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Meet the Staff

Joel Patrick Wood Jr.
Parish Administrator and Communications Director

A native of Falls Church and graduate of George Mason University (‘13), Joel has served in a variety of administration and communication positions at parishes in the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC. Recently, Joel was appointed by Bishop Stevenson to serve on the Diocesan Committee on Music and Liturgy, which plans and implements Diocesan worship services and represents the Diocese at the National Liturgical Conference. Joel is also a member of the Center for Spirituality in Nature Episcopal Cohort, a nationwide program that encourages environmental justice by exploring God’s presence in the natural world. Joel’s approach to parish administration is simple: offer effective office procedures, encourage collaboration across the parish, and to always do so with pastoral care and a welcoming presence. 

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A former Roman Catholic, Joel was received into The Episcopal Church in May 2021, a decision rooted in his appreciation for a faith community that is built upon many perspectives, where differences of opinion and questioning are not just accepted, but encouraged. In his free time Joel enjoys making music, fishing, hiking, and spending time with his family. Joel, his wife Elizabeth, daughter Charlotte, and rescue dog Alex reside in the East Falls Church neighborhood of Arlington.


You can contact Joel by email: or call the church office at 703.241.0003 ext. 4404.


Lauren Breeden 
Director of Children's and Family Ministries

Lauren joined The Falls Church Episcopal as the Director of Children's and Family Ministries in August 2018. She has more than ten years of experience working with children in both church and non-profit settings. She most recently worked at Holy Comforter Episcopal in Vienna, VA as their Director of Children's Ministries. With extensive experience working with children and creating diverse and innovative curricula, Lauren has confirmed her calling to Children's and Family Ministries. Believing in a holistic approach, she looks at children, parents, teachers, and volunteers as a part of one inclusive family - the Body of Christ equipping the future of the church.

For Lauren, being at The Falls Church Episcopal is a dream come true. As a child, she attended The Falls Church Day School before moving to south Florida. Upon returning to Virginia as a teenager, she fell in love with children's ministry while volunteering with her mom at The Falls Church Episcopal. She says that coming to work here as the Director

of Children's and Family Ministries "feels like coming home." Lauren is a lover of coffee, chocolate, and sports - particularly the Red Sox. She finds rest in the mountains and is blessed with an incredible group of friends and family and a spunky pup named Tommy. 


You can contact Lauren by email: or via phone: 703.241.0003, ext. 4432.

Sonya Subbayya Sutton
Director of Music

Pianist, organist, and conductor Sonya Subbayya Sutton has enjoyed a 40+ year career as a musician in the Episcopal Church, including twenty years at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, D.C. More recently she has been called to interim music ministry, working with music programs in transition. She currently serves as president of the Association of Anglican Musicians, a national membership organization of Episcopal church musicians, and since 2013 has been Music Director of the World Bank/IMF Chorus. She frequently collaborates with other instrumentalists as an accompanist and chamber musician. Sonya has directed choirs in seven European tours and cathedral residencies, and participated as organist or singer in four more, making music in the great cathedrals of Great Britain, France, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and South Africa. She enjoys writing about the intersection of life and the arts, and has published two audiobooks on Audible – with music and stories about French composer Mel Bonis in Difficult Women…Legends Revised and a set of 24 short stories


based on music of John Hausserman titled Symphonic Preludes. Sonya earned degrees in piano and arts administration from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. She lives in Washington D.C. and is married to Eugene Sutton, the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland.  They have four adult children in their blended family.

You can contact Sonya by email: or via phone: 703.241.0003, ext. 4500.


John Wunderlich IV 
Director of Youth Ministries and
Liturgical Volunteer Coordinator

John Wunderlich joined The Falls Church Episcopal as the Director of Youth Ministries in August 2018.  He came from Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Philadelphia suburb of Berwyn, PA where he served as the Director of Youth and Children's Ministries for two and a half years. After growing up in Frederick, MD, he attended Eastern University just outside of Philadelphia to obtain his degree in Youth Ministry. In his free time, John likes to see live music, do something artistic, watch 'The Office', or eat an authentic Philly Cheese Steak.


John has always felt called to work with youth and children, but it was not until his undergraduate studies that the call to vocational ministry was fully realized. Since then, John has been working to implement the process of holistic faith formation in young people's lives.

You can contact John by email: or via phone: 703.241.0003, ext. 4406.


Jeff Drake
Building and Grounds Supervisor

Jeff joined TFC staff on June 1, 2022. He is a native Marylander, born in Hagerstown and raised in Baltimore. His career includes working in construction: starting as a teen he built commercial playgrounds, pavilions, and skate parks for 12 years. This led to eight years as a sub-contractor working on residential home repairs, demolition, and hauling. Jeff also has 10 years’ experience in the cemetery industry, including four years as Grounds Manager at the Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery. All of these experiences have prepared Jeff for the many different tasks needed to help TFC thrive in its’ role as an important part of the Falls Church community.

In his spare time, Jeff works on home projects and spends time with his family (he is one of seven children). He is also an award-winning BBQ pitmaster, and with his brothers, spends some weekends at music festivals with their family-owned Barbecue Chips food truck. He also enjoys trout fishing and is

studying yoga.


Jeff is proud to be a part of The Falls Church and considers it an honor to be responsible for its care and operations.


You can contact Jeff by email: or by phone: 703.241.0003.


Claire Hardie
Accounting Assistant

Claire Hardie joined the Falls Church in December 2020 as the Accounting Assistant. Claire is from England originally, and has lived in Arlington for the last ten years. She has many years experience working as an accountant for a large bank, and has her own bookkeeping business. Claire has two sons, aged 11 and 14, who keep her very busy. Both play travel hockey, so most evenings and weekends you will find her at a hockey rink. Claire also loves to volunteer with a local animal shelter and foster kittens, which is how she ended up with six cats!


You can contact Claire by email: or by phone: 703.241.0003. 

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