Fr. David Gierlach has lived in Hawaii since 1981. He holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton (1977), a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the Maryknoll School of Theology (1981) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii School of Law (1989). Fr. David worked with the elderly poor in Chinatown as a VISTA volunteer in the early 1980s; became an alcohol/drug counselor at Hina Mauka for 5 years and departed Hina Mauka for law school as its Deputy Director. During his career as an attorney, Fr. Gierlach became quite active with the Episcopal Church, having found a home at St. John’s by the Sea in Kahalu’u. After many years of lay leadership, Fr. Gierlach felt he could no longer run from the call to ordained ministry, a call that was felt since his teenage years. Fr. Gierlach was ordained a deacon in 2006, and after having served as deacon of St. Elizabeth’s for 9 months, was ordained priest in 2007. The call to St. Elizabeth’s has been a great joy for him and his children Elaine, Alexandra and Joseph
The Rev. Imelda S. Padasdao, Priest Associate. Mother Imelda was called by St. Elizabeth’s Vestry in February 2008 as Priest Associate. She was born and raised in the barrio of Masikil, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Ordained to the Diaconate in 1986 and to the Priesthood in 1990, ‘Apo Padi,’ as Mother Imelda also likes to be called, became the first Filipino priest in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion.
The Rev. Peter S. M. Fan, Cantonese Language Priest. Father Fan came from the Diocese of Hong Kong and Macau in 1985 to work as a Chinese misssionary in the Diocese of Hawaii. He was called to be Dr. Gifford’s associate at St. Elizabeth’s where his focus is Chinese ministry. He was a graduate of Chung Chi College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he obtained a B. A. with honors and later went back to the theological seminary in the Graduate School. He received a Certificate of Education from the Grangham College of Education in Hong Kong.
The Rev. Dr. Gerald G. Gifford, Rector Emeritus. Dr. Gifford was the rector of St. Elizabeth’s from 1978 to 1989 where he addressed areas such as spiritual renewal, inactive membership renewal, stewardship, and missions.
Hsiao-Ying “Ajaon” Chen, Choir Director. A native of Taiwan, Ajaon leads the Children’s Music Academy on Sundays after worship and St. Elizabeth’s handbell choir. She attended Yu Sun Theological College; obtained a Performance Certificate from the British Royal Music College; and majored in voice at Singapore Church Music College. Since she moved to Hawaii in 2003, she has been a teacher of Mandarin at Niu Valley Middle School, Aina Haina Elementary School, and now teaches at Maryknoll School.
Mei-Li “Marie” Wang, Organist. Marie was born in Taiwan where she majored in piano in college. After graduation she spent two years in Japan where she continued her music study. She moved to Hawaii in 1996 and began organ study with Katherine Crosier two years later. The first time she played the organ she dreamed of becoming a church organist. She substituted at several churches in Honolulu before becoming St. Elizabeth’s organist in 2005. She thanks God for bringing her to St. Elizabeth’s.
She has two children, a son and a daughter.
Karyn Castro, Parish Administrator. Karyn became Parish Administrator here in September of 2015. She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2014 with a BA in Music and a Certificate in Buisiness. Currently, she also works as the Choral Administrative Support Specialist for the Windward Choral Society and the Kona Choral Society.
In addition to her office hours at St. Elizabeth’s and the Choral Societies, Karyn keeps busy singing with other groups, such as the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, with the Hawaii Opera Theater Chorus, Karol’s Karolers, as well as many other groups. .