Trinity Church Wall Street is thrilled to announce the inaugural cohort of the newly launched Trinity Leadership Fellows program. These 28 professional and faith leaders were selected from over 270 applicants, spanning various faith traditions and vocations. The cohort will convene in person at Trinity Commons in New York City this September to deepen the skills needed to effectively serve their communities and congregations while building lifelong supportive peer and mentoring relationships.
Please join us in congratulating our 2022 Trinity Leadership Fellows!
Carey Wallace is the author of The Blind Contessa’s New Machine (Penguin), The Ghost in the Glass House (Clarion), and Stories of the Saints (Workman). She has spoken on art, faith, and justice with students at Princeton, Julliard, Emory, Pratt, and Yale. Her articles and poems have appeared in Time, Businessweek, The Metro Times, and America. She is the founder of a retreat for artists in Michigan, and of the Working Artists Initiative. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Chiseche Mibenge is a human rights educator. She earned her Ph.D. in international human rights law from Utrecht University and has taught at CUNY and Stanford University. She is the author of Sex and International Tribunals: The Erasure of Gender from the War Narrative (Penn Press). Her short stories are widely published in literary journals such as The Evergreen Review. In 2019, Chiseche served as the Province VIII delegate representing the Presiding Bishop at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. She currently works as the Director for Gender Initiatives at Episcopal Relief & Development in New York City.
Jarred Mercer is the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newburyport, MA. From 2009-2020 he lived in Europe, was ordained in the Church of England, and served in a parish, university chaplaincy, and as a faculty member in Theology and Religion at Oxford University. He is the author or co-author of several books, including Divine Perfection and Human Potentiality and Love Makes No Sense: An Invitation to Christian Theology. Mercer is committed to a faith that faces outward and founded an interfaith partnership for refugee resettlement in 2021, working with government agencies and non-profits through local community organizing.
Scott Bostic was raised in Atlanta. He attended USMA at West Point, and served the Army for 7 years, deploying to Iraq in 2009-2010. Leaving the military to pursue a call to ordained ministry, he studied Missional Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary, earning his MDiv. He first served at Asbury UMC in Washington, DC., working with youth and people experiencing homelessness. He currently serves as Associate Pastor of Bethesda UMC in Bethesda, MD. In July 2022, he will become the Lead Pastor of Simpson-Hamline UMC in Washington, DC.
Jessica Swift is the Director of Children, Youth, and Families and Director of Social Services at Grace St. Paul’s in Tuscon, AZ. Her devotion to service was ignited as a child by her parents and the urging of the Holy Spirit. Jessica has a Masters in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy and is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Jessica has challenged herself by working in shelters, street outreach, abuse counseling, and hospitals. Jessica is inspired by the youth of today. She helps youth nurture their gifts, helps them learn to look at themselves and their communities with compassion, and guides them toward service.
Lauren Grubaugh Thomas
Lauren Grubaugh Thomas (she/her) is a nurturer of faithful dissidents, empowering communities to embrace the sacred art of nonviolent social change through her parish ministry, teaching, and community organizing. She serves as Associate Rector for Discipleship and Formation at St. Timothy’s in Centennial, CO, and is also a certified Kaleidoscope Institute dialogue Facilitator and Spanish-English translator. Lauren holds an MDiv with an emphasis in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Diploma in Anglican Studies from Virginia Theological Seminary.
Ben Groth is the pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in New Orleans, LA, and a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at Tulane University, studying the role of baptism in the creation of race in colonial America. Previously, Ben served as a College Chaplain at Berea College in Berea, KY. Ben earned his M.Div. from Yale Divinity School along with a Certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He has also completed a Th.M. in Lutheran Ministry Studies from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He graduated from Oberlin College with degrees in Piano Performance, English, and Religion.
Nitano Muller is a social acrobat with a keen interest in people and their stories. He serves as Rector of St. Peter’s Church, Kleinvlei, in the Anglican Diocese of False Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Nitano is the youngest serving Rector in his Diocese. Some of his portfolios include Diocesan Chaplain for Young People, the Provincial Liturgical Committee, and the South African Council of Churches (Western Cape). Prior to residential training, Nitano completed a degree in Education and worked as an Elementary School Educator. His passions include youth development, liturgy, and justice issues.
David Washer is the Head of Operations and Impact at Adjuvant Capital where he leads fund and impact operations including ESG integration and impact due diligence, measurement, and management. He joined Adjuvant from Bridgespan where he was a Manager on the Impact Investing Team and advised public health actors including The End Fund, Planned Parenthood, Last Mile Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. David started his career as an investment analyst at McKinsey’s Investment Office (MIO Partners). He earned his MBA/MPH with honors from Dartmouth as a Wilson Scholar and his BA cum laude with departmental distinctions from Yale. He is a member of Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.
Jordan Alan Smith
Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Jordan Alan Smith has lived in West Palm Beach since 2015. He is passionate about engaging the church in the healing work of economic, racial and social justice. Jordan has worked extensively facilitating multi-faith dialogue and gathering black and white churches together. He has worked as a research consultant on voter rights and on inequities in the child welfare system and serves as a crisis Chaplin for the West Palm Beach police force.
Katy Shedlock is an ordained United Methodist pastor and church planter in Spokane, WA, where she is appointed to Creators' Table at the West Central Abbey, an ecumenical ministry she helped launch in 2018. Katy is also a slam poet who has competed in local and national competitions and is now an MFA candidate in poetry. She loves creating community in a room whether that's in a bar, a coffee shop, or in a sanctuary.
Riley Jones IV
A native Chicagoan, Riley Jones IV is an attorney and entrepreneur based in Washington, DC. He is a Co-Founder of Sector Software, an organization using technology to create and facilitate opportunity pathways for the new economy. This work garnered him recognition as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur and SOCAP Scholar. He currently serves City Bridge Education as Director of Ventures, supporting entrepreneurial work in the field of education and workforce development. In 2021, he was appointed as Professor of Practice and Robin Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Zack Nyein serves as Senior Associate Rector at St. Bart’s NYC, overseeing newcomer engagement, justice ministries, creative worship, and children/youth programs. Zack is enthusiastic about connecting and communicating the Good News of God in Christ across generations and differences as the Church lives into its new and ancient calling as a community of reconciliation and renewal. In the wider Church, Zack serves on the Task Force for Prayer Book Revision, the Board of Kanuga, and as Director of Worship for Imagine Church.
Shernell Edney Stilley
Shernell Edney Stilley currently serves as the Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Vitality in the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ. Programmatic responsibilities include, but are not limited to Faith Reconciliation, Community Re-Discovery, Social Justice Empowerment, Revitalization Strategies, and Oversight of New Church Start programs. Other responsibilities within the Conference include resource person for local church Open and Affirming (ONA) processes, Our Whole Lives (OWL) Education, and how to become a Welcoming Inclusive Supportive Engaged (WISE) Congregation. Shernell is a member of both the United Church of Christ Board of Directors and the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network Board (UCCMHN).
Kristin Saylor serves as Rector of St. Lawrence Episcopal Church in Libertyville, IL. A Midwesterner by birth and at heart, Kristin grew up in Milwaukee and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a graduate of the Virginia Theological Seminary. Kristin recently served as the Director of Formation at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where she focused on social justice, adult faith formation, and innovative liturgical design. Prior to that, she served as Priest Associate at St. Peter's in Port Chester, New York, a primarily Latinx parish in the suburbs of New York City.
Sam Hole is Associate Vicar at St Luke and Christ Church, Chelsea, UK; Associate Tutor in Theology at St Augustine's College, London; and a governor at Chelsea Academy (serving children aged 11 to 18). Previously, he has also ministered in deprived and ethnically diverse inner urban areas. Oxford University Press recently published his constructive theology of desire, grounded in the writings of John of the Cross. His theological expertise underpins his preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and leadership in all aspects of ministry. He is passionate about supporting faith formation at all ages and stages, with expertise with children and families.
Manuel Humberto Borbon Talamante
Manuel Borbon was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in 2020 and has been serving for the last 5 years as the Latino Mission Developer for the Mid-Willamette Valley Latino Ministry of the ELCA, Oregon Synod. Earlier in his life, Manuel lived a seven-year formation process as part of a Roman-Catholic Religious Order. Manuel is also a Mexican lawyer working on finishing his master’s in criminology.
Lizzie Robbins is a 2022 graduate of Yale Divinity School, serving in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, at Our Little Roses (OLR) Home for girls (starting in September 2022). There, she teaches a curriculum she has created that combines yoga, prayer, literacy skill-building, scripture, storytelling, and social-emotional development. She is proud to come from the Diocese of Texas, which offers rapidly growing Spanish-language ministries. Lizzie’s previous experience in education, advocacy, and community building in underserved communities in the American South has transformed her worldview and where she meets Jesus Christ.
Sarah E. Smith
Sarah E. Smith is a priest in the Diocese of Oklahoma. She played softball for the Fighting Irish at the University of Notre Dame where she studied theology. Her initial career path and master's degree were in sports administration. She completed a master’s in theological studies from Vanderbilt University and a Diploma in Anglican Studies at Seminary of the Southwest. Between degrees, she served as the Director of Media for the Diocese of Oklahoma and head varsity softball coach at Casady Episcopal School in Oklahoma City. She is passionate about creating feeding ministries through hunting and fishing and teaching Creation care.
Carl Adair serves as Assistant Rector at Zion Episcopal Church in Queens, NY. He is passionate about gathering small communities that make real the transformative power of God’s grace. At Zion, Carl leads the Zion History Project, which seeks justice and healing through research into the presence and absence of Black and Indigenous people in the parish. Before becoming a priest, Carl worked with elementary school students with disabilities; he also earned a Ph.D. in English Literature and taught in two state prisons.
Maryann Philbrook (she/her/hers) is excited to be a part of this fellowship to combine her passion for ministry with the practical tools that communities of faith need to be signs of God’s love in the world. She earned her MDiv in 2022 from the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) at Union Theological Seminary. She is a candidate for ordination in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem (PA) where she lives with her fiancé. Before seminary, she worked as a union organizer with the American Federation of Teachers. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles graduating with a BA in Politics.
Christopher L. Schwenk is a graduating seminarian at the School of Theology of the University of the South (M.Div., T’22). He was previously an instructor of religion at Florida State University, a translator in Latin America, and a worker bee in the service industry. His faith, work, and studies have taught him that Christ awaits the Church in the hearts, joys, and struggles of everyday people. Following seminary, Chris will be ordained and installed as the next vicar of St. John’s Church in Norristown – resurrected in 2018 as a growing, multilingual, and multicultural mission of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Newly ordained, Mawethu Ncaca is a second-year curate in the Reimagining Curacy Program of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he did a Master of Philosophy (Religion and Culture) at Stellenbosch University. After years in campus ministry and some NGO work forging church partnerships across racial and economic lines, Mawethu relocated to the US seven years ago with his wife and two sons.
Celal J. Kamran was born in Pakistan before moving to Virginia. He completed his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies while volunteering as a local firefighter. After graduation, he spent a year in the Episcopal Service Corps. Celal is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary where he was President of the Seminarians of Color Union. Celal’s favorite part of seminary was eating at the Refectory on campus and fellowship with peers. He is currently serving at Historic Pohick Church in Lorton, VA. Celal loves spending time with his wife and their rambunctious dogs. He enjoys cooking, reading Asian fiction, and exploring different cuisines.
Kevin Deal is proud to be Vicar at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco, CA. Since arriving, Kevin has supported and built up the relationship with the Gubbio Project, creating space of sacred sleep in the sanctuary and hospitality in the garden 5-days a week for unhoused neighbors. He has expanded the church’s relationship with organizing communities by hosting Faith in Action Citywide Meetings and has deepened the community relationship with the Indigenous and Latine communities. Prior to St. John’s, Kevin served for 4-years as chaplain to the unhoused MANNA Community in Boston.
Isaac Petty serves a shared call in the diocese of West Missouri as an extension of a generous church’s ministry. Hired as Assisting Priest by a metro parish, Isaac’s cure allows him to serve concurrently as Vicar of a small-town congregation previously without resident clergy. He was elected Dean of the Central Deanery, comprised of 17 rural and suburban churches, in March 2022. Raised in evangelicalism, Isaac found himself drawn to the Episcopal Church while in college. After working in refugee resettlement in Central Europe, he moved to Kansas City, where he was ordained to the diaconate in 2020 and the priesthood in 2021.
Born in Manhattan, New York to a Native American mother and a Jewish father, Peter Vázquez-Schmitt was abandoned at birth and became part of the large New York City Foundling hospital system, where he went from home to home until the age of seven when he was adopted by two incredibly loving Puerto Rican parents. Peter lived on Long Island until the age of 12 and then moved to Puerto Rico with his parents where he attended catholic schools and attended his first year at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. In the late 1980s, Peter joined an R.C. Benedictine monastery, where he began his spiritual journey. After a career in education, Peter received his MDiv from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and currently serves as the Associate Rector at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, NM.
Jen Crompton is currently a Candidate for Holy Orders in the Diocese of El Camino Real in California, after receiving their MDiv at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Before coming to seminary, Jen spent over fifteen years working in Higher Education as Student Affairs Professional and has found that work to be genuinely informative to their potential ministries. Jen has a passion for equity and inclusion work and facilitating conversation and action leading to change.