Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Yorty, Pastor
Tom Yorty came to Westminster in 1998 following a pastorate in Easton, PA. During Tom's pastorate at Westminster, the congregation has continued its historic role as a leader in mission to the city, social justice and worship and music ministries, as well as offering dynamic programs of adult learning, children and youth ministries. Tom believes the church exists for one primary reason - to make Jesus real for those who suffer, long for abundant life, and seek to end systems of oppression. In 2005, the church launched the Westminster Economic Development Initiative hailed by local foundations and businesses as the face of the "New Buffalo" - entrepreneurial, diverse and young. Westminster's Early Childhood Programs (weekday programs for infants through five years old) continues to be one of the premier programs in WNY. Westminster is widely recognized as a leader in multifaith partnership, working closely in education and service with Jews and Muslims. He resides on the West Side of Buffalo with his wife Carol and their two labs. Tom enjoys writing poetry and competes in triathlons.
The Rev. Beth Hennessy, Pastoral Care Associate
Beth joined the staff of Westminster in 2013 to assist in providing pastoral care to members of the congregation. In addition to providing ministry to the sick and home bound, she offers one-on-one pastoral support to people who are experiencing grief, difficult life transitions or other personal struggles. Beth graduated with her Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in 1990 and his been an ordained minister since 1991. She has worked in the field of chaplaincy and pastoral care for 20 years.
Email Beth Contact Beth: 716-697-0919
Garrett F. Martin, Organist and Director of Music Ministries
Since 2013, Garrett Martin has served as the Organist and Director of Music at Westminster, where he directs and oversees the church's four choirs and The Westminster Choir School, plans worship, maintains the two historic Aeolian-Skinner organs and 5 Steinway grand pianos, coordinates Westminster Presents and visiting artists, and conducts and plays all weekly worship and special services alongside Westminster's Glynda Stephens Taylor Organ Scholar, Matthew Marco. A native of Tennessee, Garrett has served churches in Tennessee, Florida and Texas and holds a Performer's Certificate in Organ and Accompanying from Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music, a Master of Music degree in Sacred Music and Organ Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music and Organ Performance from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. As a concert artist, he is managed exclusively by JSE Artist Management in South Africa.
As the new Director of Development for Westminster, I am very excited to have the opportunity to give back to a church community that has given me and my family so much throughout the years. As southern transplants, my late husband, Carl and I joined Westminster in 1984 and raised our family of three sons here. We felt embraced by the Westminster community and over the years we served in many leadership and volunteer capacities. Our children were nurtured by the enriching programs for children and youth here and the Westminster congregation held us close as we journeyed through Carl's illness and ultimate passing. In my new role, I am honored and blessed to be called to serve Westminster in a position that will assist in ensuring our church's present and long term financial security so that other individuals and families may experience God's love and abundance through this congregation as we did. Westminster's legacy of inspiring worship and music programs, rich education opportunities for adults, young people and children and our long history of commitment to building a stronger, healthier community in Western New York are worth preserving because they are much needed. I look forward to working with you so that together we will find ways to faithfully give and steward our financial resources to show gratitude for God's many blessings through Westminster today and for many years to come!
Brian Glikes, Glynda Stephens Taylor Organ Scholar
A native of Troy, NY, Brian Glikes is the incoming Glynda Stephens Taylor Organ Scholar at Westminster Presbyterian Church and a current doctoral student of David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music. Brian has received first prizes at the Sursa, Poister, and West Chester organ competitions, second prizes at the Schweitzer and Rodland compe- titions, and Eastman's Barnes Award for Excellence in Pipe Organ. He has presented recitals at Methuen Memorial Music Hall and Syracuse University, and has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble. His previous teachers include Douglas Marshall and John Russell. As a church musician, Brian has served parishes in New York, Massachusetts, and Georgia, most recently having worked as director of music at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Fairport, NY.
Debbie Katz, Director of Christian Education
Since 2006, Debbie has been Westminster's Director of Christian Education. Her focus is on nurturing faith for all members; from our infants and toddlers through to our seniors. She oversees the children's, youth and adult education programs. She works with our monthly senior's group called Passages and WOW (Women of Westminster) programs. A graduate of McGill University, Debbie completed her Masters of Christian Education degree in 2007 from Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA and has worked as a church educator since 2001.
Mark Aquino, Youth Coordinator
Along with teaching Sunday School and Confirmation Class, Mark's interest and dedication in spiritual faith has started him on his journey of becoming a Lay Preacher. He joined the Westminster Presbyterian Church staff in 2013 as the Youth Ministry Coordinator. Mark's major role is to foster an environment of apprenticed leadership and empowering youth and young adults to be faithful Christian disciples. As a lifelong member of the Church, Mark is passionate about growing and nurturing the vitality of youth and young adults in both church and community. Mark is a graduate of Buffalo State College and currently working on his Master's in Special Education. In addition to his ministry at Westminster, he teaches high school students in East Aurora and is a Registered Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer.
Matthew Marco is active in the Buffalo area as a conductor and collaborative pianist. He serves as Music Director for Buffalo's Opera Lytes as well as Music Director and/or Assistant Conductor for The Nickel City Opera, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Hillman Opera of SUNY Fredonia, and the Clarkson University Orchestra. His recent engagements include appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and Friends of Vienna. He has served as Organ Scholar at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo and is the accompanist of the Buffalo Master Chorale, along with his active work as a chamber musician. His 2015-16 season includes a solo appearance in Beethoven's CHORAL FANTASY at Westminster Presbyterian and as Assistant Conductor/Music Coach for a world premier production of John Musto's BASTIANELLO. Mr. Marco has participated in master classes with Jake Heggie, Ian Clarke, Helmut RIlling, and Ken Keisler, to name a few. He holds an MM in Collaborative Piano from SUNY Fredonia as a student of Dr. Anne Kissel and a BM in Piano Performance from SUNY Potsdam studying with Francois Germain. His Conducting mentors include Brian Doyle at Potsdam and Paul Ferington of the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Lenore is happy and proud to be a part of Westminster since 2000. Her relationship with members of the congregation is both rewarding and inspiring. Born, raised and educated in New York City, she decided to make WNY her home after meeting her husband, and best friend, Rob, a veteran Creative Director here in WNY. A graduate from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration, her career became focused on advertising and marketing-working in NYC as an Art Director on Madison Avenue for such agencies as Ted Bates Advertising and locally at Healy-Schute Advertising, and HSBC Bank. As the Communications Coordinator and Graphic Designer for Westminster, she parlayed her skills in design and communications to the new media which includes website design and social media. She enjoys playing tennis, guitar, piano, but her biggest joy is spending time at her home in the Town of Tonawanda with her husband and her yellow Lab, Babe. She is proud of her greatest achievement - raising two sons, James and Patrick, who have become successful designers as well!
A Buffalo native who never lived outside western New York, Tricia received a B.S. in accounting from SUNY at Buffalo. She has had previous business experience as the accountant/controller of advertising and law firms along with successfully operating her own retail business for eighteen years in Williamsville. Tricia presently lives in Buffalo, not far from Westminster, and thoroughly enjoys the warm comraderie of the staff at Westminster as well as the presence of so many children. She is very proud of her two daughters pursuing professional careers in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Tricia enjoys cooking for her family and friends, travel, and plenty of music
Jamie has been our Administrative Assistant since January 2010. Prior to that she was a teacher with the Westminster Early Childhood Programs since 1987. Her mother and Sister also worked at WECP. She is proud to say all three of her children are WECP alumni. She enjoys being here on Sundays as well helping with the childcare in the Butzer building. Jamie was born and raised in Western New Yorkand currently lives in the Town of Tonawanda with her husband Jason and three children. Jamie has always felt Westminster is a wonderful place to be.
Jenece Gerber, Ph.D is an active freelance composer, conductor, singer, and instructor. Her compositions have been commissioned and performed by diverse groups and soloists worldwide, including the New York Virtuoso Singers, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Quince Vocal Ensemble, La Catrina String Quartet, the Holland/Weissman Duo, and the Season String Quartet. Originally from NE Ohio, Jenece earned the Ph.D in Music Composition from the University at Buffalo, the Master of Music degrees in Music Composition and Vocal Performance from the University of Akron, and a BA in Ethnomusicology from Bowling Green State University. Her teachers include soprano Tony Arnold and composers Marilyn Shrude, Burton Beerman, Donald Wilson, Wallace DePue, and Jeffrey Stadelman. She has also participated in a wide range of workshops and summer programs including gamelan studies in Indonesia, the June in Buffalo Festival, Summer in Sombor program in Serbia, Brevard Music Center, and the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall. Jenece is a member of ASCAP, the Society of Composers Inc., and New York Women Composers.
Early Childhood Programs - Staff
Cindy comes to us with a rich background in Early Childhood Education. She began her career teaching pre-school and kindergarten in Rochester, NY. From there, Cindy turned her attention to research with particular emphasis on studies concerning childhood obesity and nutrition. While pursuing her doctorate at the University at Buffalo, Cindy spent time as an adjunct instructor for undergraduate and graduate Learning and Instruction courses. Additionally, she spent five years as a Master Teacher and then Program Administrator at the Early Childhood Research Center at UB. In her role at the ECRC, Cindy successfully maintained NAEYC accreditation for the Center, supervised teaching staff, and worked collaboratively with a diverse family population. Cindy also worked as a Senior Child Researcher in the Fisher-Price Play Lab for nine years, spending time planning and conducting product development sessions with infant, toddler, pre-school and elementary aged children.Through time spent getting to know Cindy one thing is abundantly clear, she has a deep love for working with children. We feel that Cindy's philosophy is a strong match for WECP; she holds a high regard for these important early years in a child's life and we know this will inspire her work each day.
Todd joined Westminster Early Childhood Programs (WECP) in January 2016 on a temporary assignment. He eagerly accepted an offer to join the staff on a permanent basis as Director of Admissions and Operations in June 2016. He returned to the Buffalo area a year ago after living in other cities for nearly 30 years. His past residences include New York City, San Diego, and Toledo. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, he earned a Master's Degree in Special Education and taught inner-city junior high and high school students with severe behavior disorders for 13 years. In addition, he has many years' experience working in human resources for different companies - most notably Children's Television Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street. He enjoys traveling and has been fortunate to have great experiences especially in South and Central America working in orphanages. He is thrilled to be back in Buffalo with his family and excited about his new role at WECP.
Barbara joins Westminster Early Childhood Programs after years living and working as an administrative assistant in the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area. She grew up in Cuba, NY and graduated from the University of Buffalo with her Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. Soon after graduating, she moved to Washington DC to take a position with the Washington Bureau of the Los Angeles Times. After that, she spent ten years working in the headquarters of USA Today in McLean, Virginia. She is now happily back in Buffalo, NY and excited to be working for WECP. She spends her spare time volunteering, reading, hiking and trying her hand at photography.
Aaron Vivian, Facilities Supervisor, ext. 319, 716-504-7308
Jeff Kaczmarek, Maintenance, ext. 319, 716-345-8013
Nolan Arroyo, Maintenance, 716-346-7670
Austin Becker, Maintenance. 716-479-0668