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Redeemer Presbyterian Church:

Renewing the city socially, spiritually and culturally

Meet our staff

Pastoral | Children’s Ministry | Community Groups | General ministry

Music

 


Pastoral staff

 

 

John Lin, Lead Pastor

 

A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, John Lin grew up in Boston and came to New York City in 2002. Prior to coming to Redeemer, he worked as the English ministry pastor at a Korean-American church in Hartford, CT. Since moving to New York, John has had a deep affinity for all things downtown, including food, people and culture … and food. John and his wife, Kyoko, have been married since 2004 and have two children. When he is not doing pastoral ministry, John spends time following the Boston Red Sox, thinking about travel to far-flung locales, and taking pictures of his kids.

 

 

 

Sam Wheatley, Executive Pastor

 

Like many in New York, Sam and his wife, Kate, moved to the city after college. For four years they worked with the urban ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) with recent immigrants in Upper Manhattan. In 1994, Sam felt a call to pastoral ministry and their family moved to Philadelphia for him to attend Westminster seminary. After serving as an assistant pastor in Atlanta for three years, in 2000 Sam took a pastoral call to New Song Presbyterian in Salt Lake City. For 16 years the Wheatley’s enjoyed living in the beautiful state of Utah and leading a church in a very interesting ministry context. Upon turning 50 and with their three children, Bennett (25), Zoe (23) and Julia (21), out of the nest, they began to pray and think about what God might be calling them to do next. “I love the local church and knew that whatever I did, I wanted to be part of helping a congregation flourish,” says Sam. The Downtown Executive Pastor role fulfills that vision by focusing Sam’s energy and gifts on equipping and encouraging the staff team and assisting with strategic outreach for the congregation. Sam and Kate are excited about living near Union Square, exploring this dynamic neighborhood and getting to know the people of the Downtown congregation.

 

 

 

Jeff White, Assistant Pastor

 

A graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, Jeff started his ministry at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and then went on to serve as the first associate pastor at Redeemer from 1990 to 1998. At Redeemer, he oversaw community formation through fellowship groups before moving on to become the organizing pastor of New Song Community Church, a multi-ethnic, church-based community development effort in Harlem. Jeff is very excited to have rejoined the staff of Redeemer to launch and serve the Downtown congregation. Jeff and his wife, Rebecca, have been married since 1986 and have three children, Kirsten, Corina and Andrew. Prior to entering the ministry Jeff worked as a physical therapist, played Riff in his high school’s production of West Side Story, and aspired to be a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. He thinks the golf course is a great place to do pastoral ministry (hint, hint!).

 

 


Children’s Ministry staff

 

 

Karen Dolan, Children’s Ministry Director

 

A native of sunny Tempe, AZ, Karen Dolan moved to New York City in the Spring of 2008, armed with a bachelor’s in education and ready to take on the schools of New York. After a teaching stint at two public schools in the Bronx, Karen decided to use her teaching background to pursue a master’s degree in school counseling. While working toward her master’s, Karen began working with Redeemer Children’s Ministry as a Sunday School and Moms’ Group teacher. She’s worked with a multitude of Redeemer families. Karen joined Redeemer Downtown in March 2013. She loves downtown, children, and their families and is thrilled to be a part of what God is doing here. Karen loves riding her bike to far-flung locales such as City Island, New Jersey and Coney Island — basically anywhere with a food-focused destination.

 

 

 

Kari Jo Cates, Parent Ministry Specialist

 

Though Kari Jo Cates hails from sunny Kansas City, after living here for twenty years now, New York is her home. From the beginning, Redeemer's ministries have shaped her understanding of the gospel and the city. Hosting and leading Community Groups for many years is one of the central parts of her family's life. She's held many roles at Redeemer both formal, as a Community Group Coordinator, and volunteer, including Deaconess, Trustee, Mom's Group Director and West Side Women founder and leader. Additionally, she is honored to serve on the faculty of City Seminary of New York in Harlem. As a creative outlet and to make ends meet while her husband was in grad school, Kari Jo built her own calligraphy business, citywrites. The hardest and most rewarding job she's ever held, actually, is raising her four children — Nathan, Henry, Caroline and Betsy — with her husband, Cory, her high school sweetheart. Don't be surprised if you see Kari Jo speeding by on a citibike on her way to the Redeemer offices where she's eagerly exploring and developing new ways to serve parents in the Downtown congregation.

 

 

 

Annalisa Clemens, Nursery and Preschool Coordinator

 

Annalisa Clemens is from northeastern Ohio. She graduated from Grove City College with a degree in research psychology. Instead of continuing onto graduate school, she chose to pursue a career in fashion buying. In March of 2009, while on their honeymoon, Annalisa and her husband decided to move to New York City. The last five years in the city have brought them many apartments, different careers and a sweet baby boy. In her free time Annalisa enjoys New York’s many free cultural opportunities and cooks healthy meals for her family.

 

 

 


Community Groups staff

 

 

Eunice Chang, Community Group Coordinator

 

As a native of the tri-state area, Eunice has spent much of her life in the various suburbs of New York City. Many city dwellers give her looks of deep concern and sympathy when they ask about her commute, but it’s actually quite convenient! Before joining Redeemer as a Community Group Intern, Eunice practiced law in both corporate and non-profit settings. She is now excited to be a part of a team dedicated to fostering community and a sense of being known in a large city and a large church. Eunice also serves as a deaconess and, in her free time, likes to take in the arts offered by the city, do DIY projects and try any kind of frozen dessert.

 

 

 

David Lee, Community Group Intern

 

David Lee moved to New York City from the mean streets of Delaware in 2005 to study finance at NYU. After making use of his degree as an investment banker for a number of years, he recently left Wall Street to pursue a Masters of Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary. He joined Redeemer's staff in 2015 as a Community Group Intern for the Downtown congregation and has also served as an intern for the Center for Faith & Work. In his free time, David enjoys exploring new cafes with good coffee and air-conditioning, and walking the streets of the city to his own soundtrack. He also likes talking sports, eating good food and wearing colorful socks!

 

 

 

Susan Nacorda, Community Group Director

 

A Southern California native, Susan Nacorda came to the city for adventure and to study business at New York University in 2001. She worked for a hip-hop magazine before entering vocational ministry in 2005 to work for a discipleship and evangelism focused college ministry called The Navigators. A natural people gatherer, fun maker and risk taker, Susan has loved serving with college students downtown for the past seven years. She joined Redeemer’s Community Group team in 2009 and is excited to be a part of launching a congregation near where she lives, works and plays. In her free time, Susan listens to a lot of live music, gives out “free hugs,” tries to cook, rides her bike, and often goes climbing with her friends near her apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

 

 

 

David Plant, Community Group Director

 

David Plant is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (MDIV) and the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University (MFA).  Born in Sacramento, he has lived in DC, Seattle and Hawaii but downtown is where he calls home, having lived below 23 st. longer than any place else.  David has been on staff at Redeemer since 2006 having served as the creator of the New Birth Portrait Series, Redeemer's Youth Pastor, and now as Assistant Pastor and Community Group Director for the Downtown congregation. Together with his wife, Susan, and their son, they plan on worshipping and serving the city downtown for years to come.

 

 

 

Michael Smith, Pastoral Resident

 

Michael grew up and went to college in Florida, lived in Europe for five years working as a fashion model, and moved to California in 2000 where he served as a youth pastor, assistant pastor, and senior pastor. Desiring to grow more in his pastoral calling, Michael and his adventurous and very patient family moved from sunny, Southern California to NYC in 2013 so he could help a friend with a church plant and be part of the seminary partnership between Reformed Theological Seminary and Redeemer. Michael, his wife, Kristyn, and their two sons live in Brooklyn Heights. The Smiths love to explore and hike the surrounding areas of NYC, go to the beach, and travel outside the country, wherever and whenever they can.

 

 

 

Andrés F. Quintero, Community Group Intern

 

Andrés Quintero moved to New York City from Colombia with his wife and two boys in February of 2011. He first learned about Redeemer while living in Colombia. While waiting on line in the grocery store, he found himself in the self-help area, where a copy of “Reason for God” caught his eye. He remembers telling his wife that he wished to join a church as stimulating as the message in the book. Little did he know a few months later he would be moving to NYC and calling Redeemer home. Though an architect by training, Andrés has been involved in the fashion industry for more than ten years. Upon moving to New York, he worked as senior designer for LeSportsac. Most recently, he and his wife launched their own leather handbag line, Min and Mon, inspired by the names of their sons, Benjamin and Simon. Andrés and his family joined Redeemer Downtown in its early days. Andrés has served as a Community Group leader and Beta leader. Now being an entrepreneur, he has the opportunity to explore vocational ministry, which is a dream come true! For fun, Andrés loves illustrating picture books and would never turn down an offer to play tennis.

 

 


General Ministry staff

 

Obed

 

Obed Bazikian, Sunday Service Coordinator

 

Obed grew up right outside NYC in northern New Jersey. For college he traveled to Dallas, TX, and received an Associate's degree in Practical Theology from Christ for the Nations Institute. He then completed a BA in Political Science from Rutgers University and pursued politics for a few years in NYC, Washington DC, and on the campaign trail. Obed started attending a Redeemer Community Group in 2011, and, between political endeavors, he helped launch the Downtown congregation as part of the Operations staff in 2012. For fun, Obed enjoys nature outings, classic cartoons like Bugs Bunny, The Chronicles of Narnia, LOTR, and various arts and crafts. When time allows, he also works on home renovation and landscaping projects.

 

 

 

Drew Hammell, Operations and Volunteers Director

 

Drew Hammell grew up in South Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University, where he met his wife, Nancy. Before starting full-time at Redeemer, he worked at the J.Crew and Equinox corporate offices, where he specialized in facilities management. Drew also serves as a deacon and loves listening to house music, running, walking his dog Dexter, and watching pretty much any sport on TV. His favorite place to hang out downtown is Cielo on Little West 12th Street.

 

 

 

Marie Sclafani, Generosity and Membership Coordinator

 

A native New Yorker who has lived in four of the five boroughs; she moved to Dallas, TX for a number of years where she raised her three grown sons. Upon her return to NYC in 2000, Marie started to attend Redeemer. She became a Community Group Leader and then went on to serve on the Diaconate from 2005 to 2009. Marie spent most of her career in the field of staffing and Human Resources and assisted in forming the Job Search ministry. She is thrilled to be working on staff at Redeemer assisting John and the helping the team serve the Downtown Congregation. Marie enjoys exploring the many neighborhoods in NYC and spending time with her five grandchildren.

 

 

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Josh Simmons, Ministry Director

 

Josh Simmons grew up in Tennessee and spent nine years in South Carolina during and after college. In May 2010, Josh and his wife, Meggie, packed up a Penske truck with all of their belongings and headed to the city. In October of that same year, they found out that Meggie was pregnant — as if a move from South Carolina to New York City wasn’t a big enough change for them. Since being in the city, all of Josh’s work has been downtown, so he has come to love this area of Manhattan and the people there. Josh loves spending time with his family in Prospect Park, going to new restaurants, discovering new music, attending concerts and working from a standing desk.

 

 


Music staff

 

 

 

Harrison Hollingsworth, Morning Music Director

 

Harrison Hollingsworth was raised in suburban Texas and grew up in the church. At 18 years old, he moved to Center City Philadelphia for music school and attended Tenth Presbyterian Church, his first exposure to city ministry. His severe culture shock was cushioned by a church that loved students and loved the city. Harrison joined Redeemer in 2008 when he came to New York to play Principal Bassoon at the NYC Ballet. God took him through an amazing discipleship journey, led by a combination of the preaching, the experience of leading a Community Group, and the courtship of the woman who soon became his wife. Harrison’s hope for Downtown is that we will bring the healing power of the gospel to lower Manhattan in word and deed and that we will worship on Sundays in a way that both edifies the church and attracts seekers and skeptics to our community.

 

 

 

Mark Lau, Evening Music Director

 

A graduate of Manhattan School of Music, Mark Lau grew up in Sydney, Australia and has lived in Downtown Manhattan since 2003. Mark and his wife Helen have three children, Jack, Jonah and Joshua. When Mark is not working as a freelance bass player, he likes to spend time with his family on the Lower East Side.