Clergy, Staff and Vestry Bios
Priest in Charge: Father Joseph Farber
The Rev. Joseph Farber is a native of the Oklahoma City area, graduating from Moore High School in 1976. As a youth, he was very active in the Youth Ministry Program of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference before leaving to attend the University of Chicago. It was in Chicago, under the guidance of the campus Episcopal chaplain, a fellow Oklahoman, that Joseph became an Episcopalian.
At the University of Chicago Fr. Joseph earned a B.A. in Religion in the Humanities, then returned to Oklahoma, where he earned a J.D. at the University of Oklahoma. He spent the next 24 years practicing law. During this time, he was a frequent lecturer for Oklahoma Bar Association Continuing Legal Education seminars on bankruptcy law, and even spent one semester teaching bankruptcy law as an adjunct professor at the OU Law School.
Joseph became an active member of St. Michael's Church in the early 2000’s, and a desire for ordained ministry never left him. After doing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in 2002-2003, Joseph realized it was a call he could no longer avoid. He began shutting down his law practice, finally closing the office in 2006. In 2007, he was sponsored for holy orders by St. Michael’s Church and he began seminary at the School of Theology at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee. Father Joseph was ordained a deacon in January of 2010 and a priest in July of that same year.
Avocationally, Fr. Joseph is a musician. In high school he divided his Sundays between playing the organ at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church, and youth activities in First United Methodist Church of Moore. For many years, Joseph was a member of the jazz vocal quartet, Satin, which performed in many local venues, including the Oklahoma City’s Arts Festival, Opening Nights, and the Greenwood Jazz Festival in Tulsa. Joseph and his wife, Jan, live in Norman.
Senior Warden: Peter Rodrigues
Katheryn Benedict and I were married in 1970. A few years later, 1974 & 1975, our son and daughter were born. Kathy is a life-long Episcopalian and I, a Portuguese-born Roman Catholic, was subsequently received into the Episcopal Church. The warmth and welcoming atmosphere of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Southington, CT made it a wonderful place to raise a family. We and our children flourished there. Our growth as a couple and as a family was enhanced by our experiences in the Episcopal Marriage Encounter, in the Episcopal Cursillo, and by the loving support of our “church family”. As an active member of Saint Paul’s for over 30 years I had served on the Vestry, as chair of the Building and Grounds Committee, ushered, read, and quite happily sang in the choir. We retired in 2003, beginning a new chapter of our life in Noble, Oklahoma. We were delighted to find that same warmth and welcoming atmosphere here at Saint Michael’s as we grew with our new “church family”. At Saint Michael’s I have enjoyed reading, ushering, welcoming, greeting, co-chairing a rector’s calling committee, and being a delegate to the Oklahoma Episcopal Diocesan Convention. I have been active in Wild Men’s Night Out, Saint Mikes Softball, Saint Mikes Sunday Afternoon Golf, and hosting coffee hour as well. These reflect my strong belief in the Community part of our Episcopal Communion. My passions are my wife, my children and grandchildren. My hobbies and my recreation include golf and old cars (especially Studebakers), woodworking, and working on our acreage. I like fixing things.
Clerk of the Vestry: Tim Phillips
Tim has been an Episcopalian since childhood. He grew up in New York State, attended Trinity College in Hartford, and moved to Oklahoma in 1996. He has been attending St. Michael’s since 1997.
Junior Warden: Tina Mahle
I was born and raised in Minneapolis MN, at Plymouth Congregational Church. I graduated from West High School "Cowboys" in 1971. My family of six enjoyed four seasons of sports and recreation, and had horses.
After two years at the University of Miami in Coral Gables Florida, I married and moved to Oklahoma. I graduated from The University of Oklahoma in 1976, with a Bachelor of Science in Health Physical Educ & Recreation (HPER). I taught Phys Ed and coached for four years at Whittier Middle School here in Norman. I played competitive softball and soccer, and refereed soccer from 1979 to 2003.
My second marriage gave us a son, Jonathan Bogle, who was married by Fr. Alan in 1994. Heather and her daughter Stella, were joined by grandson Jonas in 1995.
I am now retired from OU staff after 28 years as a staff accountant; remarried to Tom Tahkofper (Comanche). I enjoy singing in the choir, as I did in Mpls. I now look forward to serving my church-family home as their Junior Warden, 2020.
I grew up in Newton Falls, Ohio, a small town, 45 miles southeast of Cleveland.
I am married to Dennis "Joey" Fleming. We have known each other all our lives. We have been married for 11 years. Between the two of us, we have 6 kids, Maria (30), Sebastain (25), Brittani (23), Brenden (22), Deacon (11), and Tyson (5). We have 4 granddaughters and 1 grandson.
I moved to Oklahoma in August of 2007. I was a member of Chrismatic Episcopal Church. After moving to Oklahoma, I struggled to find a church that I loved. I attended many different churches over 12 years. Then on January 1, 2019, I decided that I needed a change and that change began with my walk with God. I looked up Episcopal churches in Norman and decided to attend St Michael's. I have not looked back since then.
I am retired Navy. I was honored to carry on the family tradition of serving our country. I have my BS in Psychology from Bowie State University, where I graduated cum laude. In 2010, I was ordained through Open Ministry as a wedding officiant. I work for World Heritage as an area representative and for OU football as a security guard. I am currently in year 1 of Education for Ministry (EFM). I am also co-chair for Episcopal Church Women (ECW).
Thank you for opportunity to serve on Vestry. I look forward to serving this great community.
Katie Blair is married to Will. They have three dogs. She is a teaching professor in the biology department at OU. You should ask her about turtles, brains, or turtle brains. In her spare time, she enjoys wheelthrowing pottery, reading, knitting, baseball, walking the dogs, roasting and consuming coffee, and gardening. She looks forward to helping St. Michael’s especially in this time of transition. She is interested in expanding the ministry opportunities available to the people of St. Michael’s. If these things matter to you she is an INTJ, a Hufflepuff, and depending on the day a 5w6, 6w5, 3w2.
I am a cradle Episcopalian and spent a great deal of time up through high school involved in various activities and ministries at my small church in Connecticut. After I married Peter in 1970 we “shopped” around for a church we both could be comfortable attending and found the Episcopal Church fit all of our needs. Our family ( 2 children) spent many hours at church and in various ministries similar to my childhood.
When we moved to Oklahoma in 2003 we again “shopped” around for a church and St. Michael’s was our choice. We have been involved in various ministries in our time here and often feel the presence of God in our lives through programs and friendships. We pray for the continued growth of St. Michael’s and how we can share our skills and talents in this important community of faith.
David is a life-long Episcopalian having participated in youth groups
and serving as an acolyte through high school and having sung in
church choirs his whole life. He has been a member
of St. Michael’s since 1988. He was immediately struck by how warm and welcoming
members were and wants us to continue to carry that tradition forward. David looks forward to becoming more involved with the ministries of St. Michael's. He especially would like us to reach out to families and revive our youth
and acolyte programs.
Reverend Ann Murray
The Rev. Ann Murray is a cradle Episcopalian, having been baptized at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas when she was three months old. Ann made a brief foray into the Baptist church during her youth but returned to the Episcopal Church in college when she was confirmed at St. Anselm of Canterbury, the University of Oklahoma. Ann grew up in Houston, Texas until moving to Ponca City, Oklahoma, at age 15. Ann graduated from Ponca City High School in 1983 and Northern Oklahoma College in 1985. Ann met the love of her life, Todd Anthony Murray, at Northern Oklahoma College. They married on December 20, 1985 in Norman, Oklahoma. She and Todd are the parents of two grown children, Ian Murray and Cathryn Murray.
Ann next attended and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1987, being recognized as a Junior College Merit Council leader and being on the Letzeiser Honor List. Ann’s first job after college was working as an Academic Advisor in University College for Sue Shellabarger. Ann graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1991, passed the bar and was sworn in as an attorney in 1992. Ann and Todd moved to Bartlesville during her senior year of law school and she completed her course work at the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Ann worked in two different stints for the Department of Human Services, Child Support Services, as a State’s Attorney. She enjoyed her work for the Department because she made a difference in the lives of Oklahoma’s children. Ann and Todd moved to Jenks and then Owasso, Oklahoma for Todd’s job as a debate coach and Director of the Owasso Performing Arts Center. The Murrays moved back to Norman in 2007 in order for Todd to attend Law School at OCU, where he graduated in 2010. Todd is a practicing attorney in Oklahoma City. Ann worked in the Chickasha Child Support Office, Department of Human Services, until her retirement in December of 2018.
After leaving Norman for Bartlesville, Ann was a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bartlesville, then moved to Church of the Holy Spirit, Episcopal in Tulsa, and then to St. Dunstan’s in Tulsa, where Ann was Senior Warden. Finally, the family landed at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. It was at St. Paul’s that Ann entered discernment for the diaconate. She was ordained in 2018 and assigned to St. Mary’s in Edmond. During her time at St. Mary’s, she also completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education through the Veteran’s Administration in Oklahoma City. Ann is now assigned to St. Michael’s in Norman as of the end of February, 2019.
Reverend Dr. Laura Blazek
Deacon Laura was ordained in 2015 and has been serving at St. Michael’s since. She was a member of the first class of the Iona School of Ministry which is a three-year program to educate both deacons and bi-vocational priests in the state of Oklahoma. Prior to accepting God’s call to diaconal ministry, she served for many years as St. Michael’s Christian Formation Director and Youth Group Minister. As a deacon, Laura continues her work with the Youth Group, preaches once a month, and strives to keep the needs of the world in the hearts and minds of the parish so that we will all “go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.”
Deacon Laura grew up in Norman, Oklahoma. Since her father was Roman Catholic and her mother Southern Baptist, she attended one or the other denominations churches throughout her childhood. She discovered the Episcopal Church through her then boyfriend and now husband. Over time fell in love with the liturgy and tradition of the Episcopal Church and was confirmed in 1989. After graduation from college, life led her and her husband to St. Louis, where she began to become involved in various ministries within the church. Her family returned to Norman in 1999 where she discovered the wondrous parish home of St. Michael’s.
Besides being a deacon, Laura is a small animal veterinarian. She graduated from Oklahoma State School of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. She is married to Eric and has grown two children- Joshua and Elizabeth. When she isn’t at work as a veterinarian or working on deacon stuff, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking, being outdoors, and maintaining her certified geek status.
Patrick has been a member of St. Michael's for more than 30 years, loves singing in the choir, and has served a couple of terms on vestry in the past. He and his wife were married in 2011, and they have two boys: Ian, 8, and Jonathan, 5. Patrick works for OU's supercomputing group, and Kristin is a scientist in Meteorology, working for the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
I have been a member of St. Michael’s for over 11 years. In 2011, Amy Gardner
invited me to visit St. Michael’s. When Amy and I spoke, I was ready to find a new
church and worship with a community of faith that I thought would be welcoming and a
good match for me. I started attending worship services, and attended classes for new
parishioners with Father Alan Sutherland. In June of 2010, I became a member of St.
Michael’s. On June 2, 2019, I was received into the Episcopal Church by Bishop Ed. I
have participated in or volunteered for the following ministries: Wicked Women, Wise
Women, Book Club, Book Sales, Christmas Dinner, ECW Retreat, Food and Shelter for
Friends, Garage and Rummage Sales, Laundry Love, and greeter.r. At St. Michael’s I feel welcomed, connected, respected, and spiritually nurtured.
Nancy Littlejohn, Parish Administrator
Nancy Littlejohn joined the staff at St. Michael’s in March 2022 after retiring from a long career as a librarian. Originally from Independence, Missouri, her professional experience includes 20 years at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri as Librarian and Associate Professor. Upon moving to Oklahoma in 1998, she started with the Pioneer Library System and worked at the University of Oklahoma as Coordinator of Library Instruction. She is a graduate of Leadership Norman and involved in various community activities including the Norman Community Choral Society and the Norman Arts Council Roundtable. Nancy has been in the choir at St. Michael’s for several years. She and her husband Jeff (a sculptor) have two grown sons and three grandchildren.
Rachel Armstrong, Financial Secretary
In addition to being on the staff of St. Michael’s, I am also a member. St. Michael’s has been an integral part of my faith formation and it is fulfilling to be involved in an additional way as the parish grows and changes. Over the years, I have participated in many parish programs, which gives me insight into the ins and outs as I help keep us on track with the business of income and expenses. Something that makes St. Michael's a special place for me is that we live and share the love of Christ. We do this through our many community activities, by taking care of each other, devoting time to spiritual growth, and of course by re-fueling each Sunday for the week ahead.