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About Our Churches

Our Community

We celebrate the expansive image of God in everyone, and we humbly strive to create a Beloved Community in which all are cared for and valued. In our faith community, you will find middle-aged adults, parents raising children, older adults, young children, and youth. We celebrate the variety of backgrounds and gifts within our church.

Our Beliefs

We believe the divine spark dwells within all of God’s creation. We believe that Jesus was and is our Teacher, Healer, Savior, Friend, and Way. We believe that the Holy Spirit enlivens, guides, inspires, and empowers. We take the Bible seriously and not literally. We value personal and communal experience of the Holy Spirit over doctrinal litmus tests.

Our Mission

We are called to live out our faith every day of the week, by showing love in our homes, our workplaces, and our communities. Everything we do as people of faith is grounded in prayer and listening deeply to the Holy Spirit. We understand that prayer and action are two sides of the same coin. We are committed to educating ourselves about how racism operates so that we can disrupt it. 

Meet Our Staff

Pastor

Rev. Lori Miller

A native of Brooklyn, Pastor Lori Miller grew up in Valley Stream on Long Island.  She attended Williams College and Harvard Divinity School, where her initial call to serving God crystallized into a call to parish ministry.  While at HDS she served on staff at the United Parish in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

 Having been "recruited" into the United Methodist Church, Pastor Lori was ordained Deacon in 1985 and Elder in 1987 when she became a full member of the New York Annual Conference. It has been her privilege since to serve UM churches in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and Pound Ridge New York as well as Gaylordsville, Wilton and Newtown Connecticut, where she was appointed before starting at the Katonah-Purdys UMC in July.

In her vocational life, Lori has served on a number of district and Conference committees.  She currently is the Secretary of the Board of Ordained Ministry and a member of the Board of Directors of New York City Society.  She also has extensive training in conflict management and resolution, and in 2007 received an MA in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College in New York.  

It has been her joy to be married to Rev Dr John Halbrook for the past 32 years.  They raised two sons: Paul, who lives in Greenville, SC with his wife Sam and the "kiddos"  Alex, Connor and Hailey; and Greg, who passed away in 2018 but lives on in their hearts. Since 2019 they have been "pet parents" to Fuzzy the cat. 
                                          
In her avocational life, Lori and John enjoy walking, hiking, exercising, going to movies and theatre; in addition, Lori is a big reader of many genres and would like to continue improving her Spanish skills.

Spiritually, Lori is a hybrid: raised in the mainline Lutheran church; active in the Evangelical Church as a teen and young adult; part of an Inter-Varsity Christian fellowship in college; a one-time Episcopalian and now United Methodist--there is something there for everyone!  She has been blessed by a deep and encompassing sense of God's grace and enriched by the different Christian denominations she has experienced.  Referring back to the inaugural words of Jesus' ministry, "Repent (change your mind) for the kingdom of God is at hand," Lori believes that the heart of the Gospel is change, with love as the catalyst.  What is broken is meant to be healed; what is estranged is meant to be reconciled; what is injust or oppressive is meant to be turned right side up.

Lori is very excited to be pastoring the Katonah-Purdys UMC's at this point in their history!

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Music Director

Peter Muir

Peter's career as a church musician dates all the way back to him becoming a chorister in Westminster Abbey, London, at the tender age of 8!  Internationally recognised as choral director, organist, pianist, singer, educator, and musicologist, his approach is guided by a passionate belief in the power of music to transform the well-being of individuals and communities.

As a performer and choir director, Peter has an unusually wide range, navigating different styles like  jazz, gospel, popular and classical with equal ease.  And he believes that the spirit of the music-making is more important than its technical accuracy.  As he puts it: “It's the heart that matters, not the technique.”

His work at Katonah UMC aside, Peter is widely known for his effervescent performances of ragtime and early jazz. He has a Ph.D. in historical musicology, and has written a groundbreaking book on early blues titled Long Lost Blues; a follow-up scholarly edition of early blues will be published later in 2023. As an educator, he focuses on using music to enhance the lives of marginalized communities, especially people with developmental disabilities. You can read more about him at www.PeterMuir.com
 

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Administrative Assistant

Erika Panzarino

Erika is a long time resident of Somers NY. She has degrees from Adelphi University and Pace University and also serves as the Program Coordinator for the New York Annual Conference Board of Church and Society. She is also a member of the Methodists In New Directions Steering Committee, and loves to sing with the church choir. 

Her hobbies include working at and attending renaissance faires, reading, writing, and attending live theatre. She is a self-professed "church nerd" who loves bible study and learning the history of Methodism. Erika also volunteers with the Somers Historical Society and the Renaissance Catastrophic Emergency Assistance Fund, where she can put her love of spreadsheets and color coding to good use in service to her comnunity. 

 

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Reading a Prayer Book

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