Family Ministries

Meet the Parents

By Jama Toung

One of the many marvels of parenting is the evolution of the role of parent. As children move through the developmental stages, parents do, too.

At Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, we don’t do this alone. 

“I have such admiration for young parents raising children at this church,” remarks Marc Lovci, co-moderator of the Parents Community Group. “This past fall our youngest daughter moved up from Sunday School to Youth Group. I was struck with overwhelming gratitude for our church community, and the nurturing support and inspiration that Mary and I have received from other parents along the way.”

On Sunday Feb. 24, we will hear from six parents who have raised their families at Fifth Avenue. The Rev. Dr. Charlene Han Powell, executive pastor (and mother of two), will moderate a discussion featuring three families whose children grew up in the church before moving on to college, careers and families of their own.

Conceived by a group of fellow parents—including Jaime Staehle, Marc, Charlene and me—“Parenting from the Pews” will offer wisdom and insight from Kirsten and Greg Aiello, Kathy and Ken Henderson, and Constance and Glenn Hubbard. The event begins at 9:30 am in the Boardroom.

The Aiellos

Kirsten and Greg Aiello began attending Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church on Easter Sunday, 1995. They became engaged right before the Christmas Eve service began that year, and were married in the Sanctuary in 1996. During their time serving on the Couples Club Steering Committee, they welcomed the first of their three children into the world. Fellow Couples Club committee members became their lifelong friends and mentors.

All three of the Aiello children—Christopher, Alex and Jean—were baptized and confirmed at Fifth Avenue. As Kirsten and Greg served in various roles at the church, in their careers, at their children’s schools and in other organizations, Sunday worship and their church family have always been sources of comfort and strength.

“Raising kids is challenging enough, Kirsten says. “But raising kids in New York City has its own unique challenges.”

The Hendersons

Kathy and Ken Henderson have been active members of the church since 1980. Their daughter and son, Chris and Jack, were baptized and confirmed here, and in 2012 Chris was married in the Sanctuary in a beautiful service conducted by Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston.

“There weren’t as many kids in Sunday School in the early 1990s as there are now,” says Ken, ”but church every week was an important part of the family’s life.”

Chris and Jack sang in the Children’s Choir, and participated in the annual Christmas Pageant and youth mission trips. Chris now lives in Atlanta with her husband and toddler son, and is an active member of First Presbyterian Church. Jack lives in Nashville with his wife and baby daughter and, at age 29, was elected Clerk of Session of Downtown Presbyterian Church.

The Hubbards

Constance and Glenn Hubbard have two sons, Raph and Will. The Hubbards have been involved at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church for 25 years, each serving in multiple leadership roles. They began attending Fifth Avenue after returning from a two-year leave in Washington, D.C., when Raph was a toddler. Six years later, Will was baptized here.

“Our children were the recipients of the blossoming Fifth Avenue children’s and youth programs,” Constance says. “Both Raph and Will were confirmed here, and both earned their Boy Scouts religious emblem through this church.”

Raph is now a first-year student at Harvard Business School, and Will continues to worship and serve the church with his family. The Hubbards are grateful for the vibrant faith community at Fifth Avenue and, in particular, the strength they received through years of active parenting.

The Aiellos, Hendersons and Hubbards have each felt God’s guidance and love for them in as parents. We look forward to their sharing their stories, lessons and takeaways from parenting from the pews of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. 

Jama Toung is co-moderator of the Parents Community Group, which meets on Sundays at 9:30 am to discuss strategies for raising faithful families in New York City.