Our Annual Parish Meeting is Sunday, January 29 at 9:00 AM in Sayre Hall.
(There is no 8:45AM worship this day. Sunday School will begin at 9:00 AM.)
This is an important time mandated by our canons (rules of order).
This gathering is a time to celebrate our union in Jesus, highlight our mission and ministry, elect leadership, and faithfully present our financial budget and resources that fund our mission.
Below you will find profiles of nominees standing for election.
Additional nominations may be made from the floor of the meeting subject to conditions in the Diocese of Bethlehem Canons.
Barbara Beal – Vestry
We moved to the area in 2011, started attending the Cathedral in the spring of 2016.
I have been involved in: EFM- 2016-20, Hospitality group, Daughters of the King, Pastoral visitation ministry, Prayer Bead Ministry, co-leader, Altar Guild, Book Club (post EFM group), Lector, Yarns of Love
I have years of leadership experience (learned and practiced) in my nursing career. I am collaborative, a clear communicator, and can effectively listen. I am a team builder/ participator.
I look forward to a new Dean and new ideas. Ideally, he will have experience with the problems we are facing and can come in with fresh perspective.
Hopefully, he is also an effective listener. Improved, safer exterior of the church, Growth of congregation, Ability to offer diverse and inclusive growth and learning opportunities (ex: men’s groups), Ability to offer larger scale social/ spiritual/ educational gatherings. (Ex: Religious education, newcomers ‘coffees, host community events, Interfaith gatherings……
Some of our challenges include attendance and participation at church services and events; financial stress: old building, rising expenses, lower attendance=lower collections, Integrating of Spanish and English-speaking groups within the parish, Becoming more visible in the community.
My husband (of fifty years!) and I retired to the Lehigh Valley from Maine in 2011 and currently share our Macungie home with cats Jack and Max. Our daughter, Amy, husband Brian and their son Graham (7) live in Coopersburg. Our son, Scott, wife Leigh and children Henry (8) and Anna (4) live in Pelham, N.Y.
Rob Curzi – Vestry
We initially attended Cathedral in 2002-2004 prior to our moving out of Pennsylvania, we returned to the Cathedral in 2013 when we returned to the area. Prior ministries included Youth Sunday school mentor, Nativity Youth Camp, Vestry member since 2020 serving on Property and Technology committees.
I am committed to providing practical solutions and pragmatic leadership to the Church. I am open to new ideas to keep the Cathedral moving forward to meet challenges. I am particularly sensitive to the difficulties that busy families face and the desire to have Church life work together with family life.
We are in a time of renewal at the Cathedral with new clergy and in the middle of the Campaign for Nativity where we are inviting the surrounding community to be a part of the great things happening in the Church. The Cathedral is focusing on looking outward and making a real impact for people in Bethlehem.
We are faced with the challenges and financial burdens of maintaining the 160-year-old church buildings while providing rich worship, music, and other programs that are central to the Church’s mission.
Wife Danielle, two sons Blaise (14) and Holden (11).
Harry Johnston – Vestry
My family and I attended Nativity from 2005 through 2018, when we moved to Texas. Our three boys have participated in the youth programs, including and up through the confirmation process. In 2016, I began serving on the Board for the Third Millennium Fund, the Vestry, and in 2017, the Campus Planning Group.
I have seen first-hand how Nativity’s ministries benefit our community (my 3 boys, our congregation, our neighbors). Professionally, I have held numerous technical, commercial, and managerial roles. I hope that by combining my perspective with my skills, I can help Nativity continue to do the great things it does.
With a wonderful new staff, a beautiful building, and a campus plan, I would be honored to help Nativity enrich people’s lives for another 150 years.
Church attendance: we need to ensure that young families and young people feel at home at Nativity. Maintaining Traditions: Nativity is unique, and while we need to encourage attendance, we need to resist temptations to make major changes to what we do. Financial stability: are demographics working for or against us? As time passes, how will our costs change?
My wife is Amy, and we have three sons: Collin and his new wife Mel live in Philly, Ben lives in NYC, and Max is a senior at Temple.
Barbara Solito – Vestry
I am a lifelong member of the Cathedral since baptism in 1949. My parents were longtime and faithful members until their passing. My daughters were baptized and married at the Cathedral as well. Throughout past years, I was involved with the Nursery, Altar Guild, Greeter and Eucharistic visitor. I am currently on the Vestry, Flower Guild and volunteer at the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter.
My prior job experience allows me to contribute strong communication and organizational skills in accomplishing goals at Nativity. My love for the Cathedral and dedication to God are my gifts for serving as a compassionate Vestry member. I look forward to accepting new ideas and reaching our goals at the Cathedral.
There is much to be excited about our new Dean and Rector. Dean Stratton will bring new ideas and share his energy with our Cathedral. The Capital Campaign will allow us to move forward to complete the many projects scheduled in future years. The future of the Cathedral is reliant on the faith and dedication of our congregation sharing their faith in God with others.
The greatest challenge for the future of the Cathedral is retaining our membership and welcoming all to our church. We must remain open to the constant changes and challenges that we face I today’s world. We need to encourage our members to come back to church and attend services as they did before Covid. Personal contact is an important factor in returning to normalcy.
My husband, Tony, and I reside in Bethlehem township. We have four adult children and three grandchildren, Alyssa, Blaise, and Jake. All live locally, so we have been able to be involved in their school and sports activities for their entire lives. I retired from working in the insurance industry for 35 years. I enjoy reading, volunteering, and spoiling our dog, Maddie.
Connie Golbert – Convention Delegate
I have been a member for over 30 years. Ministries included: Eucharistic Minister, Choir member, Women’s retreat leader, healing ministry, Youth leader, teacher.
I enjoy the ability to meet people and engage easily with diverse populations and enthusiasm for telling the good news of God in action in my life.
I am very excited about our new dean and his family, his enthusiasm and interest in rebuilding our congregations.
Making church relevant today to people with so many other options and distractions in our world is a challenge.
I am a widow with two grown sons, three amazing grandchildren and two obligatory cats.
Annalisa Kelly-Cavotta – Convention Delegate
I have been attending Cathedral Church of the Nativity since 2009. Since then, I have served as Clerk of the Vestry for 2 terms, been a Godly Play Sunday School teacher, served on the Capital Campaign committee, was a member of the Nominating committee, assisted in the kitchen at Nativity Youth Camp, served on the Search Committee for our new Dean. Currently, I am a lector, volunteer at the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter preparing meals for our homeless guests and assist with any Cathedral hospitality needs.
Excellent organizational skills, flexibility, strong interpersonal skills, teaching/presentation skills, and attention to detail.
I am most excited to see the Reaching Up, Reaching Out campaign come to fruition around our campus. I’m looking forward to welcoming our new dean and collaborating with him on his vision of the future of the Cathedral.
I feel the greatest challenge now is the involvement of our youth, specifically the middle school years. Finding ways to engage them and keeping them coming back.
I live in Bethlehem with my wife, Marilyn, and our 13-year-old son Mark. Marilyn and I have been together for 23 years, married for 9. We enjoy traveling as a family, being outdoors, going to see our favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. Mark is involved with a travel baseball team, so that keeps us busy.
Jose Mendez – Convention Delegate
I have been attending the Cathedral for the past 22 years. In 2015, I started working at the Cathedral as Facilities Manager, and later became the Lead Sexton. My main ministry in which I've been involved is the Hispanic ministry as a lector, intercessor, and usher.
The gifts and skills I have to offer to this ministry of leadership are my dedication and commitment to advocating for new and marginalized voices in the Episcopal faith community, and my experience as a parishioner and a staff member deeply familiar with the operational needs of a Cathedral parish.
I am most excited about our faith community continuing to expand its ministries and worship offerings for the local Hispanic community and other diverse populations that make up our shared family in Christ.
I see the greatest challenges to be how we renew our identity as a faith community. I'm excited to see how we welcome and empower younger generations of our faith community to lead us into the future, and how we can foster the traditions that make our parish special.
My son, Alan, and I are members of the Cathedral, as well as my mother-in-law, Joan Brodt. My son is an actor and musician based in New York City but always comes home for the holidays, and he is a co-director of Nativity Youth Camp.
Cathy Bailey – Convention Delegate Alternate
During the past 15 years at Nativity, I have been on Vestry, Convention Delegate, New Member/Welcoming ministry, Capital Campaign Team, Pastoral Care Team, Celtic Spirituality Team, and Creation Care Ministry. I volunteer at Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering, as a driver for ShareCare Faith in Action, and delivering food donated from Wegmans to New Bethany Food Pantry. I serve on the Board of ShareCare Faith in Action and am their secretary. I also represent the Diocese of Bethlehem as Deputy to General Convention, and I am Diocesan Coordinator for the Education for Ministry (EFM) program and mentor an EFM group at Nativity.
My ministries have been many, with my primary gifts being administration, organization, and group facilitation.
There is much to be excited about with a New Dean starting in January. I hope for expansion of our ministry in Social Justice areas to revitalize our Creation Care Ministry and to begin work on our physical campus as we move forward with plans outlined in our recent Capital Campaign.
Connecting and reconnecting with members who have been separated from us due to the COVID pandemic. I also think communication is key to getting and keeping involved in the many activities and ministries that Nativity is involved with.
I am in my late 60’s, retired from a 40+ year career in health care, with the last 20 years as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. I have come out of retirement to work part time giving COVID vaccines for Lehigh Valley Health Network. My two daughters are both married and live in the area. I have one college aged granddaughter.
Alan Burke – Convention Delegate Alternate
I have been attending Nativity since 2016. Our son, John, was baptized here and currently attends Sunday School. I currently serve as the chair of the Third Millennium Fund Board. I previously taught Sunday School at Nativity.
I am just happy to serve in any way I can. My profession requires me to listen quite a bit and find common ground. I believe I’ve become pretty skilled at that. I also bring my background as a convert to the Episcopal Church to offer a different viewpoint.
Nativity has a lot going for it. I really believe we’re a church that doesn’t just preach the gospel, we get around to actively practicing it. I look forward to seeing the good Nativity will do in the Lehigh Valley – from our partnerships with local schools to our wonderful winter shelter program, it’s a wonderful thing to impact so many lives.
Attracting and keeping members. We must make a compelling case on not only “why go to church?” but “why go to Nativity?” We’re already making this case with the work we do in the community; however, with the decline in attendance across all denominations, this will continue to be an issue for the future.
We moved to the Lehigh Valley in December of 2012. Our son, John, was born in 2016 and baptized at Nativity. He just started kindergarten this year. Stefanie is the Assistant Dean and Director of the First Year Experience at Lehigh University. I work in fundraising as the Director of Leadership Gifts at Rosemont College.
Rebecca Randall – Convention Delegate Alternate
My family and I have been members of Nativity since 2014, which was shortly after we purchased a weekend home in PA (our work and school lives take place in South Orange, NJ). Our son, Niall, was born in 2016 and was baptized at the Cathedral. I have been involved in several activities at the Cathedral. I have offered a reflection at four Celtic Spirituality Nights, have led an adult forum on forgiveness, volunteered at Nativity Youth Camp as an adult chaperone for two nights, and have participated in the mom’s support group. My children have participated in youth offerings, including Nativity Camp.
I am a teacher, speaker, and mental health therapist who utilizes my gifts and skills to contribute to the church life and community. I have a strong understanding of the history of the church, as my first Master’s Degree is in Theology, and I have advanced skills in pastoral care and counseling (my second Masters degree was in Pastoral Counseling).
I am excited for new leadership and the thoughtful balancing of traditions at the Cathedral and new opportunities and ways of being and connecting with one another.
I believe that the Cathedral must be a space in which all feel welcome and are invited into deeper belonging—especially given the polarized context in which we are presently living. The Church has an opportunity to be a space of reconciliation and healing for people and a place that nurtures relationships instead of division.
Victoria “Tori” Penske – Nominating Committee
I grew up attending the Cathedral on holidays with my grandmother, Lala Leach, and eventually joined. That was nearly 27 years ago. I have enjoyed teaching J2A and Rite 13, being involved in the Sesquicentennial Celebration, serving on Vestry, co-chairing The Campaign for Nativity, and coordinating the Celtic Spiritualty Service.
As a former Vestry member and co-chair of The Campaign for Nativity, I understand the commitment and care required for leadership positions at Nativity.
I am excited to see young families join Nativity, especially knowing all the gifts Nativity has brought my family. I am also excited to watch our vision from Reaching Up & Reaching Out: The Campaign for Nativity come alive.
We have an amazing mission and community and with prayers, courage, and creativity, we can overcome any challenge.
I’m grateful to have a home full of activity at this point in my life--My husband Kent and our two dogs, Judy and Mugsy are a constant. David, our 24-year-old, is working mainly remotely and pursuing a part-time master’s degree. Matthew, our 18-year-old, is enjoying his first year at Lehigh. We love it when he pops in at night to find food!
Mary Anne Madeira – Nominating Committee
I began attending the Cathedral with my children shortly after we moved to the Lehigh Valley in July 2018. I have been involved with my kids in activities with the children’s ministry, and we regularly attend the 321 service and then Sunday School and Adult Formation. I am also part of the Mom’s Spirituality Group that meets monthly.
I am organized, I am a people person, and I am enthusiastic about the Cathedral!
I am most excited about our new Dean, and I look forward to being part of his vision for the Cathedral. I am excited about my kids growing up in the Cathedral and being part of an active children’s ministry. I am excited about the capital campaign and its plans to make the Cathedral a more welcoming and inclusive place. We are not nearly as diverse as our neighborhood in Southside Bethlehem, and that is a concern to me as we try to be a welcoming space for our neighbors.
My husband, Adam, is a photographer. My son Julian is a first grader at Spring Garden Elementary, and my son Sacha is in preschool at a local Montessori school. Adam and I are both from the Chicago area and moved here in 2018 when I started my position at Lehigh University.
Mary Mulder – Nominating Committee
I have been involved at Nativity since we moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1998, first as a Vestry member, then over the years as a youth camp volunteer, 321 pianist, jazz band member, Music Director search committee member, Adult Forum committee member, and Capital Campaign committee member.
Involvement in a variety of areas of Cathedral life has given me a broad perspective of our mission and the many people engaged in those endeavors. It is important to nominate candidates to Vestry who represent a wide spectrum of Cathedral life.
As we look to the new year, I am excited to welcome a new Dean and his family and get the campus revitalization plan moving. This is a new chapter in our life at Nativity and presents exciting opportunities.
A challenge for all faith communities at this time is to keep members involved, engaged, and excited about their mission.
My husband Jim is a self-employed Family Practitioner, with an office in Allentown. Our oldest son, Samuel, lives in Cincinnati and is the Artistic Director of “Cincinnati Song Initiative”. Our younger son, Isaac, lives in Ardmore, and is married to Amanda, our favorite daughter-in-law! We thoroughly enjoy time spent with the “kids” as they grow into their own interests and pursuits and broaden our perspective on the world.