Altoona Convenor and Assistant Convenor
Mrs. Marion Schwartz (2018)
I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, in a family of devoted Baptists. However, at the University of Toronto I began attending an Anglican church in the inner city with other college students. Later, when my husband and I moved to State College to teach at Penn State, we felt drawn to St. Andrew’s because it spoke to roots we had both developed in the Anglican tradition.
Over the past 30 years St. Andrew’s has been our church home—a place to raise our children, engage with other people, grow in faith, and serve the community. More recently we have both also served on administrative bodies at the diocesan level. Working with the Stevenson School for Ministry has been a particular joy for me.
The Reve. Gene Tucker (2018)
Fr. Gene Tucker describes himself as being a “late bloomer” where ordained ministry is concerned. A retired U. S. Army Sergeant Major, he entered seminary following his retirement from the military and was ordained as deacon in 2004, and as priest in 2005. His first assignment was as the Assisting Priest in the Hale Team Ministry of the Diocese of Springfield (Illinois). He was Rector of Trinity Church, Mt. Vernon, Illinois, for seven years, and served as Interim Provost at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Springfield, Illinois for eight-and-a-half months.
Fr. Tucker came to the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania in March, 2015, and currently serves as Rector of St. John’s Church in Huntingdon. He also serves the Diocese as a member of the Council of Trustees.
He is married to the former Deborah Kinney, and enjoys spending time with his two daughters and their four children, all of whom live in the Baltimore, Maryland, area. His hobbies include bicycle riding, old fire engines, and trains (pray for his wife, please!).
Harrisburg Convenor and Assistant Convenor
The Rev. Rebecca Myers (2018)
The Rev. Rebecca S. Myers has lived most of her life in Central Pennsylvania. She grew up in Mechanicsburg and lived in Harrisburg for many years. She served on the Harrisburg School Board.
She was received into The Episcopal Church when she lived in Washington DC. She was a member of the Washington National Cathedral Congregation and sang in a volunteer choir there. She attended The General Seminary in New York City and was ordained to the priesthood from The Diocese of Washington in July of 2013. Her first position was with the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky).
Currently, she is Rector of The Church of the Nativity and St. Stephen. She is on the Board for The Episcopal Home. Her passion is eliminating racism and she is on the Eliminating Racism Task Group. She is a member of the Newport Anti-Racism League.
She has a Master of Social Work degree and her social work career involved managing nonprofit organizations. She has two children, Scot and Carrie. Scot is married to Leah and they have two children. Being a grandmother is the best!
Mr. Anthony Alexander (2018)
On four occasions I had the opportunity to serve as a delegate for General and Jurisdictional Conferences in the United Methodist Church. I served at the pleasure of those who elected me and I took that responsibility seriously.
I have been called to a ministry of reconciliation – to sensitize and to be a presence among people who have had virtually no contact with racial ethics.
I saw myself in the role of Pastor as one who empowered laity to obtain the vision in ministry that God has given them. I view myself as a laid back individual that has gone through tremendous changes from being a gang member to becoming a real captive of the Lord. I struggle daily to give up my ego to the will of God … being pastor meant that I must become a servant leader.
I have been attending St. Stephen’s Cathedral for about ten years; I was confirmed as a member of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Episcopal Church about two and a half years ago. I serve on the Vestry and as Chalice Bearer. I also serve on the Council of Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania as well as theUnion of Black Episcopalians, Bishop Nathan D. Baxter Chapter.
My encouragement and endorsement in the role of servant leader was gained through my understanding and interpretation of the first part of the book of Acts. In the book of Acts, Christians were a truly inclusive community empowering and strengthening one another to follow the leadership and movement of the Holy Spirit.
As part of my spiritual journey, I served as an adjunct at Messiah College teaching a course on the Spirituality of African Americans, and I taught for three years as adjunct at Lancaster Theological Seminary teaching a course on Homiletics.
My wife, Lenore, former director of the United Methodist Neighborhood Center in Harrisburg, is the founder of Grace Unlimited, a ministry to ex-offenders. Since the death of our daughter Maria, in October of 1995, Lenore and I adopted her three children, Shalamar, Darun, and Ciara. And upon the death of Shalamar in 2015 we have gained custody of her two children. Family is important to me and I make time for family, especially because of the role I feel led to play in the lives of our chosen family.
Lancaster Convenor and Assistant Convenor
The Rev. J. Patrick Peters (2018)
Father Patrick Peters was ordained in 1975 and currently is Rector of Saint Paul Episcopal Church, Columbia. He is also the Ecumenical Officer for the Diocese. He is married to Danielle and has four grown children and four grandchildren.
Bro. David Rutledge, OSF (2018)
Br. David Rutledge, OSF is a retired high school counselor, adjunct college professor and a professed brother in the Order of Saint Francis (OSF). The OSF is a dispersed religious order of Franciscan Friars in the Anglican Communion. He serves as a formation counselor in the Order. Br. David attends Saint James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he is a member of Mission & Justice Committee which provides a variety of ministries to the Lancaster community. He also serves as a Eucharistic Minister. On Wednesdays, he leads Morning Prayer at St. Luke’s in Mount Joy and Evening Prayer at Saint James. Br. David has given adult forums on various topics, facilitated silent retreats in the USA and UK and led book studies. He is a member of the Social Justice Network of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and participates in the All Lancaster Episcopal Response Team (ALERT). He is Assistant Convener of the Lancaster Convocation, Delegate to Diocesan Convention and will represent the Diocese at the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church as a deputy in the House of Deputies. Br. David also participates with the local Troubadours of the Susquehanna Franciscan Fellowship.
Northern Tier Convenor and Assistant Convenor
The Rev. Janis Yskamp (2018)
Rector, All Saints Brookland and Christ Church Coudersport
Episcopal Congregations of Potter County
Janis and her husband, Wayne, live in Mansfield, PA. They have three grown sons, Wayne (Becky), James and Bradford (Michelle), and two grandchildren, Madison and William.
Mr. Lewis Russell (2019)
Lewis Russell, All Saints Episcopal Church, Brookland Pa. Graduated from Liberty University, Bachelor of science: Religion: Christian Ministries.
Southern Assistant Convenor
The Rev. Liz Simmons (2018)
Madre Liz, as she prefers to be called if you call all male priests “Father”, has been ordained for 23 years. She attended The General Theological Seminary in New York City, graduating in 1994. Though she was sponsored by the Diocese of East Carolina, she went on to be the curate at Trinity Church in Buffalo, NY, where she served for two years, doing youth work, as well as other priestly duties. She also served in parishes in Tucson (St. Philip’s In The Hills), Phoenix (St. Stephen’s), Oro Valley, AZ (Church of the Apostles), Boulder, CO (St. John’s), Racine, WI (St. Luke’s), Jamestown, NY (St. Luke’s), Kodiak, AK (St. James the Fisherman), and Fairbanks, AK (St. Matthew’s). As an Army brat, Liz was born in Tokyo, Japan, and lived with her family in Germany, Virginia, Colorado, and North Carolina, where her family settled because they fell in love with their church, St. Paul’s-in-the-Pines. This would be the parish that sponsored Liz for ordination 20 years later. But before that, Liz graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for four years, followed by work at The Episcopal Home for the Aging, now known as Penick Village, as an activity assistant and social worker. Finally, before attending seminary, and just to make sure she was truly being called to the priesthood, she worked for four years as a counselor in addictions treatment centers. When she is not taking her three dogs to the dog park, Liz enjoys watching baseball and football, attending the sports of her church kids, and meeting for conversation over coffee and/or good food. She is hoping to find an office-away-from-her-office at a quaint coffee shop in Hanover, where she will write her sermons, blog entries, and periodic newspaper columns. The Rev. Liz Simmons is the Priest in Charge at All Saints Episcopal Church in Hanover, PA.
Carolyn Fouts, a member of The Memorial Church of the Prince of Peace, Gettysburg, comes to the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania from the Diocese of Vermont. A retired C.P.A., Carolyn was active in parish and diocesan activities for nearly forty years in Vermont. She currently serves as Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace and continues to be involved in many activities within the parish, including choir, altar guild, EfM, Eucharistic Minister, and Eucharistic Visitor. Carolyn and her husband Jim have been married for forty-seven years, have two adult children and four grandchildren. They enjoy traveling and their new Goldendoodle, Theo.
Susquehanna Convenor and Assistant Convenor
The Rev. Howie Sasser (2018)
Father Howell Sasser is the Convenor of the Susquehanna Convocation and the 32nd rector of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bloomsburg, PA. He became the rector in September 2014 after studies at the University of London and Yale University, and four years of service to a church in Peekskill, NY. He was elected as Convenor in May 2016. Since coming to Bloomsburg, he has served on the boards of several charitable, community, and university organizations. He also serves on boards and committees of the Diocese, and is the diocesan liturgical officer.
Mr. Ken Altenbach (2018)
Ken Altenbach is an active member of Christ Memorial Episcopal Church in Danville, PA. He and his wife Mary became members in May 1992 after looking for a church to call home. Ken and Mary married on October 2nd, 1993. He had the privilege to serve in numerous leadership roles in the past 24 years such as Junior Warden for two terms and a Vestry member for three terms. He recently retired as the Senior Warden in December 2016 serving in this capacity since July 2009 while still actively serving as a Vestry member. He also served as Chair of the finance committee. Currently, Ken is finishing his final year as a vestry member. He and his wife are members of the choir where they both began the journey together 24 years ago. He continues to be an active participate on the Finance Committee and recently accepted the role as Chair for the newly formed Greeting Team. He and his wife also are active participants of the Gather, Transform, Send initiative both at the Diocese and Church level. He earned an Associate in Applied Science in Business Management at the Luzerne County Community College while honing his leadership skills working a full-time management position. With encouragement from family and friends, Ken started the Team Building US Company in 2010. In his free time, Ken loves to go camping with his wife Mary. He is also an avid believer in self-education, always reading and studying to improve his skills as a leader.
West Branch Current Convenor and Assistant Convenor
The Rev. Veronica Chappell (2017)
I will have been married to Dan for 40 years. Our daughter Kate is 32, and is an OR nurse. We moved to Cogan Station 29 years ago; Dan retired just last year, and our beautiful property keeps him busy full-time. I was raised just north of Philadelphia, went to Catholic schools and Temple University.
I was ordained deacon by Bishop Creighton in 2000, and served as deacon at Trinity Williamsport, St. Matthews, Sunbury and St. Mark’s Northumberland, and with GLEAM. After a few years, I discerned that my true call is to the priesthood, and attended the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia. I was called as rector to Trinity Jersey Shore before my final year of seminary, and have been there 11 years now. I am now also rector of Christ Church in Williamsport, in partnership with Lay Pastor Kyle Murphy, as he continues his process toward priesthood.
Mr. Kyle Murphy (2018)
I am a Pennsylvania boy at heart. I was born and raised in Scranton, graduated from Lock Haven University in 2006 and moved to Williamsport that same year. I did my undergraduate work in Secondary Education and have taught high school French for nine years.
Currently, I serve as the Lay Pastor at Christ Episcopal Church. I am a candidate preparing for ordination to the Priesthood through the Stevenson School. I am humbled and grateful to serve in these capacities and work together to build the Kingdom of God in our diocese