We are a community led by laity and clergy (deacons, priests, and bishops) who are equal partners in our branch of the movement started by Jesus of Nazareth.
Our rector serves as the organizational and spiritual leader of our community, supported and directed by our lay leaders. After attending Michigan State University and Seminary at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, he worked as a paramedic for the Baltimore County Fire Department before being ordained in the Diocese of Maryland. Father Jim arrived at Grace in the winter of 2020. He doesn't take enough time off but enjoys every minute spent with his wife Arianna, and their son Danny.
Fr. Derek coordinates our outreach ministries. This includes serving as the director of Jubilee House. He also serves St. Paul's in Elk Rapids as Priest-in-Charge. His M.Div. is from the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee) and his Pharm.D. is from Ferris State University. From Portage, MI, he practiced Pharmacy there for 13 years. He enjoys studying languages, reading Science Fiction and Fantasy books, playing role-playing and adventure videogames, and building computers.
From travel agent to dude ranch, hospitals to ski bum, Ellen has enjoyed multiple jobs and locations. She has stories to tell about living in London, Germany, Colorado, Maryland, DC, Ohio, and Michigan; and traveling all over the US and Europe. Over the years, Ellen earned degrees in History (BA), Nursing (ADN), and Public Health (Master’s, Health Services Administration), before landing a job at Munson Medical Center and settling in northern Michigan – a favorite family vacation spot. ‘I fell in love with Leelanau at age 10, and never got over it”, she says. A cradle Episcopalian, Ellen arrived at Grace in 1995 and has been active in many ministries over the years. A seasoned office volunteer, she was recruited out of retirement to the role of administrative assistant in 2017, and promoted to Parish Administrator in 2021. Ellen wears many hats and has been named ‘The Chaos Coordinator’. She welcomes questions about anything related to Grace Church. Ellen enjoys the incredible beauty of our area, singing in the Chancel Choir, reading, lunches with friends, and hanging out with her corgi, Cricket.
Hannah splits her time between staffing the Jubilee House and maintaining church grounds and facilities. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in French, she taught English in France for two years. She is thrilled to be home now, serving the church community that raised her. She enjoys defying her allergist’s orders by playing with her cats and tending to her countless houseplants.
Kathryn Christian, MA - Director of Grace Harmony
Kathryn loves sharing music for worship, prayer and reflection. She writes sacred music based on scripture and women mystics of the church. Kathryn studied religion and music at Oberlin College and received her Master of Theology from Nee Brunswick Theological Seminary with emphasis in pastoral care and counseling. She loves to write music for meditation and for the people of at Grace church. Kathryn plays harp at the bedside and has served as staff chaplain at Munson Medical Center for over 20 years. She loves being a mom and sees it as a high calling. Nature is her playground.
Karin Willman, M.M. Organ, M.M. Music History - Organist/Accompanist
Our organist and accompanist is an integral part of our music team. Karin has a degree in Organ from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) and masters degrees from Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) in Organ and Music History. She has 42 years of experience playing organ full-time in churches in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio. 15 of those have been at Grace Episcopal. Karin also studied in London, England, and was a member of the Royal College of Organists. When she is not making music at Grace you will find her boating, traveling, golfing, taking photos, or enjoying time with her daughter, Lauren, and her lovable golden retriever, Shadow.
Our Lay Leaders
Meghan K. Chenoweth - Senior Warden (Board Chair | '24)
Meghan leads the streaming ministry team and enjoys supporting our worship and pastoral care ministries. A "near" cradle Episcopalian, she joined the GEC community in 2017, after moving to Michigan from central Illinois. Meghan recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a Master of Business Administration degree. Her professional career includes 18 years in financial services including community banks and credit unions. In her free time, you can find Meghan outside no matter the season. She especially enjoys hiking, skiing, fishing and hunting.
Catherine S. Collins, CMA - Treasurer
A member of Grace Episcopal since birth, Catherine attended Grand Valley State University where she earned her BBA in Accounting. While in Grand Rapids Michigan she attended St. Marks Episcopal Church. After relocating back to Northern Michigan, Catherine raised her three children at Grace, has been active in many ways over the years and now serves as treasurer. Catherine has a career in management accounting where she is currently the CFO for an international cherry and apple cooperative. When not at work Catherine enjoys her role on the Board of Directors of Munson Medical Center, camping, skiing, hiking and working with her husband on their cattle farm in Leelanau County.
Our Vestry (Board of Directors)
The Vestry is the governing body of the church. Their primary job is to equip and support all of the ministries of the church.
Each year a nomination committee prayerfully selects and recruits members of the church to be offered for election at our Annual Meeting in January to serve a three year term.
The vestry meets each month to discuss the life and ministry of the church, and to approve resolutions, policies, and significant expenditures. Each vestry member is also a liaison to one of our six areas of ministry and expected to assist and be in dialogue with the leaders of ministries in their area.