St. Stephen's Clergy & Staff
The Rev. Christopher Montella
The Rev. Christopher Montella first came to St. Stephen's as Priest-in-Charge in March 2019 after having served as Associate Rector of St. Wilfrid of York, Huntington Beach and various communities in the Greater Los Angeles area. On March 29th, 2020 he was called to serve St. Stephen's as its 3rd rector.
He received a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA and a Diploma of Theology from Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont where he serves on the Board of Trustees. After a 25-year career in the fashion industry Christopher transitioned into full-time ministry in 2017. He has been a member of GLEAM, the Bishop's Commission for LGBTQ+ Ministry in the diocese since 2011 and is currently serving as its chair. He is deeply committed to living out our shared Christian call to seek and serve Christ in all people, and to ensuring that all people, especially our children and youth, grow in faith knowing that they are loved by the Church and by God. He and his husband, Erick Long, live in Santa Clarita with their dog, Dixon.
On being called to serve St. Stephen’s as its rector Christopher said, “I am moved by an awareness of the Holy Spirit at work in our journey together. It is an honor and privilege to be called to walk with the people of St. Stephen's, to share our lives, our hopes, our grief and our joy. The Holy Spirit is alive and on fire at St. Stephen’s and I am excited to see what we will do together through our shared ministry!"
Director of Children's Education & Formation
Lay Associate for Preschool Administration and Youth Ministry
Children's Ministry Coordinator
Sunday Morning Child Care
Maggie D'isa has 5 years of childcare experience from summer camps, after school programs, and more. She has first aid, AED, and adult/infant CPR certification from the Red Cross.
She is a Girl Scouts of America alumni and is very excited to be joining the St. Stephen's team.
Stephanie comes to St. Stephen’s from the Saugus Union School District after having served four years as Site Supervisor for their Child Development Program and received her bachelor’s degree in Child Adolescent Development from California State University of Northridge in 2017. She has been involved with children’s education for eight years now and is very passionate about what she does.
Stephanie was involved with youth leadership in another local congregation for four years and enjoyed every second of it. She especially loved teaching the children and young people about God and seeing them grow through the years. She enjoys seeing children and youth grow when it comes to their faith and knowing they are loved by the Church and God.
For over 21 years Parish Administrator, Tracy Stapp has been faithfully serving the people of St. Stephen's. Working out of our parish office, Tracy is most often the first face people encounter when coming to our campus. She is always ready with her warm smile that part of the heartbeat of our community. She is a gifted problem solver, a generous collaborator and a vital part of what makes it such a warm and loving community. We are grateful for all that she does to care for the people of our community and to keep us organized and ready for all of life's moments.
Judith M. Baity has served as organist and music director for St. Stephen’s since January, 2000. Prior to this she had served as Minister of Music for the Calvary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as well as in several other churches in the Milwaukee area.
She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, a Master of Music degree in music composition from Michigan State University, East Lansing and a Certificate in Advanced Studies in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, She has also studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Howard University, Washington, D.C. and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee.
Judith is a prolific composer of several musical works for choir, orchestra, solo piano, solo voice and children’s voices, both sacred and secular. She has received several commissions and awards for her compositions.
She has been a church musician since age seven (7). Judith considers this calling to be a privilege and an honor. Above all, it is a blessing from God.
Melanie has been working in the field of early childhood education since 1994. She completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies at CSUN and her Master of Arts Degree in Management through National University. She also holds a Program Director Permit through the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Melanie began as a preschool teacher enjoying many wonderful and rewarding years working directly with children. She has served as a program administrator in a variety of settings for the past 23 years. Prior to joining St. Stephen's, she worked as a site supervisor overseeing two full day preschool programs for a local school district. She also enjoyed several years working as a Center Director with Child Care Resource Center’s Head Start program in the San Fernando Valley.
Maria is from Sylmar California. She has been the Sexton for St Stephen's for over 10 years. Maintaining our facilities is a big job. Because most of Maria's work is conducted behind the scenes, people may not get to see her very often, but they all benefit from her service to our community, and we are grateful for her presence among us.
Julia Nelson took on the role as Coordinator of Children’s Ministry for St. Stephens in the fall of 2019. A Sunday school teacher with 8 years of experience, Julia has been certified as a Godly Play instructor since 2013. While working as a health paraprofessional for a public elementary school, Julia was trained in Capturing Kids’ Hearts, a discipline strategy and relationship-building program for teachers to use with students.
Julia found her love for teaching and discovering how children learn when she started homeschooling her children 20 years ago. She extended that love of teaching into being a scout leader for 9 years and in teaching Sunday school. She enjoys bringing the educational philosophy of “play in learning leads to passion which then leads to purpose” into the classroom.