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Congregation Council

John Helmke


Donna Connolly

Vice President

Donna is a lifelong and third generation member of Emanuel. Her parents were both very active members and she grew up here, as did her 3 children; attending Sunday school, VBS, confirmation and Camp Calumet. South Windsor is her hometown and she is a nurse at the West Hartford Surgery Center. At Emanuel she has enjoyed working with VBS, being a confirmation guide and assisting the parish nurse. In her free time I enjoy hiking, kayaking, yoga, and volunteering at the Bushnell.

Joe Berneski

Joe lives in Wethersfield with his great wife Danielle, and they have a wonderful 4 year old son Noah and two small dogs: Baby and Bella. He had a 20 year career in Sales Management for a few different organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, before having to retire early to focus on his health in 2013. He enjoys sports, movies, and travel. He joined Emanuel about 7 years ago through his wife. Her family has been members for generations. Emanuel has impressed Joe since his first visit in 2007. The members are welcoming, kind, and dedicated, and the church itself is gorgeous and well maintained with great music. A sense of family and community is always present. He's honored to serve such a special organization and believe Emanuel has a bright future.

Ann Cook

Ann has been a member of Emanuel since 2010 and is serving her second term on Council. She acts as Council liaison to the Finance Committee, sings with the Anthem Choir, is an active member of Ruth Circle and a board member and treasurer of Friends of Music at Emanuel chamber music series. She has a daughter and son, two granddaughters and a great grandson. Her interests include spending time with her family and friends, gardening, music, reading, animals, conservation causes, restoring vintage linens and traveling.

Joe Jauss

Joe is serving his second term on Council at Emanuel and has previously served as President. He has served at two prior church homes as Council President in both Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Joe and his family moved to Connecticut for a job relocation in 1998. Joe and his wife, Jane, have two daughters and a granddaughter here in Connecticut. Joe serves as a worship assistant, lector, lay preacher, a member of the New Day Singers, is enrolled in the New England Synod School of Lay Ministry and serves on the Synod Discipline Committee. Joe is employed as Market Manager for Power and Energy for the F.W. Webb Company. Greet him on Sunday mornings at the 10:30 AM service.

Julie Kamp

Steven Lazarus

Steven worked as a financial planner in the financial industry prior to working for the State of Connecticut in the health care field for the past 20 years. Steven joined Emanuel in 2014 just before getting married to his wife Mairead. He has been volunteering his time for the Connecticut State Employees Campaign for the Charitable Giving's for the past 5 years. Steven and his wife Mairead currently reside in Glastonbury with their two little girls, Ashling and Amalia.

Lisa Little

Lisa grew up and lives in East Hartford with her husband Berkley. Together they serve Emanuel in several different capacities. They both run the sound system for various events and Lisa is also the wedding coordinator and serves on the altar guild. They joined Emanuel when they got married in 1997 after coming from two different religious backgrounds. They feel lucky to have found such a welcoming church family and enjoy the diversity of the services. Lisa is an Administrative Assistant at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Kathy Purtell

Kathy Purtell has been a member of Emanuel for more than twenty years and is a member of the New Day Singers. She retired in 2016 after twenty-six years of teaching Family & Consumer Sciences, mostly at the middle school level. She lives in Hebron with her husband, Ray, who she met while working at Camp Calumet in 1973. They have two sons, Dan and Tim, who were both confirmed at Emanuel and served on the Calumet staff, as well. In addition to her family, Kathy's other interests include; travel, camping, wellness, reading, walking, swimming, and sewing.

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