Christ Episcopal Church Woodbury NJ Christ Episcopal Church Woodbury NJ

Clergy and Staff

The Very Reverend Father Brian K. Burgess, Rector

Father Brian K. Burgess became the thirteenth rector of Christ Church in February 2005. A native of Southwest Florida, he previously served as rector of Saint John’s in Brooksville, Florida, and then as associate priest and chaplain to the Parish Day School at Saint Luke’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude) from the University of the South–School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he was awarded the George Thomas Shettle Prize for Excellence in Liturgical Reading, was selected as a William A. Griffin Fellow for study in the Holy Land, and represented the graduate School of Theology to the Order of Gownsmen.

As a priest, Fr. Burgess was elected by the Associated Alumni of Sewanee to a three-year term as University trustee and he has held many various positions at the Diocesan level to include Diocesan Council, Diocesan Standing Committee, Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation and  is currently serving his third term as dean of his three-county Convocation. Additionally, he holds the clerical seat on the Bio-ethics Committee of Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury, NJ.

Father Burgess is married to his college sweetheart (Denise Lee) and together they have two children, Robert and Catherine.

The Reverend Father Robert E. Sullivan, Retired

Father Sullivan joined Christ Church’s family in 1998 after retiring as Rector at St. John’s Chews Landing in Blackwood, New Jersey, where he served from 1972 to 1997. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Divinity School of Philadelphia.

The Reverend Dr. John E. Bird, Jr., Assisting

Father Bird retired from St. Uriel the Archangel Church in Sea Girt, New Jersey in 1998, and returned to Woodbury to live and assist at Christ Church, where he was a Curate from 1969 to 1975. He has also served as Rector at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Jacksonville, Florida, and at St. Luke and the Epiphany in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Monmouth College (cum laude), the Divinity School of Philadelphia, and earned his doctorate at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

The Reverend Canon William Rauscher, Retired

Canon Rauscher retired as the 11th Rector of Christ Church in 1996, where he served for 36 years. Previously he was Vicar of St. Stephen’s Church in Florence, New Jersey, from 1957 to 1960. He is a graduate of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), the Divinity School of Philadelphia, and was made an Honorary Canon at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1971.

 Mr. John Marsden, Facilities Manager

John brings to the position of Facilities Manager decades of professional experience in the building trades and facility management.  Most recently, John served eleven years as the maintenance and facilities supervisor for one of United Methodist Communities’ nationally recognized adult congregant living facilities.  John has extensive experience in managing contracts, maintaining oversight of purchasing priorities in interest of facility maintenance, securing bids specific to the needs of a not-for-profit organization, accomplishing minor improvements and repairs, empowering volunteer resources, organizing maintenance priorities, and placing the mission of where he works at the center of his daily priority.

Ms. Marietta Hutchison, Parish Administrator

Ms. Marietta Hutchison joined the staff of Christ Church in the summer of 2010.  As office administrator, she is responsible for designing and editing our Sunday service sheets, producing our parish newsletter, handling financial matters of the church and maintaining the church website.  Additionally, Marietta writes articles for outreach publications and coordinates relations beyond the church community.  She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from George Washington University in Washington, DC, has three children and lives in Wenonah, NJ.

Mrs. Mariana Torres, Parish Sexton

Mariana officially joined our staff as part-time parish Sexton in February 2009. She maintains direct oversight and is responsible for the successful maintenance and orderly presentation of parish buildings, facilities, and grounds. Mariana, formerly of the Dominican Republic, is highly respected as a valued member of a local school maintenance staff, being hand-selected for maintenance responsibilities that pertain to the Superintendent’s office and board facilities. Mariana is the mother of  two children. She possesses a personality that is both pleasant and contagious. In her spare time Mariana loves to cook.

Mr. Sheldon Eldridge, Parish Organist and Choirmaster

Sheldon EldridgeSheldon is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton with a Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in organ and a minor in voice. He extended his time at Westminster to include two years of graduate-level study in organ performance and choral conducting. In addition, Sheldon attended the Royal School of Church Music’s summer courses for many years. He is quite conversant with the great choral literature of our tradition, from the Tudor period to the present day.


Mr. Richard W. Kurtz, Assistant Organist

KURTZ, RICHARD; (Staff)42Richard served faithfully as Organist and Choirmaster at Christ Church  for 40 years. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and graduated from Westminster Choir College in Princeton. He and his wife Gloria have two grown daughters. As a partner of the R. W. Kurtz Organ Company, he is responsible for tuning and maintaining pipe organs in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, & Delaware.


Mr. George T. Mitchell, Jr., Assistant Organist

Mr. Mitchell studied piano and organ in Philadelphia with teachers and associate faculty members of the Clark Conservatory. He served as Organist/Choirmaster for several churches from 1953 to 1962 when he accepted that position at Christ Church, Woodbury. He left that post in 1969, and from then until the present he has continued to serve as Assistant Organist at Christ Church, as well as a substitute organist for area churches under the auspices of the Southwest Jersey Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, of which he is a member.

Mr. John Burrows, Assistant Organist

John Burrows

From an early age, John Burrows was a choirboy at S. George’s Church in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England.  At fourteen he was appointed Assistant Organist at the church and two years later passed the Associate of the Royal College of Organists examination.  He went on to become Organ Scholar at S. Edmund Hall in Oxford, finally graduating in organ performance from the Royal Manchester college of Music.  Before moving to the USA, he spent twelve seasons on the Music Staff of English National Opera and was the Musical Director of a wide range of musicals in London’s West End.  In 1983, he founded the Lyric Opera of Dallas and acted as the company’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Director for ten seasons.  He has also served as Chorusmaster of Des Moines Metro Opera and the Pennsylvania Opera Theater.

Mrs. Michele Schiffer, Sunday School Superintendent

??????????Michele has been a member of Christ Church for over 10 years.  She has been an active part of the nursery ministry, as well as a note writer and a coffee hour host.  She has taught Sunday school in grades 3-6. Michele is currently employed by Black Horse Pike Regional School District as a special education teacher.  She has experience working in an educational setting with children from Pre-K through high school.  She is a graduate of Ottawa University with a BA in Mathematics.


Ms. Jennifer Allbright, Nursery Sitter

Jennifer joined the staff as part-time Nursery Sitter in April 2008. A life-long member of Christ Church, she was baptized and confirmed here. Jennifer has the perfect personality for working with our children; she is bright, energetic and has an engaging laugh. Jen conveys a love for our parish that is contagious. Professionally, Jennifer has recently obtained her Home Health Aid Certification. She enjoys her job immensely, and her training in this area only enhances the gifts that she brings to this important ministry of hospitality and education.



Ms. Susann Kaback, Pre-School Teacher

KABACK, SusannSusann Kaback began the Preschool Program at Christ Church in 2012 as a necessary response to the parish’s tremendous growth in the nursery.  Susann graduated from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) with her MA in Library Science and is the childrens’ librarian at Deptford Public Library.  She has served as a long-time Sunday School teacher at Christ Church and brings her enthusiasm for early education, growth and learning to this very important aspect of parish life.

Sandra Sutton, Volunteer Coordinator

SUTTON, SandraSandy Sutton is a cradle Episcopalian and was married at Christ Church by Canon Williams in 1954.  She attended Christ Church as a young girl, and those early years formed a life-time bond with the church.  Her love of Christ Church and parishioners can be felt through her commitment to service.  She has been a member of St. Martha’s Guild, the Altar Guild and also currently organizes the volunteer needs of the office.  She has been tirelessly working on the church archives, helping to preserve them for future generations.  She considers Christ Church her home and thanks God for her church family.




Copyright © Christ Church, Woodbury, NJ. All rights reserved.