From Rev. Betsy
Dear friends --
It is my pleasure to introduce you to St. Thomas' new organist, John Gagliardi. John hails from LaGrange, New York. He began his musical studies at age 11. By age 16, John was serving as a pianist at a Methodist church and subsequently became the organist. John has studied piano and organ with Dr. Peter Muir, Music Director at Grace Episcopal Church, Millbrook. He is presently under the tutelage of Maestro Hector Olivera, and Peter Krauss. John is also co-owner of New York Beef Company, a family operated farm that specializes in raising grass-fed Angus beef cattle.
John comes to us with great enthusiasm and love of music and the organ. He has a deep sense of the importance of music in the context of worship. In a recent conversation I had with John about liturgy and the role of music, this is what John shared with me:
"I love playing organ music. But people shouldn't come to church just to hear the music. They need to come to hear the message. That's your job, Rev. Betsy. My job is to create an atmosphere of welcome and to inspire people as they worship." Wise words from a young man. I couldn't agree more!
Betsy and Doug have three grown children -- their daughters Caragh and Grace and their son Geoff and his wife Brenna. All of them are happily living and working in New York City.
Through the years, Betsy has served on various committees for the Diocese of New York. More recently, she is engaged with the Diocese of Western Massachusetts as the wife of their Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Doug Fisher. In that role, Betsy organizes and promotes various mission projects for their companion diocese in Kumasi, Ghana.
Betsy served as Hospice Chaplain at Dutchess County Hospice from 2004-2005, and as Oncology Chaplain at Westchester Medical Center from 1997-2000. She also worked for three years as a school counselor for deaf teenagers at Mill Neck Manor Lutheran School for the Deaf in Mill Neck, NY, gaining experience in crisis intervention and counseling.
Betsy received her Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 2004 and was ordained to the priesthood in September of that year. Previously, she completed her internship and residency in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Westchester Medical Center in 1999, training as a Hospital Chaplain specializing in Oncology and Death and Dying. She earned a Certification in Spiritual Direction from the Guild for Spiritual Guidance in 1993. Betsy also holds a Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) in Counseling from the New York Institute of Technology, 1986. She completed her undergraduate education at American University in Washington, D.C., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications..
A COMMUNITY OF RADICAL HOSPITALITY
The Reverend Elizabeth B. Fisher (Betsy) was called as Vicar of St. Thomas in February 2007. Previously, Betsy worked as Assistant Priest at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Bedford, New York, and as a seminary intern at the Church of the Messiah in Rhinebeck, New York.
John at the organ with Maestro Hector Olivera.
Robin lives in Millbrook, NY with her husband, Doug. She and Doug are both very involved in the life an work of Grace Church, Millbrook. They have two grown children, Jeff and Maggie.