Since 1996, Pedersen, an ordained deacon, has worked with people experiencing mental illness, addiction, homelessness and poverty. He has been noted for using creative and asset-focused approaches in helping people achieve healthy and meaningful lives in the community.
He is a staff member in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and former senior program director of the Community Services Network of Greater New Haven, where he has directed supportive housing and employment services and supervised chaplaincy and peer and family services. He has been a coordinator of community life at Fellowship Place, a facility that provides recovery support services.
He is deacon for New Haven, a post created in 2010 by the Episcopal Diocese serving eight parishes in the city. At the time of his appointment, Suffragan Bishop Laura J. Ahrens said Pedersen would work with the parishes to discern the mission of God and effectively connect with each other and with the dreams and challenges of the city.
He is a founding member of the Chapel on the Green, an outdoor service initiated in 2008 by Trinity Episcopal Church to serve the homeless and others who may not feel comfortable sitting in a church. Services are held year-round at 2 p.m. Sunday, followed by a shared lunch. Local clergy take part and area parishes provide the meals.
Pedersen demonstrates his commitment to young people by working with the Association for Episcopal Deacons on a nationwide initiative called The Seven, a mentored experience in servant ministry for persons age 18 to 30. Participants are engaged in hands-on spiritual and educational projects in their own communities. He also works with divinity students through the Yale Divinity School Supervised Ministry Program, encouraging them to become bridges between the church and the world.
Pedersen received his bachelor’s in liberal studies from the New School in New York, a master of arts in religion from Yale Divinity School and a certificate in Anglican studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.
His career path to ordained ministry began, after several years in the florist business, when he took a job as case manager at Garden House, a community residence for former homeless adults in New York City. It became a life-changing move for him.
Pedersen is married and has two children.
Further information about the award or the dinner can be obtained by contacting Dean Mark B. Pendleton at Christ Church Cathedral at 860-527-7231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.