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.


Emily Scott, Pastor

Emily Scott is a pastor and church planter. She founded St. Lydia’s in collaboration with Rachel Kroh and congregants in 2009, and was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2012. Emily is committed to building communities of faith that dismantle fear and hate, affirm LGBTQ people, and confront racial injustice. Emily believes that Christian practice holds out rich possibilities that call us to reach out across boundaries in love, learn through discomfort, and build relationships that bring God's realm close.

Emily served as the Director of Worship at the Riverside Church in the City of New York from 2007-2009, then as the Director of Family Music Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York from 2009-2013. Emily collaborated with All Saints Company to found and coordinate Music That Makes Community a network of clergy and musicians interested in composing and leading congregational music from the oral tradition and train church leaders to do the same. As part of her work, she oversaw the publication of Music By Heart, a hymnal of paperless music.

Emily is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and has been selected to receive the Alumni Award for Distinction in Congregational Ministry in 2016. She was a selected speaker at Why Christian in 2015, and addressed over 30,000 youth at the Youth Gathering of the ELCA, also in 2015. St. Lydia's has been covered by The Atlantic and the Wall Street Journal.


Julia Stroud, Community Coordinator

After four years working in television and theater, Julia Macy Stroud found herself studying Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, where she won the Karen Ziegler Feminist Preaching Prize and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2014. She's passionate about feminist theology, queer theory, and anything with a liberative bent; Julia is especially interested in what good theology can look like when it's working in real faith communities.

Julia is also the Program Minister at All Saints' Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn. There, she works with children and youth, preaches regularly on Sunday mornings, and manages their social media. As a Crown Heights-dweller, she may often be found listening to comedy podcasts while crossing Prospect Park.

A Twitter-Facebook-Instagram-Tumblr-etc enthusiast, Julia's not ashamed to be found with her phone in her hand. Please feel free to friend and follow her across all platforms; she's especially on the lookout for good pictures of us here at St. Lydia's!

Hannah Johnston, Social Justice and Pastoral Care Coordinator

Hannah Johnston moved to Brooklyn from the UK in August 2014 and has been Interning at St Lydia's for 15 months, overseeing the Social Justice Show-Up Team, and assisting Emily and Julia with the day to day running of the church. She graduated from St Mellitus College, an Anglican Seminary in London, in June 2015. Before moving to the US, Hannah worked for St Francis’ Church, a small but diverse Church on a social housing estate in West London, where she was involved primarily in community organizing, social justice, and communications. Hannah 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 loves hot weather, interesting ideas and conversations, wine, singing and cats. She is exited about taking on a new role at St Lydia's as Social Justice and Pastoral Care Co-ordinator!

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.

Leadership Table

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:

  • Zachary Walter
  • Phil Fox Rose
  • Jason Whittle
  • Joel Avery

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