The Rev. W. Mark Koenig was born in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He lived in various places in Pennsylvania through college, attending Westminster College in New Wilmington. He went to McCormick Seminary in Chicago where he met and married Tricia Dykers. Their first call was as co-pastors of three congregations in southwest Iowa. They lived, with about 350 other people, in a town named Diagonal. Sean, their older son, was born in Iowa. In 1985, Mark and Tricia moved to Cleveland Heights to serve as co-pastors of Noble Road Presbyterian Church. Eric, their younger son, was born in Cleveland. Mark joined the staff of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve with a focus on justice and mission work in 1989. He continued to serve with Tricia at Noble Road.
Mark was called to serve as the associate for antiracism training with the General Assembly in 2000. When this two-year term position ended, he went to work for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. His ministry included creating resources and publications; he later served as the program’s coordinator. Mark came to New York in 2010 to serve as the director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. During this time Mark visited First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone to teach and preach. The youth group came to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for a seminar that Mark helped design and lead. In 2016, the Presbyterian Mission Agency asked Mark to return to Louisville to work in racial and intercultural justice ministry.
Mark has been experiencing a call to serve Jesus in a more grassroots ministry, either at a presbytery or in a congregation, for a few years. When the Presbytery of New York City began the search for an Advocate for Justice Ministries who would work with the Committee on Witness to Society and the World, Mark applied for, and was called to, this half-time position. After being with the Whitestone community as a pulpit supply preacher, and after prayer and conversation, Mark perceived a call to apply to serve as interim pastor. He gives thanks to God that the Session discerned a similar call.
Mark enjoys reading, writing bad poetry, and taking photos. A fan of many sports, he follows the Pittsburgh teams. His wife Tricia serves as the Associate Director for Mid Council Relations in the Office of the General Assembly in Louisville. God is doing a good job of calling Mark and Tricia to ministries that use their skills and that they find challenging and fulfilling. However, they wonder about God’s sense of geography.
Sean works for the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation and lives in the West Village with his dog Henrik. Eric serves as a pastoral resident at the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan. His wife Essie is the interim director of Christian Education at the same congregation. Their dog is named Bentley.
Mark thanks God for the opportunity to serve at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone. He looks forward to sharing in ministry with the Whitestone community during this next phase of the congregation’s life.
Julie Suh, Church Musician
Julie Suh, our organist and pianist, joined us in 2004. She is also on the faculty of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades Thurnauer School of Music. She was previously on the faculty of the Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, NJ, and the Aaron Copland School of Music in Queens.
A former special scholarship student at Westminster Choir College and the American Conservatory of Music, Julie won the latter's 1986 and 1989 concerto competitions, resulting in performances with the ACM orchestra (Grieg and Mendelssohn piano concertos, respectively). She has also given numerous solo and chamber music recitals in Chicago, New Jersey, and New York. Among her accolades is a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Performance at the Seventh Annual International Friendship Music Competition and a grand prize in the National Student Music Contest in South Korea.
Julie holds the Bachelor of Music degree from the American Conservatory of Music, and a Suzuki Teaching Certificate in piano. She has also done coursework toward her master's degree at Westminster Choir College. Her former teachers include Ena Bronstein, José Santana, Abraham Stokman, and Sheila Keats. Julie is a member of the Associate Music Teacher League and also teaches piano to students of all ages.
Our Session is composed of six ruling elders, members of the congregation who are elected by the congregation and ordained to lead the church and make decisions about what God is calling us to be and to do together.
- Lisa Sisenwein, Clerk of Session
- Carol Bombardi
- Beth Handler
- Malinee Lay
- Rosemarie Ronde
- Rex White
The Deacons assist with pastoral care and help coordinate special events for the congregation. They are also elected by the congregation and set apart through ordination for this important work.
- Elizabeth Ankersen, President
- Mary DeBlasio
- Caitlin Dockery
- Kathy Lenz
- Avayana Marcano
- Christine Pak
- Camilla White