Rev. Karen Eiler, Pastor
Though I am a native Hoosier, I have lived in the New York metropolitan area long enough that it feels like home--including a decade in South Norwalk, when I was a member of the Rowayton UMC! My undergraduate degree in foreign languages led to ten years in marketing and management at IBM, during which it never, ever occurred to me that I would end up as a pastor. I imagine God laughing as I worked here at RUMC as the pastor’s very part-time assistant (attempting to prove that God was mistaken in calling me), then as the Christian Education Director of a large program. To get God off my case, I finally made my way through Yale Divinity School. Loyal to my roots as a cradle Methodist, I have served churches in Ridgefield and Danbury CT, and White Plains, NY, before coming to Rowayton in July 2016. I am passionate about helping people connect with God and one another through high-quality and meaningful worship, engaging education opportunities, social justice and service work, and just plain having fun together. I have three young adult children, Andrew, Beth, and Anna—and a 7-year-old rescued Havanese named Henry. In my free time, I enjoy the arts as a participant and a spectator, and I love to travel, especially to places that can be explored on foot.
Brandi Hayden, Director of Music
Brandi has been serving Rowayton United Methodist Church as music director for some 30 years. She brings her passion for choral music to her direction of the Adult Choir, as well as Junior Choir. With husband Bill, Brandi is co-founder of the Good Folk Coffee House, a monthly venue for a variety of folk artists hosted here at RUMC.
John Dunkerley, Organist
John joined the Rowayton United Methodist Church staff in 2009, and the organ hasn't been the same since. John's career has spanned musical theatre to sacred music. He is a performer, teacher, and composer, bringing all those gifts to bear in the congregation. John lives in Rockland County, NY with his wife Harriett and their daughter, Rosella.
Lauriston Avery, Director of Five Mile River Nursery School
As a devoted member of RUMC, Lauriston was a founding parent of the Five Mile River Nursery School in 1987. Under her leadership, the Five Mile River Nursery School first became NAEYC Accredited in 2000. She serves early childhood programs in Norwalk as a member of the Norwalk Early Childhood Council, working on Transition to Kindergarten, and Professional Development programs for area children and early childhood professionals. She has served the church as chairperson of the Life and Ministry Council, choir member, Certified Lay Speaker and Lay Member to Annual Conference.
Sue Broadhurst, Administrative Assistant
Sue joined the Rowayton United Methodist Church staff in 2011. She formerly served in this capacity with our neighbor congregation, East Avenue UMC. Sue is a resident of Norwalk, where she can be found proudly supporting her grandchildren at all their activities.