The Rev. Whitney F. Altopp is the thirty-second rector of St. Stephen’s. She began her ministry here in August 2012.
Whitney was ordained to the priesthood in 2003. She began her priestly ministry as Associate Rector at St. James’, Upper Montclair, NJ and then held the position of Vicar at St. Thomas’, Whitemarsh, PA. Prior to becoming a priest, Whitney worked in youth ministry. She is the author of The Adolescent Beloved Disciple: A Young Person’s Experience of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. She is keenly interested in the organization of the church as a living organism. Whitney enjoys knitting and dancing as her disciplined hobbies. She and her husband, Michael, were married in 1992 and have four children.
Mother Whitney received her Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Leadership from Palmer Theological Seminary in May of 2023.
Favorite Bible verse (currently): Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
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Derrick Goff – Minister of Music
Derrick Goff joins St. Stephen’s as Minister of Music, bringing his experience as a church musician and organist as well as choral director and vocal coach. Derrick most recently served as Minister of Music at St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh, PA until 2017. He is an alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and a current member of the MET music staff as a pianist, and enjoyed many years of collaboration at Teatro Nuovo, a continuation of the young artist program of Bel Canto at Caramoor, where he is resident as a coach, chorusmaster, and Italian teacher. Derrick holds degrees in organ and voice from Westminster Choir College. He is always looking for something new to learn about a foreign language and can often be found with an alarmingly large iced coffee working on the NYTimes crossword.
Sue Vogelman – Associate for Youth & Family Ministry
Sue is a certified elementary teacher with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science from the University of Rochester. Sue has held positions in public and church educational settings. She is the former Director of Youth and Family Programs at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Woodbury, CT) and Trinity Episcopal Church (Newtown, CT). She has also served as classroom teacher, paraeducator and long-term substitute in the Westport and Newtown Public School Districts.
“My favorite parts of parish ministry are service trips, outreach, and large intergenerational events with the whole parish, but I also loved the regular Sunday morning interactions with kids and families. I play the piano and have led choir, co-directed full scale musicals and many VBS. I was a member of the Interfaith Council in Newtown and served on the ECCT Christian Formation Commission.” Sue also served on the board of Forma (a national membership organization for Christian Educators) for a few years and continues to value those far-reaching connections.
Sue, her husband, and two sons live in Newtown, CT where they often get visits from the local black bear population. When asked about where she finds God, Sue replied, “I find God in so many places, but I love being outside in nature where you’ll see me hiking, kayaking, gardening, ice skating, or doing yoga.”
I’m so excited to walk together with St. Stephen’s on our spiritual journey! Please contact me with questions or for more information or just to check in at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erika Hagan – Associate for Caring Ministriescaringministries@ststephens-ridgefield.org
203-438-3789 ext. 16
Erika was a parishioner for 12 years at St. Stephen’s before preparing for ordained ministry, serving as intern at Emmanuel Church in Weston and St. James in Danbury, and as curate at Christ Church in Trumbull. It was our congregation which sponsored her for ordination. Rev. Erika has ministered to nurses and patients at Norwalk Hospital during COVID19 and expanded her capacities to develop ministry through collaboration and delegation. She brings unique offerings to this position as the facilitator of a regional online group for families with special needs children and as co-convenor of the Elder Ministries Network for the Episcopal Church in CT.
Erika is also priest-in-charge at St. Thomas’ Church in Bethel, is the thinker/writer/eater behind Eating Liturgically (link: www.eatingliturgically.com) and teaches Jazzercise at Jazzercise New Milford. Her family (husband, Andrew, and two boys, Isaac and Kai) moved to Ridgefield in 2008.
The Hagans moved to Ridgefield in 2008 and are firmly settled here. Rev. Erika’s youngest son attends Scotts Ridge Middle School and is an acolyte at St. Stephens. Her eldest son is outplaced through the Ridgefield School system to a school in Bristol, CT, for young adults with intellectual disabilities. Her husband, Andrew, is an associate consultant with Theatre Projects in Norwalk, CT.
Ginny Fitzpatrick – Parish Administrator
A graduate of Fairfield University (where she met her best friend and life long partner, Paul) and mother of 4, and proud grandmother of eight, Ginny lived in Ridgefield for twenty plus years. Ginny has a background in human resources. She has had the great blessing of spending much of her time volunteering for various organizations including Emmaus, HOME, Meals on Wheels, National Charity League and the PTA. Ginny has been at St. Stephens since 2000, first as a teacher in the Nursery School and beginning in 2006 as the Parish Administrator.
Margaret CushA little about me… I am from Ireland, from a big family, the youngest of nine children. I came to America when I was 17. I have been in Ridgefield for over 26 years and have just recently moved to Danbury. I have been taking care of children for over 30 years. I truly love what I do. I really want to make a difference in a child’s world, I love to teach and help them learn and grow. I have been a nanny for over 10 years, I stayed home to take care of my 3 boys. My youngest is now 20 – how fast time goes by, enjoy every minute with your kids.
I have been in Ridgefield public schools since 2008, as a RISE (Ridgefield Intense special education) special education paraeducator. I am also a registered behavior technician. I love being with children and seeing every new accomplishment they make, whether its their first word or when they ask a friend to play. All of them are unique and amazing. I can’t wait for my adventure to begin with St. Stephen’s Church. I can’t wait to meet everyone.
Nancy Murray – Financial Administrator
|Marc DeLuca – Sexton 203.438.3789 ext 17