General News

Meet Our New Officers

SESSION


Class of 2024
Jill Borrero, Mae Cheng-PaVon, Brunilda Fernandez, Paul Griggs, Claire Kedeshian, John Kern, William Stone, John Wyatt

Class of 2022
William Sytsma (Youth Elder)

DEACONS


Class of 2024
Jennica Carmona, Greg Dow, Joann Harah, Beverly Elmyra Johnson, Lydia Kalmen, Shane Markstrum, Auguste Nipabi, Joyce Nolen, Branden Wang, Lynn Wishart

Class of 2023
Matt Roush, Vijay Wijesundera

Class of 2022
Janine Schindler

TRUSTEES


Class of 2024
Alyce Andrews, Paula Berry, Alison Beskin, Bob Henn, Glenn Hubbard, Dan Kreuger

2021–2022 MEMBERS AT LARGE

Dora DePugh, Chris Edwards, Jane Hong

SESSION

Jill Borrero
Jill first attended Fifth Avenue more than ten years ago and was instantly drawn to the warmth and beauty of the physical space in the sanctuary. She says she returned for the thought-provoking sermons. Jill oversees daily operations at a nonprofit and she and her family live in Brooklyn. Jill has been active in Family Ministries, and says becoming a part of that gracious community has been a blessing.

Mae Cheng
Mae has been a member of Fifth Avenue for more than 20 years and has recently served on the Board of Deacons. After returning to New York upon graduating from college, Mae was searching for a spiritual home and stumbled upon Fifth Avenue. It instantly felt like she found her place, with sermons that spoke to her heart and the heavenly music of the choir to settle her thoughts and emotions. Over the past decade, she and her family have been involved with Family Ministries, where now the next generation of her household has also found a home.

Brunilda Fernandez
Brunilda’s first visit to Fifth Avenue was to hear a music program which she enjoyed so much she decided to attend Sunday services and immediately felt welcomed. She shares, “In April 2004, I joined 12 members of our church family and visited Madagascar.  This event was amazing to me in what I saw, heard, and experienced and made me realize how important Fifth Avenue was in my life.  Soon after my return I was invited to serve on the Board of Deacons.”

Paul Griggs
The Griggs family relocated to NYC from London in Summer 2018 and have attended Fifth Avenue regularly since then. Prior to living in London, their family lived in Charlotte, NC and Paul served as a Deacon at First Presbyterian Church Charlotte. Shares Paul, “Fifth Avenue has felt like home from the day we stepped foot in the Sanctuary. From the warmth of the church and its members, to the smiles of the officers and clergy and the tender care that’s been shared with our family, whether this is through youth group, COVID-safe visits on street corners or walks through the park.”

Claire S. Kedeshian
Claire has been a member of Fifth Avenue since 2001. For many years, she has been a frequent volunteer and supporter of Meals on Heels. Shares Claire, “I look forward to serving and growing in this new role as an Elder.”

John Kern
John joined Fifth Avenue in 2019, having visited for more than a year. He previously served as a Deacon in his former denomination, the Reformed Church of America. When he was led to search for a new church home, he shares that he “happily found it in the warm, welcoming community of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian.”

William Stone
William joined Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 2017. This is his first time serving as an officer and he is excited for the opportunity. William says, “I have learned so much from the Fifth Avenue family, not just in terms of the substance of my faith, but also about the habits and dispositions that help me grow in my faith. Getting to witness the church’s diverse leadership, whether among the pastors preaching a sermon or elders serving commission, has been a real gift to my growing, multicultural family and me.”

William Sytsma (Youth Elder)
Will has been attending Fifth Avenue since birth and was baptized and confirmed at the church.  Over the years, Will has enjoyed a community of church friends and the fellowship provided by Sunday School, Family Camp, Youth Group and more. Participating in FAPC Serves, the Log College Project grant process, and the development of Project You&Me (a new initiative supporting intergenerational fellowship at Fifth Avenue) are experiences that Will has appreciated as opportunities for leadership and service to our community.

John Wyatt
John is a former actor and current catering special events director. He has served two terms as a Deacon, most recently as Moderator. He joined Fifth Avenue in 1989 and quickly discovered the Meals on Heels program and has been the co-coordinator ever since. John says the volunteers he has met along the way have become his extended family and they demonstrate the values of Fifth Avenue: fellowship and dedicated service.

DEACONS

Jennica Carmona
Jennica has been a member of the church for more than ten years and loves being a part of Fifth Avenue’s vibrant community in the heart of New York City. She previously served as a Deacon and is honored to serve again. Shares Jennica, “I have developed several meaningful relationships and had many lovely experiences through being a part of this family.”

Greg Dow
Greg has been a member of Fifth Avenue since 1996. He has previously served as an Elder and Trustee, including two terms as Clerk of Session and one as President of the Board of Trustees.  Greg has served on numerous church nominating committees including Charlene Han Powell, Kate Dunn and Christine Boyle. Greg says he loves the vitality of the church’s Outreach and Education Programs, the preaching and the fellowship he has found at the church.

Joann Harrah
Joann first attended a Presbyterian Church in Lakewood, OH where her grandfather had been the organist and choir director for many years. Joann has been a member of Fifth Avenue since 2016. A mixed media artist whose work examines historical narratives and inventive storytelling, she says, “I feel at home at Fifth Avenue and love being part of a large church where I get to meet many people.”

Beverly Elmyra Johnson
Beverly first attended the church in 1989 and became a member in 1990. She has served three times as an Elder. She shares, “At Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church I can inhale God’s Word and exhale God’s Word in service.”

Lydia Kalmen
Lydia has been attending Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church for more than 8 years and this is her first time serving as an Officer. She is a Sunday school teacher and active with the 20’s + 30’s group and Theater Fellowship. Lydia says the Fifth Avenue community is like family to her and she has met most of her closest friends through the church.

Joyce Nolan
Joyce has been a member of the church since 1984. She has been a Co-Chair for the Bowery Mission Committee, an Usher & Greeter, part of the Theatre Fellowship and has served in Outreach ministries, including Meals On Heels. Shares Joyce, “This church is special to me in many ways including the ministers, the activities and the Outreach programs.”

Shane Markstrum
Shane has been a member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church for 9 years. He was previously a member of Session from 2015-2018. Shares Shane, “The church gave my wife and I a sense of home and community shortly after moving to New York City. We feel blessed to be able to raise our two children August, 9, and Victoria, 7, in this faith family.”

Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined Fifth Avenue in 2013 and continues to marvel at the congregation’s welcoming and giving nature. An enthusiastic member of the LGBTQ Word Is Out community group, he has been honored to serve as Clerk of Session, the Major Gifts Committee of the Capital Campaign, and as Chair of the Steering Committee of Fifth Avenue’s Theatre Fellowship. Matt is a Senior Critic at TV Guide Magazine and tvinsider.com and lives in Manhattan with his husband, current Elder and prolific church photographer, Porter Binks.

Janine A. Schindler
Janine and her husband joined Fifth Avenue in 2003 and have been attending since 2002. She served as a Deacon from 2007 - 2010 and was Vice Moderator in. 2010. Janine shares, “We joined because of the warm inviting community we found especially with the Couples Club and the volunteer ministry that continues to have a huge impact. We stay because Fifth Avenue is our Christian family.”

Branden Wang
Branden found the church in January of 2019 when he and then-fiance, Yvonne, were looking for a church to be married in. Brandon said they knew this was their church just a few weeks and a few sermons later. Shares Brandon, “It reminded both of us of the churches we grew up in, we joined as members and never looked back. Yvonne and I were married by Pastor Scott on September 28th, 2019.” This is his first time serving as a Church Officer.

Lynn Wishart
Wanting to be a part of a large faith community, Lynn joined FAPC in 1995. Lynn served as a Deacon from 2004-2007 and subsequently served two terms as an Elder. She has found that Fifth Avenue feeds her faith through seemingly endless opportunities for service and for learning about God alongside others.

TRUSTEES

Alyce Andrews
Alyce has been a member of Fifth Avenue for ten years. She has served on the Board of Trustees for 7 of these years and was previously the Assistant Treasurer. She is a volunteer for the homeless shelter ministry and the Employment Advisory Board.  Alyce says, “I value the time I spend at church, whether it’s participating in outreach programs or attending worship services and meeting up with fellow congregants.”

Alison Beskin
Alison and her husband have been attending the church since 2018, shortly after they moved to NYC and she began practicing as a lawyer. The church was already familiar to them as her father-in-law attended Fifth Avenue when he lived in the City in the 1970’s. This is the first time that she has served as an officer. Says Alison, “I have loved being involved in the Fifth Avenue’s music ministry as a volunteer flutist and can’t wait to get back to sharing music once quarantine ends.”

Paula Berry
Paula has been attending Fifth Avenue for almost two years after moving from Atlanta. She and her husband felt welcomed from their first visit and were first invited by friends they had known in Atlanta. Shares Paula, “I have been wanting to get involved at the church and am looking forward to being able to serve in this capacity.”

Bob Henn
Bob has been a member since 2007. He previously served two terms as a Trustee and was a member of the Property Administration Committee. Most recently, he chaired the Livestreaming Task Force. Shares Bob, “I really enjoy working with the Meals on Heels team on Saturday mornings preparing meals for our homebound neighbors as well as planning events for CouplesPlus.”

Glenn Hubbard
Glenn joined Fifth Avenue in the mid-1990s and immediately loved the church’s offerings to deepen faith, serve and to meet interesting people. He has served as an Elder, a Trustee and on numerous Church Committees. Says Glenn, “This wonderful place is a big part of my family’s life.”

Dan Krueger
Dan is a lifelong Presbyterian from South Texas and has been attending Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church since the mid-2000s. This is his first time serving as an officer. Dan describes the time he spends at Fifth Avenue with his wife, Lauren, and children, Wyatt and Grace, as a respite from being a busy New Yorker. Says Dan, “I am excited to continue to grow as a human being, sharing in God’s love with my immediate family and my church family.”