Get to know the leaders at our church!

Reverend E. Carl Howard


Reverend E. Carl Howard has decades of experience in the Pentecostal & Evangelical faith backgrounds. He served First Congregational Church of West Haven in the capacities of bridge and supply Pastor since November 2014, and he was the Associate Pastor of Dunbar Congregational Church, Hamden, Connecticut, from June of 2017 until his current call as settled Senior Pastor of this great church.


Carl is a graduate of Yale Divinity and the recipient of several Master's degrees from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.  Taking seriously the charge of the Resurrected Christ for all Believers to share their faith, Carl does so boldly and enthusiastically via the gifts of Pastoring, Teaching, and Evangelism. Carl unashamedly encourages everyone he communicates with to consider the goodness of our God and for them to prayerfully consider that there is a tremendous blessing associated with them having a personal relationship with Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, regardless of gender, cultural backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.  Carl’s passion is for the church of the living God to be vibrant and lively as we engage the world with the liberating power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Carl also has active interests in the martial arts, physical fitness, guitar, the application of biblical concepts to law and advance debt management strategies.  Carl’s coined motto:

“Look what Love, done; done™”

is reflective of his theology that God can change and touch the lives of ANY PERSON for the better if they would only believe that Jesus is able!


Married, more than 30 years to his wife, Belinda, he’s humbled to have such a wonderful woman as his helpmate.


If you would like to reach out and contact Rev Carl his email is: revcarl@fccwesthaven.org

Kirsten Vargo

Interim Director of Christian Education

Kirsten is serving as the Interim Director of Christian Education and is Chair of the Board of Christian Education. Kirsten is responsible for assisting with the planning, development and implementation of the Church's Christian Education program. Kirsten is a regular volunteer at Church events such as the annual festivals, dinners, and youth events. Kirsten also enjoys being a Sunday School teacher.


Kirsten is married to fellow Church member Chris, and their son Mikey is part of the Sunday School class.


Kirsten can be contacted via email: kvargo@fccwesthaven.org


Jessica Plude

Director of Music

Jessica Plude is the Music Director/Organist at the First Congregational Church of West Haven.  She graduated from Ithaca College (Ithaca, New York) in 2015 and has a degree in Music/Piano and a minor in Psychology.  During her time at Ithaca, Jessica explored her love and interest in film compositions/ soundtracks.  Jessica composed original soundtracks for seven student films.

Jessica was also a member of her High School Marching Band. In 2008 she had the honor and privilege to march at Obama’s Inauguration with the Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching Band.  Jessica also likes to compose piano arrangements for dancers.  As a senior in high school, she composed and performed with the Trumbull High School World Guard in their show, ‘Hope’, a show about Cancer awareness.  In 2016, she composed again for Alter Ego, an Independent Color Guard group.

Besides playing at the Church, Jessica teaches private piano and guitar lessons.  She is a Steinway Certified Piano Teacher.  She also enjoys playing at weddings, funerals, special occasions, and gigging.  Throughout the week, Jessica is a substitute teacher in the city of Bridgeport.  Lastly, Jessica enjoys swimming.  She was a part of her college’s swim club and has participated in the St. Vincent’s Swim Across the Sound for the past two years (2016, 2017).  The event is a fundraiser for the victims of breast cancer.  Jessica plans on swimming for the event for a third time this summer.

Currently, Jessica is pursuing her Master’s in Counseling with Music Therapy at the University of Lesley stationed in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Phil Liscio

Facilities Manager

Phil Liscio is married to lifetime Church Member Janet Husmer Liscio.  They have two daughters, Courtney and Lauren.  Currently, Phil is employed by Yale University and our church serving in the facilities manager.


Phil has served on Board of Trustees, Chaired the Stewardship Committee, and currently is the Moderator.


The Liscio family founded Westies Care, Inc., a non-profit grassroots community service outreach that has a mission to serves those most in need.




Cathy Sabatino


Email: office@fccwesthaven.org