In 1980, the Rev. Dr. John Sandel moved from the West coast to Milford, Connecticut. Sandel had been ordained into ministry in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and served two churches, but then also received training and certification in pastoral counseling before moving east.

Sandel connected with three U.C.C. pastors in the Milford area who encouraged Sandel to start a practice where area faith communities could refer parishioners to receive licensed pastoral counseling.

A year later, in 1981, the Milford Pastoral Counseling Center (MPCC) was registered as a non-profit, with a board comprised of nearby faith communities (those communities have come from U.C.C./Congregational, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Methodist backgrounds). Ever since, the MPCC’s mission has been to offer counseling that resonates with religious and spiritual traditions and offers hope to people through talk therapy.

Later that year, the Center found an office on the second floor of the First United Church of Christ, Congregational, in Milford’s Plymouth Building.

Soon after MPCC’s founding, the board created the Good Samaritan Fund to help people with financial limitations to afford counseling. The MPCC has primarily offered individual and couples counseling, as well as occasional group sessions such as Power of Two marital communication workshops.

Over the years, other licensed therapists and counselors have been involved, most notably Rev. Allie Perry, who remains connected to MPCC. But Sandel has been the mainstay at the MPCC for almost four decades.

Sandel is retiring at the end of September 2020, but the MPCC board has come to an agreement with Rev. Mary Browne to take on clients in addition to Rev. Allie Perry. The board, which currently consists of representatives from member faith communities, intends to spend 2021 visioning the next chapter of its mission.

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