Pastors & Staff
Meet the people who make this place hum.
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston Senior Pastor
I am a husband, a dad, a friend, a Presbyterian pastor, a comic book reader, and a fan of almost any sport that involves a ball. I am a New Yorker with a soft spot in my heart for the rhythms and people of Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; and Duluth, Minnesota. I like red wine and dark beer, and am constantly in search of the world’s best pizza. I read a lot. My laugh is too loud. I am into reformed theology, parables, psalms and prayers. I blog about the challenges, absurdities and joys of an urban faith. I am always on the lookout for God and good conversation. Let me know whenever you spot them.
The Rev. Dr. Charlene Han Powell Executive Pastor
I am a second-generation Korean American, honored daughter of immigrants Wha Lim Han and Dr. Hye Kyung Kim, devoted sister of Christine and Luis Perez, Cheryl Han and Sebastien Gagnon, beloved wife of Jordan Powell, and adoring mother of Amelie and Noa Han Powell. I hold a BA in religious studies from the University of California-San Diego, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from New York Theological Seminary. My passion is helping people understand and articulate their faith in our diverse, multicultural, multifaith world. When I am not at FAPC, there is a good chance you will find me in Central Park chasing after my girls, or catching up on one of my (many) TV shows. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @TheRevHanPowell.
The Rev. Kate Dunn Associate Pastor for Congregational Care & Outreach
I grew up in Clinton, New York—"a nice place to live," according to the village welcome sign, which it was. From kindergarten until sophomore year at Princeton University, I planned to major in English—but at the last minute I switched to religion, which changed the course of my life. After a year teaching English in Hong Kong, I attended Union Theological Seminary, where I met my husband, Jim Ellis. In my first call, I worked with formerly homeless, mentally ill seniors. Literature remains a passion: I have an MFA from Columbia University and review books for Publishers Weekly. Jim and I have two children and are entering the empty-nest stage of our lives. Swimming in lakes, reading good books, and cuddling with my cat, Star, are among the many things that enrich my life.
The Rev. J.C. Austin Parish Associate
I am a lifelong Presbyterian, a pastor and an educator, a writer and a scholar. I'm also a husband and father, and in any time that's left, a guitarist and singer. I'm completing a doctorate from the University of Cape Town in theology and public life, a field that is at the heart of the work I do now. I've been in ministry in New York City for almost 20 years now. I served as an associate pastor at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church for 10 years, then as a vice president at Auburn Theological Seminary for eight years. Currently I am the founder and executive director of The Studio for Leadership Arts, where I work with pastors, congregations and other faith leaders from all over the country to be more creative, transformative and effective in their work. You'll find me @JCAustinNYC. The "J.C." stands for "John Charles," and I'll buy you lunch if you can come up with a joke about a pastor with those initials that I haven't heard!
The Rev. J. Oscar McCloud Associate Pastor Emeritus
I was an administrative pastor for 10 years at FAPC (1995-2005), then served with the Presbytery of New York City before moving with my wife, Kathy, to Atlanta. I'm a Georgia native—born in Burke County, spent my early childhood on a plantation and attended a segregated high school in Waynesboro. In 1961, I earned my master of divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York and was ordained to the ministry. I spent much of my career with the Presbyterian Church (USA), locally, nationally and internationally. Active in the anti-apartheid movement, I was honored to meet Nelson Mandela at his home in Soweto in 1990. My first wife (my high school sweetheart) died in 2002. Kathy and I married in 2012 and have a blended family of four adult daughters.
The Rev. Randy Weber Associate Pastor Emeritus
I grew up in the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Wenonah, New Jersey. I met my future wife, Cindy, there right after college. We married and raised three children as I completed seminary and pastored congregations in Pennsylvania. We arrived at FAPC in 1991, where I taught the new members class five times a year, as well as classes in Celtic spirituality, inspired by our pilgrimages to the Iona community in Scotland. Cindy retired from her career as a lower school librarian in Manhattan. Our daughter Laura earned two master's degrees in theology and lives near Denver; our son, Craig, is director of mechanical engineering for Leapfrog in Emeryville, California; and our youngest, Emily, is a resident in pediatrics at the New York University School of Medicine. Cindy and I now live in Colorado following my retirement from FAPC in June 2017, but I look forward to returning to preach and see old friends from time to time.
Werner Ramirez Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries
I'm a Guatemalan immigrant who grew up in the hood of Long Beach, California. I didn't end up on the streets, because I had great parents who took me to church and bought us cable television. I received my bachelor of arts in youth ministry from Azusa Pacific University, and I am in the final stages of finishing my master of divinity and master of arts in Christian education and spiritual formation (with an emphasis with ministry to youth and young adults) at Princeton Theological Seminary. I have a heart for that age group and desire to journey with them as they experience a God who is gracious, compassionate and loving. I am a huge soccer and basketball fan; my West Coast spirits shine as I cheer for the LA Galaxy and the Lakers. Recently I’ve been busy helping plan my wedding alongside my amazing fiancée, April.
Nathan Are Interim Director of Christian Education
As a kid I loved oceans. Then we moved to Kansas City—the ocean-less place where I grew up and quickly learned to love. It’s also where I was first drawn to jazz and cycling. In college I studied English, partly because I wanted to read books, but mainly because I wanted to talk about the human condition—about how we live, love and die. Most importantly, I’m the son of a preacher who loves being a teacher, and a nurse who regards healing as a ministry. I also have one sister, who is the best role model and best tutor of love and grace I know. It’s because of these people that I want to teach, heal, love and be gracious. And it’s because of these people that I want to help children and adults build faith in a teaching, healing, loving and gracious God.
Dr. Eugenia Oi Yan Yau Director of Music for Family Ministries
I have been involved in children’s music my whole life. In Hong Kong (where I am from), I was the assistant director of the TaiPo Children’s Choir and later the principal music director of the ShaTin Children’s Choir. These experiences ignited my passion for teaching across cultures. In addition to my baccalaureate and master’s degrees, I earned a doctorate in vocal performance from the University of Texas at Austin and Kodály music education certification from New York University. I am a professor of music at Borough of Manhattan Community College, the composer of a bilingual musical (Fish Jumping over the Dragon Gate) and an avid lover of all things New York, especially window shopping at Chelsea Market with my husband, Jose.
Osanna Urbay Nursery Coordinator
An artist at heart, I enjoy bringing my creative skills to our Nursery. I have always worked in the arts, where I often get to play with beautiful objects rather than young tots. I currently work at the Montclair Art Museum. I grew up at FAPC, emigrating from Cuba with my family when I was 16 months old—about the average age of the demographic in the Nursery. Over the years, I’ve been a Deacon, an Elder and served on several committees, but none of these experiences offered me the opportunity to use Play-Doh, color and eat Goldfish to my heart’s content. I am fortunate to work with a team of experienced and talented caregivers. Our goals for our youngest members are to provide a safe environment; to let them know they are loved; and to prepare them for Sunday School with the big kids. This is a big stepping stone!
Dr. Ryan Jackson William S. Perper Director of Music & Fine Arts Ministries
Acclaimed organist and choral director Ryan Jackson was appointed William S. Perper Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 2012, following an international search. Ryan is the founding director of the professional FAPC Chamber Choir, as well as the Joyful Noise Choir, a teaching ensemble open to all members of the church community. In 2013, Ryan established FAPC’s annual concert series, which features a diverse program of four choral concerts and three organ recitals each season.
Prior to his appointment at FAPC, Ryan served in the music programs at Christ Church United Methodist on Park Avenue; the University Church at Yale; Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven; and Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. In addition to his work at FAPC, Ryan maintains an active recital schedule throughout the United States and his native Canada where his performances have been praised for their “mature musicality, technical poise, and registrational sensitivity” (RCCO Bulletin).
The winner of numerous prestigious competitions, including the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ National Organ Playing Competition, he has studied with several of the most prominent organists of the day, including Patricia Wright, Thomas Murray, and Paul Jacobs. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Mus.Bac.Perf.), Yale University (M.M.), and The Juilliard School (D.M.A.).
Patrick Kreeger Associate Organist
Patrick Kreeger joined Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church as associate organist in July 2015. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Patrick gave his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17, and enjoys a versatile career as a pianist, organist, and choral conductor. Patrick completed his undergraduate studies at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Alan Morrison, and later attended Yale University, where he earned the Robert Baker Scholarship and completed his master’s degree under Martin Jean. He is currently enrolled at The Juilliard School, studying with Paul Jacobs as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow.
Patrick has performed at prestigious venues worldwide, including Benaroya Hall in Seattle; Meymandi Symphony Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina; Verizon Hall in Philadelphia; St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City; Cook Hall in St. John’s, Newfoundland; Peterborough Cathedral in Peterborough, England; the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, France; and other venues in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria, and Israel.
Prior to joining FAPC, Patrick served as the director of music and organist at Cheshire United Methodist Church in Cheshire, Connecticut. He also served for four years as director of music and organist at Leverington Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
Séamus Campbell Director of Outreach Ministries
I was born across the river and raised a Roman Catholic in northern New Jersey. As a teen, I was influenced by radical priests like Fr. James Groppi, the Berrigans, Malcolm Boyd and others who spoke truth to power. I entered the Order of the Most Holy Trinity in 1977, where I remained until 1981. The Order was the first to combine a life of mission with the monastic life. I was ordained a priest of the Old Catholic Church in 1987 and lived for 22 years in Boston, where I studied at the Episcopal Divinity School and served as a chaplain and parish priest. As a pastor with Ecclesia Ministries, I now lead a “congregation without walls” that gathers in Madison Square Park. I share my life with my partner, Jeffrey, and my three cats.
The Rev. Helen Jackson Parish Visitor
As FAPC’s Parish Visitor, I work with the Rev. Kate Dunn making pastoral care visits to our homebound and hospitalized members. I am a graduate of Duke University, Yale Divinity School and the Blanton-Peale Institute, and an ordained minister since 1977. Most of my ministry has been as a pastoral psychotherapist, formerly at the Riverside Church Pastoral Counseling Center and the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute, and now in private practice. I have also served as the pastor of two parishes and continue to preach three Sundays a month at Presbyterian churches throughout New York City.