Rev. Dr. Mark Barger Elliott
Mark was baptized in John Calvin’s church and 18 years later made a profession of faith while attending Cornell University. Ten years later, he was ordinated in the PC (USA). Along with his wife Lynn, Mark has served churches in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Riverside, Illinois, Grand Rapids, Michigan and most recently in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he served as Co Pastor/Head of Staff with his wife Lynn at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church.
Mark graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary where he won the John T. Galloway Preaching Award. At San Francisco Theological Seminary he earned a Doctor of Ministry in preaching. Mark has taken classes on strategic planning at the Harvard Business School, has a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Northwestern University, and a Certificate in Human Resource Essentials from Cornell University.
Mark has taught “Biblical Perspectives” at Compass College of the Visual Arts and preaching at McCormick Seminary. In 2020, before the pandemic, Mark and his wife taught a seminar at Princeton Seminary on “Visually Speaking: Proclamation in the Digital Age.”
As an author, Mark has published Easter: 21 Stations, Middle of the Maze: Five Secrets to Finding Your Way, and Creative Styles of Preaching. He is an award-winning filmmaker having produced and directed the documentaries Lost Boy Home and the Last Songwriter. While his wife enjoys gardening, Mark enjoys cooking and watching college basketball.
Rev. Lynn Barger Elliott
A fourth generation Presbyterian pastor, Lynn Barger Elliott has served churches in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Riverside, Illinois, Grand Rapids, Michigan and most recently in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she served as Co Pastor/Head of Staff with her husband Mark at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church.
Lynn graduated from Wheaton College (IL) with a degree in Philosophy and from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Masters in Divinity. She has a Certificate in Non-Profit Executive Leadership through the Mendoza School of Business at Notre Dame.
Lynn is the recipient of the David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar of the Year Award designated to a seminary graduate within the United States who demonstrates the strongest potential of benefiting the greater church with his/her skills of scholarship and preaching. She has served as Affiliate Faculty at Calvin University where she taught courses on Leadership and Intergenerational Ministry and was involved with the Calvin Prison Initiative at Handlon Prison.
As an author, Lynn has published chapters in the books “InterGenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry” and “Faith Formation with the New Generation.” She speaks nationally and consults on dynamics around Generational Theory, Youth Ministry and Ministry Leadership.
For hobbies, Lynn enjoys word games and is perpetually striving to grow a redder tomato! Lynn and her husband Mark have three children. Their son Brendan works in New York City, their daughter Auden works in San Francisco and their daughter Halley is a sophomore at the University of Michigan.
Rev. Andre Castillo
Andre is a Southern California native with a passion for seeing disciples of all ages thrive in their relationships with Christ and the Church. Andre grew up in faith and ministry leadership at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA. He studied music at the University of California in Irvine, and completed his Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. He has served in a variety of roles in church leadership, including Assistant Director of Youth Music and Drama, Worship Leader, Community Life Pastor, and Director of Operations, and has served with congregations from Los Angeles to Chicago. Andre is also an active member of the Presbytery of Southern New England, currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Trustees and President of the Corporation.
Andre is thrilled to be a part of the First Presbyterian Church family, and feels incredibly blessed to be partnering with a leadership team and congregation that is so passionate and committed to intergenerational mission and ministry. In his free time, Andre loves to sing, read, run, and join pickup games of just about any sport. Andre lives in Cos Cob with his 5-year-old daughter, Noelle.
Dr. Caroline Worra
Minister of Music
Caroline believes nothing can touch the soul like music can. A Wisconsin native, her musical education includes a Doctor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, and Minors in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Piano and Vocal Performance from Luther College in Iowa. Caroline has sung with 80 opera companies including The Metropolitan Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Boston Lyric Opera and Tanglewood. She, and her husband Kreg Gotshall, taught Music/Choir/Drama together at Stanwich School in Geenwich, while Caroline also directed the Emerging Artist Program for the Charlottesville Opera and gives master classes at the Brevard Music Center for the Janiec Opera Company in North Carolina.
Lailu S. Walls
Lailu S. Walls joined FPCG in 2016 as the Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Walls holds a BBA in Accounting from Pace University and is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). She has vast experience working with nonprofit organizations leading finance and administrative functions including real property & facilities management, human resources, purchasing, administrative support, as well as risk management. She has previously held senior level roles as a Chief Financial Officer and most recent past as a Chief Administrative Officer at a large social service developmental disabilities agency. She has been a long-time resident of Rockland County, New York and has two children whom she adores. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and is a faithful Christian.
Michele D. Olsen
Director of Nursery School
Michele Olsen joined the First Presby community as Assistant Director 2014. She had moved to Greenwich, CT after spending several years in Washington, D.C. where she served as the assistant to the Head of School of the NCRC Preschool in the Cleveland Park area. Prior to that position, Michele spent 13 years teaching in New York City, Boston, and Chicago. Earlier in her career, she worked in human resources, fundraising, and advertising. Michele holds an M.S. Ed. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College and a B.A. in Business Management from Gettysburg College. She currently resides in Darien, CT.
Sue resides in New Canaan, CT and has worked at First Presbyterian Church for the past 15 years. She loves to stay active and regularly walks on the weekends. Her husband, David, works at Noroton Presbyterian Church as the Director of Properties and has been serving there for over 20 years. Sue has two daughters, the oldest works in Hawaii in the hotel industry, and the youngest is in medical school.
Randy is a native of the Philippines. He joined the FPCG staff in 1994 and has since been a weekend sexton. He was a BS undergraduate in Computer Engineering before migrating to the U.S. He studied Computer Network Administration at the Westchester Business Institute and graduated magna cum laude in 2003. Randy managed a big jewelry distribution business in Stamford for 11 years prior to joining the staff full time in October 2016. Randy and his family live in Norwalk.
Director of Children's Choir and Handbell Choir
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Heather Antonissen has performed throughout the United States in recital, symphonic concert, opera and cabaret shows. Her repertoire include performances with Chautauqua Opera, Opera San Jose, North Bay Opera, West Bay Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, and the San Francisco Choral Society. Her operatic roles include Carmen (Carmen), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Giulietta (Les contes d’Hoffman), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Magdalena (Rigoletto), and the Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors and Hänsel and Gretel). She has won the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition and was regional finalist in the Pacific Region Met Competition. Since her move to New York City in 2014, she has sung with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Verismo Opera, Regina Opera and Amore Opera in addition to singing in concerts, theater and art song recitals.