The Rev. Sandi Albom
The Rev. Sandi Albom is serving as our Interim Rector. Sandi came to us from the Episcopal Church of NH and has served as Priest Associate at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Peterborough, NH and as convener of Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church in NH and chaplain at Plymouth State University. Sandi and her husband Bob, a retired educator, moved from Hooksett, NH where they have lived for the past 17 years.
After a 40-year career in nursing and corporate healthcare consulting, Sandi earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA and was ordained to the priesthood in 2018. Interestingly, Sandi and Bob were members of St. Mark’s in the 1990’s. “We are excited to return to Western MA. I never cease to be amazed at all the ways that the Spirit surprises us.”
The Rev. Eric Elley, Deacon
Deacon Eric joined St. Mark's on Sunday, January 19, 2020. He brings a passion for worship, and outreach. His special ministerial focus continues to be with the homeless and disenfranchised at the Church Without Walls and Big Blue ministries in Springfield that are supported by multiple Episcopal and UCC congregations in the area. He is also excited to work with St. Mark's youth program.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Eric and his husband Graham are happy to call Somers, Connecticut their home. They, along with their son Jeffrey, and very pampered pooch Chester, live in the parsonage (or rectory in Episcopal-speak) next to the Congregational Church of Somersville (UCC) where Graham has served as pastor since 2005.
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 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.
Claire has been attending St. Mark's with her husband Cliff Kerr since 1983. This will be her sixth 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.
Rob & his wife, Hannah, have been attending St. Mark's since December of 2015. He has been on the Vestry since 2017. Not only is he on the Vestry but also takes active roles in many other ministries within the church and the diocese. He is a member of the following groups: Building & Grounds Committee, Wine Making Ministry, Dinner Ministry, Live-streaming Ministry, Art & Craft Fair, Big Blue Drop in Center and a few others.
At the 2019 Vestry retreat, Jon Robichaud, Sue Schneider, Fr. Peter Swarr and Rob Fitzpatrick got together and filled out the grant application with the Western Mass Diocese for equipment to start a live-streaming program at St. Mark's. We were successful inreceiving the grant money. We were up and running in May of 2019 with an average of five views per service. This was a blessing from God as we rolled into the pandemic of 2020.
Nancy is a 40 year member of St Marks. She has been a member of the Altar Guild for about 35 years and was the head of the guild for 26 years. She has been a Sunday school teacher and a supervisor in the nursery. Nancy is a retired nurse having spent 44 years at Baystate Medical Center. With her husband, they moved to East Longmeadow in 1978 and raised three children at St. Mark's.
Michelle Stallworth, a cradle Episcopalian, grew up in the Episcopal church. After moving from Mississippi to Massachusetts, Michelle started attending St. Marks in 2018, with her fiancé, Jess. She was heavily involved in the Episcopal Cursillo movement in Mississippi, and is known statewide for her artistic contributions. She has also been involved with youth programs and worked as a camp councilor at Camp Kanuga in North Carolina.
Michelle is a Photographer, Author and Illustrator. She also works as an Area Manager for Amazon Logistics. She has three spoiled dogs and a cat. Outside of work, She and Jess love to explore and find new experiences, be it a new dinning experience, camping, or hiking!
Melinda De Cesare
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 15 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.