About Our Ministers

CLICK HERE for Our Staff.


Rev. Dr. John T. Morehouse
Senior Minister
(203) 227-7205 ext. 12

Rev. Dr. John Morehouse is a fifth generation Unitarian (one of his great-grandfathers was a Unitarian minister) and he grew up in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Croton-on-Hudson, NY. After graduating in anthropology from Grinnell College, Iowa in 1979, he started a solar energy business, and later held several positions in sales and marketing before feeling the call to ministry. He graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1990 and was ordained that year.

Rev. John’s first ministry was at First Unitarian Church, South Bend, IN. From 1994-2005 he served as Senior Minister of the UU Congregation of Frederick, MD. There he led the congregation through a three-fold increase in membership and budget, and a five-year multi-million dollar building campaign. From 2005-2015, Rev. John was Senior Lead Minister of Pacific Unitarian Church, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Under his leadership, the congregation grew in size by more than 50% and its budget doubled. In 2008, it was recognized by the UUA as a “Breakthrough Congregation.”

Rev. John is well known as a leader in the UU movement. He is an Adjunct Professor and Teaching Pastor at Meadville Lombard Theological School, where he has taught courses in congregational polity and actively mentors intern ministers. He has completed his doctorate of ministry (graduated May, 2015), and his thesis “Creating Theology Together: A Curriculum for Spiritual Leadership” is focused on helping church leaders develop their shared theology. Rev. John is also board president and senior consultant of the Chalice Oak Foundation, an organization he founded to incubate and grow UU social justice programs.

Rev. John and his wife, Francis, have been married for 30+ years. They have five daughters, Portia, Fiona, Courteny, Emma, and Madeline, and three grandchildren, Skye, Iris, and Ashur.

thompson emberling 80 Rev. Ed Thompson
Minister of Music
(203) 227-7205 ext. 18

Edward Thompson, D.M.A., has been at this Church since 1978.  He holds a Masters Degree from the Juilliard School and his Doctorate from the University of Hartford.  Dr. Thompson is a past Dean of the Fairfield West Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and has concertized throughout the United States and Europe.  In addition, he teaches privately, coaches, composes and accompanies throughout the area.  He is an active member of the Unitarian-Universalist Musician’s Network.

debrah haffner Rev. Debra Haffner 
Community Minister

Debra W. Haffner was ordained and endorsed as a community minister by this congregation on May 24, 2003. She is currently the Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing.

Debra has a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, a Masters of Public Health from the Yale School of Medicine, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. She did her ministerial internship at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester and clinical pastoral education at Norwalk Hospital.

Debra and her husband, Ralph Tartaglione, have been members in Westport since 1989. They have two children, Alyssa and Gregory.

CLICK HERE for information about Community Ministry.

Hall Emberling 80

 Rev. Frank Hall
Minister Emeritus

Frank Hall was called to this congregation in 1984, after serving a Unitarian Universalist church in Attleboro, Massachusetts, where he was ordained in 1972.

He has a Master of Theology degree from Boston University.  His undergraduate degree is from Salem State College, and a Master’s in Education from Northeastern University in Boston.  He taught at Wellesley High School from 1962-69, when he entered seminary.

Frank has two grown children, Jonathan and Susan, two grandchildren, Alex and Hannah, and he lives in Westport with his wife, Lory Nurenberg and his step-daughter, Carlyn.