Minister: Rev. Cathlin Baker
Rev. Cathlin moved to our rural setting in 2008 after more than fifteen years of working in urban environments. She is the 50th minister of our historic church and our first female minister. Prior to her ministry in West Tisbury, Cathlin served as the Special Assistant to the President of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In addition to assisting then President Joseph Hough in all aspects of seminary administration, she also participated in a Ministerial and Spiritual Formation program for the students, supporting their personal spiritual and vocational development. Both at Union and while serving on church staff at Judson Memorial Church and The Riverside Church, she was involved with community-based anti-poverty efforts.
Rev. Baker has two degrees from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, both in Christian Ethics. (MA 1996, MDiv 2000) She received her undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY where she majored in religion. Rev. Baker was born in New York City and raised in North Plainfield, NJ. She lives in West Tisbury with her husband, Bill, the Managing Editor of the Vineyard Gazette, and her two children Hardy and Eirene. She is currently writing a book about how and why people choose church, based on her study group with the congregation, Mapping our Faith Journeys.
Church school Director: Libby Fielder
Libby has been our Church School Director since she and her husband David retired here in 2012. Previously, at their Methodist church in Virginia, she created a puppet curriculum for three-year-olds. While in Virginia, Libby also worked as a translator and paralegal with Just Neighbors Ministry, an immigration legal aid organization supported by the United Methodist Church. In 2015, Libby received her Christian Educators Certification from the United Church of Christ after a two-year course of study. Her work on Martha’s Vineyard includes serving on the Faith Formation Board and the Worship Planning Team. When not at the church, you will find her working in her garden or playing with Peaches the parrot.
Office administrator: Karen Gerlach
Karen moved to Martha's Vineyard last year after coming as a summer visitor for forty years. She is a retired Middle School Principal and comes to the office with great organization skills. Karen was raised in Westchester County, New York. She lives here with her mother and dog, Sophie.
music director: William Peek
William Peek served the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn Heights, New York, as Music Director and Organist for nearly three decades. Under his direction, the choir and soloists of the First Unitarian Church performed a wide variety of works in concert performance, ranging from Handel’s Messiah and the Faure Requiem to rarely performed masterworks by composers such as Rheinberger, Zelenka, Leonarda, and Graupner. For twenty-one years, Bill was on the faculty of the Portledge School in Locust Valley, New York, where he directed the choral program, taught music theory, coached chamber and jazz ensembles, and served as music director for theater productions. He was formerly on the faculties of the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn and the Newark Boys Chorus School.
An active freelance musician, Bill has performed with the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and directed the Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale and Orchestra in performances of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and works of Schoenberg, Bruckner, and Schubert. He is the author of articles on music published in the Encyclopedia of American History, and served as a music instructor and consultant for the 2007 Warner Brothers film August Rush. Bill has had a life-long interest in traditional music. He has performed widely with a variety of bands, playing American, English, and Celtic music on piano, guitar, banjo, hammered dulcimer, and bass. He can be heard on a number of recordings, including Long Expectant Comes At Last by Cathal McConnell.
He holds the Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College and has done additional graduate work at Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music. His teachers include Joseph Flummerfelt, Allen Crowell, and James Jordan (conducting), Eugene Roan, Robert Rayfield, and Stephen Best (organ).
Bill has served as Organist and Music Director for summer services at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs since 2013. This summer, he was music director for the Island Theater Workshop production of the musical Annie.
HANDbell choir director: Hope O'Brien
Hope grew up with the sound of bells, listening to her church handbell choir rehearse in her family’s living room. She began ringing at her home church, continued through high school and was soon a master of many techniques. Her love of the sound and fellowship of the ringers brought her to direct three handbell choirs in Colorado for fifteen years. The friendships, fellowships and musicianship of these choirs was simply amazing as they performed in the community as well as in worship services in their churches.
Upon moving to Martha’s Vineyard, Hope revitalized our Handbell Choir with a fantastic group of musicians who volunteer their time, talent and energy to our ever-growing bell choir. Bell music is amazingly alive on Martha’s Vineyard and we are blessed!