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Ten Minutes with Terry Elsberry

A man of the Lord



Photo by John Rizzo

Terry Elsberry recently retired as rector of Bedford’s St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church after 23 years of service. He took a somewhat circuitous route to the ministry, having had an illustrious career in publishing at Better Homes & Gardens and Apartment Life before moving into corporate communications for a commercial real-estate company in Atlanta. A fifth-generation Iowan, Elsberry is married to Nancy Olds and has four daughters and nine grandchildren. 

What was your religious epiphany?
God got a hold of my life when I lived in Atlanta. I had emotional problems and was truly tormented. I tried everything but nothing helped. Then people started praying for me, and I was completely healed. It was a true miracle, and I knew then that I needed to put myself in God’s hands. There are times when you get the feeling that God is somehow extra present, where you can almost feel the air turning into a kind of liquid gold. It doesn’t get better than that!

When did you decide to become a minister?
I never thought I would—I was actually quite a hell-raiser. Although the ministry came quite naturally to me, I needed a lot of convincing to take that step. One day, the rector of my church told me I should be ordained. So, I asked God: “If this is what you really want me to do, give me a sign.” The very next day, a woman from the congregation that I didn’t know well, says, “Hey, Terry, you should be a minister.” Then I asked God that if he really wanted me to do this, to have someone in a high position in the church tell me. I went to a diocese convention and ended up sitting next to a bishop who told me—you guessed it—that I needed to be a priest. I entered the Virginia Seminary in 1981.

Where was your first assignment?
I spent three years in Alexandria, Virginia, working across the street from the White House at Saint John’s Lafayette Square. 

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment at St Matthew’s?
When I started at St Matthew’s, the capital campaign raised enough money to double the size of the parish house, restore the interior of the church and the exterior of the rectory. Several years later, we raised money for a church addition, including a new sacristy and a multi-purpose altar-guild room. I’m also very proud of our pre-K school, which opened in September 2010.

What was the most unusual service you led?
In 2004, we held a worship service as it would have been in 1804 as part of our bicentennial celebration. People got into the spirit and dressed in Federal-period clothing and arrived on horseback or carriage. We used the 1798 Book of Common Prayer for the service.

What’s best part of retiring?
Getting time to spend with my wife. After all, I’ve worked nearly every weekend for the past 23 years!

What’s next?
I will be helping out at Christ Church in Greenwich as a part-time associate. I also plan to write some books. The Bible in 60 Minutes is written, but not yet published. Another in the works is A Closer Walk With God, and I’d like to do a book for new ministers.

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December 2018

Join us to see work by local photographer Curtis Ryan Lew.

Cost: no charge

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
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Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle

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Jolly Saint Nick comes to Caramoor to fill the Rosen House with holiday cheer. The little ones will be in for an adventure with I Spy a Santa or Two in the Music Room followed by a 30-minute...

Cost: Children $10, Adults $15

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

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Buddy (Will Ferrell) is different from all of Santa’s other elves. For one thing, he’s “a cotton-headed ninny muggins” when it comes to making toys. For another, he’s...

Cost: 12.00

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 OLD POST RD
BEDFORD, CT  10506
View map »


Website »

More information

Jolly Saint Nick comes to Caramoor to fill the Rosen House with holiday cheer. The little ones will be in for an adventure with I Spy a Santa or Two in the Music Room followed by a 30-minute...

Cost: Children $10, Adults $15

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

The ghosts of Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, klezmer, ragtime, Peruvian folk music, and Hindustani singers hover over the music of Pulitzer Prize-winner JOHN HARBISON, WILLIAM...

Cost: $25, $10 (Students)

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
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Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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The Sanctuary Series celebrates the Holiday Season on Sunday afternoon, December 16, with "Bach for the Holidays" featuring keyboardist Anthony Newman performing selected works on piano and organ...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
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Sponsor: The Sanctuary Series
Telephone: 203-550-5992
Contact Name: Mary Jane Newman
Website »

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On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Making a stamp from a potato is a fun and inexpensive way of turning plain paper into something special. Why not try personalizing your next gift with potato stamp gift wrap? You will have the...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
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Telephone: 914-666-8041

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Join us as we make SLIME take home with you using glue, baking soda, and other safe ingredients!Ages: 6-12Registration required - please call 914-864-0130Location of event - downstairs in the kids...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
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Telephone: 914-666-8041

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Vanessa Williams, the multi-platinum recording artist and actress from Chappaqua will headline a holiday benefit concert for San Miguel Academy of Newburgh (SMAN) on December 18 at 7:00 p.m. at...

Cost: $100

Where:
Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
480 Bedford Road
Chappaqua, NY  10514
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Sponsor: Orange Bank & Trust Company

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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December 19th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate holiday cookies with icing, candies, and other treats! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS Recreation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

December 22nd at 1:00 PM. Open to all ages. Create ornaments out of popsicle sticks such as popsicle snowflakes and more! Free and no registration required. For questions, you can email the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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