The Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian is the Senior Pastor of the Haydenville Congregational Church—and proud and happy to serve in that role! Pastor Andrea was called to the HCChurch in June 2005. She has had the great joy of watching the church grow steadily as she has served as Pastor, and also seeing the beautiful, old church restored to its former glory.
Prior to coming to the Haydenville Congregational Church, Pastor Andrea served as Dean of Religious Life at Mount Holyoke College for ten years—there she helped create a vibrant interfaith and ecumenical community with nine active faith groups on the campus, all thriving, when she left in 2005. Before her time at Mount Holyoke College, Pastor Andrea was the Director of Communitas, Inc. a non-profit organization that provided anti-racism education and training nationwide. In that role, Andrea crisscrossed the country giving lectures and leading seminars in 36 states.
Pastor Andrea is the editor of PSALMS IN ORDINARY VOICES (White River Press, 2011) and the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and educational materials. She also writes for the Daily Hampshire Gazette—since 2011 she has written a monthly column on the intersection of faith, culture and politics.
Pastor Andrea is a long-time activist for peace, social justice, LBGT civil rights and civil liberties, and environmental sustainability. She is one of the co-founders of Religious Witness for the Earth and, in 2007, co-led the Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue. She and dozens of others walked across Massachusetts leading programs on climate change each night in different communities across the state. Pastor Andrea also led the Interfaith Pilgrimage to Stop the War prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003—that group also walked across the state of Massachusetts.
Radicalized as a student at Oberlin College during the Vietnam War, Pastor Andrea credits those turbulent years with making her a feminist, peace activist, and war tax resister.
Pastor Andrea also holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Graduate School of the Union Institute, Duke University, and Yale Divinity School.
Pastor Andrea’s family includes author Michael Klare and their grown son Sasha Klare-Ayvazian who is a musician. Andrea and Michael live in Northampton, MA where they enjoy the vibrant arts community. Pastor Andrea is a singer and songwriter with three CDs in circulation, she is also a published poet.
Rev. Chris Mereschuk
Pastor Chris joined the Haydenville Congregational Church as Associate Pastor on August 18, 2013. Ordained in 2007 after attending Andover Newton Theological School, Chris has served churches in Hartford and Glastonbury Connecticut and New Orleans, Louisiana. He also served as the Summer Director of Silver Lake Conference Center, the Connecticut UCC’s Outdoor Ministry site.
Chris is the husband of Lila (pronounced Lee-luh), who is the financial controller of a growing non-profit based in Hadley. Together they have a spirited and blessing-filled 4½-year-old daughter, Izabel. Chris and his family live in Northampton, and simply love the Pioneer Valley for all of its beauty, passion, and people.
Some other “Get-to-Know-You” snippets about Pastor Chris: Attended Northeastern University (Sociology and Psychology); used to work in Community Mental Health; loves to cook; plays drums and harmonica; enjoys reading non-fiction; watches too much TV; carries his favorite art with him at all times; is committed to radical non-violence and restorative justice; loves music; and prefers to go by “Chris.” We’ll leave some other stuff to-be-discovered!