Staff

The Rev. Mia Kano

Priest-in-Charge

Rev. Mia Kano began serving St. Mark's as Priest-in-Charge in 2022. She was ordained an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts in 2020. She previously served Grace Church, Medford through the Episcopal Service Corps program, Life Together, and as Assistant Rector at St. Andrew's, Wellesley. Mia grew up in Connecticut, but her family and spouse hail from Eastern Massachusetts. She earned her B.A. in Religion (Islam) from Middlebury College in Vermont and her M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley. She lives in the rectory in East Longmeadow with her spouse, two children, and dog.

Sue Matsui

Minister of Music

Sue is an organist/choir director, school music teacher, composer, and author of Japanese children's books. Her calling is to collaborate with singers and instrumentalists to praise God through music.

Sue directs the St. Mark's choir, which is full of beautiful voices, and is one of the friendliest groups of people anywhere. The choir is taking a break from gathering as a group during the pandemic, but individual choir members and instrumentalists have continued to provide music for St. Mark's every week, both live and through collaborative recordings. The choir has created a Devotional Book of prayers and artwork during our time of separation. A second volume is in the works. We can't wait to be back together again, and are always ready to welcome new members.

Sue leads the St. Mark's children's choir and directs two pageants each year - a Nativity pageant at Christmas time and an Old Testament pageant for the Great Vigil of Easter. All are welcome to join either of these productions.

Jeff Benson

Sexton

Jeff Benson has worked as the parish Sexton for over five years. He and his wife both deeply care for St. Mark's and give their time and energy to help maintain and beautify this space. Although most people do not know him by sight his work makes our gathering on Sunday possible.

Carla Forbes

Parish Operations and Communications Manager

Carla has a passion for creating and fostering supportive communities. Believing firmly in the adage "it takes a village," Carla works tirelessly to ensure that every individual receives the care and support they deserve. With a wealth of experience in community-building, office management, and effective communication, she is eager to bring her skills and enthusiasm to the St. Mark’s Episcopal community.

Carla has an internal drive to get things right. When her child was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called SCN2A, she immersed herself in learning more and became a leader in an online group for families. Carla's passion for community and connection led her to co-found the FamilieSCN2A Foundation, a 501(c)3 set up to find a cure for SCN2A. She serves as a family mentor and a member of the board of trustees, engaging her life mission to share hope with others.

Carla works Tuesdays & Thursdays at St. Mark's and Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Longmeadow.

Vestry

Dan Tapper

Co-Senior Warden

Dan has been attending services at St. Mark’s Church since 1991 and has been a parishioner since 1999. He and his wife, Doreen, were married here in 1992, making June of 2022 their 30th wedding anniversary. Their son Sam was baptized as an infant in 1999 and Dan, himself, was baptized at St. Mark’s in August of 2002 after being raised Jewish. He lives with his family in Suffield, CT.


Dan has served in numerous leadership capacities at St. Mark’s through the years. He served on Vestry from 2003-2010, including three years as Senior Warden from 2007-2010, and later served as Vestry Clerk from 2011-2016. He taught Sunday school for many years, helped lead numerous Vacation Bible School adventures, and served as a co-leader of the Journey 2 Adulthood group from 2009-2011, which culminated in our group’s Pilgrimage to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Most recently he served again as a J2A co-leader from 2018-2021 and also helped to coordinate the annual Art & Craft Fair.

Chris Whitehead

Co-Senior Warden

Believe it or not Christine has been attending services as an active member of St. Mark’s Church since she was just 5 years old. She started her spiritual journey in the halls of the original building during Sunday School. Her love for God has flourished over the years. Being raised by her parents in the Epsicopal church she knew this is where she would someday raise her family as well.

Chris and her recently deceased husband Jim raised two beautiful children at St Mark’s Church-Isabella and Michael-Anthony. Chris has served in numerous roles at St. Mark’s throughout her time here. She served on Vestry, taught Sunday School, led many Vacation Bible School groups, is an active member on Stewardship and has had a hand in many other ministry efforts at St Marks. She is often reported saying that St. Mark’s is her home and she holds many parishioners in her heart as she does her own family.

Melinda De Cesare

Treasurer

As a lifelong Episcopalian, Melinda has wonderful memories of growing up in the church life at St. Andrew’s in Longmeadow. Being a camper and a counselor at Bement Camp and Conference Center during the summers and later participating in parish life at St. Barnabas and All Saints Church in Springfield. She has been attending St. Mark’s now for 16 years. She is looking forward to serving on the vestry and being a more active participant in parish life.

After teaching for 27 years in the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Springfield, Melinda retired from teaching in 2020, but continues to work part-time at her husband’s business, Felix’s Auto Repair and Towing in Springfield. Melinda and Felix enjoy spending time at his family’s home in Italy and traveling in the United States. They also love spending time with their grandchildren.

Claire Sygiel

Clerk

Claire has been attending St. Mark's with her husband Cliff Kerr since 1983. This will be her seventh year on vestry and she has a deep passion for helping those in need in our church and the surrounding community. She serves as co-chair of the Outreach Ministry Team and has worked with Loaves & Fishes, Church Without Walls, and the Big Blue Drop-In Center. Claire serves on the board of Greyhound Options, an adoption group for retired racing Greyhounds, and was a photographer by profession. Her love of nature can be seen in her Facebook wildlife shots.

Open Seat

Junior Warden

If you are interested in this position, please contact Rev. Mia, Dan Tapper or Chris Whitehead

At Large Seat Open

1 Year Left On Term

If you are interested in this position, please contact Rev. Mia, Dan Tapper or Chris Whitehead

Karen Flygare

1 Year Left On Term

Karen has lived in East Longmeadow for the past 43 years. She has 2 grown children who attended East Longmeadow schools, and 3 grandchildren. Prior to moving to western Ma, she lived in Holden MA. Now that she's retired, it is her goal to participate more fully in the activities, needs and challenges of St Marks.

Karen has been a member of St Marks since 1990. Her children were baptized here. Her daughter and herself were confirmed at St Marks. Currently she serves with the usher worship ministry, and outreach ministry. As a vestry member, she will work to have St Marks continue to serve the community. She believe's we can find creative ways to welcome in the community, increase membership and provide opportunities for member involvement.

Christina Fairman

2 Year's Left On Term

Christina Fairman began attending services at St. Mark’s in 2015 and was received into the church in 2019. Raised in the Lutheran Church (ELCA), she married into an Episcopal family and began learning about the active roles that the Episcopal Church of America has taken to address issues of poverty and injustice. At St. Mark’s, Christina is involved with Outreach Ministry and Livestream Ministry and served as a Godly Play teacher prior to the pandemic.

Christina holds a BA in Psychology with a French minor from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and an MA in Art History from the University of Kentucky. She is an Adjunct Lecturer in Art at Western New England University, where she has been teaching since 2012. Prior to WNE, Christina was a Children’s Librarian as well as a Special Needs Paraprofessional. Her interests include learning languages, creating multimedia art projects, family genealogy, writing, and British detective shows. Her art has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Western New England University and the Boston State House.

She and her husband Peter live in Springfield, where they share their lives with three wonderful cats.

Deb Newell

2 Year's Left On Term

Deb has been attending services at St. Mark’s since 2020. She previously attended St. Barnabas and All Saints where she served on the Vestry. Here at St. Marks’ Deb has joined the choir, a ministry she truly loves. She also serves as a Crucifer and Lector.

Family and friends are very important to Deb. She spends as much time as she can with her two daughters and son as well as her two sisters, brother, cousins and their families. Her two dogs, Suki and Barry are the reason that she hurries home each day.

Deb is the Program Director of a group home for mentally ill adults in Enfield. She believes that her faith is what keeps her going and guides her in caring for her clients and co-workers.

Mishel Mitus

3 Year's Left On Term

Mishel joined St Mark’s in the fall of 2011 when her and her husband, Rob, wanted to find a place to worship and baptize their daughter, Lily. Once joining, Mishel quickly started volunteering with different ministries as she felt a sense of fellowship and a strong connection to God through the people of St Mark’s. Today she is part of the Usher Ministry and enjoys going to the chapel service on Wednesdays.

In March of 2014, Mishel and Rob renewed their 20 year marriage vows at St Mark’s. Mishel has owned her own dance studio since 2008 and has lived in East Longmeadow for all of her adult life, enjoying the small-town feel. She loves walking and sitting at the beach as well as being a thrill seeker of rollercoasters with her daughter.

Peter Rosengarten

3 Year's Left On Term

Peter is a lifelong Episcopalian and was baptized at Saint George’s church in Ardmore, Pa. He joined his first church choir as a boy soprano in fourth grade at The Good Shepherd church in Rosemont, Pa. Peter would go on to sing in church choirs throughout most of his life.

Peter has a political science degree from Curry College and a paralegal degree from Northeastern University. He has worked in hotel security, managed a furniture/office supply company, owned a small business for nearly five years, spent twenty years in the collections industry and had a brief stint selling insurance. Peter medically retired in 2015 and currently publishes graphic novels of comic books in the public domain.

Mindy and Peter joined Saint Mark’s church in 2017 and they both began singing in the choir within a couple of weeks. Peter was active in St. Mark's Thrift Shop prior to its closing. One of the central tenants of St. Mark’s that cemented their relationship with the church was and continues to be the phrase “Christ welcomed all. We welcome you!”

Peter hopes to use his background in both business and sixty years of attending Episcopal churches to act as a good shepherd within the vestry and for Saint Mark’s as a whole.

Open Seat

Youth Delegate

If you are interested in this position, please contact Rev. Mia, Dan Tapper or Chris Whitehead