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The Raymond Trust & Fellows

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 years past, the church would employ a full-time “Raymond Minister” to serve a local congregation in a time of transition or acute pastoral need.  Thanks to the efforts of the Trustees of the endowment, “Raymond Fellows” can be preaching at multiple churches on any given week throughout the state.  The mission envisioned by Deacon Raymond lives on in a new and dynamic way, that allows seminarians to continue to grow and develop as preachers, while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ more expansively than ever before. 

The Raymond Fellows

The Raymond Trustees offer $12,000 preaching fellowships to several Yale Divinity School students each year. Raymond Fellows commit to a more rigorous study of preaching as a pastoral discipline. Fellows then go out to preach at churches needing pulpit supply in Connecticut, free of charge throughout the academic year.
For more information about this ministry, to apply for a Raymond Preaching Fellowship, or to request a Raymond Fellow to offer pulpit supply at your church, please contact Laurel Carr at

Ten Rules for Effective Preaching

A good sermon is a work of art, and this brief instructional video will assist both the aspiring and seasoned preacher to further enhance their craft. 

Kelly Leather Antonson

M.Div, Second Year, Yale Divinity School 2025

A native of New Jersey, Kelly presently lives in New Canaan and works as the Senior Youth Director for The Congregational Church of New Canaan. Kelly graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield in 2011, where she led a number of service programs, served as Student Body President and also became involved in The Congregational Church of New Canaan. Upon graduation, Kelly was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Albania to pilot a program using e-readers in Albanian schools. Since returning home in 2012, Kelly has worked in fundraising, first for Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County and most recently for Inspirica Inc. in Stamford. Along with her duties at the church, she is attending Yale Divinity School as a second-year student.

Antonio Vargas, Jr.

M.Div, Second Year, Yale Divinity School 2025

Antonio Vargas, Jr. is the product of both a Puerto Rican household and of New England winters, most recently serving as Church of the City’s English Pastor in New London, Connecticut. A second-year Master of Divinity student, Antonio is a Raymond Preaching Fellow and focuses his scholarship on religious education and organizational leadership for the local church to practice and express a liberating Christian faith.

David Stuart

M.Div, Second Year, Yale Divinity School 2025

Dave recently retired as a partner at the New York City law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he spent most of his 28-year legal career.  Upon his retirement from Cravath, he began serving as Special Pro Bono Counsel at the firm overseeing the Incarcerated Survivors’ Initiative — an award-winning program he founded to represent incarcerated survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence, including while imprisoned, in matters that include resentencing, parole applications and civil rights violations.  Dave is currently serving as the Seminarian at Southport Congregational Church in Southport, Connecticut.  He grew up in New Canaan, graduating from New Canaan High School in 1985.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, where he met his wife (Peggy).  He earned his law degree from New York University School of Law.  Dave and Peggy have two adult children and live with their dog, Obi, in Fairfield.