The Rev. Whitney F. Altopp has been called as the thirty-second rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. She is currently Vicar of St. Thomas Church in Ft. Washington, PA, where she has served since 2007. She will celebrate her first Sunday as rector of St. Stephen’s on August 5. The church is located at 351 Main St.
The Rev. Altopp was called to St. Stephen’s as the result of a national search that drew candidates from as far as California, Texas and Florida. A cum laude graduate of The General Theological Seminary in New York City, she has more than 15 years of experience in developing lay congregational leadership and teaching and ministering to different generations.
“For the past four months I have gotten to know the people of St. Stephen’s through the Search Committee and the Vestry,” said the Rev. Altopp. “I am struck by the gifts and skills of those who call St. Stephen’s their church home and their deep desire to use them in service to God through the church. When I imagine the way those gifts and skills can be added to my own, I am excited about the possible ways that God might use us.”
Members of the St. Stephen’s Search Committee and the Vestry were impressed by the Rev. Altopp’s compelling pastoral presence, her intelligence, energy and enthusiasm. “She had the qualities we sought, but we were particularly inspired by her ‘God-first’ approach to her work and life,” according to Michael Ryan, Senior Warden of the Vestry. “We are very excited to have Whitney as our next rector, and look forward to the start of her ministry here at St. Stephen’s.”
The Rev. Altopp and her family will move into the church rectory on the St. Stephen’s campus in mid-July. Her husband, Michael, is a professional theater director with more than 10 years experience in non-profit management, grant writing, video editing and theatrical production. “Michael is excited to join a community with a vibrant arts scene and hopes to continue practicing his craft to enrich the cultural landscape of Ridgefield,” said the Rev. Altopp. She and her husband have four children: Gabriel, age 14; Vivian, 12; Beatrice, 9, and Millicent, 6.