Ministers

Hello to Parishioners of Island Chapel, Upper Saranac Lake , NY. 

 With hope and joy Island Chapel, Upper Saranac Lake, NY will be opening this summer 2022.    Church services will begin at 10 am with a selection of ecumenical services, each Sunday a different clergyman.  Masks are optional on the Chapel Bound.   It is truly a special place of peace.  Know we are thinking of you, and we hope you are of us. We look forward to another great year at the chapel for summer 2022 Season.   Thank you and Peace be with you!

Ministers for the 2022 Summer Season

June 26, 2022 – Rev. Eric Olsen ELCA

Ordained by the ELCA in 1988, Eric is a 20 year veteran of prison ministry and former State Chaplain to the Division of Military and Naval Affairs. He currently serves as a pastor for the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity and the First United Methodist Church, both based in Saranac Lake N.Y.

July 3, 2022 Rev. Mary Travers

Mary recently received her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and her Diploma in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School. Since her graduation in 2021, Mary has been working as a chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she offers spiritual and emotional support to oncology patients and their loved ones. Mary has grown up spending summers on Upper Saranac Lake and visiting Chapel Island with her family. She is excited to gather in a spirit of prayer with friends and strangers alike in this beautiful Chapel Island home

July 10, 2022 Rev. David Bennett  the Resource Presbyter for the Presbytery of Northern New York

Rev. David Bennett was ordained by the Albany Presbytery in 2003 and served 13 years as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Ballston Spa.  In 2016, he left that call to serve as the Resource Presbyter for the Northern New York Presbytery, which spans from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario.  In 2021, David was also elected as Stated Clerk of Albany Presbytery, creating a full-time call between the two presbyteries.

David likes to frame his Mid-Council/Presbytery ministry as fulfilling his passion to support pastors and church leaders as they facilitate pathways for revitalization and renewal.  By fostering innovation and connecting leaders to the right resources, David believes churches can pivot and move forward as gospel communities that make a tangible difference in our world today. 

When not traveling about the North Country, David loves to spend time in the woods, and recently became an Adirondack 46er!  He also serves as president of the board for LifeWorks Community Action, Inc. [formerly Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council] and is pursuing an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

David is married to Kara, and they have two children, Emilie [18] and Ethan [16].  

July 17, 2022 – Rev. Joann White PCUSA

Joann White is a writer, pastor, spiritual director, and enthusiast of wild places. She is a graduate of Colgate University, McCormick Theological Seminary, and the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago. Since 2005, she has pastored the First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake. When she isn’t at church, you might find her wandering the local trails with her husband Duane Keith Gould and their Cardigan corgi Jade.  Her 2021 book Blest Be the Tie: Fables of Faith from the Far North is available now from Amazon, Wipf and Stock, and area bookstores.  She is currently a doctoral candidate with Pittsburgh Seminary’s Creative Writing and Public Theology program.

July 24, 2022 -Rev. Dr. Martin Weitz

Marty has served as pastor of the Reformed Church on the island of St Thomas USVI, pastor of The American Church in Warsaw Poland, Sr. Pastor of the Protestant Church in the Sultanate of Oman and Locum Sr. Pastor of the Dunblane Cathedral in Dunblane Scotland. Marty has also served as theological adviser to the General Secretary of the CSI (Church of South India) as well as being on the faculty of The United Theological College, Bangalore India. After retirement, Marty served as supply pastor of the Childwold Memorial Presbyterian Church and on August 7 will begin serving as supply pastor of the Adirondack Presbyterian Church, Lake Clear,. Marty is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, the Consortium of New England Seminaries, and Union Theological Seminary in New York. Before going to seminary you would find Marty playing bass trombone in the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera in New York city.

July 31, 2022 – Rev. Dr. Bob Holum ELCA

The Rev. Bob Holum was born on a farm in South Dakota and graduated from high school in Washington, DC before attending Swarthmore College and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.    He has served parishes in Wilmington, Delaware and Washington, DC, and was Director of the Baltimore Council for Mission and the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.    Since 2008, Bob serves part time summers at the Church of the Ascension, Saranac Inn

August 7, 2022 Rev. Dr. Jeff Black Evangelical Covenant

August 14, 2022 – The Rev. Renee Tembeckjian,PhD Episcopal

Renée is the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, New York, and is also Dean of the Syracuse-East district parishes. She previously served on the Bishop’s staff as Director of Spiritual Formation and at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital as a pediatric chaplain.   Renée is a licensed psychologist in longtime private clinical practice and is a frequent speaker and presenter on matters of psychological and spiritual health. She and her husband live in Manlius and have two grown sons.

August 21, 2022 Rev. George McGovern

George & Cyndy McGovern Biography – 2022 AIA Director – NFL PRO STAFF George & Cyndy are on the staff of Athletes in Action (AIA), the sports ministry division of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). George serves as the director of AIA’s NFL Pro staff. His responsibilities include overseeing the eight AIA staff couples who serve as NFL chaplains (Broncos, Browns, Bengals, Giants, Jaguars, Texans, Steelers, & Vikings). Cyndy serves the wives of these chaplains. George & Cyndy also give leadership to five AIA couples who serve in the NY/NJ region. George received an undergraduate degree in business administration from American University in 1976 and a masters degree in Biblical studies in 1990 from the International School of Theology. He met Cyndy, at a Bible conference during the summer of 1974. While in college and through their involvement with Cru, they both sensed God’s call to missions. They were married in June of 1977. Prior to his current responsibilities, George served as the chapel leader for the New York Yankees for 26 years. His responsibilities included leading team Bible studies, serving as personal chaplain for some of the players and their families, overseeing the in-season chapel services, and helping to organize sports-oriented outreaches around the New York metropolitan area. George fulfilled similar duties for six years with the New York Mets and Jets teams (’90-’95). He served the NY Giants in a chaplaincy capacity for 21 years (‘96 – ‘16). In all of these ministry responsibilities, Cyndy served the wives. George and Cyndy began vocational Christian work with Cru after graduation from college. They were involved in the campus ministry of Cru for 14 years before switching over to the Athletes in Action effort. George and Cyndy have four married daughters (Kelly, Emily, Mary, & Allison), and reside in Oradell, New Jersey. They are the proud grandparents of Grace Noel, Vincent, Mya, Robbie, J’Rai, Avery, Ty, Maria, Paxton, Claire, Micah, Margaret & Felicity.

August 28, 2022 – Rev. Amanda Cash Nazarene

Rev. Amanda Cash has been a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene since 2004, and was ordained in 2009. She studied at Asbury University and Nazarene Theological Seminary, and has spent time in youth ministry, church planting, and senior pastoral leadership in the local church. She and her husband, Daniel, moved to the Adirondacks with their two older children in 2012 and their third child was born right here in Saranac Lake in 2015. Amanda is currently serving in ministry at Adirondack Community Church in Lake Placid as the Director of Discipleship. When not serving the church, Amanda and her family love to be active outdoors mountain biking, skiing, and enjoying all the Adirondacks have to offer.

September 4, 2022 Rev. Aaron Syvertsen

After working for five years at a financial firm in NYC, Aaron entered vocational ministry and joined the staff of his home church, Grace Church of Ridgewood, in 2015 and enrolled into the M.Div progam at Southern Seminary. In January 2017, Aaron became the Senior Pastor at Grace, and his main responsibilities are setting the vision and direction of the church along with the elders, leading the staff, preaching, and shepherding the congregation. His primary desire is to see the people of Grace Church increasingly see themselves as God sees them in Christ, in a way that stirs their affections for the glory of God and fuels their love for others around them.  Aaron has been married to Rochelle for since 2012, and they have four children: Kaden (8), Brinley (5), Graham (3), and Loren (3).

Aaron Syvertsen
Senior Pastor

Grace Church of Ridgewood

Jeff Dickson
Chair of the Island Chapel Committee