No organization can run, much less flourish, without staff: the people who keep the place going. We are truly blessed with a wonderful support team. Most of these folks are exciting recent additions to the team and few others have been here for years. They all have stories about the road that led them to us.
Interim Executive Director, Church Operations
Mike gained significant experience in church finance and operations while serving as the Director of Finance and Administration for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Richmond. There he directed the accounting, personnel, technology, facilities and communications functions. Prior to joining St. Mary’s, Mike and his wife Allison partnered together to build their own business, LawPartner, into a successful legal recruiting and consulting firm. Before starting LawPartner, Mike held senior management positions at McCandlish Kaine and McGuire Woods. At both law firms he directed the firm’s budgeting, accounting, financial reporting and financial analysis efforts.
Mike and Allison have 3 grown children, all working in the Washington DC area. They both enjoy hiking and have recently completed the 105 mile Shenandoah National Park. When at home, they can often be found walking their Australian Shepherd, Annie. They are both active members at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
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Director of Communications and Parish Life
Ashley is a graduate of University of Mary Washington and a lifelong Episcopalian. She has most recently been the Communications Associate at the Diocese of Virginia, where she previously worked in the Mission and Outreach Department. She also served for a year in the Philippines in the Episcopal Church’s Young Adult Service Corps. Her role includes overseeing and expanding our communications efforts, working with the Outreach Committee and our outreach partners to grow and improve our outreach relationships and opportunities, and facilitating involvement of St. Mary’s parishioners in other ministries and aspects of our common life.
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Director of Children’s Ministries
Amelia McDaniel has served as a Christian Education Director and teacher to several congregations and an Episcopal Day School over the past 20 years. She began her career in Richmond at St. James’s. Her travels have taken her to Raleigh, Alexandria, Nashville and Baton Rouge. She is thrilled to be back in Richmond. Amelia is excited to be working with the children and families of St. Mary’s to continue to build upon its nurturing and family friendly programs. Amelia grew up in Middle Tennessee and graduated from Sweet Briar College. She has two children, Wyly and Jed, and one badly behaved Labrador named Ruth.
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Director of Youth Ministries
Matt Rawls has significant experience in youth ministry, including service as a volunteer and intern with Young Life and, for the past three years, with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Perhaps more importantly, Matt has a heart and talent for youth ministry. His responsibilities at St. Mary’s encompass all aspects of our ministries to youth in grades 6-12, including acolytes, confirmation, outreach, and Sunday morning and other activities. He will enrich and expand those offerings, and will work closely with all of our staff, youth, and parents in his ministry. Matt is a native of Suffolk, Virginia and graduated from James Madison University and Pepperdine University School of Law. He loves music and was one of the leaders of last year’s Fall Line Music & Arts Festival. He was also involved in the founding of Spacebomb Records, where he continues to serve as a board member. Raised in the Evangelical Presbyterian tradition, Matt’s attraction to the Episcopal Church began when he attended an Anglican Church while in England for a law school semester and has grown steadily since then.
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Elizabeth joined St. Mary’s staff on March 1 as the welcoming face when you stop by the office and the friendly voice who answers the phone. Elizabeth is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and received her Masters in History and Museum Studies from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has most recently been the Collections Manager at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, an art museum in Farmville, Virginia. Elizabeth is excited to be here at “such a welcoming, fun, collaborative work environment and to be part of an awesome community that shares a strong commitment to making a difference locally, nationally, and internationally.”
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W. Dwight Graham
Organist & Choirmaster
Dwight Graham is a graduate of Douglas Freeman High School and the University of Richmond, where his musical education progressed under the guidance of choral director James Erb and organ professor Suzanne Kidd Bunting. His professional career in music flourished as he directed the choirs of Monacan High School and as he played the organ and led choirs at various Richmond churches. Dwight’s leadership of the St. Mary’s Adult Choir and his organ accompaniment at services of worship, have developed a tradition of musical excellence for our parish. Through Dwight, we have also been graced by the contributions of his wife, Michelle, who directs the Midlothian High School choirs, and their daughter, Meredith, who sings in the choirs of the College of William and Mary. Together the Grahams enjoy music, boating and travel. Dwight’s hobbies include the meticulous maintenance of his family autos.
Dwight plays our magnificent Shantz organ. Dedicated in 1992, it is a two-manual, thirty rank instrument with 1,733 pipes. They range from 16 feet long to some smaller than the length of a pencil. The larger pipes are make of tin, zinc and wood. Most are made of a continuously varying tin-lead alloy. The pipes were “rough-voiced” at the Schantz shop to give them their proper tone color. Later, they were voiced in the church itself so that each pipe would sing properly in the building’s acoustics. The result is a fantastic blend of distinctive colors of sound combined in a warm, inspiring ensemble.
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Assistant Choral Director
Beth and her family joined St. Mary’s in 1997, It did not take her long to find her way to the choir loft. In 2005, she answered the Rector’s call to serve as Children’s Choir Director and Assistant Choirmaster. She has performed marvelously in those capacities for the past seven seasons. She recently retired from her duties as Children’s Choir Director but continues in her role as Assistant Choir Director.
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Paul will have been our Sexton for 20 years this June. He was born in Goochland County in Hadensville, the 11th of 12 children. After three years in the army, he returned to his birthplace. He found us in 1992 and has been an important part of our parish family ever since. When we asked Paul if we could take his picture for this site, he said, “Do I have to stand or can I keep working?” The man is unstoppable. When asked what he likes about St. Mary’s, he doesn’t miss a beat. “Everything. These are some of the best people I’ve met in my whole life.” He and his wife Polly are members of Divine Baptist Church in Louisa, Virginia, where Paul served as pastor for many years.
Gersain came to St. Mary’s in 2002 as a part-time helper for Paul Pace. A native of Colombia, he immigrated to the U.S. with several of his family members , including his sister Noma Lamp, who has been a mainstay in the St. Mary’s nursery, taking care of infants and toddlers. Gersain continues to work part-time for St. Mary’s, and is the sexton on duty every Sunday. He is a trained optical technician, and has worked as a lens maker in Richmond.