Our Priest Associate
Fr. Steve Schunk joined Messiah as Priest Associate in September 2018. Fr. Steve is a second career, first vocation Priest, ordained on September 15, 2018, at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. He graduated from the General Theological Seminary in May 2018 with a Masters of Divinity degree, and has also completed two full units of Interfaith Hospital Chaplaincy. He is also a trained Mediator for individuals, whether in business or with families. Fr. Steve is a longtime resident of the Hudson Valley and currently resides in Highland, NY with his husband Doug and their young Goldendoodle, Zeke. He is looking forward to meeting everyone at Messiah, learning about all programs that are offered here in the parish, and then working together with Fr. Richard and the congregation, growing together in the ministries of the parish and the larger community.
Our Director of Music
Timothy Lewis has served as Director of Music at The Church of the Messiah since 2015. He holds a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where his teachers included Alec Wyton, Amy Kaiser and Dennis Keene. He has been heard in concert at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the early music series at St. Peter’s Church, and at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church where he performed the New York premiere of Ruth Schonthal’s The Temptation of St. Anthony. Lewis, whose articles on church music have been published by Yale University, is a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
Our Director of Family Programs
Messiah’s Director of Family Programs, Gilda Lyons, has been balancing her commitment to education and to building community with her work as an active professional composer, vocalist, and visual artist since she received her Ph.D. in Music Composition in 2005. Lyons’ approach as educator centers on the mindful exploration of new ideas and received traditions through organic, inclusive, student-led dialog augmented by artistic practice at the highest level. In addition to her work at Messiah, Lyons teaches composition at The Hartt School, University of Hartford, CT and at the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in Virginia. She serves on the Board of Advisors of Composers Now and as Artistic and Executive Director of The Phoenix Concerts, New York’s “intrepid” and “plucky Upper West Side new-music series” (The New Yorker). More information about Lyons’ work as composer, vocalist, recording artist, presenter, educator, and visual artist can be found at www.gildalyons.com.
Our Parish Administrator
Nicole Close graduated from Boston University in May 2016, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She lives in Hyde Park with her parents and her two sisters, one of whom is her identical twin. Nicole started working here at Messiah in April 2017 and has immensely enjoyed getting to know everyone.
Our Parish Sexton
For many years, Peter Thai has been custodian of the Parish Hall, Donegan Hall, Weigel Hall and the Church. He enjoys caring for our buildings and helping in many ways. He lives in Rhinebeck with his wife and three beautiful children.