MEET OUR STAFF
Rev. Dr. Mark J. Dunn
Mark grew up in Northern Ireland. He was born into a Christian home and received Jesus Christ as his Savior as a boy. He is a graduate of the University of Ulster and Queens University of Belfast, where he studied at Union Theological College. In 2010 he earned a Doctorate from the Highland Theological College (Scotland) and Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS). Mark and Jessica (who grew up in Upstate New York) met while they were both studying the Old Testament in Jerusalem, Israel. Jessica studied Bible and history at Cedarville University, OH. The Lord has blessed them with three sons: Joshua, Timothy, and Benjamin. The family loves reading, football (soccer), swimming, cycling, gardening, travel, music, and history. Mark worked briefly in business before sensing and responding to God’s call to gospel ministry. Mark has served the Lord in churches in both the United Kingdom and the United States for 25 years. Since 2014 he has pastored in First Presbyterian Church.
Schenectady || 518-374-4546 x17
Rev. Matt Mierski
Matt and his wife Bethany both grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They met at Duquesne University, where Matt studied Psychology and Bethany studied Elementary Education. Before attending seminary, Matt enjoyed working as a therapeutic staff support, serving children with special needs. He graduated from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2018. He had the privilege to serve at First Reformed Presbyterian Church in Penn Hills, PA as the youth director and pastoral intern from 2016 to 2019. Matt was so happy to receive the call to become the Assistant Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in 2019, and he was ordained in November 2019. Matt and Bethany love spending their time raising their three young children, Levi, Hannah, and Silas. They enjoy taking walks to the park, singing, reading, playing with Levi’s trains, and playing board games.
Schenectady || 518-374-4546 x16
Rev. Michael R. Alford
When Mr. Alford came to First Presbyterian Church it was just beginning a difficult move away from its prior denomination, the UPCUSA. This was a challenging period in the history of the church. Rev. Alford provided valuable leadership during this decade-long time of struggle and transition. His fortitude and spiritual example were used in a remarkable way to see the church through a long and tiresome ordeal. He subsequently led the church into membership in the Presbyterian Church in America in 1989. During his years as senior minister both the congregation and the staff grew under his gracious and inspired leadership. While Rev. Alford, may have retired from the active staff at First Pres., he continues to serve his calling by preaching in some pulpit and nearly every Sunday. It is now a rare and welcome privilege to enjoy his company at a regular Sunday service in his home church. His ministry at First Pres. has been one of enlightened spiritual leadership, devoted calling, grounded preaching, uncompromising integrity and adherence to Scripture, and a humble, loving and compassionate spirit that remains the essence of his personality.
Schenectady || 518-374-4546
Elinore Farnum C.A.G.O, is a well known organ recitalist in the Capital Region. She has studied organ with Dr. Elmer Tidmarsh, Helen Henshaw and Professor Hugh Allen Wilson and piano with Jeanette Odasz. She has attended workshops at St. Dunstan’s Theological Seminary and at the Eastman School of Music. She has toured England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as the accompanist for members of the Octavo Singers and has presented organ performances in Ireland at Church of the Resurrection in Killarney, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Scotland, St. James Church in Edinburgh and in England at the Durham Cathedral in Durham. Mrs. Farnum is organist and choir director of the First Presbyterian Church, organist at Congregation Gates of Heaven, accompanist for the Thursday Musical Club, and former accompanist for the Octavo Singers and the Union College Choir. She is a member of the NY State Music Teachers Association and after examination, received qualifications as a “Colleague” of the American Guild of Organists. She teaches both organ and piano.
Schenectady || 518-374-4546
Children's Ministries Director
Janice Vunk has been on staff since February 2020 and is glad to help however she is able. She may have spoken with you when calling the main office number 518-374-4546 or emailed the Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She enjoys playing flute and saxophone with the praise team at Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, where she has been a member since 2000.