Clergy and Staff
The Reverend Sean E. Mullen, Rector
The Rev. Sean Mullen came to Saint Mark's in August of 2002 to serve as Curate, and in November 2006 was elected 14th Rector of the parish. Before coming to Philadelphia, Father Mullen was the Chaplain to the Most Rev. Dr. Peter Carnley, Archbishop of Perth and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia (1998-2002). Prior to that he was Assistant Rector of All Saints Church in Richmond, Va (1996-1998).
Father Mullen is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. (1989) and of the General Theological Seminary in New York (1996). He serves as President of the Board of St. James School, of which he is also a co-founder, and is a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the Board of the Society for the Advancement of the Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania, and he is Assistant Chaplain to the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry.
The Reverend Erika Takacs, Associate Rector
The Rev. Erika Takacs joined the staff of Saint Mark’s as Associate Rector in July 2011. Before coming to Saint Mark’s, Mother Takacs served at Christ Church in Alexandria, Va., first as a clergy resident in the Foundations for Spiritual Leadership program and then as the Associate Rector for Faith Formation and Evangelism.
Mother Takacs is a 2007 graduate of the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va. Before attending seminary, she was a high school and middle school chorus teacher in New Hope, Penn. She has also enjoyed a career as a singer and was a member of the Saint Mark’s Parish Choir from 2000 to 2004. She holds degrees from West Chester University of Pennsylvania (1995) and Westminster Choir College (1998).
Mother Takacs the current chair of the Commission on Ministry in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and a founding member of the Society of Catholic Priests in North America, an organization for which she has served as the Provincial Convener. Outside of her work, her two great loves are reading and baseball.
The Reverend Dr. Nora Johnson, Priest Associate for Adult Formation
The Rev. Dr. Nora Johnson has served at Saint Mark's since her ordination to the priesthood in 2013; as Priest Associate, she oversees ministries of Adult Education and Formation. She earned her master of divinity degree from the General Theological Seminary in New York, having begun those studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Mother Johnson has served at Trinity Church, Swarthmore, and as a seminarian and lay associate at the Church of the Crucifixion, Philadelphia.
Mother Johnson is Professor of English at Swarthmore College, a position she held throughout her theological studies and continues to hold while serving in ordained ministry. She holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkley, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a scholar of English Renaissance drama. With her wife Leslie, Mother Johnson lives in Philadelphia and presides over a herd of cats, goldfish, and a little terrier named Tipper who is sometimes seen around the church grounds.
The Reverend Nicholas B. Phelps, Assisting Priest
The Rev. Nicholas Phelps, a priest of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, has been an Assisting Priest at Saint Mark's since 1999.
Before coming to Saint Mark's Church, Father Phelps served as Rector of Saint James Episcopal Church, Bristol, Penn. (1981-1998); Rector of Trinity Church, Buckingham, Penn. (1970-1980); Episcopal Chaplain, University of California, Los Angeles (1964-1970); Assistant Chaplain, University of California, Los Angeles (1962-1963); Vicar, Saint Andrews Church, Blackinton, Mass. (1961-1962); and Assistant Rector, Saint John's Church, Williamstown, Mass (1959-1962).
Father Phelps attended the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass., receiving his master of divinity degree in 1959. He received his bachelor's degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. in 1956.
Robert McCormick, Organist and Choirmaster
Robert McCormick, described by Choir and Organ as “indomitable and immensely gifted” and as “an artist of rare sensitivity and passion” by the Macon (GA) Telegraph, has served as Organist and Choirmaster of Saint Mark's Church since 2016. From 2008 to 2016, he served as Director of Music at St. Paul’s Parish, K Street, Washington, D.C. At St. Paul’s he conducted the various choirs of adults, boys, and girls in approximately 175 choral services yearly (including weekly Evensong, year-round). From 2001 to 2008 he served as Organist and Music Director at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City.
Mr. McCormick holds the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance, summa cum laude, from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J. Concurrently, he was Assistant Organist at Trinity Church, Princeton. His teachers have included McNeil Robinson and Robert Carwithen.
Known for his ability in organ improvisation, Mr. McCormick was named a semi-finalist in the 2005 St. Albans International Organ Festival Improvisation Competition. Concert appearances across the United States include the Summer Organ Festival at The Riverside Church (New York City), the Jongen Symphonie Concertante and Barber Toccata Festiva with the Macon (GA) Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Organ Artists Series, the East Texas Organ Festival, Basically Bach Festival at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (New York City), the Great Organists series at St. John’s Cathedral in Albuquerque, a New York City Pipe Organ Encounters, the Atlanta Summer Organ Festival, and recitals and workshops for local American Guild of Organists chapters nationwide. He has been a featured artist and clinician at numerous conventions and conferences of the AGO, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and the Royal School of Church Music in America, playing recitals and services, and leading workshops in choir training, service playing, and organ improvisation. As a composer, his choral works are published by Encore (UK) and Selah, and have been performed on both sides of the Atlantic.
He served for two years as sub-dean of the New York City chapter of the AGO and is a member of the Alumni Council of Westminster Choir College. He was co-chairperson of the 2014 National Conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians. His recording from St. Paul’s, K Street, We Sing of God, was released in June 2010 on the Pro Organo label. Choir and Organ’s review of the album describes the choir as “one of the most responsive and adaptable choirs on the Eastern seaboard” and further states that “[McCormick] also shines at the organ.” Under his direction, the St. Paul's Choirs have sung at conventions of the AGO, the Organ Historical Society, and the Association of Anglican Musicians, and have been heard nationally on the radio programs Pipedreams and With Heart and Voice.
Bryan Dunnewald, Organ Scholar
Bryan Dunnewald, of Arvada, Co., is a student in the studio of Alan Morrison at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he pursues a bachelor’s degree in organ performance. In May 2014, he graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, receiving the Academy’s highest awards in the arts, academics, citizenship, and character.
Mr. Dunnewald is a composer, having written works for ensembles and soloists alike; he also enjoys improvisation, and has accompanied dance classes (entirely improvised) for the Interlochen Dance Company. He is the 2013 recipient of the first prize, high school division, and the hymn-playing award at the national Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Competition.
He has performed solo concerts in many states and venues, from the Washington National Cathedral to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, and the 2016 Organ Historical Society national convention. Along with solo performances, Mr. Dunnewald enjoys collaborating with other artists and ensembles, having been featured on NPR in concert with the Colorado Symphony. His debut album, Bryan at Bryn Athyn, features the recording premiere of Calvin Hampton’s First Suite for Organ, and can be found on his website, BryanDunnewald-Organist.com. Mr. Dunnewald's teachers include Alan Morrison, Thomas Bara, Steve Larson, Dr. Martha Sandford-Heyns and Dr. Joseph Galema.
In addition to music, some of his other interests include architecture, sociology, organ design and building, photography and physics.
Clara Gerdes, Organ Scholar
Originally from Davidson, N.C., Clara Gerdes is a junior at the Curtis Institute of Music where she studies organ with Alan Morrison and harpsichord with Leon Schelhase. She was the winner of the 2014 Albert Schweitzer organ competition and a recipient of the Pogorzelski-Yankee scholarship sponsored by the American Guild of Organists. She is a frequent collaborator and chamber musician, performing with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and the Curtis Opera Orchestra during the 2014-2015 school year, and was recently one of two organ scholars for the Charlotte, N.C. Royal School of Church Music summer training course.
Noah Stansbury, Verger
Noah Stansbury joined the staff of Saint Mark's in 2015. As the Verger, he is responsible for overseeing the practicalities of the parish’s liturgical life, organizing the stewardship of buildings and property, and serving as staff coordinator for communications. Previously he served as Volunteer and Church Relations Coordinator at St. James School, where he also incidentally slipped into the role of sacristan and head of the Acolyte Guild. Mr. Stansbury came to Philadelphia in 2014 as a member of Servant Year, the Episcopal Service Corps program in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. He holds a degree in biblical studies from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Penn. Some of his great loves are cats, the city of Pittsburgh, and books he will never have time to read.