You’re looking for an experience of the holy.
One that is strong enough to lean on, deep enough to question, and challenging enough to change you.
If you’re not sure what you believe, rest assured that neither are we. We place practice before belief, trusting that the practice of eating, praying, and singing together that moves us deeper into faith. Instead of trying to figure out what we believe, we’re trying to live what we practice.
Bob Wollenburg, Interim Pastor
Bob grew up in rural Missouri and moved to Long Island after ordination in 1977. A Lutheran pastor (ELCA), Bob served parishes in Manhasset, Queens and Manhattan before serving at Trinity Lower East Side (the congregation that helped St. Lydia’s get off the ground) in 1985. He began a ten-year ministry in the Metropolitan New York Synod beginning in 2000, teaching stewardship, doing fundraising and encouraging planned giving (charitable estate planning). After a few years of this and that (Director of Planned Giving at Weill Cornell Medical College, a year at a Lutheran nursing home on Staten Island, a stint at Lutheran Social Services of New York) Bob retired...but then helped St Peter's Lutheran in Port Jervis, NY, for a year. Bob and Karol have been married since 1975, have three married children and have three grandchildren, and have lived in Washington Heights since 1977.
Bob is serving as St. Lydia’s Interim Pastor, guiding the congregation through a transitional time as they embark on a call process for their next Pastor.
Hannah Johnston, Community Coordinator
Hannah moved to New York from the UK in 2014 and served as a seminary intern at St. Lydia's whilst still studying in the UK, which involved a (less glamorous than it sounds) commute between New York and London each month! She graduated from St Mellitus College, an Anglican Seminary in London, in 2015. Hannah then served as Social Justice and Pastoral Care Coordinator at St Lydia's, establishing and overseeing the Social Justice Show-Up Team, before taking on the role of Community Coordinator.
Before moving to the US, Hannah worked for St Francis’ Church, a small but diverse church on a public housing estate in West London, where she was involved primarily in community organizing, social justice, and communications. She previously worked for several years in the fashion industry as a stylist/personal shopper, and also has a background in affordable housing and welfare. Hannah is passionate about making church inclusive, creating fun and caring communities, empowering women, and working with people of other faiths. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Johnny and two very important cats. Hannah loves hot weather, interesting ideas and conversations, wine, singing, and anything with melted cheese.
Sarah McCaslin, Waffle Church Minister
Sarah is an ordained minister and licensed social worker whose career has been devoted to fostering the human capacity for resilience, growth and meaning-making. After many years working with the homeless and mentally ill, followed by seven years in parish ministry, Sarah has turned her attention to counseling, mostly recently as a staff therapist at the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute. But her heart is in the liturgical life of the community, and she continues to guest preach whenever possible. For community is itself a sacrament, and worship is one of the best places she knows to encounter the mystery of God together. Sarah lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children--Claire, age 6, and Henry, age 3 1/2, who are theologians in the very best sense of the word.
Rebecca Stevens-Walter, Waffle Church Minister for Music and the Arts
Rebecca is a musician, storyteller, and pioneer of children’s liberation theology. She moved to New York City in 2012 and began serving as the Director of Family Music Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church in the City of the New York in 2013. Rebecca completed her Masters of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in the spring of 2017. In her studies, she concentrated on the Arts in worship as a way of engaging multigenerational congregations. Her thesis is titled, “Let the Little Children Come: A Children’s Liberation Theology.”
From 2015-2016, Rebecca served as the seminary intern for St. Lydia’s Waffle Church, an intergenerational worship service which serves as an extension of St. Lydia’s Dinner Church. Rebecca continues her work with St. Lydia’s serving as the Waffle Church Minister for Music and the Arts. Rebecca is married to St. Lydia’s first seminary intern, Zachary Stevens-Walter. Last October they welcomed their son, Wren, into this bright, busy, and beautiful world.
St. Lydia’s is guided by a Leadership Table which, directed by the Holy Spirit, reads the spiritual compass of the community, measures the bearings of all that has come before, and takes soundings of what lies beneath. Currently, our Table Leaders are:
- Martha Lineberger, Chair
- Richard Foster
- Jason Whittle
- Andie Corso
- Will Gamber