Who We Are
We are a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and The Episcopal Church which in turn is a member of the Anglican Communion. These associations link us with 75 million people in more than 31 countries. The Anglican Communion is composed of churches which are historically linked to The Church of England. Our worship is guided by the Book of Common Prayer which shapes the order of service. Although revised from time to time over the centuries, this order of service has been in use for more than 450 years. Each Sunday we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, a service of Thanksgiving and Communion, which originated with Jesus’s last supper with his disciples. His commandment to them was “do this in remembrance of meÂ” and we, along with Christians throughout the world, have continued to build community around this tradition. In the Eucharist, we read and reflect upon Holy Scripture, offer our prayers and praises to Almighty God and share in the Holy Communion.
The people of this parish represent the diversity of our city. We are multicultural, multiracial, senior citizens and new-born babies; we are married couples, single individuals, and persons in domestic partnerships; we are native-born Americans and immigrants from a host of foreign countries. What we have in common is our desire to share God’s unconditional love and to grow in our own faith.
In addition to worship, our principal activities include, Education, Service, Outreach, Atrs and Fellowship within the congregation. Members of the parish participate in organizations such as the Choir, The Altar Guild, the International Club, the Rector’s Guild (Episcopal Church Women), and the Social Concerns Committee. In all that we do we try to be faithful to our parish motto, established long ago: Pro Christo et Ecclesia, For Christ and His Church.
The Rev. Michael Sniffen, Rector. Fr. Michael was ordained in 2007 and came to The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew after serving as Assistant Rector of St. John’s, Lattingtown. He previously served three parishes in the Diocese of Newark as Seminarian, Director of Youth and Family Ministry and Assistant to the Rector.
Heavily influenced by process and liberation theology, Fr. Michael understands the gospel of Jesus Christ to be a prophetic word of freedom, reconciliation and radical welcome in a world fraught with division and oppression.
Asked what the primary work of the church is in our time, Fr. Michael said, “to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and set at liberty all those who are oppressed! This is the essence of Christ’s redeeming work as it is summed up in Luke 4:18-19. The proclamation of this message and the actions that flow from it are the work of the body of Christ in this broken world.”
Among Fr. Michael’s spiritual disciplines are: sailing, theater, music, running, the Daily Office and the exercise of a good sense of humor!
Fr. Michael holds a B.A. from W.V. Wesleyan College and Master of Divinity and Philosophy degrees from Drew University. He is a candidate for Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies and Homiletics writing on the topic of preaching and social change in urban contexts. A member of the American Academy of Religion, a visiting member of the Academy of Homiletics and the North American Academy of Liturgy, Fr. Michael has won awards in Pulpit Oratory and Manner, as well as pastoral leadership and innovative ministry. For the 2011/12 academic year he was a Luce Fellow of the Center for Christianity in Global Contexts. Fr. Michael currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Episcopal Response to AIDS and as Adjunct Professor of Worship, Preaching and the Arts at Drew University.
Fr. Michael and his wife Joanna live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with their two whippets, Millie and Odette (who love off leash time in Prospect and Ft. Greene Parks!)
The Rev. Christopher Ballard, Associate Rector. Before arriving at St. Luke and St. Matthew, Fr. Chris served as the Associate Director of The Desmond Tutu Center in New York. Prior to moving to New York, Chris taught high school history, government and social studies in Texas, Georgia and New Mexico where he also served as Assistant Headmaster.
Chris Ballard is also the Project Manager for The Redeemer Project, the discernment and discovery of new ministry to be done at corner of 4th Avenue and Pacific in Brooklyn, the site of the former Church of the Redeemer. In addition to holding a Master of Divinity degree from The General Theological Seminary, Fr. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts, both from Iowa State University. Chris Ballard was a founding board member of Episcopal Response to AIDS and has been involved with many charitable organizations.
Fr. Chris lives in Jersey City with his partner of 14 years, Seale “Brother” Ballenger, and their two French Bulldogs, Petey and Maddie.
Mr. Robert C. Rogers, Organist and Choirmaster. Mr. Rogers is a native of Florida. He holds degrees from the University of Tampa, the University of South Florida, and the University of Illinois. He has given recitals throughout the United States, Canada and the West Indies with numerous operatic and concert stars, as well as the male quartet Songfellows.
Critics claim he “makes accompanying an art unto itself…playing even the most difficult passages with ease” and demonstrating sensitivity in the realms of both opera and art song. He can be heard on the RCA, Concord and RUA record labels.
He is former Music Director the New York Opera Ensemble; former Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master for the Illinois Opera Theater and the Lake George Opera Festival. He is currently on the staff of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts and works with the New York City Youth Opera.Â He also travels extensively conducting choral workshops.
Mr. Rogers has been the Organist and Choirmaster for the past 25 years. Every Sunday at St. Luke and St. Matthew one is privileged to hear an eclectic rendition of fine music. The Chancel Choir won “Best Chancel Choir” in 1999 at Hicks Christmas Music Competition- under Mr. Rogers superb direction.
Andrew Durbidge, Seminarian. Andrew is a third year student in the Master of Divinity program at The General Theological Seminary in New York. Andrew relocated from Sydney, Australia to study at GTS. He is currently discerning God’s call to ordained ministry and was drawn to SLM by Fr. Michael’s leadership and the warm congregational welcome.
Andrew was originally trained as a carpenter and joiner in Sydney and rose through the ranks to manage large construction projects. He completed a master’s degree in Project Management in 1996. In 1999 Andrew started a real estate consulting business and was its managing partner until 2011. Andrew was an active member of an inner-city, social justice focused church in Sydney and was a church warden for three years and on vestry for five years.
He has a love of all things outdoors including swimming and running, walking and, if someone has a boat, sailing. Cricket is in his blood and he looks forward to the next Australia – West Indies test series. When time permits he likes to make ceramic, wheel-thrown pots. He has a dependent dog called Lucy, an 12 yo lab / ridge cross.