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.

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:

  • Martha Lineberger, Chair
  • Richard Foster
  • Chloe Lyon
  • Jason Whittle

Write the Leadership Table:
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