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St. Stephen's Clergy & Staff

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 The Very Rev. Christopher Montella 


The Very 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!"



Tracy Stapp 

Parish Administrator


Judith Baity

Music Director

Vivien Firta

Director of Children's Education & Formation

Stephanie Rodriguez

Preschool Manager

Julia Nelson

Children's Ministry Coordinator

Maria Lopez


Gina Guaderrama-Frezieres

Youth Ministry Coordinator






Paloma Lozano

Sunday Morning Child Care

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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 22 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.


Maria is from Sylmar California.  She has been the Sexton for St Stephen's for over 11 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.

Gina began the role of Youth Ministry Coordinator in September 2023. Gina has worked with children and young people for her entire professional career. For three years, Gina served as a Peer Minister for Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Chicago. She currently works as an Education Specialist for the Newhall School District. Gina was called to the role of Youth Ministry Coordinator at St. Stephen’s because she felt that exploring faith as a community is integral to understanding God and she wanted to serve her part in fostering that community for St. Stephen’s. 


Paloma has been living within Santa Clarita for nearly 12 years and found her passion for working with children at a very young age. She is currently enrolled at College of the Canyons with a major in environmental sciences and is part of the National Honor Society. 


She is focused on being able to provide a safe place for infants during service and seeks to cater to the needs of each individual child. 


Vivien Firta joins our family as Director of Education and Formation with fifteen years of directorship experience and a total of twenty-three years of service in Early Childhood Education.  She has been a teacher for preschool age and elementary aged children, has served on boards of nonprofit organizations focused on helping children in early childhood education and in art.  She has also enjoyed working as a consultant for ECE professionals, parents and a tech company.  Vivien holds a state of California permit for Program Director for preschool centers, a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (elementary and early childhood education) from Santa Monica College and Cal State Northridge and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Woodbury University. 

Vivien is a born and raised Californian and enjoys spending time with her eight-year-old son Harrison,

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who is currently in the second grade.  Together they enjoy traveling, musicals, hiking and being with their furry friends, Mimi the dog and Willow the cat.

On her role as an early childhood educations Vivien said, “My mission as a leader is to inspire and guide Early Childhood Educators in creating both indoor and outdoor environments that instill a love of learning in every child they teach- child centered environments rich with opportunity that satisfy curiosity, foster healthy relationships and develop autonomy.”   

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