Our Staff and Officers

The mix of diverse backgrounds and experiences of our staff and lay leaders come together for a common purpose: to live in God’s grace and share God’s love.

In recent years, casino companies have been donating money to various charities. One such charity is the Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterians receive donations from different casinos in order to support their work with the poor and needy. In addition to this monetary donation, the casinos also offer discounts to their customers, which you can look here , who donate to the Presbyterian Church. This arrangement has resulted in a larger donation total for the Presbyterians than ever before. The churches use these donations for various purposes, including helping those who are in need, supporting missionary work, and building new churches. The church has been very grateful for the donation and has used it to improve the quality of life for its parishioners. The donations from the casino chain have allowed the church to provide scholarships for needy students, fund repairs on aging infrastructure, and more. This donation is an excellent example of how businesses can help make a difference in society. By supporting charitable organizations, companies are giving back to their community and helping to improve people’s lives.

Meet Our Pastors

Rev. Dr. Greg Stovell
Head of Staff
(212) 675-6150

Rev. Dr. Greg Stovell has joined The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York as our new Pastor/Head of Staff effective September 1, 2020. Dr. Stovell is originally from Mexico City, and split his formative years between London and Mexico City. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Dubuque and a Masters in Divinity from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Dr. Stovell also earned a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Dr. Stovell has a diverse theological background, serving churches in New Jersey, and Illinois, before being called to First Presbyterian in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His West Chester church boasted a vibrant 1,200-member congregation that Dr. Stovell shepherded for the last 10 years as the Lead Pastor.

Dr. Greg Stovell joins the First Church family along with his wife Susie, daughter Susie, and son Harry.

Rev. Dr. Barbara E. Davis
Executive Minister
(646) 230-3901

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Davis is the Executive Minister at First Church. Her ministerial areas of focus include spiritual formation and pastoral care.

Barbara hails from western Pennsylvania, where she was deeply influenced by her upbringing in the Methodist Church and netting tadpoles in the pond near her house.

She graduated from Thiel College in Greenville, PA, where she majored in religion, with minors in English and Classical Languages. She then moved from rural to urban living to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she completed her M.Div. Her call to ministry led her to First Church in 1998. Barbara is a member of the Metro Association of the United Church of Christ (UCC), from which she was ordained in 2004. In 2016, she finished her doctoral work in Religious Education at Fordham University where she wrote about the “Unresolved Conflict Over Revelation in American Protestantism.” 

Barbara has served on the board of the Religious Education Association and is currently part of the Boundary Awareness Training Team for the Metro Association of the UCC. The mother of two amazing daughters, Barbara has been a leader in the parent body at their Quaker school in Brooklyn. An avid reader, essayist, sketcher, sky watcher, nature observer and proud Brooklynite, Barbara can often be found cycling the city’s streets.

Rev. Dr. Mark Hostetter
Associate Pastor for Stewardship & Mission to the Corporate World
(212) 675-6150

Mark Hostetter is Associate Pastor for Stewardship and Mission to the Corporate World. This is an unpaid and unique part-time position where Mark serves as a liturgist in worship, occasional preacher, and frequent teacher. Dr. Hostetter is CEO of Vinik Asset Management, a Tampa investment firm; is active in the leadership of Auburn Theological Seminary’s Board of Directors; and continues his work with the national Presbyterian Church (USA), most recently as Moderator of the Way Forward Commission of the General Assembly. Mark received his B.A. degree in Economics at Harvard University, his J.D. from Columbia University, and his M.Div. and D.Div. degrees from New York Theological Seminary. He has been a member of the board for several organizations, including The Actors Fund, Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, and Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center in New York. He is co-founder of the Summit Preparatory School in Kalispell, Montana which he began with his partner Alex Habib. Together they are parents of three children, Lani, Lea, and Kai.

Our Staff

Aileen Caba
Office Manager

Emma Gritsch
Seminary Intern

Emma is a second-year Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary planning on concentrating in chaplaincy. She is an inquirer in the PC(USA) and has always been a huge church nerd (or “cherd,” as her family lovingly teases)! She is deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with the First Church staff and congregation and has felt truly welcomed and loved already. Emma’s academic passions are pastoral and spiritual care, trauma-informed care, and ancient biblical languages (especially Hebrew!). Outside of school and church, Emma loves spending time with her four younger siblings and their many pets, reading (particularly mystery novels and beach reads), baking, trying out different coffee shops, and supporting her wonderful partner, James, as he teaches and works on his PhD at the University of Connecticut. Above all, Emma feels called to listen to people’s joys, troubles, hopes, and anxieties, and to do whatever she can to make them feel heard, seen, and loved.

Jon Harris
Family Music Ministries Coordinator

Jon Harris sings and worships with the children of First Church every week, as the church’s Family Music Ministry Coordinator. Born and raised in upstate New York, and always singing and dancing anywhere and everywhere, Jon joined his first official singing group at age 5, when he was recruited into his school’s chorus, after a stand-out performance as the disagreeable frog in his kindergarten class’s musical – “The Little Red Hen.”  That first chorus really cemented his love of music, and with it began a route of performance threaded throughout his entire academic, social, and spiritual life. In school, he performed in all of the vocal groups and outlets he could find, including the worship group for his small local church.

At NYU, Jon studied Music Education and History. After college Jon explored many artistic endeavors: he traveled the world as a flight attendant, worked on cinematic costuming for Bollywood films, designed jewelry for top celebrity pop stars, styled for Vogue and W Magazines, but he always missed singing. Then he became a nanny to a young fellow artist and it all clicked into place. Jon created a cool singing studio and classes for her and her friends. Now it has expanded to a fully developed and realized program, JTV! More, because of his success with JTV, Jon has been recruited by several Manhattan and Brooklyn private schools to develop, teach, and lead their adolescent music programs. Likewise, after a successful semester at First Presbyterian Church’s nursery school, Jon began working with First Church youth worship. 

A self-proclaimed renaissance man, when not singing with the kiddies, Jon can be found traveling, fine dining, creating and enjoying art, exploring puzzles and trivia, or trying out a new hobby. “I’m just hoping to bring more harmony to myself and our world,” he says.

Samuel Ogundare 
Communications Director

Paul Schnabel
Director of Finance and Facilities

Michael Shake
Director of Music

Michael Shake was called as the sixth director of music for the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York in June 2019. At First Church, he shepherds the musical life of the community as a keyboardist, conductor, and team member in creating weekly worship and broader worship and music opportunities.

Michael previously served King of Glory Lutheran Church and Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas; and, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, hailed by USA TODAY as one of the “ten great places to be enthralled by heavenly music.” He has been a solo and collaborative artist, and clinician for regional and national events, including the 2011 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the 2013 National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, the 2017 Southwest Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists, the 2017 East Texas Pipe Organ Festival, and has been featured on American Public Media’s Pipedreams. He is a former dean of the Dallas Chapter – American Guild of Organists

A native of Florence, South Carolina, Michael holds degrees in organ and sacred music from Erskine College and Emory University. He has been a conductor at the Choral Institute at Oxford, a collaborative program of Westminster Choir College and St. Stephen’s House, Oxford, and a conducting fellow of the Voices of Ascension Conductor Academy with Dennis Keene. The recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Erskine College, Michael is married to Laura Bowden and enjoys learning about aviation, cooking, and travel.

Babs Tennent
Assistant Director of Finance and Facilities

Sophia Yacca
Online Streaming Coordinator

Sophia Canfield is the Online Streaming Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York. Her areas of focus include video production, live streaming, photography, and communications.

She received her BS in Sociology and Film Studies from Hunter College and is currently continuing her studies at Hunter College in the MFA in Integrated Media Arts program.

Sophia began at the church to create a system to bring those at home back to church – virtually! Her passion for video editing and videography is much attributed to her love for putting puzzle pieces together and solving problems with a creative solution. She is committed to making creative video content which captures the essence of the community. She rejoiced to be returning to a church setting after being a deacon at her home church of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Sophia will never let go of her theatrical background in her acting work, but finds new ways of incorporating it into her life; by photographing Off-Broadway shows and cabarets as well as participating in them! Her favorite productions which she has been involved include performing in the Off-Broadway productions at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian of Nude with Violin and Blithe Spirit.

Our Staff

Our Staff

Hannah Faye Allred MDiv, Staff Associate for Congregational Care

Hannah Faye Allred

Staff Associate for Congregational Care

Keith Blacknall, Facilities Team

Keith Blacknall

Facilities Staff

Shaniqua Brockington, Facilities Team

Shaniqua Brockington

Facilities Staff

Sophia Yacca, Online Streaming Coordinator

Sophia Canfield

Online Streaming Coordinator

Sophia Canfield is the Online Streaming Coordinator. Her areas of focus include video production, live streaming, photography, and communications.

Kathleen Cook, Nursery School Director

Kathleen Cook

Nursery School Director

Kathleen Cook has served as the Director of the First Presbyterian Church Nursery School (FPCNS) since her appointment in 2013.

Alfonso Cruz, Facilities Team

Alfonso Cruz

Facilities Staff

Joe Diaz, Sexton

Joe Diaz

Facilities Staff

Sandra Gutierrez, Facilities Team

Sandra Gutierrez

Facilities Staff

Tony Feliciano, Sexton

Tony Feliciano

Sexton

Jon Harris, Family Music Ministries Coordinator

Jon Harris

Family Music Ministries Coordinator

Jon Harris sings and worships with the children of First Church every week, as the church’s Family Music Ministry Coordinator.

Lisa Polite, Administrative Assistant

Lisa Polite

Administrative Assistant

Jonathan Rodriguez, Facilities Team

Jonathan Rodriguez

Facilities Staff

Paul Schnabel, Director of Finance and Facilities

Paul Schnabel

Director of Finance and Facilities

Michael Shake, Director of Music

Michael Shake

Director of Music

Michael Shake was called as the sixth director of music for the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York in June 2019.

Nicole Stansifer, Director of Engagement

Nicole Stansifer

Director of Engagement

Nicole Stansifer is the Director of Engagement at First Church. Her areas of focus include oversight for the Outreach & Service Ministry and helping people get engaged in the full life of the church.

Babs Tennent, Assistant Director of Finance and Facilities

Babs Tennent

Assistant Director of Finance and Facilities

Robert Toussaint, Facilities Team

Robert Toussaint

Facilities Staff

Eric Velez, Facilities Team

Eric Velez

Facilities Staff

9

Audrey Webber

Associate for Hospitality and Visual Arts

Audrey Webber is the Associate for Hospitality and Visual Arts. Her areas of focus include hospitality, new relationships with the church, communications, and programming around the visual arts.

Session

The Session is the governing body of the church. First Church, like all Presbyterian churches, is a representative democracy.

We are governed by elders who are chosen from and by the entire congregation. Governance and authority over church matters resides with these elected leaders. Elders serve a three-year term. Meet our elders and the program and/or committee they lead below.

Rev. Dr. Greg Stovell, Head of Staff

Rev. Dr. Greg Stovell
Head of Staff

Rev. Dr. Barbara E. Davis
Executive Minister

Larry

Lawrence Tallamy
Clerk of Session

Charles W. Anderson
Class of 2023
Kenneth Bower
Class of 2023
Donna L. Halverstadt
Class of 2023
 
Lara Steensland Mullarkey
Class of 2023
Jeff Nichols
Class of 2023
Mary O’Hara Smith
Class of 2023

Donald B. Dillport
Class of 2024
Irenka R. Jakubiak
Class of 2024
Lauren McGill
Class of 2024
Joan L. Ryan
Class of 2024
Duane D. Wall
Class of 2024
Kathie S. Young
Class of 2024

Sally M. Collins
Class of 2025
Christine S. Flouton
Class of 2025
Kathryn W. Ketcham
Class of 2025
Andrew B. Ketler
Class of 2025
David A. MacDougall
Class of 2025
Vacancy
Class of 2025

Deacons

The role of the Deacons is one of “sympathy, service and witness” to the love of God as shown in the life of Jesus Christ. The origin of “deacon” is the Greek diakonos, “servant.”

At First Church we have an elected Board of Deacons who minister with compassion to anyone in need, whether they are members of the church, visitors, neighbors or other members of the community. Deacons meet on a monthly basis to determine how best to meet those needs. They receive care and prayer requests from those who themselves, or whose loved ones, are ill, or have other special needs, and can refer people for pastoral care.

Each month, two Deacons for the Month are appointed by the Board of Deacons to act as specific points of contact for those in need. Any Deacon, however, can assist. Requests for Deacons should be directed to the Deacons of the Month or if urgent, to the Pastoral staff.

Wendy Williams and Bradley McCormick
Co-Moderator

Alexis Schutz and Suzanne Mecs
Co-Secretaries

Emily Dawson
Treasurer

Geraldine H. Bunai
Eileen H. Choi
David C. Garlow
Bradley McCormick
Suzanne D. H. Mecs
Heather S. Mee

Elizabeth “Buffy” Barton 
Emily M. Dawson
Logan F. Kennedy
 
Ashleigh M. Roscishewska
Alexis A. Schutz
Sarah W. Williams

John Cody Bennett 
Daniel Duque
Esther Gowrie
 
Parul Parmar
David B. Richardson
Tiffany Wagner

Trustees

The Board of Trustees holds and manages properties and, as authorized, conducts business for the church. They oversee investments and work with the Session and the Joint Finance Committee to develop a sustainable church budget.

Richard Korchak
President

David N. Biette
Vice President

Janet Shin
Secretary

Anne Gray
Treasurer

Martha Ferry and Amy Cooper

Assistant Treasurers

Reade H. Ryan, Jr.
Counsel

Richard Korchak
John McGinn
Janet J. Shin

David N. Biette
Miyoung Lee
Diana R. Pardue

Roger W. Leaf
Nicky Moody Ordway
George Varughese

Sermon Archive

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History of Our Church