the Rev’d Mark David Johnson, vicar
Mark David Johnson grew up in Cranston RI. He was drawn to the church by his love of music; Mark began studying piano in grade school and studied organ in high school. His first part-time job was as minister of music at St Matthew-Trinity Lutheran in Pawtucket RI — where his parents had been married years earlier. He was graduated from Cranston High School East in 2001.
Mark then accepted the position of minister of music at St James Lutheran in Barrington RI, and soon after was also hired as the Parish Administrator of St Paul Lutheran in Warwick RI. It was around this time when the connection between faith, music, and leadership strengthened. A wonderful relationship with the pastor at St Paul, Rev Dana Reardon, helped Mark feel at home in a church that had always welcomed him, but not always accepted him. Pastor Reardon kept planting the seed for seminary, although he tried to run from that idea.
Wanting to venture out of the nest, Mark moved to St Petersburg FL where he worked with two United Methodist congregations. Then the opportunity arose to live in Stuttgart, Germany. Beside traveling throughout Europe, Mark’s year in Germany was marked by the completion of his undergraduate degree in Management from the American Public University System. One day, Mark decided to stop running from his call to ministry; he applied to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, moved back to the United States, and began coursework that fall.
Mark had a formative seminary career. He served as a field education student at St Paul Lutheran in Olney, Philadelphia, a chaplaincy intern at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a pastoral intern at St John’s Lutheran in Easton PA. Mark was graduated from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 2015, and was the only student that year to complete a concentration in interfaith studies. Mark and his husband, Ian Hill, now live in Hamilton NJ, where Ian serves as pastor of St Mark Lutheran Church.
Mark is honored to be called to serve at St Michael’s Episcopal in Trenton, NJ. He is thankful to the family and friends who have supported him — and put up with him — over the years. He is also grateful to those pastors and teachers who have loved, encouraged, and inspired him along the way.
Dr. Clipper Erickson, organist
Clipper Erickson made his debut as a soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra at age nineteen in Los Angeles. After studies at The Julliard School, Yale University, and Indiana University with the renowned British pianist John Ogdon, his interpretations began earning prizes at international competitions including the Busoni, William Kapell, and the American Pianists Association. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in some of the most famous concert venues in the world, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
In addition to his powerful renditions of the great classical repertoire, Clipper’s interpretations of American music from past and present have launched a series of CD releases that have received considerable critical acclaim and have often been featured on radio stations throughout the United States. He continues to be active in premiering and promoting new works by American composers. Always an inquisitive and versatile musician, he especially enjoys performing 18th century music on period instruments.
An essential part of Clipper’s musical mission is the inspiration of future generations of musicians by encouraging the love of music through his commitment to education, performance in schools, and master classes. His teaching career has included appointments at Bucknell University, Temple University, and Westminster Conservatory. Clipper has been a roster member of the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour since its inception in 1997.
Check out Clipper’s latest CD release: My Cup Runneth Over!