Pastors & Staff
Meet the people who make this place hum.
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston Senior Pastor
I am a husband, a dad, a friend, a Presbyterian pastor, a comic book reader, and a fan of almost any sport that involves a ball. I am a New Yorker with a soft spot in my heart for the rhythms and people of Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; and Duluth, Minnesota. I like red wine and dark beer, and am constantly in search of the world’s best pizza. I read a lot. My laugh is too loud. I am into reformed theology, parables, psalms and prayers. I blog about the challenges, absurdities and joys of an urban faith. I am always on the lookout for God and good conversation. Let me know whenever you spot them.
The Rev. Kate Dunn Associate Pastor for Congregational Care & Outreach
I grew up in Clinton, New York—"a nice place to live," according to the village welcome sign, which it was. From kindergarten until sophomore year at Princeton University, I planned to major in English—but at the last minute I switched to religion, which changed the course of my life. After a year teaching English in Hong Kong, I attended Union Theological Seminary, where I met my husband, Jim Ellis. In my first call, I worked with formerly homeless, mentally ill seniors. Literature remains a passion: I have an MFA from Columbia University and review books for Publishers Weekly. Jim and I have two children and are entering the empty-nest stage of our lives. Swimming in lakes, reading good books, and cuddling with my cat, Star, are among the many things that enrich my life.
The Rev. Charlene Han Powell Associate Pastor for Education & Engagement
I am a second-generation Korean American, honored daughter of immigrants Wha Lim Han and Dr. Hye Kyung Kim, devoted sister of Christine and Luis Perez, Cheryl Han and Sebastien Gagnon, beloved wife of Jordan Powell, and adoring mother of Amelie Han Powell. I hold a BA in religious studies from the University of California-San Diego and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. My passion is helping people understand and articulate their faith in our diverse, multicultural, multifaith world. When I am not at FAPC, there is a good chance you will find me in Central Park chasing after my baby girl, or catching up on one of my (many) TV shows. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @TheRevHanPowell.
The Rev. Randy Weber Associate Pastor for Administration & Discipleship
I grew up in the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Wenonah, New Jersey. I met my future wife, Cindy, there right after college. We married and raised three children as I completed seminary and pastored congregations in Pennsylvania. We arrived at FAPC in 1991, where I teach the new members class five times a year, as well as classes in Celtic spirituality, inspired by our pilgrimages to the Iona community in Scotland. Cindy recently retired as a lower school librarian here in Manhattan. Our daughter Laura earned two master's degrees in theology and lives near Denver; our son, Craig, is director of mechanical engineering for Leapfrog in Emeryville, California; and our youngest, Emily, is a resident in pediatrics at the New York University School of Medicine.
The Rev. J.C. Austin Parish Associate
I am a lifelong Presbyterian, a pastor and an educator, a writer and a scholar. I'm also a husband and father, and in any time that's left, a guitarist and singer. I'm completing a doctorate from the University of Cape Town in theology and public life, a field that is at the heart of the work I do now. After 10 years as an associate pastor at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, I am vice president of Christian leadership formation at Auburn Theological Seminary, where I help equip faith leaders to work for social justice and organizational change. You'll find me @JCAustinNYC. The "J.C." stands for "John Charles," and I'll buy you lunch if you can come up with a joke about a pastor with those initials that I haven't heard!
The Rev. J. Oscar McCloud Associate Pastor Emeritus
I was an administrative pastor for 10 years at FAPC (1995-2005), then served with the Presbytery of New York City before moving with my wife, Kathy, to Atlanta. I'm a Georgia native—born in Burke County, spent my early childhood on a plantation and attended a segregated high school in Waynesboro. In 1961, I earned my master of divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York and was ordained to the ministry. I spent much of my career with the Presbyterian Church (USA), locally, nationally and internationally. Active in the anti-apartheid movement, I was honored to meet Nelson Mandela at his home in Soweto in 1990. My first wife (my high school sweetheart) died in 2002. Kathy and I married in 2012 and have a blended family of four adult daughters.
Dr. Aram Bae Director of Family Ministries
Fried chicken, barbecue and the ubiquitous use of “y’all”—these are some of the things I love about my hometown, Richmond, Virginia. An informed and engaged community, families committed to spiritual practices, and theologically curious youth—these are some of the reasons I love Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Our youth events at the church (especially the Overnighters) bring out my playful side, but I am serious about providing a Scripturally based curriculum for Sunday School, teacher training and faith development across all age groups. My doctoral studies in practical theology at Union Theological Seminary deepened my passion and commitment to children’s and youth ministry. While I enjoy reading and writing about this stuff, nothing beats a Sunday morning at Fifth Avenue, where “the stuff” comes to life.
Dr. Eugenia Oi Yan Yau Director of Music for Family Ministries
I have been involved in children’s music my whole life. In Hong Kong (where I am from), I was the assistant director of the TaiPo Children’s Choir and later the principal music director of the ShaTin Children’s Choir. These experiences ignited my passion for teaching across cultures. In addition to my baccalaureate and master’s degrees, I earned a doctorate in vocal performance from the University of Texas at Austin and Kodály music education certification from New York University. I am a professor of music at Borough of Manhattan Community College, the composer of a bilingual musical (Fish Jumping over the Dragon Gate) and an avid lover of all things New York, especially window shopping at Chelsea Market with my husband, Jose.
Osanna Urbay Nursery Coordinator
An artist at heart, I enjoy bringing my creative skills to our Nursery. I have always worked in the arts, where I often get to play with beautiful objects rather than young tots. I currently work at the Montclair Art Museum. I grew up at FAPC, emigrating from Cuba with my family when I was 16 months old—about the average age of the demographic in the Nursery. Over the years, I’ve been a Deacon, an Elder and served on several committees, but none of these experiences offered me the opportunity to use Play-Doh, color and eat Goldfish to my heart’s content. I am fortunate to work with a team of experienced and talented caregivers. Our goals for our youngest members are to provide a safe environment; to let them know they are loved; and to prepare them for Sunday School with the big kids. This is a big stepping stone!
Dr. Ryan Jackson William S. Perper Director of Music & Fine Arts Ministries
Acclaimed organist and choral director Ryan Jackson was appointed William S. Perper Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 2012, following an international search. Ryan is the founding director of the professional FAPC Chamber Choir, as well as the Joyful Noise Choir, a teaching ensemble open to all members of the church community. In 2013, Ryan established FAPC’s annual concert series, which features a diverse program of four choral concerts and three organ recitals each season.
Prior to his appointment at FAPC, Ryan served in the music programs at Christ Church United Methodist on Park Avenue; the University Church at Yale; Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven; and Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. In addition to his work at FAPC, Ryan maintains an active recital schedule throughout the United States and his native Canada where his performances have been praised for their “mature musicality, technical poise, and registrational sensitivity” (RCCO Bulletin).
The winner of numerous prestigious competitions, including the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ National Organ Playing Competition, he has studied with several of the most prominent organists of the day, including Patricia Wright, Thomas Murray, and Paul Jacobs. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Mus.Bac.Perf.), Yale University (M.M.), and The Juilliard School (D.M.A.).
Patrick Kreeger Associate Organist
Patrick Kreeger joined Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church as associate organist in July 2015. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Patrick gave his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17, and enjoys a versatile career as both a pianist and organist. He is currently enrolled at The Juilliard School, studying with Paul Jacobs as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow. Patrick was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and later attended Yale University, where he earned the Robert Baker Scholarship and completed his master’s degree under Martin Jean.
In demand as a soloist and chamber musician, Patrick has performed at prestigious venues worldwide, including Benaroya Hall in Seattle; Meymandi Symphony Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina; Verizon Hall in Philadelphia; St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City; Cook Hall in St. John’s, Newfoundland; Peterborough Cathedral in Peterborough, England; the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, France; and other venues in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and Denmark.
Prior to joining FAPC, Patrick served as the director of music and organist at Cheshire United Methodist Church in Cheshire, Connecticut. He also served for four years as director of music and organist at Leverington Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft Director of Outreach Ministries
In 2006, my Southern roots (Kentucky and Alabama, y’all) loosened their grip and let me dabble in urban ministry at a scrappy NGO in Hell’s Kitchen. This internship, just before my final year at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, made it clear to me that New York City would be my new home. I grew up participating in mission trips and community outreach with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, where I took to heart that we are all created in the image of God. The diversity, injustices and extremes of wealth and poverty that are so readily apparent in this city continually challenge and enrich my understanding of “all.” I am passionate about leading outreach efforts that demonstrate God’s love and desire for equality for every one of us.
The Rev. Helen Jackson Parish Visitor
As FAPC’s Parish Visitor, I work with the Rev. Kate Dunn making pastoral care visits to our homebound and hospitalized members. I am a graduate of Duke University, Yale Divinity School and the Blanton-Peale Institute, and an ordained minister since 1977. Most of my ministry has been as a pastoral psychotherapist, formerly at the Riverside Church Pastoral Counseling Center and the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute, and now in private practice. I have also served as the pastor of two parishes and continue to preach three Sundays a month at Presbyterian churches throughout New York City.