An Important Letter from the Rector: Staff Transitions

September 28, 2021

Dear Trinity Church and friends,


Grace and Peace.  I pray this message finds you and yours well.


With our fall and Program Year now underway, I write to you with word of four consequential, upcoming changes among our staff – dear friends whose ministries we laud and whose companionship we will miss greatly.  In the order of their transition:


. Joe Merrill, our Digital Communications Manager, will conclude his ministry following our morning worship on Sunday, October 31.  In addition to his important contributions behind our technology’s curtain, Joe was instrumental in leading our transition to “Worship from Home.”  Willing to work late into the night when the situation commanded it, Joe developed an artful eye and ear for our online ministry, establishing a high standard for the quality of our recordings.


. Donna Stenwall, our Manager of Visitor Services, will retire in December.  Bringing keen retail savvy and intuition, Donna and her team brought our tour ministry and gift shop into profitability – a herculean accomplishment.  Even more importantly, Donna’s warmth and grace have greeted the hundreds of thousands of tourists to our worship space during her tenure, ensuring that the very best of our Trinity spirit always faced those we have sought to serve.


. Joan Mansfield Roberts, our Director of Finance and Human Resources, will transition from her post in December, following the presentation of our 2022 budget to the Vestry.  Across nineteen years and seven rectorates, Joan has delivered an astonishing work ethic to our financial and administrative life.  Always willing to shoulder more when needed – and with noteworthy aplomb following Sarah Wilcox’s retirement in the summer of 2019 – Joan’s humility, loyalty, and commitment will continue to inspire me long after her last day in the office


. Richard Webster, our Director of Music, will retire next summer (of 2022), following the Choir’s England tour scheduled for August.  Richard’s impress on our musical and liturgical life can scarcely be overstated.  Bringing a deep and abiding sense of vocation to his ministry, his mentorship will be missed by the many Trinitarians whose lives he touched during his tenure, especially the children and families of the Chorister program he launched here.  And mark your calendars now!  Richard’s last Sunday at Trinity’s console will be July 31 – a day when we will plan celebrate our companion and colleague in high style.


In this same order, a message from each outgoing staff member may be found below.


Lord, have mercy: what wonderful colleagues these friends have been!  Indeed, we will miss them very much.  And, even so, we can also give thanks to God and to them, for each has been careful to ensure the continuity of their work.  Searches for the three administrative positions are already underway, with a goal to have successors in place to overlap with our outgoing leaders.


After bolstering our operations team with the summer hire of our new Director of Facilities, Kevin McLaughlin, this month we welcomed Celine Larimer to our staff as our Events Manager. Celine joins Trinity with over twenty-five years’ experience in event management and audio-video presentation.  She has managed and facilitated lecture series, live performances, worship services, concerts, and film screenings in prestigious venues around the world.  You will see Celine supporting our Sunday worship, and I hope you will introduce yourself to her.


Given our admiration for the exceptional ministry of Colin Lynch, our Associate Director of Music and Organist, I share a detail about the upcoming search process for our Director of Music: to affirm Colin’s extraordinary commitment over the last decade and, especially, during the pandemic; to make room for other candidates to visit our console and music community; and to facilitate Colin’s inclusion in our search process, should he choose to participate; Colin will begin a three-month sabbatical on the day after Christmas.  He will return in time for Holy Week, and, while he is away, we will fortify our ranks with an Organ Scholar, ensuring our music program does not miss a beat.


Next month, I will convene a committee to undertake a nationwide search for our next Director.  Once called, the Search Committee will communicate regularly with the parish.  We will aim to have a new Director announced by Eastertide and to welcome them to the position during the summer to follow.  We intend to stage this onboarding in coordination with the choir tour, to support the best conclusion of Richard’s ministry, and the best beginning for his successor in preparation for our 2022-2023 Program Year.


Of course, there will be much more to come about all the above.  For now, I hope you will join me in thanksgiving for these “good and faithful” colleagues, and I hope you will join me in prayer for the plans and preparations to call those who will follow them.


Moving together into the Life of the World to Come,




From Joseph Merrill, outgoing Digital Communications Manager

Dear Trinity Church,

When I first began working at Trinity 'way back' in July of 2018, no one could have predicted just what was in store for the life of the parish in the next 3 years. It has been my honor to do the digital 'behind the scenes' work as our community marked the start of Morgan's work with us in 2019, and then in 2020 as we all quickly got used to this strange new virtual way of doing life together during a global pandemic. I remain enormously grateful for the relationships I've formed both with parishioners and staff here at the church. I am proud of the work we did together, of the countless Sunday Service videos (we produced over 8 TB of video clips last year alone!), all the emails, and the tools and methods we developed to bind our community together during this time. I pray that Trinity continues to find ways to increase our digital visibility and accessibility in the days and years to come. I plan on staying close by (Salem, MA) where I'll be transitioning to a career in Real Estate.

With gratitude and joy,



From Donna Stenwall, retiring Visitor Services Manager

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing this letter with a joyful heart and excitement for the future, but it isn't without some sadness as I leave a job that I have loved and a community of friends that have also become family.

My journey with Trinity has been uplifting and spiritually rewarding since the first day I walked through the doors of the Parish House to attend a Flower Guild Workshop almost 25 years ago. Whether decorating the church for Christmas and Easter, weddings or Sunday services, it was a privilege to chair the Flower Guild and be part of a group of talented and dedicated volunteers.

Little did I know that my constant hanging around the church would lead me to a job that was tailor-made for me, combining my love of art and architecture with my background in retail management, not to mention, my gift of gab! And, to have an opportunity to work with my talented colleague Cynthia Staples creating custom merchandise for our little shop in the Narthex has been a gift to me.

We at Trinity are blessed to have the most knowledgeable and professional tour guides in their field. I thank each of you for the dedication you have shown to the tour program and for sharing your love for this historic treasure with us and our visitors. It was a pleasure getting to know and work with all of you.

Several years ago, we introduced an audio tour to expand tour opportunities and to add to the visitor experience. It has been a huge success and I would like to thank those who helped develop it as well as the folks who translated it into other languages.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my colleagues and the parishioners for their support and their love and friendship during my time here. It has been a privilege to be part of this wonderful community, and I will keep my memories close as I await new adventures!

Warm Regards,



From Joan Mansfield Roberts, outgoing Director of Finance and HR

Dear Trinity Church,

It is time to say goodbye.

I am immensely grateful to so many remarkable past and present people in my Trinity life – those who I’ve done some amazing work with over the years, along with numerous memorable events, that I will treasure. Thank you all for your kindness and your wisdom, and for creating a fulfilling place to work at. Best wishes to all.



From Richard Webster, retiring Director of Music & Organist

Dear Friends,

In August 2022, I will retire from Trinity Church. As with anyone's institutional tenure, there comes a time for new leadership. My 70th birthday next year will also mark my 50th year as a working church musician. I love church. I have always loved church. Sitting in the pew as a small boy, my heart leapt when the organ sounded, and we stood to sing a hymn. When I was 15, after a year of organ lessons, God called me to be a church musician. I said "yes" and never wavered, never looked over the fence. My professional work as a church musician began in 1972 when, at 19, I plunged headfirst into on-the job training as Assistant Organist at St. Luke's Church in Evanston, Illinois, learning how to run a choir of men and boys, and how not to. The men were all older than I, and the boys barely younger. Baptism by fire! Two years later I became the Organist/Choirmaster of that amazing church, where I went on to serve another 30 years.

When, in 2005, Michael Kleinschmidt, Trinity's Director of Music, invited me to be his Associate, with the specific charge to "launch a serious choir for children," I was both intrigued and daunted. This would be a far steeper challenge than maintaining the well-oiled choir tradition at St. Luke's. (N.B. We added a parallel Girls Choir there in the 1990s.) At age 53, was I ready to take on starting a children's choir from scratch, to set the bar high while competing with school sports and activities, to convince the parish skeptics, to recruit parents and families, to insist on consistency of commitment, and to inspire a love of sacred music in a new set of children? As when I was 15, I couldn't say no to God's call, so Bart and I picked up and moved to Boston from Chicago. Some 16 years later, our current generation of Trinity Choristers had not been born when we founded the program. These remarkable, dedicated young musicians are at the heart of worship - our bread and butter - every Sunday at 9 am and for Wednesday Evensong, which they themselves lead.    

Though I am leaving Trinity Church, I'm not done with music or church. I'll continue as Music Director of Chicago's Bach Week Festival, a role I've held since 1975. This fall I will serve as a guest lecturer at Yale, working with organ students on their choral and conducting skills. Next October I will return to St. Luke's, Evanston to direct a hymn festival with choir, alumni, brass and organ to celebrate the centennial of the historic 1922 Skinner organ that we lovingly restored in the 1990s. Then on to Indianapolis for a Three Choirs Festival and a treble choir weekend in Cleveland. I'll be a regular guest conductor with the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys as they, too, emerge from the strictures of Covid. As commissions arise, I will keep composing. I give thanks that my dance card is full! And so I can keep on running marathons, I'll pray Psalm 66:8 daily.

It has been a profound joy and privilege to serve Trinity Church, especially to work with the dedicated, talented choristers, choir adults and staff singers. Their faithfulness, work ethic, humor and love for one another and for Trinity are the firm foundation of this music program. Also among the richest blessings of my life has been the delight of working alongside Colin Lynch and Marissa Hall week in and week out. How grateful I am for all they selflessly give. What they accomplished during our long stint with "Worship from Home" defies description. While many church music programs withered on the vine during the pandemic, these two passionate church musicians became brilliant movie makers, knitting together individual videos from choir members and parishioners into glorious hymns, anthems, and even the entire Duruflé Requiem for All Souls and Stainer's Crucifixion on Good Friday. Unbelievable as it is unprecedented! We owe them our unending thanks for keeping the music of worship alive during the most challenging time imaginable.

To all the clergy and staff with whom I have worked these past 16 years, I give thanks for your leadership, collaboration, support and encouragement. To the Trinity congregation, thank you for your robust singing and participation. Please always remember that God gave you a voice and God wants to hear it!  

The occasions of worship at Trinity over the past 16 years will stay with me forever -- from a quiet Wednesday Evensong when a chorister officiates for the first time, to a packed church belting out "O little town of Bethlehem" at Candlelight Carols, to the Easter brass and percussion heralding the Resurrection as together we raise aloft our 'Alleluias' during "Jesus Christ is risen today."

Last, I am grateful for the memories of four choir tours to England since 2010. The grueling yet ecstatic round of daily rehearsals and Evensongs, with seemingly endless psalm verses sung to Anglican chant, forged us as a choir like nothing else. Ask any chorister what their favorite part of an England tour is and they'll tell you, "the Psalms!" And for the blessing of yet one more tour - to York Minster and Durham Cathedral in August 2022 - we can't wait!    

As we renew our routines and traditions on Copley Square this coming year, may the Almighty continue to bless the witness and worship of Trinity Church now and for evermore.