Message from Fr. Paul
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Most of our normal practices have been disrupted over the past year. This is true at church, in reality, it is true in almost every aspect of life. The initial disruption was very abrupt, which made adaption more challenging. As we anticipate the emergence from the pandemic, we may find that we don't want everything to revert to the way it was.
Don't be mistaken, I urge each of us to remain vigilant in our COVID prevention practices. It is essential as we care for ourselves and one another. But I hope we can also dream together of those things to which we may return, as well as what may emerge as our common life and ministry grow.
I hope that our annual meeting on Sunday will help us reflect together about the last year. I hope also that it serves as a spark for us to imagine our future. Please plan to attend the meeting, preparing with the material provided. Please hold this time in prayer before and following, that God's spirit may lead us and unite us now and always.
Our Newest Vestry Members
Member Since 2007
Education: BS Communications Southern Illinois University
Occupation: Digital Marketing Employer: Frontier Communications Work and Leadership
Experience: Departmental Director | Lead corporate teams | Project manage initiatives | Manage vendor relationships
Prior Vestry Experience: None
Prior Convention Delegate Experience: None
Leadership and participation in Parish Ministries & Activities: Men’s Group, Finance Committee, Church clean-up, barbeque-parish picnics, Nativity, cooking for outreach, etc.
Community Activities & Organizations (not for profit or civic): Volunteer at children’s school
What drew you to consider Vestry leadership at this time? After years of being a parishioner, I would like to help the mission of The Church of the Ascension in any way I can.
In addition to your professional expertise, what unique gifts, talents, and experience would you bring to the Vestry? I enjoy working collaboratively with others and consider myself very service-oriented. In terms of skills, I have a background in marketing and video.
What do you hope for Ascension over the next 3-5 years? I hope to see the church grow and prosper, and see future members deepen their relationship with Christ and the church as our family has.
If selected for this role, what activities, ministries, or areas of parish life would you like to be involved in?
I would be open to serving in any way I can, but I think I could be helpful in promoting Ascension through video and online platforms.
How has Ascension continued to form and inspire your faith? I have been extremely fortunate to participate in and benefit from many church activities. However, the men’s group has been especially helpful in my faith journey. I’ll always be grateful to Doug Taber for recruiting me some years ago. Between the books we’ve read, deep discussions we’ve had, and the friendships and activities that have grown from it, it has given me an opportunity to think more thoughtfully about my faith and role as a Christian.
I have also seen the positive impact Ascension has had on our family, specifically our children (Nathan and Fiona), who were both baptized here. Ascension helps me in my quest to be a better Christian, husband and father.
Member Since 2014
Education: BA, University of Texas,1992 | MBA, University of Houston, 2002
Occupation: Marketing | ALM First, LLC
Work and Leadership Experience: I’ve been in the financial business most of my career, first building products as a product manager, and, most recently, in a marketing capacity, leading a small team to develop campaigns and promotional content for our products and services.
Prior Vestry Experience: Prior to moving to Dallas in 2014, I served for two years on the Vestry at St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church in Golden, Colorado, a church about a third the size of Ascension. The challenges were similar – how to attract new parishioners, how to engage current parishioners, and how to include Jesus in your day-to-day life. Since 2018, I’ve served as clerk of the Vestry here at Ascension. I’ve been in the room for many of the consequential decisions of the past three years, keeping faithful records of the process and occasionally participating in debate when it was needed.
Prior Convention Delegate Experience: None.
Leadership and participation in Parish Ministries & Activities: I have worked with the Radical Hospitality committee for the past three years, both contributing and leading to events. I’ve also participated in serving at Austin Street Center, bringing lasagna, cookies, Tabasco sauce and hope to the guests there.
Community Activities & Organizations (not for profit or civic): I volunteer for the PTA at both Prestonwood Elementary School and Richardson High School. I also volunteer to help with the RHS band and theater programs, and was the field leader this year for the RHS Band “Rhythm Movers,” the crew that brought equipment on and off the field. I also have been a volunteer soccer coach for the past four years, as an assistant and a head coach, growing with Thomas’s team at Prestonwood Elementary since he was in third grade.
What drew you to consider Vestry leadership at this time? I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that a church is at the same time a place of worship, a spiritual center, as well as a business. As clerk for three years, I’ve seen how our Vestry has put the spiritual side squarely in front of the business side on a regular basis. We’ve been blessed with great leadership on our Vestry, and I feel I’ve learned a lot from being present and observing how they consistently focus on spiritual needs and the church’s mission in the community. I’ve learned from Jane Taber that you can always spare another hour to work on Vestry business. Scott King showed me how to be meticulous and precise in sharing ideas and concepts. Audry Lee continues to be an advocate for passionate outreach. And Avery Hoenig showed me that a welcoming place like Ascension always needs a warm smile and a friendly hug.
In addition to your professional expertise, what unique gifts, talents and experience would you bring to the Vestry? I believe I bring creativity and an ability to think outside the box, which can help as we seek solutions to engage people and encourage them to join us in worship. My experience with the Radical Hospitality committee – and the last twelve months of virtual worship and Zoom gatherings – has taught me that there’s no substitute for actual, side-by-side togetherness.
What do you hope for Ascension over the next 3-5 years? First, like everyone, I hope we are able to worship together, in person, in the same building, very soon. I also hope we are able to take the lessons we’ve learned through this pandemic – virtual assembly, improvising schedules, communication techniques, and ongoing outreach – and continue them in the post-pandemic period. I also hope that Ascension will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and light for Dallas and all of North Texas.
If selected for this role, what activities, ministries, or areas of parish life would you like to be involved in? I imagine I’ll continue to work with Radical Hospitality, as I enjoy throwing parties and getting people together. I’m a natural introvert, so this assignment forces me to break out of that shell and be involved in parish life. I’d also like to be involved with Stewardship, as there are a number of creative ways to ask parishioners to prayerfully consider supporting the church and its many activities. Last, I’d like to spend more time with the men’s group – it’s always been a wish of mine, but too often I sleep in on Sundays.
How has Ascension continued to form and inspire your faith? It’s the people of Ascension that are inspiring. I enjoy watching the youth begin their journey in the formation classes, seeing young families at ADS or in worship together, and joining in round table discussions with more seasoned parishioners. The diversity throughout the church makes is an inspiring place to call home.
Member Since 2017
Education: B.A. in Religious Studies – College of William and Mary | M.E. in Curriculum & Instruction - University of Texas at Arlington
Work and Leadership Experience: N/A
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