Saint Mark’s Clergy & Staff

The Rev. Chris Thompson
Interim Transitional Rector & Priest-in-Charge (

I am a native of Portsmouth, Ohio but due to my father’s occupation we lived most in West Virginia. Mary Jo and I will be married 40 years this November. We have three children, all married, and eight grandchildren. I am a graduate of West Liberty University, the Virginia Theological Seminary and I have been ordained in the Episcopal Church for 41 years.

I have served churches in West Virginia, Southern Ohio, Southwest Florida, and Southern Virginia. I was blessed to serve as Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Portsmouth for 10 years. (Some might remember the Diocesan Convention in 1989.) I also served 21 years as a Chaplain in the Air Force National Guard (at Rickenbacker) and the Reserves.

Other areas of my involvement were Deputy to General Conventions (West Virginia, Southern Ohio and Southwest Florida), Camps (West Virginia and Southern Ohio), Diocesan Council (West Virginia and Southern Ohio) and local community organizations.

I went into retirement in 2010 and since have served Mission Churches, Veteran Assistance Program and as an Interim. We moved to Winston Salem, NC to be closer to family.

Matt_Head_Shot_webDr. Matthew Bester
Director of Music (

Matthew Bester hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He holds both a PhD and a Master’s Degree in Musicology from The Ohio State University as well as a Graduate Certificate as a Specialist in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Ohio State’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in Music from Harvard University.

While living in Boston, he founded and directed the Holden Consort, an amateur orchestra and chorus with a diverse repertoire of choral and orchestral works, and was music director of the Lowell House Opera for a fully staged production of Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. From 2002 to 2004 he was Assistant Conductor of the Ohio State Men’s Glee Club. In 2006, he founded Fior Angelico, a local chamber chorus dedicated to summertime performances of early music. He remains active as a singer, performing regularly with the all-professional Lancaster Chorale, for which he also serves as Associate Conductor. From 2000 to 2011 he was a soloist and bass section leader at Saint Mark’s.

In addition to his role as Director of Music at Saint Mark’s, Matthew sometimes teaches courses at The Ohio State University as an adjunct faculty member. He lives in Dublin with his wife and three children.

Gary L. Garber
Organist-Choirmaster Emeritus (

Gary L. Garber studied with Mabel Zehner at Ashland University, with Ann Labounsky at Duquesne University, and with Karel Paukert and the late John Christian at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He attended the Royal School of Church Music in 1983, and from that year was Director of Music of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church until his retirement in 2012.

Dr. Michael Murray
Organist Emeritus (

Michael Murray has recorded thirty discs for Telarc and is the author of five books, including a biography of his teacher, Marcel Dupré. He started playing organ at Saint Mark’s in 1983 and officially became Assistant Organist in 1991. He retired as Organist in 2014 after 31 years of serving the Saint Mark’s community. He continues to serve as Assistant Librarian for Collections and Public Services at the Ohio State University Music and Dance Library. He received an honorary doctorate from The Ohio State University in 2001.

Melanie Jacobs
Office Manager (

Originally from small town Lodi, Ohio, Melanie moved to Columbus in 2012.  She loves to travel and had the privilege of participating in the 2017 Saint Mark’s mission trip to Guatemala. She has worked and volunteered as an administrative assistant in various settings, including the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, and as an AmeriCorps Service Member with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. Melanie has been married to husband Kyle for five years and has a one year old daughter, Scarlett. In her spare time Melanie enjoys quality time with her family, practicing yoga, and taking long walks in Griggs Reservoir Park. Melanie serves as a full time member of the Saint Mark’s staff.

Bill Silliman

Head Verger (

Bill Silliman is a member of the Saint Mark’s Verger’s Guild and a member of the national Verger’s Guild of the Episcopal Church.  He became head verger in 2016 when Don McConnell moved to All Saints Church in Pasadena, California.

Vergers are the “master of ceremony” in the church.  Originally located in cathedrals, they become widely recognized in churches of all sizes in the 1990’s.  A verger is expected to conduct liturgy with an expert knowledge of all lay ministries, from acolytes to ushers, altar guild to lectors and intercessors.  In the absence of the clergy they are the “last word” in matters pertaining to worship.

Bill lives with his wife, Dianne, in the Columbus area and they are the proud grandparents of Cora, Cameron and Aubrey.  He serves as a volunteer member of the parish staff.