The Rev. Michael A. Bird, Rector
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Father Bird grew up in the city of Philadelphia and moved to Jacksonville, Florida as a teenager. He attended Swarthmore College where he studied History with a concentration in education. He taught history and coached three varsity sports for five years before attending General Theological Seminary in New York City. His first position after ordination was at St. Mark’s, New Canaan CT where he began as the Associate Rector for Youth and Family Ministry. Father Bird has been the rector of Christ Church since 2004. He says what’s special about this church is its deep commitment to building community, responsibility and a sense of God’s presence through music, liturgy and mission. Father Bird maintains an active presence in the community by serving as an advisor to many organizations and as an avid supporter of the arts and athletics. His next “big thing” will be working to improve youth ministry across the Diocese of New York, the Episcopal Church and hopefully across the larger Church as well.
The Rev. Jennifer Brown Lanier, Assistant to the Rector
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Mother Brown, who proudly describes herself as a “Cradle Episcopalian,” grew up in the Bronx and attended Syracuse University where she majored in Psychology. She then worked as a social worker with the Board of Education for over twenty years before attending seminary. She came to Christ Church Bronxville as a seminarian in 2007, and stayed on after her graduation in 2009 because “CCBNY is a place that allows me to live into my baptismal and ordination vows, and where I am able to see the face and heart and love of God in the people I’m called to serve.” She is married to James Lanier, a Baptist pastor, and has two daughters – one is a lawyer in Washington D.C. and the other is pursuing a PHD in psychology in London. She says Christ Church Bronxville is “made even more special by our parents’ commitment to raising their children in the great tradition of the church through biblical literacy, great fellowship, and the beautiful liturgy of our Episcopal tradition. I’m especially excited about the energy we have around taking the message of God’s peace and love into the community and sharing it with others.”
The Rev. Deacon Chisara Alimole, Deacon at CCB
Deacon Chisara Alimole was born Catholic, married Anglican, and became Episcopalian. Her and her family lived next to and worshiped at Christ Church Pelham. During that period, she began to feel a strong sense of calling to serve the Lord in a special capacity. To further grow her faith, she engaged in a number of church activities. Ultimetly, with the encouragement of The Rev. Deacon Paulette Remppel, she completed four-year EFM program. When making her calling known, The Rev Fr. Randolph Jr. Alexander gave his full support and encouragement. Deacon Alimole’s ministry at Christ Church Bronxville came right after her ordination as a Deacon. She deeply appreciates the opportunity to serve as the Deacon at Christ Church Bronxville.
Deacon Alimole is Igbo, one of the major racial nationalities that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She came to the United States in 1998 with her husband, a diplomat, and four children. At the end of his tour of duty and subsequent retirement from foreign service, they both decided to make the United States our second home. The Deacon holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and is currently pursuing another Master’s Degree in Public Health at the George Washington University. She is A Licensed Special Education Teacher. Additionally, she work with several agencies as an Independent Service Provider to give professional therapy to pre-school special-needs children.
Philip Stopford, Director of Music
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Philip Stopford (b.1977) began his musical career as a Chorister (aged 8) at Westminster Abbey, London, singing under the direction of Simon Preston and Martin Neary. After being awarded a major music scholarship to Bedford School, he was appointed Organ Scholar at Truro Cathedral, Cornwall before reading music at Keble College, Oxford where he was also Organ Scholar. Philip then moved to be Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Communion, before moving to Chester Cathedral to be Assistant Organist. In 2003, Philip was appointed Director of Music at Belfast Cathedral, Northern Ireland, becoming the youngest Cathedral Organist in the country at that time, aged just 25. With this extensive background in choral music, Philip has becoming a respected choir trainer and composer of church music, selling half a million copies of music. He is published by US companies Hal Leonard and MorningStar Music (75 titles so far), and other pieces are self-published at www.ecclesium.co.uk.
Philip recorded a first CD of his own choral music with Ecclesium at Keble College, Oxford. The disc was named Editor’s Choice by Organists’ Review, August 2006. Philip directed this CD and four consecutive CDs of his own music; Creation (2006), Love Never Ends (2007), A Christmas Blessing (2008), Te Deum, Benedicite and Music for the Liturgy (2012). In 2012, Truro Cathedral Choir recorded a complete Stopford CD, Do not be afraid which made the Specialist Classical Music Chart. In 2013, Philip’s Lully Lulla Lullay entered the Classic FM Hall of Fame for the first time at number 248. In 2014, it climbed 152 places become the year’s highest climber of the entire chart.
In September 2015, Philip was appointed Composer in Residence at Christ Church, Bronxville, just outside New York City. A temporary post of four months has become a full time job, and Philip is now Director of Music at the church, working with the Church Choir and Young At Arts children’s choral and theatrical programme. Philip will also continue to offer workshop and concert performances, and periodically accepts new commissions from choirs across the globe.
Commissions in 2016 include The Chorister Prayer (Llandaff Cathedral), Bring Us O Lord God (Friends of Cathedral Music Diamond Fund Concert at St Paul’s Cathedral, London), Ave Maris Stella (Voces8), Durham Jubilate (Durham Cathedral) and Jesus Christ Is Lord (Bronxville).
Vincent Preti, Communications Director
Many of you may know Vincent as he is an alumni of both EYC and Young at Arts (’12). Vincent returns to Christ Church after graduating college and working in cultural and art institutions. He earned his B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, honing in on Himalayan Studies and Religious Theory. To culminate his degree, Vincent completed a multimedia thesis which earned him the designation summa cum laude and placed him at the top of his class. After graduating, Vincent joined the Learning and Engagement department at the Denver Art Museum, where he helped activate museum collections through programming the museum’s Untitled: Final Fridays late night program and facilitating hands-on art making for all ages. When he’s not running around Christ Church, Vincent is probably working on one of his art pieces. Questions regarding weekly newsletter, our database, or any other communications can be directed to Vincent. Feel free to drop him a line, even if it’s just to say hello!
Elis Lui, Youth Minister
Elis graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Religion. She focused her undergraduate studies on early Christianity in its late ancient context. She then interned with the Community of St. Mary, Southern Province in Sewanee, Tennessee, working and praying alongside the Sisters for a year. She is excited about youth formation, and brings experience teaching in secular and religious contexts. She is also the poetry editor of Creating Iris, a literary magazine for LGBTQ+ teens. Elis is passionate about making God and religious practice intelligible, and is excited to grow in the love of Christ with the youth community at Christ Church. A lifelong Floridian and Hongkonger, Elis looks forward to getting to know and love the Bronxville, New York area. She is easily distractible by mentions of cats, bees, baked goods, and liturgy.
Jocelyn Angelone, Office Manager
Jocelyn Angelone moved to Bronxville in 2005, and has spent the last decade in and associated with Eliza Frost School - as a mom of 2 alumni, an assistant teacher, and as an active member of the Bronxville Parent’s Association. Her work with the Association included organizing fundraising events, being a booster for the schools, teaching staff and children and bringing a level of professional financial oversight to the work. Jocelyn began her career as a CPA/CFA in Canada, continuing the work after moving to New York until the family moved to Bronxville. She jokes that she has three jobs: chauffeur and head cheerleader for her children’s athletic adventures; president of lovely Labradoodle Hoya’s dog walking service; and Office Manager of Christ Church Bronxville. All questions regarding contributions can be directed to Jocelyn.
Jose Braga, Assistant Sexton
Jose has been the go-to guy of Christ Church for 18 years. He is the proud father of three kids and grandfather of 4 kids. If you can't find Jose around CCB, you're probably at the wrong church!
Adline Sarpong, Church School Coordinator
Adline Sarpong is both an alum of EYC and YAA (’14). Adline was born and raised in the Bronx and later moved to Fleetwood with her family. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University at Buffalo at only 19 years old! We are thrilled to have Adline back in the CCB community as our Church School Coordinator. Each week, she prepares all of the educational materials for the church school classes. Additionally, she teaches one of our Godly Play classes! When she’s not at CCB, Adline is busy preparing for medical school, gaining experiences shadowing doctors and volunteering. Christ Church will always remain a second home to Adline as she spent most of her days in high school within the church.
Hondi Brasco, Director, Spiritual Growth
Vicky Carter, Sacristan
Owen Thomas, Senior Warden
Jennifer Redman, Junior Warden
Joseph Philips, Treasurer
Timothy Donahue, Clerk
Lianne de Serres
Eliza Corwin Frost
Victoria McLaughlin, Director of Eliza Corwin Frost
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Having worked with children and families for over 25 years, Vicky joins ECF from her most recent role as the Educational Director of Early Learning Foundations and York Avenue Preschool in Manhattan. While at Teachers College, Columbia University she earned both her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education (B-8) and her Masters of Education in Theoretical Foundations of Early Childhood Education. At the Rita Gold Center Lab School of Teachers College she spent more than a decade honing practical classroom experience through teaching two, three, and four year olds in a dynamic academic setting. She inspired future educators by modeling best practice, supervising student teachers, and teaching undergraduate and Master’s degree seminars.
Vicky is thrilled to be at ECF, a nursery school that strives to provide each child with a strong foundation of social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development by providing dynamic learning experiences and partnering with parents and the community.
Mandy Macmillan-Bell, Admissions Director of Eliza Corwin Frost
Always ready to greet new or enrolled families with an enthusiastic smile, Mandy has been part of the ECF Community for 26 years-her 3 children attended our Nursery Program! She has been coordinating Admissions since 2007 and is a vital member of our administrative team, working with the teachers, children, families and the other Directors to ensure that our days are fun filled and run smoothly. Mandy enjoys Tea and Sympathy, hiking with her dog Flora, and of course, her beautiful family.
Young at Arts
Sharyn Pirtle, Founding Director of Young at Arts
Sharyn’s “aha!” moment began in a fantastic public performing arts school in her native Houston, Texas where children from all over the city and from different socioeconomic backgrounds came to share a common interest. Sharyn went on to study voice and opera at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University and spent summers on the shores of Cape Cod doing musical theater. As a performer, Sharyn performed both opera and musical theater – roles such as Ado Annie, Ilona, Cherubino and Despina. Her experience as a director started off by traveling with soprano Renée Fleming and sitting in rehearsals learning the craft at the greatest opera houses around the world. She assisted directors across the US, Europe and Israel and then began directing her own productions in 2000. In 2005, Sharyn, with the help of The Reverend Michael A. Bird, Rector of Christ Church Bronxville, childhood pal Camille Zamora and her husband Shawn Kaufman, founded Young at Arts, in response to the gaps in arts education in her community. At Young at Arts Sharyn has directed both opera and musical theater pieces including, Cinderella, Brundibar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Honk!, Guys and Dolls, The Little Sweep and The Wizard of Oz. Sharyn has spoken on the importance of an arts education in her community and beyond has been honored by the Mount Vernon Public Library Foundation for her dedication to the youth of Mount Vernon. Most recently, she accepted the 2013 Community Partner Award from the Junior League of Bronxville on behalf of YAA.