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The Rev. Salying Wong
Rev. Salying’s Bio
I entered ordained ministry in 2005 after working a few years as an on-call hospital chaplain and as the administrator/development director to start an Episcopal school in Denver, Colorado. Before that, I was a graduate student in chemistry. Chemistry wasn’t my calling for a handful of reasons, one of which was that my experiments didn’t work and I wasn’t interested in it enough to make them work. Instead, my interests and gifts are for the spiritual life and for church leadership. When I work in the church, when I write sermons, and when I pray, I am at home.
I would describe my spiritual life as foundationally contemplative. I practice Centering Prayer, which is Christian meditation. The aim of this practice is to move through the noise of our programming and commentaries on that programming–be it stories and feelings we have about our wounds, our achievements, even our joys–to the absence of sense, the vastness of silence, to be who I am, which is in God. My experience here is as Meister Eckhart puts it, “The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye are one eye: one seeing, one knowing, one love.” It can be a difficult place to stay in, as so much of my identity is wrapped up in what my ego says that I am–my achievements, my intelligence, and even my wounds. But, if I can settle in the absence of sense, I am freed from these constraints and the most miraculous thing happens: I have no doubt of love, no doubt that I am in it and it is in me.
Out of this contemplative foundation, I have a deep commitment to the work of repairing the world through works of justice, kindness, and celebration. All priests like me are first ordained deacon, which is the order of servants. While this is a medieval hierarchical leftover, what it means for me is that at the heart of the priesthood is servanthood. As the leader of this church, my hope is to serve God in God’s church.
My leadership style leans toward the adaptive/learning model. It is deeply part of my scientific training to learn by experimentation, failure, adjusting the hypothesis, and trying again. We in the Episcopal Church understand that the church is changing and will require from us new ways of being church. My hope is to lend my gifts to what is emerging at St. Thomas.
Besides work, the other things I enjoy in life are birding, hiking, knitting and playing the ukulele. All these things are best when I can do them with friends.
The Rev. Dr. Bertram Nagarajah
Deacon Bertram’s Bio
The Reverend Dr. Bertram Nagarajah serves as the deacon at St. Thomas and St Andrews.
Bertram holds a Bachelors of Diaconal Studies from the School for Deacons Berkeley California. He is an Electrical Engineer by training and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology. He works a full-time job in the aerospace industry.
Bertram is passionate about the well-being of the homeless and Pastoral Care duties. He is currently part of the Move Mountain View California Board a non-profit that created the safe parking program called “Lots of Love”, a program that provides people who live in their vehicles a safe place to park and rest during the night.
Anne came to us from the Woodside Village Church. In addition to her parish administration role at Saint Thomas which began in October 2012, her multi-faceted background has included jobs as a travel agent, tour escort, professional actor and singer, occasional director, speech teacher, phone salesperson and fundraiser for various theatre groups, published writer, and audio book narrator.
She has traveled widely, both by birth (her father was a pilot for Pan American), and inclination (she likes it), as well as for her longest-held acting job, involving eleven years on the road with the international tour of the Broadway musical Les Misérables. But she always comes back to the San Francisco Bay Area where she, more or less, grew up – it is truly a special place, to which she feels blessed to return.
In addition to her official role as Parish Administrator, Anne applies her creative talent as Editor-in-Chief of the Saint Thomas Beyond A Doubt Newsletter. If you are anybody connected with this publication, you have had communications with Anne. She is a marvel at juggling this, and many other tasks, with humor and grace – we are blessed to have her!
Family Ministry Director
We welcomed Sue as Family Ministry Director for Saint Thomas in 2010. She came to us from her prior position at Saint Andrews Episcopal Church in Saratoga, where she had served as Children’s Ministry Director and Head of Sunday School for seven years.
Sue is a graduate of the Education for Ministry Program (EFM) through the University of the South, School of Theology.
Sue has taught Drama, English and Journalism as a high school teacher. Her experience in children’s education also includes thirty years as Producer and Director of the Children’s Theatre Program for Berryessa, Cherrywood and Sierramont schools in the Berryessa Union High School District. In addition, she has been a School Site Chairperson for six years, Room Mother for ten years, and also served as a Den Mother and Cub Scout Committee Chair for four years each.
Sue and her husband Carl are proud grandparents to six beautiful grandchildren.
Music education and performance have been lifelong passions for Patricia. She and her husband, John Pietrzyk, joined the Saint Thomas parish family in 1981.
She first directed the Junior Choir at Saint Thomas for four years prior to beginning her service as Music Director in 1986. Before that, she had also served as the Assistant Choir Director at the Anglican church of Saint Mary Magdalene’s in Napanee, Ontario.
As a graduate of the Royal College of Music in England, Patricia has enjoyed an extensive career in music education.
She recently retired from Castilleja School in Palo Alto where she directed choir and vocal ensembles for many years. Patricia is available to support private services as a vocal soloist by special arrangement.
Program Director, Our Daily Bread
David was born and raised in Cupertino, California during the sixties, when orchards covered the Valley of Heart’s Delight, now known as Silicon Valley. He graduated from Cupertino High School, De Anza College, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Jose State University.
Throughout high school and college, David worked in the food industry, serving in many local restaurants, including the Red Pepper, TGI Fridays and the Palo Alto Country Club. When one of his customers started a catering company, he was hired as Director of Events for Gourmet Catering. Later, he became Manager at Cafe Gourmet in Cupertino.
After graduation, David spent several years with The Bernard Hodes Group, gaining great experience in staffing and employee retention as their “HR guy”. During an economic downturn and layoff, he seized the opportunity to started Red’s Events, his own catering and event planning business.
David became Program Manager of Our Daily Bread in 2006, overseeing a team of over 100 volunteers who prepare and serve free hot meals to 300 needy people, three times weekly. In 2013, David became Program Director.
Outside of work, David’s enjoys “ponding”, tropical fish, spending time with his cat and dog, reading, painting, crafts, movies, music, cooking, dining and traveling.
Jim and his wife Donna came to St. Thomas in 1981. Jim has served on Vestry, including 2 years as Senior Warden and 1 year as Junior Warden, Diocesan Delegate, and Sunday School Teacher. Jim is currently serving as a Eucharistic Minister, Usher & Greeter. Prior to becoming our Treasurer, Jim spent many years on the Finance Committee, and served as it’s chair.
Jim is a retired electrical & aerospace engineer having worked in the industry for over 39 years. Jim and Donna have two children and enjoy hiking, backpacking, camping and traveling.
Carl and his wife Sue came to Saint Thomas in 2010, when Sue accepted the position of Family Ministry Director. As a prior Administrative Director of a special district, with staff management responsibility for a multi-million dollar budget and development of the district’s tax roll, Carl was an ideal candidate to assume the role of Assistant Treasurer at Saint Thomas when that position was first opened in 2012.
Carl is a retired U.S. Army Officer and a graduate of Command and General Staff College. He served in Vietnam, was the Military Liaison to the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services and Assistant Provost Marshal for Sharpe Army Depot.
He has also served as a youth soccer coach, Cub Scout Webelos Leader, Cub Master, Vice President of North Valley Little League, Little League co-chair for Opening and Closing Day ceremonies, and Little League Year Book Editor.
Carl and Sue are doting grandparents to six beautiful grandchildren, all age six and under.
Library & Resource Center Specialist
Carol arrived at Saint Thomas in 1978. As a former school librarian, she soon felt called to serve by organizing and cataloguing a collection of about 250 children’s books that were scattered throughout the parish, and so the library was launched. Since then, Carol has faithfully volunteered as lead library coordinator, working with an all-volunteer group.
In 1984, the library was expanded and named the Gardner Memorial Library, dedicated to Carol’s parents. With Carol’s guidance, major milestones were achieved, including the launch of the online library catalog in 2001, and the opening up of the collection as a multi-diocesan Episcopal Resource Center (ERC) serving the Dioceses of El Camino Real and California in 2004 and 2005 respectively. The ERC now offers a collection of over 7,000 items.
Carol also served two terms on the vestry, including being Senior Warden in 1982 and Junior Warden in 1991. In the early 1980s, she was a president and board member of the Episcopal Church Women’s guild, launching the annual Book and Bake Sale. In 2011, the Saint Thomas Library was honored with an Outstanding Congregational Library award from the Church and Synagogue Library Association.
Delegates represents the parish at diocesan gatherings, such as deanery meetings and diocesan convention.
Eternal Lord God, who by the Holy Spirit presided at the council of the Apostles to guide them in all knowledge and truth: Be present with our Delegates and Alternates to Diocesan convention. In the passions of debate give them a quiet spirit, in the complexities of the issues give them clear minds, and in the moments of decision give them courageous hearts. Guide them in all things to seek only your glory and the good of your Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
- Abby O’Connell
- Hugo Lopez-Laguna
- Rita Welsh
- The Rev. Salying Wong
- Stephanie Daugherty
The vestry is the governing body of the parish, with the rector as the president. The vestry shares responsibility with the rector in financial oversight, property care, and enacting the mission of the parish.
O Eternal God, the foundation of all wisdom and the source of all courage: Enlighten with your grace the Wardens and Vestry of this congregation, and so rule their minds, and guide their counsels, that in all things they may seek your glory and promote the mission of your Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
- Abby O’Connell (Jr. Warden)
- Ann Kopischke
- Breno de Medeiros
- Chris Schmidt
- Fran Hostettler (Clerk)
- Hugo Lopez Laguna
- Lou Poulain (Sr. Warden)
- Marilyn Winans
- Pat Dare
- The Rev. Salying Wong (Rector)
- Susan McVey