Clergy & Staff
Barbara Thomson Previdi
Barbara Thomson, the Rector's Warden at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, joined the Vestry as part of the Class of 2023. However, Barbara is eligible to remain on the Vestry because there is a vacancy in the Rectorship. In general, the Rector’s Warden continues in that office until the first Annual Parish Meeting after the institution of a new Rector. Barbara loves St. Martin's. She has enjoyed her 20 years at St. Martin's immensely. Barbara, along with her husband Bob Previdi, started at Worship Together with their infant and 5 year old sons when they moved to Chestnut Hill. As their kids are now 20 and 25, St. Martin's has been their spiritual home for decades. Barbara has been participating fully at St. Martin's since they arrived. In addition to her recent four years on the vestry as the Secretary/Clerk for one year and Rector's Warden for three - her ministries have ranged from being a prayer leader at Morning Prayer to member of the Community Engagement Committee. She's been an usher, reader, and provided many reflections on Good Fridays, The Last Seven Words of Christ, over the years. Barbara was a Youth Group Leader and chaperoned them to South Dakota (twice) and Guatemala. Her children were acolytes and crucifers and sang in the Children's Choir while her husband served on the vestry years ago. She is dedicated and devoted to working with St. Martin's. Professionally, Barbara has been working in large governments as an attorney, consultant and an executive for nearly 40 years. She recently won the Democratic Primary in Philadelphia to run for Municipal Court Judge in November.
The Rev. Laura Palmer
Interim Priest Associate
As my fellow parishioners, many of you are aware that I am an author and was a former network television news producer before attending Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where I lived, worked, and raised my daughter. I graduated from Union in 2009 with a Master of Divinity degree in Psychiatry and Religion, which led me to hospital chaplaincy. When I graduated from seminary I was sure I’d never be ordained, but I kept responding to the “whisper of God” and here I am.
In addition to my interim priest associate role at St. Martin’s, I work as the chaplain in oncology and high-risk obstetrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Prior to coming to St. Martin’s, I served at St. Peter Episcopal Church in Glenside as a pastoral intern, deacon, and after ordination, priest associate.
My life has been an unexpected journey. It started in Saigon where I went two months after graduating from Oberlin College in 1972. I went for six months and stayed for two years as a freelance radio reporter and writer. I bought my last youth fare ticket in Paris, in April, 1975, and returned to Vietnam because I could no longer stay away. I left in the choppers the day before the country fell to the communists, and wrote a long piece on the U. S. Evacuation of Saigon for Rolling Stone. In 1987, my first book, Shrapnel in the Heart, was published in which I traced those who left letters to the dead at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
I never expected to go to Vietnam but it’s where the rest of my life began. If anyone had told me ten years ago after attending St. Martin’s for the first time that I would be one day serving there as a priest. I’d have been incredulous. Convincing me the world was flat would have been easier.
Last spring, a friend was visiting and I wanted to show her the church where I was ordained. Because of my work at St. Peter’s, I hadn’t been in the sanctuary for a while. The afternoon sun was streaming in the windows and when I entered the church my soul recognized something that the rest of me experienced as a total surprise. I experienced a profound sense of belonging. Yes, I’d been a member for a decade, yes, I have a deep and abiding love for the parish that supported me for ordination, but this was more than that, much more. I realize now that I was being embraced by a future that was coming closer and closer but had yet to arrive.
A few weeks later, I was offered the opportunity to fill in at St. Martin’s for a month, and then, invited to stay for three weeks more. After Rev. Jim Littrell became the interim priest in charge, he invited me to serve with him as the Interim Priest Associate. I feel blessed beyond measure to be working alongside Jim and St. Martin’s gifted and talented staff.
But the real blessing is each and every one of you. Your love of Christ, your passion for your fellow parishioners, and your energetic commitment to spreading Christ’s love out into our world continually inspires me.
The Holy Spirit has always led me to a place beyond imagining and each time I enter the sanctuary of St. Martin’s, I know I’m in one of my heart’s true homes.
When I was a teenager, my mother was going through an exceedingly tough time. Out of what then felt like nowhere, that I understand now as somewhere, I said, “After every Good Friday comes Easter.” If “a preacher only ever has one sermon,” then that is mine.
The Rev. Carol Duncan
The Rev. Carol Duncan (she/her) attended the Shipley School and William Smith College in Geneva NY, majoring in English Lit. After school, she moved to Canton, Ohio to run the remnants of a family business.
She married her husband Bob, who was Vice President Smyth Systems, a data processing firm specializing in country club and golf tournament systems. Their daughter Christie was born in 1968, Kate in 1973.
At St. Paul’s Canton she served on the vestry and as a church school teacher. With the Diocese of Ohio she served on the Peace and Justice Commission. She received the Betty Leo award for outstanding social justice work.
In 1988 she became the Housing Development Coordinator of ICAN Housing Solutions, a non-profit that developed permanent supportive housing for the homeless living with mental illness. She served as president of the board of Coalition for Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), a nationally respected homeless advocacy organization.
She was ordained to the Diaconate in 1996. Her first parish was Trinity Alliance. In 2000 she returned as Deacon at her home parish St Paul’s where she served until 2011. Bob died in 2009. She retired from ICAN and moved to Philadelphia in September 2011. Her daughter Christie Duncan-Tessmer is General Secretary of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.
Carol is Co-Chair of the Economic Dignity Team of Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Its primary campaign is to create Philly solutions for Philly Poverty. A main thrust is to raise the minimum wage to $15 while supporting local businesses. Carol also serves on City Council’s Living Wage Committee and on the boards of Deaconess House Foundation, Teen UpRise, and Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library.
Coordinator of Liturgical Ministries
When St. Martin’s Church welcomed volunteer singers into the adult choir in 1981, Connie (she/her) volunteered. She is still singing, and the choir has grown from nine to 35. Her St. Martin’s journey has included choir librarian, three soup kitchens, board of Women of St. Martin’s, outreach committee, book room (now out of circulation) reorganizer and coordinator, clerk of the vestry and, her favorite, playing Peppermint Patty in St. Martin’s production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown in 1986. Currently she works alongside over 100 parishioners as liturgical coordinator, with hopes that many more will come on board. A graduate of Cornell University with a major in English, Connie taught in Ithaca High School and in the Wissahickon School District for 17 years. She and her husband, Dick, a retired research chemist, have lived in their Fort Washington home for 46 years where they raised three sons. They are fortunate to have three grand-daughters who live nearby. When Connie and Dick are not busy at St. Martin’s, they enjoy musical events, visits with family and friends, and travel, near and far.
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James (he/him) worked as the weekend Sexton for many years at St. Martin’s assisting with set-ups, special events and Sunday hospitality before being hired on full time in December 2011. James lives with his wife Avis. Their adult son Joshua also lives in Philadelphia.
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Lorie Hershey (she/her) was a pastor for 15 years at West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship, a POWER Interfaith congregation along with St Martin’s. Previously, she worked as a music therapist and particularly felt at home in the hospice work she did. Her life focus is to create spaces for healing, justice, spiritual care, and growth no matter what job she takes on. Currently, she also serves on the board of POWER Interfaith as the Chair of the Board’s HR Committee. Lorie lives in West Philadelphia with her husband, Brent, daughters, Dillon and Eden, and dog, Olive. She is excited to be part of the team at St Martin’s!
Director of Music & Arts
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As Director of Music & Arts at St. Martin's, Mr. Tyrone Whiting (he/him) oversees all our music and arts ministries, outreach, and education. Tyrone says: "With a robed adult choir supported by four professional section leaders, a children’s choir Chorister program, and a robust series of concerts throughout the year, St. Martin’s is an incredibly musically active church, whose mission and outreach are at the heart of the music program. I am proud and grateful to all who participate and support our music ministries."
Winner of multiple prizes, organist, pianist, and conductor, Tyrone Whiting began his formal studies as a teenager with Nigel McClintock at Croydon Parish Church (now Croydon Minster) in London, UK. Five years later, in the summer of 2011, he was awarded the Associateship diploma of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO).
Tyrone previously graduated from the Royal College of Music (RCM) as a scholar from the Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Science course, where he was generously funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship and supported by the Douglas and Hilda Simmonds Award. Returning to the RCM in 2016, Tyrone received a distinction in the one-year fast-track Master of Music degree course, achieving an ‘excellent’ category distinction grade in his final organ recital, and receiving the renowned Harold Darke Prize in 2017. Tyrone studied organ with both David Graham and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, conducting with Peter Stark and Howard Williams, and has also undertaken historical performance projects with Jane Chapman and Lawrence Zazzo.
Graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he studied organ performance with William Whitehead, Daniel Moult, and Ann Elise Smoot, Tyrone was three times winner of the Geoffrey Singleton Prize for Organ Performance (2010, 2011 & 2012), and twice winner of the Cardnell Organ Prize for ‘talents as an organist’ (2011 & 2012). Throughout the degree, Tyrone trained as a pianist under the direction of the renowned Phillip Fowke and continues to perform piano alongside his organ work. Tyrone also studied at Trinity’s Junior Department where he was awarded the Hambourg Award for Improvisation.
In September 2017, Tyrone was appointed Director of Music at Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey, USA and began working there in February 2018. At Grace Church, Tyrone extended the Chorister Choir School program, developed and expanded the adult choir, and founded a brand-new adult chamber choir, Brick City Chorus, as well as significantly raising the profile of music at Grace Church and the Arts in Newark, NJ.
Prior to Tyrone’s arrival in the USA, he was Director of Music at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Battersea from 2012 to early 2018. At St. Mary’s, Tyrone established a biennial recital series as well as a new fully-funded choral scholarship program, and conducted several large-scale concerts including Mozart and Fauré’s requiems, J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Stainer’s Crucifixion. Collaborative work included conducting a recent commission by prominent British composer Simon Bainbridge written for the Choir of St. Mary’s, as well as working as accompanist for the Philharmonia Chorus under conductors Stefan Bevier and Yaron Traub.
Passionate about teaching, Tyrone was awarded the Licentiateship diploma of Trinity College, London (LTCL) in Instrumental/Vocal Teaching with a high distinction and worked in and around London as a teacher of organ, piano, and theory. He was formerly Head of Music at Elmhurst Independent School for Boys for many years and worked as an animateur in London schools and with the London Mozart Players.
Director of Communications, Content, and Events
Noor (she/her) has been with St. Martin's since the summer of 2021. Raised in Arizona, Noor moved to Philadelphia in 2018 and has been living in the Northwest section of the city ever since. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, getting outdoors, heading to the movies, and spending time with her partner Nate and their cats Gospel, Inayat, and Lina. You can reach out to Noor for help with inquiries regarding calendar, space rentals, Field Notes, Sunday leaflets, and more.
Director of Member Ministry and Engagement