Rector and Chaplain to St. Paul's Nursery School
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The Reverend Noah H. Evans, our Rector and pastor, has been with St. Paul's since March 2017. Ordained in 2004, previously, Noah served as the Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Medford, Massachusetts and as the Associate Rector of St. Anne's in the Fields Episcopal Church in Lincoln Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis and The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. Noah lives in Mt. Lebanon, with his wife, the Reverend Sara Irwin, an Episcopal Priest, who serves as the Pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carnegie. Their daughter Adah was born in 2009 and their son Isaiah was born in 2007. They have a Golden Retriever (Blue) and three chickens (Noise, Snow Flurry and Buckbeak). Noah loves cooking, smoking meat, local foods, current events and politics, the intersection of church and society, movies and television and teaching the bible. He was the co-founder of Life Together: the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Young Adult Internship Program and has served on the boards of a number social-justice non-profits. In 2016, Noah received the first Wallace H. Kountze Community Service Award by the Mystic Valley NAACP for his work on multicultural issues. He is excited about the inter-generational energy at St. Paul's and helping to lead the congregation to more boldly serve the wider community and the world. His blog can be found at http://getoutoftheark.blogs
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Laura started at St. Paul's in July 2019. She just completed her Master of Arts in Ministry from General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City. She was ordained a transitional Deacon in June in New Jersey, and was ordained to the Priesthood at St. Paul’s in December 2019.
Laura grew up in Massachusetts and is a graduate of Emory University where she completed a BA in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies in 2013. She earned her Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary where she met her husband, Luke Zerra, who is currently completing a PhD in Theology and Ethics. After her M.Div., Laura worked as a chaplain at a trauma hospital in Trenton, New Jersey. In the hospital setting, she learned how critical spiritual care can be for people in the transitions that often accompany a visit to the hospital. Laura is also a certified Kripalu yoga instructor and has taught classes in both yoga studios and churches.
Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministry
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Kristen’s background is in nursing. She earned her BSN from Lycoming College in 1999, and earned her MSN and certification as a pediatric nurse practitioner in primary care in 2003. Kristen worked at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2012, caring primarily for pediatric cancer patients. Since that time, she has worked for Ohio University’s online RN-to-BSN Program as an adjunct faculty member as well as a teaching assistant. She loved taking care of children and their families at the bedside, and now enjoys using her own experiences to better prepare a new generation of professional nurses.
Kristen and her husband, Doug, have been married since 2003 and joined St. Paul’s as members in 2009. They have two sons, Dylan, who is 11, and Noah, who is 7, both of whom epitomize what it means to be “active” members of the church. Kristen’s family also has a dog, Chloe, who acts as a furry companion and best friend for all of them.
Kristen taught the kindergarten Sunday School class for two years, and also worked alongside Lisa Brown as the Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry. Kristen loves working with the children of St. Paul’s, and she enjoys building relationships with them, between them, and among their families.
Director of Music and Arts
Douglas Starr, D.M.A., is Director of Music and Arts at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where he conducts the Chancel Choir, early service Contemporary Ensemble and oversees the Friends of Music Guild Concert Series. He is an organ recitalist, a bass soloist, a voice teacher and an active composer of sacred and secular choral music published with Beckenhorst, Lawson-Gould, and G.I.A. Along with his wife Annette, many of his compositions can be found on their website, TierneyStarrmusic.com.
Having served in Episcopal Church Music since 1974, twenty nine of those years have been with Saint Paul's: Mt. Vernon, Ohio (74-78); Louisville, KY (87-92); and here in Pittsburgh since 1993. "Perhaps this poetically represents the fact that St. Paul is my favorite apostle," he notes, "but more to the fact that these parishes are blessed with rich musical traditions and I have had the honor to serve in those parish traditions."
He adds, on a personal note, “My life is just one big unfolding of 19th century and early 20th century American gospel hymnody that no church really sings any longer. Oh well, the seeds were planted, the plant is grown and metaphorically speaking (of course) global warming has provided enough CO2 for a plant's long life. And thank you Charles Ives for assimilating these great hymn tunes in your masterworks.”
A graduate of The Ohio State University with degrees in vocal performance and theory/composition, Douglas also currently teaches part-time at Penn State University and has taught at Westminster College, Kenyon College and Central Michigan University and served as director of choral activities at Bellarmine College in Louisville, Kentucky. He was a University Fellow while at Ohio State, a Mellon Fellow at Vanderbilt University in 1983 and an American Council on Education Fellow in 1988.
Assistant Music Director for Children
Christin Cooper joined St. Paul’s as Assistant Music Director for Children in September 2017. She directs the Canterbury Choir, Youth Praise Band, and Handbell Ensemble in addition to providing music for children’s programming. Christin loves serving the community of St. Paul’s by helping children and youth express their faith through music.
As a classical pianist, Christin accompanies students and ensembles in the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University. She is also one half of the piano duo (co) ordinal. She holds an M. M. in Piano Performance from the University of Delaware and a B. M. in Music Education from Bucknell University.
Christin is engaged to Seth Chizeck, who can occasionally be found playing percussion with the Praise Band. A September 2019 wedding is planned in her hometown of Lancaster, PA. In her spare time Christin enjoys reading, yoga, traveling, exploring Pittsburgh, attempting to learn German, and going to concerts.
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Bill Higgins has worked part time for Saint Pauls since 2005 as the evening Sexton. In 2015 he became full time and took on the roll of head Sexton. He is a military Veteran who served four years in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman. In 1987 he became a Letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. In 2009 he was able to combine his 4 years as a veteran and 22 years as a letter carrier and retire from the government.
Director, St. Paul’s Episcopal Nursery School
Eileen was named the Director of St. Paul’s Episcopal Nursery School in May 2017 after serving as Interim Director for the 2016-17 school year. She began working at the nursery school in 1989 as a classroom teacher. Eileen is co-founder of Jeremiah’s Place, Pittsburgh’s first and only crisis nursery that opened in 2014 in the Lincoln-Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. She has spent most of her professional and volunteer time as an early childhood educator and advocate.
Eileen previously worked for The Homeless Children’s Education Fund, was a Together Time instructor for a pilot program through the Fred Rogers Company, an instructor for Friends of Child Find Inc. and the first Coordinator for Mt. Lebanon’s Teen Center. She and her husband Dave were foster parents with The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh and cared for twelve children over a ten-year period.
Eileen and Dave joined St. Paul’s Church as newlyweds in 1986 and initially spent time volunteering with the youth group. They have been involved in a variety of ministries over the years. The Sharbaugh’s are recent “empty nesters” and parents of four young adult children; Hannah, Sarah (married to Billy) Nathan and Rachel who all of their children attended the nursery school in the 1990’s and grew up at St. Paul’s Church. In addition to her role as co-founder Eileen is also a board member for Jeremiah’s Place. She has previously served on the Vestry and been a board member for other community organizations such as Outreach Teen & Family Services, Century United Soccer Club and Sheldon Calvary Camp.
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Monica is a lifelong resident of the South Hills. She received her Master's Degree in Business Education from Robert Morris University. Previously, she served as a business professor in many places. Monica attends worship at St. Alphonsus in McDonald, Pennsylvania.
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Ariel is a graduate of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts. In the last several years she has worked at various non-profits, and just recently moved back to Pittsburgh after spending a year in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ariel resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband John, who serves college students at Duquesne University. She enjoys traveling, photography, books, history, and really good cups of coffee.
Director of Engagement
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Andrea’s spiritual journey began in early high school when she was an active member of Young Life, and grew throughout her college years through her involvement with the CCO. During these formative years, she began to develop a passion for service to the poor and marginalized.
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A native of Florida, Luke is currently a candidate for Holy Orders in the Diocese of New Jersey and a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Seminary and a B.A. in Philosophy/Religion and History from Flagler College. He has previously served as a seminarian at the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City; All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Princeton, NJ; and The Episcopal Campus Ministry at Rutgers University. He is married to Laura Di Panfilo, Assistant Rector of St. Pauls. In his free time he enjoys reading, playing guitar, and spending time with his pug Gus.
The Rev. Charles L Fischer III, a native of New Jersey, grew up in an Episcopal family.
The Fischer family has recently relocated to Pittsburgh for his wife, Rhonda, to assume the position of COO at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Rev. Fischer currently serves as the VP for Seminary Advancement at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Rev. Fischer’s parish ministry has been focused on the Christian formation of the children and youth of the parish as well as global and local outreach in areas of: feeding, clothing, and education.
Rev. Fischer received his undergraduate degree in finance from Morehouse College. After several years of working in New York City, he returned to his beloved alma mater, serving as the Associate Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Programs.
He continued his studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in Alexandria, VA, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree. During his course of study he was deeply committed to the life of the community, holding many leadership positions including Student Body President. Also during this time, he was a Canterbury Scholar at the Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England.
Rev. Fischer is a fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also studied at Wesley Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, Columbia Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Bexley Seabury, and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Annually, Rev. Fischer returns to the Princeton Theological Seminary, serving as a Theologian in Residence with the Black Theology and Leadership Institute.
Rev. Fischer has served parishes in the Diocese of Atlanta (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta and St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, Marietta), the Diocese of Maryland (St. James Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square, Baltimore),and the Diocese of Washington (St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, DC).
He also served as the Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Development & Special Assistant to the President at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC. Rev. Fischer’s work and ministry was focused on reestablishing and strengthening the relationship between the University and the Episcopal Church.
Rev. Fischer was proudly inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International College of Ministers and Laity at Morehouse College in April 2012. He is also an inaugural member of The Martin Luther King Jr. International College of Pastoral Leadership. Rev. Fischer has served on the Board of Trustees for the Holy Innocents Episcopal School in Atlanta, GA, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center Regional Health Board, as well as the Alumni Association Executive Committee for the Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA.
Rev. Fischer is blessed to share his ministry with his lovely wife, Mrs. Rhonda D. Fischer. They are the proud parents of two sons, Charles IV and Cameron.
Honorary Priest Associate
I was born in Detroit, and raised in Livonia MI. I am the daughter of a theatrical scenic artist and a stay at home mother. Following High School, I was an exchange student in a remote village in Finland for a year. Received my BS from Northern Michigan University, and my MDiv. from the General Theological Seminary.
I have been married to Bill Phelps for 41 years and we have two sons, Clifton, married to Alicia, and father to two of the most adorable grand daughters God has ever created; And our other son Devon.
In my youth I was basically unchurched, but somehow knew from a very young age that I was called to serve God. I worked in the travel industry for several years before attending seminary. I really enjoyed my travel work, the skills I acquired have served me well in my life and in the priest hood. When the boys were young we heard a life changing sermon based on Matt 19:21, to sell what we had to follow Jesus. My travel benefits allowed me to visit several seminaries to find a good fit. We left our jobs, sold our home and cars, and moved to NYC so that I could attend seminary.
After seminary graduation, I served a parish in Royal Oak, MI., for 4+ years. We left Royal Oak to come to Pittsburgh where I was the rector of St. Brendan’s in the North Hills. After 10+ years in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, I was called to Northampton, MA. to be the rector of St. John’s. Last February after 10.5 years, I officially retired from full time parish ministry. We moved back to Pittsburgh to be near our kids and those adorable grandchildren. Now days my time is taken up starting my own travel company called Free Goose, taking care of the “adorables”, traveling, and genealogy.
Honorary Priest Associate
After 26 years in the business world he attended and graduated from The General Theological Seminary in 2001. In 2009 He received his ThD from the Graduate Theological Foundation/Oxford University for his work in liturgy and history. In 2013 he was named an Oxford Foundation Fellow and continued his study of Baptism in the early church (40-200CE) at Oxford University in Oxford, UK.