Pastor Gene Ott

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Deacon Deb Clifford

On May 7th the Staff Parish Relations (SPR) committee unanimously and enthusiastically approved the plan to hire Deb Clifford as a part time staff member of SUM. Deb was commissioned by Bishop Thomas Bickerton at the Annual Conference of NYAC on June 8th. Effective July 1st Reverend Deborah J. Clifford will serve alongside Pastor Gene as a deacon.

Deacons* are clergy called to fulfill servant ministry in the world and lead by bridging the church to the world. Deacons give leadership in the church’s life in teaching and proclaiming the Word; in contributing to worship; in forming and nurturing spirit-filled followers of Jesus; in embodying the church’s mission to the world; and leading the congregation in interpreting the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world.

Deb’s experience in organizational effectiveness, diversity & inclusion, change management, and leadership development make her uniquely qualified to fulfill her call in the area of congregational development and church revitalization.

Some of the responsibilities Deb will fulfill in her role include: developing strong leadership to support SUM growth, representing SUM in the community, assisting Pastor Gene during Sunday worship, and more. While Deb will not be an Associate Pastor, she will be fulfilling many of the same responsibilities that will support Pastor Gene.


Deb Reid - Office Manager

Deb joined SUM in March, 2019 as our Office Manager. She works directly with Pastor Gene and provides support to various ministries & committees. Deb has a Marketing Degree from the University of Hartford and has held several marketing positions over the course of her career. Her last position was in promotional marketing where she ran auctions for various fundraising events. Deb loves to dance and teaches jazz/hip-hop part time at Terpsichore Dance & Theatre Co. in Simsbury. Deb lives in Granby with her husband, John and son, Travis. 


Erin Ott - Youth Director

Erin Ott joined the SUMC team as the Youth Director in November of 2018. She was born and raised in New York, but relocated to Simsbury last year with her husband, two kids, and a bunch of pets. Erin’s focus in our youth group is on community and fellowship, and as such, she encourages her youth members to be in community with one another, their church, and their world outside church walls.


Bridget Scarlato - Music Director

Bridget is a native New Yorker and has been living in Connecticut since getting her Masters degree in vocal performance from The Hartt School. She is a Yankees fan lost in a sea of Red Sox fanatics. Bridget currently works at SUM as the Music Director where she gets to work with some pretty awesome musicians.  She directs the Chancel Choir, Chancel Ringers, Children’s Choir, Wesley Ringers, Insigni Ringers, and also oversees and organizes a bunch of musical activities within the church. 

Whether it’s making music, listening to music, or teaching music, Bridget has a home in music and loves sharing her passion with others. When not at SUM, Bridget also teaches at Manchester Community College and cantors and plays organ at some Catholic churches in the area. Bridget lives in Windsor with her husband Stephen and three great kids. She is also a vegan and occasionally wows the choirs with vegan baked goods. 


Dorothy Cowles- Contemporary Music Director

Dorothy, also a native of New York (but from “upstate”) grew up near the beautiful Mohawk Valley.  She launched her musical journey with piano lessons at the age of 8, and accompanied her first choir concert as a 6thgrader. Knowing she wanted a career in music, Dorothy pursued a double major in piano performance (BM) and music ed. (BS)from Penn State and went on to get her MMusEd from Hartt School of Music. It was at Penn State that she began playing the organ as well. 

With her varied training, Dorothy has taught music at all grade levels (The Ethel Walker School and St. Gabriel School in Windsor) and held church organist/choir director positions (Middletown United Methodist Church, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church)

Having been associated with SUM since the 90’s, Dorothy directed the children, youth and contemporary music ministries for the past 18 years and is currently enjoying a much less hectic schedule directing the CAYA Worship Team.

Dorothy sings with Gaudeamus, part of the Joyful Noise/Chorus Angelicus organization based in Torrington, and is a hired accompanist for many choirs and schools.


Kari Magg - Organist

Kari Miller began her musical life with piano lessons at the age of five. Organ lessons came some years later, and Ms. Miller held her first church position and gave her first organ recital while still a teenager, in her native state of Washington. She pursued her advanced training as a pianist, attending The Curtis Institute of Music and Indiana University, where she earned a Masters and DM in piano performance.

Kari’s life as a church musician has included directing choirs and bell choirs and organizing programs of all kinds - as Director of Music and organist at Central Baptist Church in Hartford from 2007-2016, and as Interim Director of Music at South Church (UCC/Baptist) in New Britain in 2017-2018. But it is organ-playing that she finds most satisfying, and she presides at the SUM organ console with joyful enthusiasm.

Kari is an active member of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and frequently appears on the chapter’s annual Pipescreams concerts and other area events. She resides in Winsted, where she tends a large perennial garden and enjoys her three Siamese cats.  


Jody Swan- Church School Coordinator

Originally from the Boston area, Jody has lived in Connecticut for the last twenty years. She resides in Simsbury with her husband Steve, sons Noah and Cameron along with their two dogs. 

Jody obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Lynchburg College in Virginia. Prior to raising her family, Jody worked at the University of Saint Joseph as a student liaison in the Graduate Admissions Office. 

Jody has been working as the SUM Church School Coordinator since May 2017.  She feels it is a privilege to be an integral part of the children’s spiritual formation. It’s exciting to see children grow in their faith walk with God. Jody also operates a flower arrangement business as well as being an associate at Sweet Beastie’s, a local pet care business. 

Jody enjoys spending time outdoors, working out, singing with CAYA, and spending time with family.