Our Parish House languished during COVID because it could not be used by the church and the community safely. Plans to have Rev. Steve Miller and his wife Jill Tyler come to Jaffrey for candidating weekend in mid-October spurred members to dream of renovating this space. There was just enough time to add newer “gently used” furniture, plants, and other accents, thanks to Ed and Dee Poole, Marcia Breckenridge, Linda Giragosian, and Nancy Elder-Wilfrid and Dan Wilfrid.

 More planning and brainstorming culminated in the big project this past week – painting the Parish Hall!

 A report by Pam Hill, who has spearheaded this effort follows:  (Please see attached pictures of our “progress”)

Monday: Dan Wilfrid, Lisa Giragosian, Pat Harmon, Bruce Hill and myself met at 9 AM to begin work. Bruce stayed long enough to help Dan and Lisa move furniture to the center of the room emptying the bookcases of books so they could be moved. Pictures came down, switch plates removed, valances unscrewed and taken down. Bruce then left, and the four of us began “cutting in,” a big job in a big room with many windows and doors. Soon Pat and Dan began using the roller while Lisa and I worked on the contrasting wall. We were finished on that day by 2 PM – all walls had received one coat of paint.

 Tuesday: Dan beat us all by arriving at 8:30, and by the time Lisa and I arrived he had cut in and painted 2/3 of the room!  Lisa and I helped finish the painting, and then we started cleaning up: paint brushes, rollers, drop clothes, etc. Lisa vacuumed each valance separately and they look much brighter.  She then vacuumed the floor. A worker bee that one!  All framed pictures were cleaned as well.

We went home for lunch and reconvened at 3 PM to hang pictures, vacuum, clean, put furniture back, replace all switch plates with new white ones, replaced wire with less visible fishing line to hang Carol’s photos and clean some more. Everything is put away except books from the bookcase. 

We were surprised we finished in two days. The walls are so bright with nary a scratch or tack hole. Overall, the room looks cleaner, brighter, neater and we think presentable enough to rent for a function. We’re asking everyone not to use tape or tacks to hang a paper on the wall. Dan Wilfrid purchased paint and supplies through a grant, and the labor was free.

An exciting project made possible with great colleagues. 

Click Image for larger view 


Rev. Steve Miller
And Wife Dr. Jill Tyler

The Rev. Steve G. Miller started his ministry at The First Church in Jaffrey in January 2022, after a unanimous vote of approval by the congregation in October of 2021 when he visited and conducted worship. His wife, Dr. Jill Tyler, will join him in the First Church parsonage after she retires in May as professor and chair of the University of South Dakota (USD) Communications Department. Currently Leah and Luke Summit (Steve and Jill’s daughter and son-in-law) and the Summit’s two boys are staying with Miller while the young family looks for a house in the greater Boston area.

“I am very excited about getting to know all the people in Jaffrey, the church and the wider Jaffrey community!  I’ve met neighbors walking my dog and playing in front of the parsonage with my two grandsons, who are ages 2-1/2 and nine months.”  Miller confessed: “I’m a bit of a schmoozer.”

For the past 26 years Miller was the senior pastor at the United Church of Christ-Congregational in Vermillion SD.  Originally a New Englander, Miller grew up in  Worcester, MA, in what is now the United Congregational Church.  Miller shared, in his first Sunday leading worship at First Church: “I used to come up here to climb Monadnock as a kid.  It’s like returning home.  I love the mountains, the trees, the ponds and rivers – it’s beautiful here.”

A man of many interests, Miller spent five years studying Lakota spirit, language and music. He invited the Lakota community to hold sacred ceremonies at the UCC church. Speaking for the Lakota community during a farewell gathering honoring Miller, one participant observed that he and Steve have been friends for years and call each other “Kola,” the Lakota term for brother.

At this same event Miller was honored by the Vermillion Community Theatre with a poster of six photos of him in community theater productions that was headlined “Actor, Playwright, Songwriter, Musician, Director of Spirit” in appreciation of his and the church’s support in helping the theater build a center for performing arts at the Vermillion high school.  A devoted baseball fan, Miller was a leader of the Vermillion Youth Baseball Association for players 5 to 12 for many years.

The title of teacher also belongs in Miller’s repertoire, as demonstrated by his popular “World Religions” course at the University of SD.   The University’s provost Kurt Hackemer observed that an important Miller offering was titled “The Pipe and the Cross,” about the intersection of Christianity and native spirituality. “So many students considered this THE great class, the best class that they ever had at USD,” the provost added.

Steve Miller graduated from Springfield College in 1981. He began studying at Yale Divinity School and transferred to the Pacific School of Religion, where he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1987.  He served churches in Bethlehem, CT and Gilman, IA before going to Vermillion in 1995. Rev. Miller has also been involved with Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality in Oak Park, IL for more 30 years through retreats, conferences, and classes.

Please come to First Church in Jaffrey at 10:30 on Sundays and meet Steve Miller!

Gene Faxon
Minster of Music

Gene brings his experience with teaching music and his expertise on the organ, piano, and harpsichord. He leads the choir as well as organizes special musical worship and other church events. Gene is also an accomplished recorder player.  During the pandemic Gene and three ladies have become a harmonious quartet.  We enjoy their offerings on multiple occasions during our services.  The congregation joins this group in singing Taize chants and hymns selected from the Pilgrim Hymnal and the New Century Hymnal.

Judy Lessard
Administrative Assistant

Judy brings her corporate experience. Working with our pastor and music minister, she creates the worship bulletins, sends out e-blasts, and monitors phone calls and church email. Working with our treasurer, she maintains the QuickBooks database and generates financial reports. Working with the communications team, she creates, prints, and distributes the church newsletter.


In late January 2022, First Church heartily welcomed (bottom row)  Roy Lake, Pam Hill,  David Bliss and Janet Grant as new Trustees.  Nancy Elder-Wilfrid is the new Clerk and in the top row is Ann St. Cyr Gordon (Treasurer) and Sam Greene Moderator.


Sam Greene, Moderator
Ann Gordon, Treasurer
Nancy Elder-Wilfrid, Clerk


David Bliss
Janet Grant
Pam Hill
Roy Lake
Tom Warren
Dan Wilfrid