The Rev. Dr. Bernard R. Wilson is the 35th Senior Minister of Norfield Congregational Church. Dr. Wilson is a retired Navy Chaplain who received numerous awards, medals and citations for his stellar military career of 22 years. Rev. Wilson served as the Executive Minister of The Riverside Church in the City of New York, and as the Interim Minister of the Briarcliff Manor Congregational Church in New York.
Dr. Wilson served as an Adjunct Preaching Professor at The New Brunswick Theological Seminary and at the Howard University School of Divinity for Continuing Education. He serves on the Board of Directors of the David andDovetta Wilson Scholarship Fund (DDWSF), a non-profit 501 © organization with his eight brothers and sisters (www.WilsonFund.org). DDWSF has awarded nine scholarships annually, since its inception in 1990. The Wilson Family was named "Family of the Year" by USA Today, "Heroes for America" by Reader's Digest and the Wilsons were featured in the NBC/AT&T special: Images and Realities the African-American Family. Three of his siblings are in full-time ministry; his sister, The Rev. Dr. Ruby Wilson, pastors the Safe Haven United Church of Christ in Queens, his brother, Commander Charles E. Wilson is a retired Navy chaplain and his sister Carolyn Blair is an Associate Minister serving a congregation in Maryland.
Dr. Wilson served as the first Chair of the United Church of Christ Board, the first unified governing body of the United Church of Christ. And he serves as the Police Chaplain for the Town of Weston.
Dr. Wilson holds the following degrees:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA), Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
- Masters of Divinity (MDIV), the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA
- Masters of Sacred Theology (STM), from Union Theological Seminary, New York City
- Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Salve Regina University, Newport, RI
- Doctor of Ministry (DMIN), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary South Hamilton, MA
The Rev. Dr. Wilson is married to the former Nereida Torres. Dr. Wilson and Nereida have two sons, Michael Bernard Wilson, a Naval Academy graduate, currently serving in the United States Navy, and Daniel Bernard Wilson, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is currently working for the Department of Defense. Bernard and Nereida are the proud grandparents of five, Mia Jean, Christopher, Samuel, Penelope, and Benjamin.
You can find a copy of The Rev. Dr. Bernard Wilson's book Meditations for Tough and Testing Times at Amazon.
Pastor Thomas C. Burke, Jr. was born and raised in Bethel, CT. He graduated from Bethel High School in 2007. He originally pursued a call to the Roman Catholic priesthood, but later chose to serve his country in the United States Marine Corps.
Following high school, Thomas enlisted and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of combat operations. After returning home from war, he searched for a new mission to improve his community here at home.
Making use of the G.I. Bill, Thomas returned to his studies, receiving a B.A. in Religious Studies and English from Sacred Heart University in 2014. During his return to academia, Thomas responded to the call he heard from God and began pursuing ministry in the United Church of Christ.
His ministry has inspired him to begin a non-profit, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, training veterans on how to become policy advocates, whose initiatives have resulted in the passage of laws at the local, state, and federal level. Most recently, Thomas’ lobbying in Hartford resulted in a law that provides tuition waivers at all public universities for vulnerable veterans.
Thomas graduated from Yale Divinity School in 2018 after serving at Yale as the President of the Yale Student Veterans Council, and as Chair of the Ivy League Veterans Council, among many other service opportunities. Always seeking to improve his community and empower those around him, Thomas is thrilled to be growing in love and faith, serving at Norfield as the Associate Minister of Children, Youth, and Families.
Dr. David H. Connell
Director of Music and Worship
David H. Connell, D.M.A. is Norfield's Director of Music, Artist-in-Residence and Ministry Associate for Faith Formation.
David is a lifelong church musician and teacher who has served at Norfield since 2007. As artist-in-residence his contributions to Norfield have included musical performances, composing, visual art and design, preaching, worship leadership and gardening.
As Ministry Associate for Faith Formation he leads our Big Bible Reads and helps coordinate and lead the Soul Food Series, and other opportunities for education at all age levels.
David earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and taught on its faculty for eleven years. He brings to Norfield his experience leading worship in many denominations, serious theological study, and dedication to the task of deepening the congregation’s understanding of scripture and the faith.
David is also in his fifteenth season on the faculty of the North Carolina Governor’s School (West) in Winston-Salem, leading the choral program for gifted high school students from across that state.
Director of Christian Education
Penny Anderson has been Norfield’s Director of Christian Education since 1986. She taught Sunday school since she was in high school, and oversees Sunday school classes for every grade level through eighth grade, as well as infant and preschool childcare during services. She also works with the church’s Board of Christian Education.
With the goal of teaching children to love God and follow the ways of Jesus, she helps choose and adapt a curriculum that is taught throughout the year, sometimes creating special multi-grade-level programs, or themed sessions using crafts as teaching tools.
Each week, 75 to 85 children attend Norfield’s education programs.
Ms. Anderson resides in Weston, having moved here from Maine where she grew up. She holds a degree in Education from the University of Maine. Her four children attended Weston Public Schools and all now live a drivable distance from her home. She has five grandchildren.
Religious Program Specialist (Rp) Master Chief
(Surface Warfare/Air Warfare/Fleet Marine Force (Retired))
Master Chief Cumming was raised in Brooklyn, New York and entered the Navy 24 January 1983. He completed Recruit Training in Great Lakes, Illinois with Company 905. His first duty assignment was Amphibious Construction Battalion Two in Little Creek, Virginia were he served as a Boatswains Mate Third Class for Red Team Two from May 1983 until August 1986 and earned his GED High School diploma. During his tour he deployed on USS LAMOURE COUNTY LST-1194 to Honduras and USS SAGINAW LST-1188 to Beirut, Lebanon.
He then attended Religious Program Specialist "A" School in Treasure Island, California and graduated in October 1986 as class Honor Graduate. His first duty assignment as a Religious Program Specialist Third Class was Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico from October 1986 until October 1990. During his tour he received his Associates Degree in General Studies from Central Texas College and was promoted to Religious Program Specialist Second Class. His next assignment was Naval Station New York on Staten Island from October 1990 until October 1993 - there he was promoted to Religious Program Specialist First Class and completed his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration. His next duty assignment was USS NASSAU LHA-4 from November 1993 until April 1997. During his tour he made two major deployments to the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and across the equator off the coast of Africa. He was also involved in numerous operations such as Agile Provider, Sentinel Lifeguard, Purple Star, Guardian Retrieval and Silver Wake. He received both his Surface Warfare and Air Warfare Insignias. During this tour he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. His next assignment was Naval Medical Center Portsmouth from May 1997 to January 2000 - there he served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for Pastoral Care Services and for one year as President of the Chief Petty Officer's Association. He completed Chaplains/RPs Expeditionary Skills (CREST) training in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and earned NEC 2401. During this tour he was promoted to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. His next assignment was to Second Marine Division in Camp Lejeune as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Division Chaplain. During this tour he has earned his Fleet Marine Force Warfare Insignia and was promoted to Master Chief Petty Officer. His next assignment was to Naval Station Norfolk from December 2002 to September 2003 as the Leading Chief Petty Officer for the Chaplain Department. During this brief tour he was selected for assignment as the Fleet RP for the Commander, U. S. Pacific Fleet. During his tour as Fleet RP and COCOM RP, he earned his Masters Degree in Public Administration from Webster University and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. His next assignment was Command Master Chief for the Chief of Navy Chaplains in Washington, DC. During this tour he developed occupational standards, career roadmap, accession and conversion requirements, policy, scope, functional areas, and selection board brief for the RP rating, he earned the Meritorious Service Medal. Master Chief Cumming last assignment on active duty was serving on the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet as the Pacific Fleet RP. During this tour he expertly crafted a detailed plan for Chaplaincy in the Pacific Fleet by placing our Sailors as the first priority by putting Chaplains and Religious Program Specialists back on the deck-plates onboard our warships. Master Chief Cumming, (USN-Retired) currently is the Administrator of Norfield Congregational Church a Non-Profit Organization in Weston, Connecticut.
Master Chief Cumming's military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (1 gold star), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1 gold star), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4 gold stars), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Navy "E", Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Fleet Marine Force Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Ribbon, and the United States Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon.
Teri holds a Master's Degree in Sociology (Magna cum Laude) from Fordham University and two Bachelor's Degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from Central Connecticut State University. Her strong relationship-building expertise, a dynamic knowledge of public relations, and a motivating forward momentum to "get things done" through a collaborative approach served her well throughout her professional careers. Teri served as Academic Services Director for a privately owned tutoring and test prep agency in the lower Fairfield Country area and prior to that, she assumed the role as Parent Coordinator for the Norwalk Magnet Schools where she spearheaded the development of parenting workshops, an educational speaker series, school climate assessments and school-wide events. Teri worked with children as a Special Education Paraprofessional and as Production Director for the Weston Middle School Short Wharf Theater Program. Previous to this, Teri was nationally recruited by National Families in Action in Atlanta, Georgia as Parent Leader for the Weston Public Schools where she maintained a key role in the nation's largest federal grant program, National Parent Corps. Teri was the national spokesperson for NPC and conducted educational forums on both the local and state levels regarding the dangers of drugs and alcohol on the developing adolescent brain. She worked collaboratively with the White House Office on National Drug Control and Policy, National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Corporation for National and Community Service and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Teri devotes her leisure time to serving on boards of philanthropic organizations, most notably the as Founder and President of Berni & Murcer – Friends for Life, inspired by her son, Aaron's diagnosis with a rare form of brain cancer. Each day, she is filled with a tremendous sense of passion, purpose, and gratitude for the opportunity to make a transformative difference in the lives of children and families diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. She served on the boards and as a member of the National Association of Women, the CT Challenge for Survivorship, Weston PTO, Weston BOE Strategic Planning Committee, Nursing and Home Care, NYU Family Advisory Council, Northeast Children’s Theater Company, Weston Food Pantry, Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and as the Past President of both ADAP of Weston and the Weston Young Women's Club. Teri earned the prestigious recognition of being honored with the Governor's Prevention Partnership Award, the Volunteer Action Council Award, the 2009 Town of Weston Citizen of the Year, the 2009 Kiwanis International Humanitarian Award, 2009 News 12 Hometown Hero, and the 2014 Ladies Who Launch Scholarship Award. Teri is a proud mother of two sons and is an avid sports fan, namely the New York Yankees and enjoys traveling, exercising, cooking and entertaining with family and friends.