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Redeemer Presbyterian Church:

Renewing the city socially, spiritually and culturally

Meet our staff

 

Fun Robert fact

 

“Jennifer Lopez’s mom was one of my teachers in elementary school — true story!”

 

 

Robert Alemany | Operations Manager

 

Even though Robert Alemany grew up in the Bronx and is a longtime resident of Astoria, Queens, he loves country music and NASCAR: “I know, I know, I’m so southern for a city kid,” he says. He and his wife, Juliana, married in 2002 after only knowing each other for two months—and after Robert attempted to teach himself Portuguese in order to impress her (she’s from Brazil). “I got so good at it that I would eventually serve as a Portuguese translator for a NYC nonprofit and the Brazilian Ministry of Education,” he says. Their son Jason was born in 2009 and is obsessed with soccer and the cookies after the 5 p.m. worship service.

 

Robert has a B.A. in social sciences from the City College of New York and an M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. He’s worked in the education sector and operations management. As our West Side Operations Manager, Robert oversees Sunday services and West Side events at W83 Ministry Center. “The WS congregation is the congregation that my family is a part of,” says Robert. “There is nothing better than being able to serve my home congregation and reciprocate the love that was, and is, continually shown to us.”

 

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Adrian Acevedo | Youth Ministry Coordinator


Adrian Acevedo has lived in NYC her whole life: she was born in Washington Heights, grew up in Harlem and currently living in Astoria. After attending college at the University of Delaware, Adrian moved back to the city and started attending Redeemer. She first worked as the Children’s Ministry Intern and has been in her current role as the Youth Ministry Coordinator since September 2015.

 

In her role, Adrian supports the Youth Ministry Manager in event planning and communications. She also recruits and communicates with volunteer youth leaders that help run youth group at W83 on Friday evenings, as well as building mentor relationships with middle and high school students. Her favorite part of the job has been the kids she gets to work with. “It’s a privilege to get to know them and walk with them through whatever they're going through,” she says.

 

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Danielle Allan | Administration and Communications Coordinator

 

Danielle Allan as a B.A in graphic design and joined the West Side staff in June 2016. In her role, Danielle supports Lead Pastor David Bisgrove and Executive Pastor Drew Field. “I’m excited to be in this role where I get to love on the team in small ways that, hopefully, show they are important to this team.” Danielle is also responsible for the external communications going out to the West Side congregation.


Danielle lives in Long Island City with her husband Jon, and is eager to get to know their neighborhood and the UWS better. When she’s not working on any graphic design projects, Danielle enjoys reading, catching up on the latest shows, playing soccer when she gets the chance, and wishing there was more time in the day to draw and paint.

 

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Chuck Armstrong | Associate Community Group Director and Pastoral Resident

 

Chuck, who studied journalism at Kansas State University, has worked in the radio and music industry for the last decade. In 2015 he joined the inaugural cohort of Reformed Theological Seminary's NYC campus, working toward his M.A. in Biblical Studies. And in September 2016, Chuck joined Redeemer staff as an Associate Community Group Director and Pastoral Resident.

 

In his role, Chuck works with the CG team to care for the many Community Groups and leaders on the West Side. And through the pastoral residency program—a direct result of the Rise campaign—he will go through various educational and developmental experiences that will better equip and train him for pastoral ministry in the city. 

 

Chuck lives in the Upper West Side with his wife Celine and  their cockapoo Sassafrass Molasses  (Sassy for short).

 

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Jenavene Bazakas | Youth Ministry Intern

 

Jenavene Bazacas has lived in New York City for eight years and currently lives in Queens with her husband Seth. She was born and raised in Texas and earned her BFA from Abilene Christian University. Jenavene joined Redeemer staff as the Youth Intern in the fall of 2016.

 
In her role, she helps organize the worship team and facilitates discussion groups and games at Friday Youth gatherings. She also works to connect middle school students outside the church through the arts.

 

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Carrie Berlepsch | Community Group Intern

 

Carrie grew up in West Virginia and attended West Virginia University, where she studied psychology. She moved to the Upper West Side in April 2016 with her husband Charles, and joined the West Side staff in July as the Community Group Intern. Previously, she worked on staff with Young Life, and worked to build the new WyldLife and Young Life ministries in a small rural town in West Virginia.

 

In her role, Carrie works alongside the CG team and assists with the oversight of Beta Groups, Community Groups, and CG leader training and care.

 

“I'm excited about the opportunity to connect with the staff and congregants at Redeemer,” Carrie says, “and to care for and support people as they step into Community Group leadership roles.”

 

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Fun David fact

 

David took seven years of classical trombone and five years of classical piano lessons. He also sang a solo in the earliest days of Redeemer, long before YouTube!

 

 

David Bisgrove | Lead Pastor

 

David Bisgrove grew up in New Jersey and moved to New York City for graduate school in 1986. He started attending Redeemer in 1989 and became a founding elder and trustee. David and his wife, Alice, met at a Community Group Sunday Brunch through mutual friends. They now live on the UWS with their daughters, Mary Claire and Charlotte.

 

David has a M.B.A. and Master's in Public Health from Columbia University and previously worked in healthcare finance and administration. He began working at Redeemer as the director of finance and operations in 1998, while also pursuing his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 2005 as an assistant pastor who oversaw worship and evangelism, counseling, stewardship and family ministries. Now as Lead Pastor of the WS congregation, David loves standing at the door on Sundays talking to people on their way in and out of worship. He’s a big fan of golf (when he can make it out of the city) and of going on family bike rides to Pier I along the Hudson. And you might also find him at Joe’s Coffee on Columbus Ave.

 

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Julia Boyes | Preschool Coordinator

 

Julia Boyes joined the West Side staff in July 2016 as the Preschool Coordinator. Prior to that, she worked at Gibney Dance Center and Lincoln Center Education. She is originally from Kansas (“Go Royals!”) and lives in Woodside, Quuens.

 

“God has grown my heart for children and families, and provided this amazing job for me, which is fulfilling my passion to share the gospel with children.”

 

During the week, Julia can be found preparing for all that has to happen to make Sundays and Wednesdays run smoothly, most specifically for 3-5-year-olds! “I communicate with preschool volunteers, parents,” she says. “And I make sure the curriculum is finalized and ready to go, as well as crafts and activities unique to each Bible Lesson.”

 

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Fun Regan fact

 

“Every other Friday I get together with girls I have known since junior high school and we go on random adventures around the city, such as taking fencing lessons or visiting the Cloisters.”

 

 

Regan Branch | Nursery and Event Coordinator

 

Regan Branch grew up in Alabama (Roll Tide!) and moved to New York City in 2011. She immediately began attending Redeemer and shortly thereafter she felt called to volunteer in Children's Ministry. When she isn't planning lessons or holding babies, Regan enjoys every opportunity she has to perform in the city, specifically in comedy.

 

Regan lives in the UWS with her husband Charles, and her favorite neighborhood attraction is Central Park. She also loves rock climbing, ice skating, and exploring the city with friends.

 

Regan is passionate about helping children begin hiding God's Word in their hearts from their earliest days. She is thankful for sweet examples of childlike faith among the little ones on Sunday mornings. She also appreciates the parents, volunteers, and nursery staff who prioritize ministering to the next generation.

 

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Eunice Chen | Elementary Coordinator & Curriculum Specialist

 

Eunice was born in the States but grew up in Canada and Taiwan. She returned to the U.S. to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Penn State University and her Master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. While in grad school, she met her husband Clarence through volunteering for Cru. They attended Redeemer and loved the church’s vision in reaching out to and restoring the city. After several years of teaching, Eunice still felt the tug to join ministry full-time and started her job with the West Side Children’s Ministry in early 2015.

 

Eunice loves serving with like-minded people and using her gift of teaching to share God’s story with children. She believes in investing in the next generation to love and reach the world for Christ. Another reason why she loves working with children is because the children often will (unintentionally) teach adults something new about Jesus!

 

In her spare time, Eunice likes discovering new restaurants to dine in on the UWS. She and her husband also enjoy walking their corgi around the neighborhood and meeting up with friends.

 

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Andrew Field | Executive Pastor

 

Andrew Field was a founding member of Redeemer in 1989, and joined the pastoral staff in 1995. After five years, he and his family moved to California to plant a church in Silicon Valley, where he and his wife Donna raised four children: Timothy, Sarah, Elizabeth and James.

 

Drew returned to New York City in July 2016 with Donna and their youngest child, James, after serving as executive pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

As Executive Pastor of the West Side congregation, Drew supports and guides the West Side staff to help all of the ministries thrive, including the new sites launched over the next decade. “You should see me on Sundays and also behind the scenes,” Drew says, “as an advisor, coach and champion for our great leaders.”

 

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Fun Susana fact

 

“One year on Christmas Eve I got to hang out and play with Björk’s daughter, Isadora, and sing Christmas carols with her mom at a relatively intimate gathering. I even got a personal lesson from the nanny on how to sing along as everything was in Icelandic.”

 

 

Susana Gough | Ministry Manager

 

Susana Gough is a true New Yorker—she was born and raised in Chinatown by first generation, working-class immigrants. She grew up non-Christian and accepted the Lord during her last semester of high school. Susana lives in Hell’s Kitchen with her husband Jonathan and their children Timmy, Emerie and Tommy. She enjoys cooking for others, grocery shopping in foreign countries, checking out free summer events in NYC, and taking long, 8-mile walks through the city.

 

Susana’s degree is in cognitive psychology and she previously worked for Herald Youth Center. She’s attended Redeemer since 2003 and came on staff in 2005. Now as our West Side Ministry Manager, she aids our staff, lay leaders and elders by providing administrative support and managing plans for communications, Community Groups, membership and special projects. “I mind the nitty-gritties so that the vision and ideas of our staff and lay leaders can come to fruition and flourish,” says Susana.

 

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Fun Nicole fact

 

“I met Michael Jackson in the late ’90s — twice! — at an art gallery I worked at in LA. We literally talked about the weather both times.”

 

 

Nicole Harris | Worship and Volunteer Coordinator

 

Nicole Harris grew up in San Dimas, California: “Home to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Am I dating myself?” she says. While in college, Nicole took a radio internship and became hooked on the business side of the industry. She moved to NYC with a job in a management company and has been freelancing in music production ever since. Nicole has lived in New York a total of eight years, though she left the city for a while before coming back five years ago.

 

As our Worship and Volunteer Coordinator, Nicole supports both our Music Director and our Operations Manager. You can find Nicole helping with payroll and interoffice communications, while also organizing music forums for professional and student congregants and keeping things running smoothly for the volunteers and operation staff at our Sunday services. “I love being able to support a church that has been such a blessing to me,” says Nicole. “NYC is so amazing and full of wonderful distractions. Redeemer's teachings make it feasible for me to live in such a stimulating city while keeping my sensibilities and heart based in Christ.”

 

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Fun Tom fact

 

“I complete The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle (in pen, thank you) every Sunday night to unwind after a long day of church services.” 

 

 

Tom Jennings | Music Director

 

Tom Jennings is originally from Roanoke, Va., but has been in New York City since 1989. He and his wife, Michelle, were married in 1988 and have two children, Daniel and Leah. Tom often plays basketball with his kids at the courts along 76th street in Riverside Park. And he loves eating at La Boite en Bois and at Big Nick’s.

 

Tom came on staff with Redeemer in 1995. He has a doctorate in music in classical piano from Manhattan School of Music and has taught at Concordia College and Brooklyn Conservatory. As the Music Director, Tom plans the four weekly West Side worship services. “When discussing church music, I often refer to Psalm 33:3, which instructs us to make our musical offerings new, skillful and joyful, and to 1 Corinthians 14:15, which tells us to engage both the intellect and the spirit in our music,” says Tom. He also works in community building and mercy ministry alongside professional musicians and conservatory students. He and Michelle have led or hosted a musicians’ Community Group in their home for almost 20 years.

 

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Joel Kady | Associate Community Group Director

 

Joel grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and met his wife Caitlyn while working in Dubai. They have three children, Jacqueline, Gavriel and Ezekiel, who love playing at Fort Tryon Park. They moved to the city in 2015 to settle down long term and for Joel to join the inaugural class of Reformed Theological Seminary's NYC campus. Joel has a background in business analysis and research computing.

 

As an Associate Community Group Director, Joel helps connect people on the West Side to community life, supports group leaders, and creates curriculum and teaches classes. Joel is eager to continue nurturing pastoral skills and learning about this great city and its people. He has a special interest in how the biblical prophets communicated with those outside their faith community and looks forward to applying lessons from them to his own ministry in the city.

 

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Michael Keller | New Site Pastor

 

Michael Keller moved to New York City in 1989 and grew up on Roosevelt Island. He attended Vanderbilt University, where he met his wife Sara, and earned his M.Div and Th.M at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. After working in Boston for five years, Michael and Sara moved back to NYC. They have lived on the Upper West Side for the past eight years with their two daughters, Lucy and Kate.

 

Michael joined the West Side team in July 2016 as the new site pastor and has been tasked to lead the first church plant out of the West Side Congregation. The new site, Redeemer Lincoln Square, will be launching in April 2017. Michael believes the best way to reach New Yorkers is to plant churches and is excited to start this site and to mobilize people to serve and care for the city in tangible ways.  

 

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Favorite WS food

 

“I am sort of obsessed with French Roast being open 24 hours a day, knowing that day or night I'm always just a few blocks from a Croque Monsieur. Is that a good thing?”

 

 

Tiffany Koch | Ministry Development Director

 

Tiffany has lived in New York City since 2001, always on the West Side. She went to Duke University for undergrad and her M.B.A., and she sports a Mike Krzyzewski bobblehead on her desk: “Duke won NCAA national championships both times I was in school. Coincidence? You tell me,” says Tiffany. She previously worked in fundraising, new market and product development, and social enterprise.

 

Tiffany first attended Redeemer in 2003. It was then that she says, “I began to understand that broken people getting things wrong wasn’t proof of the absence of God or the hollowness of his promises, but instead was proof of how much we need him and how much he loves us.”

 

As ministry development director, she helps David manage the West Side budget and goals, and she supports the staff and lay leaders as they develop programs to bring shalom within our congregation and neighborhood. Day to day, she can be found getting to know congregants, powwowing with the awesome West Side team, and making new connections with neighbors on the West Side.

 

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Fun Meagan fact

 

“I love traveling, although it's hard to do now with two children. I have been to 9 countries, and I hope to add stamps to my passport soon!”

 

 

Meagan Lloyd | Children’s Ministry Director

 

Meagan Lloyd is a native Californian who grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Her interest in ministry began shortly after becoming a Christian at the age of 13. She attended California Baptist University, where she earned her degree in Christian behavioral science and got her elementary teaching license. She’s taught preschool and fifth and seventh grades. Meagan and her family moved to New York City in 2012 so that her husband could pursue a career in acting. She came kicking and screaming and never dreamed that she would fall in love with the city. Though they live in Astoria, Meagan and her family love the Upper West Side. They frequent Irving Farm on 79th for maple lattes, and enjoy walking through Central Park on Sunday afternoons. 

 

Meagan is passionate about Redeemer’s vision for Children’s Ministry and the city at large, and she clings to Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

 

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Karen Markham | Education Manager


Karen Markham joined the West Side staff in August 2016 as Education Manager. She coordinates logistics and executes plans for public discipleship, and oversees membership on the West Side.  

 

“I'll guide you through the membership process or be the point person for West Side classes,” she says.

 

Karen earned her B.A. in Theatre, specializing in theatre management, at Vanderbilt, and has worked in hospitality and most recently as the operations manager at a tech company. When she first moved to the city, she worked at The Gin Mill—right around the corner from W83—where she met her husband Michael. “Great story of God’s will at work,” she says. “And the rest is history.” Karen and Michael live right at the top of Central Park with their two children, Claire and Henry.

 

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Fun Bijan fact

 

“My first-ever car ride was actually in a NYC taxi, on my way home from the hospital. My grandfather was a cab driver!”

 

 

Bijan Mirtolooi | Assistant Pastor & Director of Spiritual Formation

 

Bijan Mirtolooi’s name is Persian, but he was born right here on the UWS of Manhattan. His family moved to California when he was two years old, but after high school he moved back to the Northeast. Bijan previously worked as the college ministry director of a church in New Jersey.

 

Bijan came on staff at Redeemer in 2009 and has worked in youth ministry and on the WS Community Group staff. He earned an M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary, a Th.M from Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently a D.Min candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary.

 

In his role as Assistant Pastor and Director of Spiritual Formation, Bijan oversees the West Side congregation’s initiatives in community formation, discipleship, and equipping.  This includes providing oversight for the community group staff, pastoral care, and developing content and teaching classes that aim to help West Siders understand and experience the implications of the gospel for all areas of their life.


“Loving books, I always enjoy browsing at Book Culture on Columbus Ave.,” says Bijan. “I do lots of reading for work. But leisure-time reading usually includes biographies and narrative non-fiction.”

 

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Joseph Moon | Youth Ministry Intern

 

Joe Moon was born and raised in New York City, in Brooklyn to be exact. He earned his B.A. at Stony Brook University and is now pursuing his M.Div at Westminster Theological Seminary. Joe joined the Redeemer staff three years ago, and is now the Youth Ministry Intern for the West Side. In his role, Joe supports and builds the structure of the youth ministry on the West Side Congregation.

 

In his free time, Joe enjoys volleyball, basketball and football. And his three treasures in life? “First is my Christian faith. The other two are my nieces.”

 

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Favorite WS spot

 

The Library for the Performing Arts. “I could spend hours in there looking up everything from traditional Albanian music CDs to books on the development of American popular music genres. I’m a total music geek!”

 

 

Laura Rogers | Children's Ministry Administrative Coordinator

 

Laura Rogers is from Clinton, Mississippi, and has lived in NYC since 2007. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in vocal performance from Vanderbilt University. Laura decided to move to New York after listening to Tim Keller’s messages on the importance of cities and cultural centers. She worked for several years in fashion and sang with Collegiate Chorale. As our WS Children’s Ministry Administrative Coordinator, Laura provides administrative support to keep our programs running smoothly. “I can usually be found laughing—or using way too many sticky notes,” says Laura. “I love having the opportunity to handle the database management. It’s the highlight of my day!”

 

Laura enjoys collecting records, making playlists, drinking coffee and discussing the Myers Briggs/MBTI. She’s trying to tangibly live out Jesus’ instruction to love your neighbor by studying Arabic and volunteering with a Hope for New York affiliate that teaches ESL to Arab-Americans: “I wanted to find a way to help these people flourish in our city and know that they are welcome here.”

 

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Eunice Shin-Lai | Beta Group Manager

 

Eunice was born in Los Angeles but grew up in Gilbert, AZ. She moved to the Northeast for college at the University of Pennsylvania. She then attended New York Medical College and is a physician by training, but has since decided to explore vocational ministry. As the Beta Group Manager, Eunice helps recruit Beta leaders and hosts, coordinates the new Beta Groups in the fall, and coaches and supports Beta leaders and groups.

 

Eunice and her husband Richard have lived in New York City since 2010, and they host a community group in Hell’s Kitchen.  Eunice has found the community group ministry one of the most encouraging parts of her time at Redeemer: “In many ways, my community group has been the best part of my life in NYC. I know NYC can be a very lonely place otherwise, but I've never felt more comfortable, open, and free from judgment than in my CG.”

 

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Favorite WS food

 

“My favorite food inthe whole world is Mexican and, in my opinion, Playa Betty's on 75th and Amsterdam has some of the best queso in the city!”

 

Ellen Singleton | Community Group Director

 

Ellen was born in Jackson, TN and attended undergrad at Mississippi College in Jackson, MS. She moved to New York in 2014 and currently lives in Harlem. Ellen joined the West Side staff in December 2016 as Community Group Director. Previously, she worked with Community Groups at the Downtown congregation as well as a counselor at Redeemer Counseling Services. 

 

In her role, Ellen will provide oversight, support and pastoral care for the community groups and women's groups. She is also excited about helping develop the West Side community life. 

 

In her free time, Ellen enjoys listening to live music, traveling to far-flung places, drinking loads of coffee, cheering on the Ole Miss Rebels and going for runs. 

 

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Stephen Trafton | Youth Ministry Manager

 

Stephen has lived in New York City since 2016 and currently lives with his wife and two children in Astoria. He grew up in Bowling Green, KY and earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Theatre. Stephen joined the Redeemer staff as Youth Ministry Manager in 2013.


In his role, Stephen leads and oversees the Wise Side Youth Community. “I seek to cultivate a community amongst staff, leaders, parents and students that is gospel centered, joy filled, mercy minded and outward faced.” His favorite part about his job is how much he loves and cares for their incredible students. “They are so intelligent, super talented, wonderfully complex and way cooler than I,” he says.

 

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Favorite WS spot

 

American Museum of Natural History. “The awestruck wonder I get from walking into the museum at the sight of a Barosaurus rearing up to protect its young from an attacking Allosaurus never gets old!”

 

Joseph Yu | Community Group Director

 

Joe grew up in Seoul, Korea, and lived in the suburbs of Boston and Connecticut before coming to New York City in 2010. He attended University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!) where he studied ecology and evolutionary biology, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he received a M.Div. It was in college he became a Christian, decided to pursue vocational ministry, and met his wife, Helen. They were married 2010 and have a son named Allan.

 

Joe previously worked with RUF City Campus Ministry in the city for four years before coming on staff at Redeemer as the Youth Ministry Director. As a Community Group Director, Joe provides oversight, support, and pastoral care for the Community Groups he oversees. He is particularly passionate about helping people see the relevance of the gospel in their lives.

 

Joe enjoys cooking, hanging out with his family, watching nature documentaries, and dreaming about going on a backpacking trip through Asia. 

 

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