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 2024.    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 2024 Season.   Thank you and Peace be with you!

Ministers for the 2024 Summer Season

June 30, 2024 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 7, 2024Derek Hansen

Rev. Derek Hansen and his wife Becky met at family church camp as junior-high students and have been serving in ministry together for almost 15 years. They have three children – Liam, Sam, and Hollis. Pastor Derek is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and currently pastors Adirondack Community Church in Lake Placid and First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake. He loves preaching and teaching, leading the church in mission, and seeing people’s lives transformed by God’s grace. Pastor Derek is a Western New York native and long-suffering Buffalo Bills fan. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching and playing sports, playing video games, and walking in the woods with the family’s energetic springer spaniel.


July 14, 2024 –John Sampson 

The Rev. John Sampson is Pastor of Keene Valley Congregational Church in Keene Valley, NY.  Growing up in a nominally Christian home, John only came to faith in his thirties through the experience of being a member of a vibrant church community.  Since then, John has committed himself to helping others find their spiritual path within, and through, our shared Christian tradition.  He continues to be grateful for God’s call to service and ministry in the communities he serves.


July 21, 2024 – 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 Corgi Gybi. 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 28, 2024 Marty WeitzSr. Pastor    

St. Thomas Reformed Church  St Thomas USVIPastor – American Church – Warsaw Poland,  Sr. Pastor – Protestant Church in Oman   Muscat, Oman.      Theological advisor  to the “General Secretary” Church of South India – Chennai, India  & Faculty of theology – United Theological Seminary, Bangalore India  Locom Sr Pastor The Dunblane Cathedral – Dunblane ScotlandRetired to Canton NYSupervising Pastor Lake Clear Presbyterian Church – Lake Clear NY


August 4, 2024 Rev. Bruce McCulleyBruce McCulley

Pastor- High Peaks Church

Bruce has lived in the Saranac Lake region most of his life.  In 2012, after a 31-year career at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, he started his second vocation and was ordained as Pastor of High Peaks Church in Saranac Lake, where he currently serves. Bruce has also ministered to the body of Christ in prison for over 20 years. The joy of assembling with the church to worship Christ is his great passion.  Bruce and his wife Zoe enjoy mountain biking, skiing and outdoor recreation. They have one college age son Micah.


August 11, 2024 Nathanial Van Yperen

Nathaniel Van Yperen is a teacher and department chair of Religion at The Pennington School. He earned a MDiv, Th.M. and Ph.D. (Religion and Society) at Princeton Theological Seminary. Nate’s writing has appeared in Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, Wild Roof Journal, The Common, The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History (Oxford, 2017). He is the author of Gratitude for the Wild: Christian Ethics in the Wilderness (Lexington Books, 2019).  Nate lives in central New Jersey with his wife, Dr. Elaine James, their two boys, Hank and Forest, an impolite dog named Hayduke, and several backyard chickens. A proud 46er, Nate has spent part of every year of his life in the Adirondacks. He has visited family on Upper Saranac Lake for more than twenty years. 

August 18, 2024 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 25, 2024 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 1, 2024 -Rev. Aaron Syvertsen

Aaron Syvertsen Senior Pastor Grace Church of Ridgewood

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).


Will Main
Chair of the Island Chapel Committee