretation and use of the Trust, which has allowed us to offer $12,000 Raymond Fellowships to three Yale Divinity School students. Raymond Fellows commit to a more rigorous study of preaching as a pastoral discipline. They offer to preach at churches needing pulpit supply — free of charge — throughout the academic year.

Our first three Raymond Fellows: Natalie Owens-Pike, first year; Zak Carroll, second year; JaQuan Beachem, third year. It is our privilege to be working with these students, along with Kelly Morrissey from Yale Divinity School, Center of Continuing Education, as they continue to develop their homiletical skill and ability.

While our Raymond Fellows will be preaching primarily at other churches in Connecticut, they are all scheduled to be with us a couple of times during the year.

The Raymond Fund

was established under the will of Deacon William E. Raymond in 1883 to employ an orthodox evangelical clergyman of the Congregational Church. Currently our Raymond Fellows Program is answering this mission.

Raymond Fellow Zak Carroll

Zak Carroll

M.Div ’22, Yale Divinity School

A native of the Ozarks in Southwest Missouri, Zak is a recent but glad convert to the Northeast. After studying Politics and International Relations in college, Zak followed his call (and his wife) to Yale Divinity School, where they are both second-years pursuing their Master’s. Alongside his studies, Zak has enjoyed interning at the Congregational Church of New Canaan for the past two years, where he has been able to preach, help facilitate Confirmation, and work with the Children’s Ministry. A cradle Baptist, current Congregationalist, and enthusiast for wherever the Lord leads, Zak is passionate about sharing the Gospel and being an agent of change in others’ lives.”

The Fruit of Obedience: Hebrews 5:5-10
Thanksgiving, Even Now: Psalm 100

Raymond Fellow Natalie Owens-Pike

Natalie Owens-Pike

M.Div ’23, Yale Divinity School

Raised in Minneapolis, MN, Natalie and her husband Alex moved to New Haven this August to begin her path to UCC ministry at Yale Divinity School. Natalie was raised Unitarian Universalist and found belonging in the UCC after college. After graduating from Macalester College in 2011, Natalie became a teacher in rural Mississippi through the Teach for America program. She has worked for equity in education ever since, in both independent and public schools. She was most recently Executive Director of the Breakthrough Collaborative program in Minneapolis, providing academic enrichment for Minneapolis Public School students. While a member at Mayflower Church – Minneapolis, Natalie was a member of their Church Council and an Associate Minister Search Committee, a co-facilitator of the Mayflower Young Adults group, and a frequent summer guest preacher. Ministry has been on her heart for a long time, and her call to ministry is rooted in preaching. She loves to be a part of worship to proclaim what God is still speaking to us! She also loves to sing, cook, swim and canoe!

Seeking Creation in Holy Chaos: Genesis 1:1-11
When Holy Ground us Set Aflame: Exodus 3:1-6