Clergy and Staff

Clergy

The Rev. Dr. R. Leigh Spruill

Rector

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The Rev. Dr. R. Leigh Spruill began his ministry as rector of The Church of St. John the Divine in early 2021. Leigh is a native of Tappahannock, Virginia. He is married to Susalee Can Spruill, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and they have three adult children. His passions include poetry, oysters, golf, and chreering UNC sports from afar. A lifelong baseball enthusiast, he is one of the Houston Astros' newest big fans!

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The Rev. Reagan Cocke

Vice Rector

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Reagan has a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and was licensed in the State of Texas until 1998. Now he’s just an Episcopal priest who once sold bagels to pay for his honeymoon! He’s been married to Stephanie since 1986. They have two adult children.

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The Rev. Neal McGowan

Associate Rector

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Fr. Neal has been a priest for nearly six yeas and loves serving young adults and young families. He is married to Jennifer, and together they have two young children. When not doing churchy stuff he enjoys being outside, reading long Russian novels, listening to obscure music, and watching British mysteries with Jennifer

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The Rev. Louise Samuelson

Associate Rector

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The Reverend Louise Samuelson joined St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in 2017 and serves as its Associate Rector providing leadership to the church’s pastoral care, worship, and women’s ministries.

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Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon

Bishop in Residence

The Rev. Dr. Doug Richnow

Priest Associate

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Doug joined SJD in 1995 and served as Sr. Associate Rector until he retired from full-time ministry in 2018. When Rev. Spruill was called as the new rector in 2021, he asked Doug to join the clergy team on a part-time basis, working with pastoral care needs and teaching.

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The Rev. Greg Buffone

Deacon, Asst to Rector for Outreach

Administrative Assistants to the Clergy

Carolyn Baker

Administrative Assistant to Rev. Samuelson

Jackie Collins

Executive Assistant to Rev. Cocke

Born and raised in England, Jackie graduated with a business degree before moving to Houston in the early 1980s. She has been with St. John the Divine since 2005 and has two grown children — a daughter who lives in Nashville and a son who lives in Houston with his wife. She currently shares her home with two dogs.

Erin Kirk

Executive Assistant to the Rector

Membership

Kim Jameson

Director of Membership

Tori Gilliland

Minister for Young Adult Engagement

Tori is from southern New Mexico and has a deep love for the mountains and hatch chiles. She received her Master of Divinity from Abilene Christian University and has worked in youth and young adult ministry. Tori hopes to one day be part of a church planting team on Mars.

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Stephanie Cocke

Parish Records Coordinator

Stephanie holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a diploma in Biblical & Theological Studies from the University of Oxford. She has worked as Lay Ministry Coordinator and Christ Episcopal Church, San Antonio, and as Development Officer for Alpha Houston. Since 2008 she has served as Coordinator for U.S. Friends of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. She and Reagan married in 1986 and have two children, Catherine and Winston.

Teresa Morris

Administrative Assistant

Teresa is a transplant from Dallas and has been working at St. John the Divine for nearly one happy year! Her daughter lives in Houston, and her son and daughter-in-law live in Fort Worth. She loves cooking, the beach, needlepoint, and spending time with friends, family, dog Lucy Pearl and cat Bonnie.

Dawn Monachino

Receptionist

Dawn has been with SJD since 2014. YOu may recognizer her as a long-standing member of the SJD Chorale. After working part-time in the Music Ministry administrative offices, she began full-time work with Houston Audobon and then as an elementary music teacher in FBISA. She is very happy to be back at SJD and is now the full-time front desk receptionist and greeter. Come by and say 'Hello'!

Worship and Pastoral Care

The Rev. Louise Samuelson

Associate Rector

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The Reverend Louise Samuelson joined St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in 2017 and serves as its Associate Rector providing leadership to the church’s pastoral care, worship, and women’s ministries.

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Susan Davis

Director of Seniors Ministry

Born a Texan, Susan spent her childhood years in New Orleans and Sydney, Australia. After acquiring a degree at the University of Virginia and moving to Houston in the '80s, she founded and managed several companies focused on healthcare staffing. Working at SJD is the culmination of 35+ years of training and experience in helping our seniors live safer, fulfilling lives as they navigate the issues of aging.

Sally Lehmberg

Life Event and Altar Guild Coordinator

Chip Letton

Pastoral Care Coordinator

A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Chip finished electrical engineering studies at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, followed by four years in the U.S. Navy. Before joining St. John the Divine as a Pastoral Care Coordinator, he spent almost 50 years as an engineer, manager, and small business owner in the oil and gas business. He and his wife Ann have two teenage grandsons and a Labrador Retriever living in Austin. Chip has been a Stephen Minister for over 30 years.

Family Formation

The Rev. Reagan Cocke

Vice Rector

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Reagan has a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and was licensed in the State of Texas until 1998. Now he’s just an Episcopal priest who once sold bagels to pay for his honeymoon! He’s been married to Stephanie since 1986. They have two adult children.

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Dan Gannon

Director of Family Ministry

Dan was born and raised a "west coaster" before coming to Houston and SJD in 2016. He has been in vocational ministry to youth and families since 1995 and is still young at heart. Dan has surfed on every continent except Antarctica. Dan and his wife Kimberly, a flight attendant for United Airlines, have an 8-year-old son who has been on 208 flights as of the writing of this bio.

Deanna Lawson

Director of Children's Ministry

Deanna is a native Houstonian and devoted Longhorn with a BA in English & French. She began full-time ministry 22 years ago at SJD. Deanna is married to Bill and together they have three daughters, a married son and daughter-in-law with two children, and a Labrador Retriever. She enjoys buying more books than she can read, drinking the perfect cappuccino, spending time in the mountains, and having all her family under one roof whenever and wherever it works.

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Cory Majid

Youth Minister

Emma Kastens

Youth Minister

Emma is currently studying for a Masters in Youth Ministry. When she’s not hanging out with SJD Youth, she likes to take her dog to the park and go camping
Hannah Choate

Hannah Choate

Youth Minister

ReBecca Alcala

Admin. Assistant to Children's Ministry

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St. John the Divine has been a second home to ReBecca and her family. She has been blessed to have her four children baptized and confirmed in this parish. More importantly, they are all active members of this amazing community.

Luci Aguilar

Nursery Associate

Luci is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and came to the United States as a nanny. She got her Associate in Teaching here in Houston and started working at SJD in 2006 as a Nursery Worker. She became the Nursery and Preschool Associate in 2018. She loves working with children because she believes they are angels sent by God to bring joy to our lives!

Teaching and Leadership

The Rev. Reagan Cocke

Vice Rector

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Reagan has a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and was licensed in the State of Texas until 1998. Now he’s just an Episcopal priest who once sold bagels to pay for his honeymoon! He’s been married to Stephanie since 1986. They have two adult children.

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Andy Breckwoldt

Leadership Coordinator

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After a career in the energy industry, Andy retired to pursue ministry work. Before his current role, he served at St. John the Divine in a variety of leadership positions and the church's youth ministry. He is married to Joan, an accomplished painter. They are blessed with two children and two grandchildren.

Samantha Edussuriya

Creative Director

Samantha is a former book editor for HarperCollins and music media director for MTV and FUSEtv who moved from New York City to Houston seven years ago. She joined the staff in January 2021 and is still discovering the many ways SJD acts with generosity and kindness.

Su Irez

ESL Coordinator

Su Irez was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and moved to Houston in 2015. She enjoys science and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Bioengineering. Su also loves to travel, learn about other cultures, and make new friends. Her biggest passion is helping people and animals as much as she can.

Music and Worship

Steven Newberry

Director of Music & Worship

With degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Southern Methodist University, and Perkins School of Theology, Steve has served churches in Cincinnati, Mobile, and Roanoke, Virginia, before joining the staff at St. John the Divine in 2,000. In addition to his work at SJD, he has held numerous leadership roles in various professional organizations, including chairing several regional and national conferences. In his free time, Steve enjoys cycling and sharing his culinary skills.

John Meier

Associate Director of Music & Worship

Anna Teagarden

Associate Director of Music - SJD Choristers

After finishing her Master's in Voice Performance at the University of Texas, Anna moved to Houston with her then fiancé, Joe. Anna taught music at The Fay School, River Oaks Baptist, and St. Paul's UMC. Anna is also a vocalist, ranging from classical to jazz. She is happily married to Joe with twin daughters in college.

Sharlu Melville

Administrative Assistant to Music & Worship

Audrey Black

Administrative Assistant to Music/SJD Choristers

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Audrey graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Radio, Television, and Film. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she returned home to Texas and joined her long-time friend and mento Anna Teagarden at St. John's Working with the kids of the St. John's chorister program never fails to bring a smile to her face!

Outreach Ministry

The Rev. Greg Buffone

Deacon, Asst to Rector for Outreach

Tany James

Director of GO Ministries

Operations (Communications, Media, IT, Facilities, Generosity)

Suzanne Boué

Chief Operating Officer

After a earning degree from Rice University and an MS in management, Suzanne spent the bulk of her career in non-profit management. Suzanne & her husband were members of the church for several years prior to her joining the church staff in 2015. They feel blessed to raise their two children in the SJD community. Her door is always open, so don’t hesitate to stop by!

Louise Symmes

Director of Generosity

After graduating from Duke University with a degree in Management Sciences, Louise worked for a healthcare consulting firm and Johnson & Johnson. She and her husband, Will, came to St. John the Divine in 1998 and raised their sons here while serving in many volunteer capacities. Professionally, she eventually moved into non-profits and was the Executive Director of The Guild Shop of St. John the Divine for almost ten years, receiving a certificate in Non-profit leadership from Rice University. She eventually ended up doing nonprofit interim executive director work, which brought her “temporarily” into the role of the Director of Generosity here at the church, where she has served since 2018.

Andrea Meier

Director of Communications

Andrea is a trained soprano and Rice University graduate who moved into the church communications world almost a decade ago. She enjoys time with her husband and two young sons as well as cooking and gardening in whatever spare time she can find.

Marilyn Gore

Director of Information Services

Marilyn is a former attorney who started a new career in website design in the 90's. She has been with St. John the Divine for 21 years and began her service in the children's music department. Marilyn shares her home with two daughters and two dogs.

Dawayne Gaspard

Director of Audio-Visual Services

Chuck Dotson

Audio-Visual Specialist

Tony Brizuela

Audio Visual Technician

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Tony has over 10 years of experience in audio-visual production for churches. He is passionate about serving the Lord through service, and truly enjoys a great cup of coffee or tea.

Sam Wingate

Audio Visual Technician

Dana Rice

Communications Assistant

Dana has been at St. John the Divine for a few years working in various capacities as an assistant in Communications. She especially loves Christ, family/friends, turtles, dogs, and Texas. She is a firmament believer and wants to spend more of her time in this world seeking and growing in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Christopher Horwitz

Director of Facilities Management

Adolfo Sanchez

Associate Facilities Manager

Homero Ayala

Assistant Facilities Manager

Maria Mendez

Sexton

Terri Dotson

Event Coordinator/Facility Scheduler

Finance

Marilyn Patterson

Chief Financial Officer

Jenny Wong

Senior Accountant

First Steps Montessori

Tara Cavaliere

Head of School, First Steps Montessori

Originally from Gettysburg, PA, Tara received her undergraduate degree from Chatham University and graduate degree from WVU. Once in Houston, she attained her Early Childhood Credential, Director of Certification through the State of Texas, and and AMS Administrator's Credential. She has worked in education for over 27 years and loves to share her knowledge of the Montessori philosophy.

Martha Butler

Director of Business Operations, First Steps Montessori School

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A native Houstonian, Martha Butler, was formerly a Principal dancer with the Houston Ballet and a Soloist with the American Ballet Theatre in NYC. Martha began at FSM 16 years ago as a volunteer when her two daughters attended the school. Martha continues to share her support for FSM as Director of Operations.

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The Bookstore

Susan Treat

Bookstore Manager

Tisha Browning

Assistant Bookstore Manager

SJD Campus

2450 River Oaks Boulevard, Houston, TX 77019 Map

(713) 622-3600 | infosjdorg