The Clergy & Staff
Rev. Matthew McDermottRector
As Rector of St. Mark's I oversee the various ministries of the parish. My role is to do my best to see that our work together is faithful and healthy. With the Vestry (the governing board of the parish) and other staff members I strive to create faithful and meaningful worship services, care for the pastoral needs of the community, develop effective outreach ministries to people in need (locally and globally) and supervise the administration of the parish. All of this work is grounded in my faith in the loving providence of God most clearly seen in the person of Jesus Christ.
My role, therefore, at St. Mark’s is to lead and support the people of this faith community in following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, striving to be both compassionate and just. Together, as we deepen our faith, we grow closer to God and to each other.
I was born in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family of eight children, the fifth son of William and Dorothy McDermott. I went to a Catholic grade school and public high school. After leaving Ohio at twenty years of age for “the great adventure west,” I put myself through San Francisco State University graduating with honors and a degree in English Literature. After college I was introduced to the outreach ministries of the Episcopal Church (a work project in Ireland) and liked what I learned about the Anglican Tradition. I worked as a Youth Minister at Trinity Parish in Menlo Park, California where I met my future wife, also a Youth Minister. Six months after we were married we moved to Berkeley where I completed a Masters of Divinity degree. Since graduation in 1987 I served at parishes in Orinda and Menlo Park. I was called as Rector by the people of St. Mark’s, Palo Alto in September of 1995. St. Mark’s is a great, vibrant community and I feel blessed to serve here!
Rev. Salying WongAssociate Rector
As a priest, I live a good life: I stand in a continual stream of blessing; I spend my life delving into the holy and sharing what I find. The waters are broad and deep and poured from an inexhaustible source. My main task at the community of St. Mark’s is to point to these waters, to confirm this reality.
This reality needs confirmation because it is elusive. So, I spend a lot of time listening. I listen to the beauty of the earth. I spent most of my formal education in science. It was a good way to wrap myself in awe and be struck by wonder. I will never stop listening this way.
In addition, I listen to writers, poets, historians, scholars. I listen to stories. I listen while knitting, cooking, and doing yoga. I listen especially at night, when our common breath begins to slow and there is space for silence. It is then that I find the reality that is like a stream—life-giving, thirst quenching, powerful.
So, I stand in the stream. This priestly life is a very good life.
Debie ThomasDirector of Children and Family Ministries
My family and I moved to sunny California in 2013, and we consider ourselves blessed to have found such a vibrant church home at St. Marks. As Director of Children and Family Ministries, my task is to oversee the Sunday School, foster a fun and spiritually nourishing community for our children, and help provide support for St. Marks' parents and families. I'm grateful for the many wonderful volunteers who make these ministries possible.
I grew up in Boston, a daughter and granddaughter of evangelical pastors. I started teaching Sunday School at a young age, and also spent my high school and college years working at Christian camps, helping with vacation Bible schools, and organizing outreach events for kids and teens.
As a mother of two teenagers, I'm always looking for fresh ways to communicate God's deep and transforming love to my kids. Also being a writer, holding graduate degrees in creative writing and English literature, I appreciate the shaping power that words and stories have in our spiritual journeys. I'm excited to help the children and families of St. Marks find words to articulate who God is in their lives.
Elyce SmithOffice Administrator
I am a 3rd generation San Carlos native, living just a few minutes’ walk from my parents and maternal grandparents. I have been an Episcopalian at Church of the Epiphany in San Carlos for over 30 years, where my family still actively attends. I recently graduated from Menlo College’s Professional Studies Program with a degree in Business Management. For 11 years, I worked at Intel Corporation as an Administrative Assistant, supporting a team of 140 engineers. I left Intel to spend more time with my family. In my spare time I love to go vacationing at Lake Tahoe and Clearlake, go camping, travel, design interior spaces, re-decorate my home and hang out with my husband, Michael. I thoroughly enjoy my role as Office Administrator at Saint Marks.
Rebecca MaggiDirector of Music
Performing the tasks of Director of Music for St. Mark's has always been especially enjoyable for me. I strive to lead the choir in creative ways as to enhance faithful worship of all parishioners and members of the choir. While perfecting our music and meeting together once a week for rehearsal, we, as members, reflect on our beliefs that we are not merely performing for ourselves but we are striving for a deeper understanding of our faith through our music. My vision for the choir is that we can truly learn to hear each other, sharpen our musical skills, and perform to our full potential.
I was born in Dallas, Texas in to a family of musicians. My father was a Methodist minister and my mother was a school teacher. Both of my parents had music degrees and they were both talented performers. My father was a singer and my mother played the piano. Methodists move their ministers around quite often and I ended up attending nine schools in twelve years. I attended The University of Texas at Austin for my undergraduate degree in Voice and Piano Performance. After working in the community and singing with the Houston Grand Opera for several years, I met my husband, Sergio Maggi, a native of Rome, Italy. I went on to attend The University of Houston for a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance. I have sung major roles with many opera companies and have been the featured soloist with many symphonies in California, Texas, New York, and abroad. I have been associated with St. Mark's for over twenty years. I currently live in San Mateo and have two wonderful children
I have served as organist of St. Mark's since 1993; I am also on the music department faculty of Santa Clara University. I received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from Stanford University, with further studies in France and Austria. I have concertized internationally, with performances in such prestigious venues as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, National Cathedral in Washington DC, and the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. I have also performed and taught in Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Jerusalem. A particular interest of mine is Latin American organ music. I received a Fulbright award to perform and conduct research in Brazil; since then I have performed in Mexico and edited three volumes of organ music by Mexican composers. I have also performed at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and at the International Congress of Organists; my articles have appeared in The American Organist and The Diapason; and I have released numerous CDs, recorded on a variety of organs.
As the sexton at St. Mark’s, I ensure that the buildings are secure, setup for community events, and take care of maintenance and yard work when needed. My main priority is to create a physical environment that allows the various activities and worship to take place without distraction.