The Rev. Emily Richards was called to serve as our sixth Rector in June of 2009. Emily is a native Kentuckian where she grew up as a member of Christ Church Cathedral in the Diocese of Lexington. She recalls fond memories of singing in the Cathedral Girls Choir and participating in youth activities in her parish church as well as in the Diocese. Emily felt the stirring of the Spirit during her young adult years as she discerned a call to ordained ministry. She graduated from The School of Theology at The University of the South (her undergraduate alma mater) with a Master of Divinity. She was ordained to the priesthood in 2003. Before being called to St. Peter’s, Emily served as vicar of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Morehead, KY and then Assistant Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ridgefield, CT.
In the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Emily served two consecutive terms as Dean of the Montgomery County Deanery. She is currently the Chaplain for Companions of the Holy Cross and as a member of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral Chapter. Emily has been blessed with a fruitful and varied ministry as a priest of the Church. At the heart of her ministry is her call to witness to Christ’s love for all people and to create communities where all are invited to experience the healing grace of Jesus Christ through the life of the Church.
Emily’s husband Daniel and daughter Maggie bring great joy to her life and are very much a part of the St. Peter’s family. She feels very blessed to have them share this journey with her. When she’s not busy in her ministries as priest, wife and mother, Emily enjoys reading a good book on the beach, exploring new places, entertaining friends and family in her home and cheering on her Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.
Emily feels very privileged to serve alongside the faithful people of St. Peter’s as together they continue to be rooted in love, to grow through God’s grace and to reach out to all!
Laura Palmer joined St. Peter's as Pastoral Intern in December 2018 and was ordained in June, 2019. Her roots in Pennsylvania are deep; both sets of grandparents were here for generations so living here now for the past six years is coming full circle. She was born in Evanston, Illinois, but left after graduating from high school in 1968 and attended Oberlin College. She thought she was going to go to law school, but went to Vietnam instead where she worked as a freelance radio reporter for two years. When she returned to this country, Laura had a first career as an author and journalist in television news. She married, and after a divorce, raised her daughter in New York City which was home for nearly 30 years.
Her spiritual life continued to deepen and so Laura went to Union Theological Seminary, graduating in 2009 with a Master of Divinity degree in Psychiatry and Religion. It was there that she fell in love with chaplaincy and where she pursues it today at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia working as the chaplain in oncology and high risk obstetrics. Laura never expected to seek ordination, but something sought her and here she is. She is delighted to be serving the vibrant community here at St. Peter's, learning and growing together with us.
Director of Children and Youth Ministries
Kim Leach grew up in Philadelphia. She holds an A.B. in English from Franklin and Marshall College and a J.D. from Temple University Law School. She also holds an Education for Ministry certificate received from the theological education by extension program of Sewanee, The University of the South. After working for over twenty years for the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Kim is delighted to be part of the St. Peter’s Church family as the Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. She brings with her over a decade of experience teaching children and youth, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church and St. Paul’s Church, both located in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.
Kim was baptized in the Methodist church but confirmed in the Episcopal Church. A lifelong learner, Kim has always loved being both in school and in church, finding more positive memories in these spaces than she could count along the way. In her spare time, Kim enjoys reading; finding and walking church labyrinths (both indoor and outdoor); traveling; and spending time with her family, including her fabulous daughter, husband, parents and snack-loving dog, and her many wonderful friends, all blessings.
Minister of Music
A native of Taiwan, Dr. Joyce Chen joined St. Peter's in the fall of 2018. Prior to St. Peter's she served as Music Director of a couple of Episcopal congregations as well as Presbyterian and Luttheran ones. In addition, Joyce was Artist-in-Residence at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Delaware, where she curated a music concert series and performed regularly at their special events. As a harpsichordist, Joyce has been gaining recognition both nationally and internationally. She was invited to perform and compete in competitions in France and Belgium.
You can watch some of her performances on her Youtube Channel and website:
www.joycechenmusic.com. Joyce holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanica Engineering from UC Berkeley and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Harpsichord Performance from Stony Brook University. This fall Joyce begins a PhD program in Historical Musicology at Princeton University.
As someone who did not grow up going to church, Joyce found her Christian faith during her initial organ studies at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley, CA. During graduate studies on the East Coast, Joyce continued her spiritual journey while working as a professional church musician at various churches. In 2014, Joyce was confirmed and baptized at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Patchogue, NY, where she also served as Music Director.
Parish Administrator & Facilities Manager
Patty McDonough received her B.A. from Mount Saint Mary’s University in 1990 and her B.S. in paralegal studies from Stevenson University in 1994. She has worked in the nonprofit and legal communities in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Upon returning to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom, Patty was the Parish Administrator at The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Jenkintown and then as the Volunteer Coordinator for a nonprofit in Philadelphia that focused on at-risk clients (homeless and transient) where she managed a volunteer force of 500.
Patty joined the St. Peter's community in 2014 and very much enjoys working with the staff and parishioners serving the parish and wider community in her role as Parish Administrator. She lives in Glenside with her husband, two young adult children and a dog.
Tim Valera was born and raised in Glenside. He has worked exclusively for ATD American Co. in the IT department for 30 years. He joined the St. Peter’s community as our caretaker in the summer of 2012. As caretaker, Tim opens and closes all buildings, offers security on the property, and supports all parish, tenant and rental events. He also works with the property committee on special projects.
Vestry Members and Liaison Assignments
The Vestry is comprised of the Rector’s Warden, People’s Warden, Accounting Warden, Secretary, the Youth Representative and eight other members.
Charlie Hannum, Rector’s Warden, Liaison to Worship & Music Ministries, Class of 2022
Lisa Donahue, People’s Warden, Liaison to Operations' Ministries, Class of 2020
Bob Hartung, Accounting Warden, Liaison to Operations' Ministries, Class of 2020
Class of 2020
Connie Clinefelter, Liaison to Worship & Music Ministries
Debbie DeKalb, Liaison to Operations'Ministries
Matt Moore, Liaison to Faith Formation Ministries
Class of 2021
Sue Gordon, Liaison to Inreach Ministries
Angie Mason-Hogtsen, Liaison to Faith Formation Ministries
Barbara McKinney, Liaison to Inreach Ministries
James Moore, Liaison to Outreach Ministries
Class of 2022
Nicole Gesing, Liaison to Inreach Ministries
Melissa Guillotin, Liaison to Faith Formation Ministries
Jeanne Robson, Liaison to Outreach Ministries
Other Key Leadership Positions
Jamie Gill, Youth Representative to the Vestry
Carole DeKalb, Finance Chair
Debbie DeKalb, Vestry Secretary
Lisa Donahue, Property & Tenant Liaison