2021 Nominee Biographies

Click on names to be taken to specific biographies.

STANDING COMMITTEE

 

Elect: 2 — one lay member and one clergy member, four-year terms, term begins at end of Convention

 

LAY

Sean McConnell

 

CLERGY

Rev. Carolyn Bolton
Rev. Jane McDougle
Rev. Stacey Grossman

 

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

 

Elect: 2 — at least 1 must be lay. Three-year terms, term begins January 1, 2020

 

LAY

Peter Fairfield


CLERGY

Rev. David Erickson
Rev. Kirsten Spalding
Rev. Shane Scott-Hamblen

 

SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION

 

Elect: 1 (lay or clergy order) for a one year term.

 

Rev. Br. Richard Edward Helmer


TREASURER OF THE DIOCESE

 

Elect: 1 (lay or clergy order) for a one year term.

 

Lane Ringlee

 

Note: It is not the practice of the Nominations Committee to edit or correct submitted nominee biographies.

STANDING COMMITTEE

 

Elect: 2 — one lay member and one clergy member, four-year terms, term begins at end of Convention

 

LAY NOMINEE

Sean McConnell 

 

St. Francis of Assisi, Novato

Marin Deanery 

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Interests 

 

Improving community interaction and building up the social determinants of health. Community development and organizing. American roots music, guitar.

Professional Association 

Past: Member, Board of Directors of Episcopal Communicators; Chair, Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Communications & Information Technology Present: Member, Americana Music Association; Member, Board of Directors, Ritter Center in San Rafael

 

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

Past: Program Producer, GraceCom, the Communications Ministry of Grace Cathedral; Editor, Pacific Church News; Working Group Head for Communications, DioCal. Present: Altar Guild, Streaming Media Director, Junior Warden at St. Francis of Assisi, Novato

Major activities beyond diocese

Past: Director of Technology for the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church. Present: Senior Director, Engagement, Episcopal Relief & Development; Co-creator and Lead Instructor, Called To Transformation; Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Consultant

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

For years, the church has suffered the effects of our consumer culture. We have been living like clients and consumers, expecting everything to be done for us. Liturgy has become performance and ministry is about doing for others, not partnering with them. This has made an impact on our clergy. Far too many are called to do for congregations and not partner with them. At the current stage of the pandemic, folks are tired. The creative leadership required to minister through the pandemic has exhausted people and resources. We need to develop citizen leadership in church and community.

Why are you running for this position?

I have been blessed to work in church-wide ministry for more than a dozen years. I feel that this provides me with a great number of relationships and resources that could benefit the Diocese of California. I work closely with members of the Presiding Bishop's staff and with diocesan bishops and other church leaders. I also have a long history of work and ministry in the Diocese of California. It would be a blessing to offer my gifts for our diocesan good and I would be honored to serve as a member of the Standing Committee.

Nominated by Warren Wong 
St. James, San Francisco

 

CLERGY NOMINEES

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Rev. Carolyn Bolton

 

St Paul’s, Oakland

Alameda Deanery

Interests 

 

My greatest joy is spending time with my grandkids and my four-year-old little Bischon.  They bring joy to my life.  I also love camping, dancing, music shopping and walking.  I have a passion for working with seniors and marginalized members of our community.  Born and raised in Oakland, I am a season ticket holder for the A’s and I attend as many games as possible, where I get to enjoy a polish dog and share my sunflower seeds.

 

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

I’m a member of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese.  I served as Archdeacon of the diocese for three and a half years. Once I completed that service, I was appointed as Archdeacon Emeritus by the Bishop.  I have served as the deacon at St. Paul’s Oakland since 2010 and I coordinate The Pantry of Hope which gives out food to seniors, homeless, and individuals in need to make it through the month.  We serve 75 families twice a month. I also work with the youth of the parish i.e. Acolytes, youth services and activities.  I also had the opportunity to serve on the Commission of Ministry.

Major activities beyond diocese

I serve on the Alameda County Health Commission, member of The  Union of Black Episcopalians. I served on the Sacred Place Board for five years; member of the Association of Episcopal Deacons; President of Soroptimist of Oakland, a civic service group that works to advocate for the best for women and girls.       

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

•Fading membership and Youth. •People are losing faith in the church. •The believe that there’s no reason to attend church or even think there’s a God. •How do we bring back these individuals?  •We need to build communities and love. 

Why are you running for this position?

I feel it’s time to step up into a role within the larger church to build communities.  I feel called to bring the gifts, talents, and experiences with which  God has blessed me to help in the work we must do together to meet and overcome the challenges we share each and every day with many fresh eyes and diverse opinions.  In my time as a deacon of the church, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a beautiful collection of God’s people every day.  It has greatly improved my deep listening and creative thinking skills which I would bring to the Committee’s ministry. I want to continue learning about the church’s governance structure and be a firm advocate for deacons to be represented, heard, and respected throughout the entire church.

Nominated by Travis Stevens 

Santiago St James, Oakland

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Rev. Jane McDougle

 

Holy Innocents, San Francisco

San Francisco Deanery 

Interests 

 

As you may have noticed: I am passionate that we all prepare for any disaster. I am convinced that the best and most enjoyable way to do this is to prepare with our congregations and our neighbors. We can have trainings, workshops, and, yes, my friends, parties! That way, when the big one happens, we will already have the resilient webs of connection that will enable us to bounce back, together.

My personal interests additionally include spending time with my family, singing, playing the piano (quite well), the cello (very badly, but hopefully), cooking and gardening.

 

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

• Vicar of Holy Innocents, San Francisco, since 2013 • Member of the Diocesan Disaster and Response Committee since 2013, Coordinator since 2015. • Member of the Diocesan Covid-19 Task Force. • Vice-president for Clergy, San Francisco Deanery, 2018-2020

Major activities beyond diocese

• Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN) • Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) • Resilient Noe Valley (EmpowerSF.org) • SF Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (SFCARD) • SF Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disasters (SFVOAD)

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

our fear that as a church we are dying. If we believe that, we will indeed die. Who wants to join a sinking ship? Our challenge is to remember and rejoice in all that the Episcopal Church has to offer today’s world:  •our inclusive welcome  •the beauty of our worship  •our lack of dogma, and willingness to wrestle with scripture  •our commitment to see Christ in all persons •our caring for our planet

We will need the courage to try new things, and let others go. So be it. With God on our side, who can be against us?

Why are you running for this position?

Living through this pandemic has been challenging for us all, especially those in leadership positions in our congregations and the diocese. I run for this position knowing that I can respond to new situations, problems or crisis with steady calmness, clarity, and even a sense of humor when it can be helpful. I would welcome the opportunity to be engaged at a deeper level with intricacies of the well-being of this diocese. I offer myself to serve with prayerfulness, openness of heart, eyes, and ears, along with energy, creativity, and compassion.

Nominated by Sarah Lawton 

St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco

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Rev. Stacey Grossman

Marin Deanery 

Interests 

 

I am a native Californian and have also lived in Hong Kong, Paris, and New York City. I live under monastic vows made in 2006. While I have traveled extensively, Yosemite and the River of Mercy remain my favorite place in the world. Rowing is my “church outside the church” and I am happy to serve on our Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Committee to begin to open up rowing to all people. I hope to revive our team for developmentally disabled adults which I coached for four years. I’m a lifelong contemplative photographer. Dazzle, my Coronavirus rescue Corgi, herds me wherever I go.

 

Professional Association 

Associate, Order of the Holy Cross. Board-certification-eligible Chaplain as of 2015 M. Div., Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 1996 MBA, Finance, New York University, 1983 BA, History, Pomona College, 1980

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

Priest for 24 years including 15 years as Rector of Nativity, San Rafael. I have also served four Interim/PIC positions in our diocese (St. Francis, San Francisco, St. Timothy’s, Danville, St. Luke’s, San Francisco and St. Francis of Assisi, Novato.) •Standing Committee 2005-2009, President 2007-8. •Convener, Women’s Clericus, 2005-2013 •Instructor, Pastoral Theology, CDSP, Spring 2009 •Intake Officer for Clergy Misconduct Complaints, 2004-2008 •Co-leader for program for new clergy, (which became Fresh Start) 2002-2009 •Assessment Appeals Committee, 1998-2005 and Chair, 2001-2004 •Convener and significant author of Called to Right Relationship, Safe church policies for the Diocese of California, 2008.

Major activities beyond diocese

•Board member – The Street Chaplaincy, 2012 to present •Deputy to General Convention, 2012 •Ohlhoff Recovery Programs Board of Governors, 2011-2014

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

The Pandemic. Black Lives Matter. The #MeToo movement. Global warming. We are in the middle of the most extraordinary confluence of events of our lifetimes which have changed the church's future. Our need to lead our congregations into agility and flexibility for change has never been greater. Our focus these days needs to begin with our congregations, our people – lay and ordained - and those seeking to join us in being followers of Jesus. “Think globally, act locally” is the church’s Achilles heel; we need to do more acting globally AND locally – our corporate life depends upon it!

Why are you running for this position?

My previous service on Standing Committee and as its President was the best ministry of my life. All lay-clergy distinction disappeared, and we served as one body: as the bishop’s council of advice and as a source of authority and inspiration for our diocese, alongside our Bishop and Convention. I would like to lend my experience, respect, and great love for our diocese by offering myself for service. I admire the current Standing Committee’s current foci and if elected, aspire to be a helpful contributor.

Nominated by The Rev. Stacey Grossman 

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

 

Elect: 2 — at least 1 must be lay. Three-year terms, term begins January 1, 2020

 

LAY NOMINEES

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Peter Fairfield

Saint Aidan’s, San Francisco
San Francisco Deanery 

Interests 

 

My life has been devoted to the perfection of the photographic black & white image on silver gelation paper. I take pride in the craft and joy in the art.

 

Professional Association 

American Society of Media Photographers

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

I have worked on all annual fundraisers for nine years and have had overall responsibility for one of them. I have served several terms on the vestry and have served as associate warden. I have represented my congregation to the diocesan convention and have served as convention timekeeper numerous times. For the last five years I have served as the treasurer for the Deanery of San Francisco.

Major activities beyond diocese

have, for many years, been printing black & white prints for museums such as The Oakland Museum, SFMOMA and the De Young as well as prints for sale in galleries worldwide.

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

The major issues facing the church are those that face our nation as a whole: Racial and Wealth Inequality. We are called to build the Beloved Community.

Why are you running for this position?

 

I am running for the Executive Council because, after a period of discernment, I believe that I am called to do so.

 

Nominee from the Floor

CLERGY NOMINEES

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Rev. David Erickson

 

St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco
San Francisco Deanery 

Interests 

 

I enjoy reading, exercise, and spending time with my family.

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

as a rector, I see my role as inspiring, inviting, incorporating, empowering, and supporting peoples journey on the Jesus Way of Life.

Major activities beyond diocese

Ongoing Study in theology and Bowen Family Systems Theory. Being a parent, husband, son, brother, and friend.

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

The church institution is challenged, both chronically and acutely, in how to faithfully follow the love and grace of Jesus Christ in our individual and corporate lives. The major issue is how we will be a people who engage those challenges, from climate change and racism to being a faithful employee, parent, partner, and friend, as disciples of Jesus Christ. . How do we faithfully follow this call, not yesterday, but today.

Why are you running for this position?

I understand the Diocese to be the smallest "unit" of the Episcopal Church. As such, I seek to live out my ordination vow and my baptism to serve on this level.

Nominated by The Rev. David Erickson 

St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco

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Rev. Kirsten Spalding

 

Church of the Nativity, San Rafael
Marin Deanery 

Interests 

 

My spiritual path is the way of relationships--with God, family and neighbors near and far. I am committed to racial and social justice, environmentalism and sustainability. I write a weekly blog on topics of spiritual growth, living into our baptismal covenant and experiences of God's grace in our lives. I love preaching, cooking and backpacking.

 

Professional Association 

•Rector, Church of the Nativity •Program Director, Ceres Investor Network on Climate and Sustainability •Member The Episcopal Church Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility •Chair, Board of Directors, The Street Chaplaincy

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

At Nativity, we are focused on spiritual growth for our members, outreach to our neighbors, sustainability for our church, joyful worship, pastoral care, Christian formation and fellowship. We have area ministries with St. Paul's and Redeemer--outreach activities; formation, prayer and discipleship groups; seasonal shared worship and fellowship. We are currently building affordable housing for clergy on our property and creating a memorial garden around our outdoor altar. Our primary outreach activities include The Street Chaplaincy, Health in Harmony, Sanctuary Forest, SF-Marin Foodbank, Marin Humane Society and Ritter Center.

Major activities beyond diocese

For the Church Pension Group, I am a regular speaker on the Insights and Ideas forums. As Program Director for Ceres Investor Network, I manage a network of 200 institutional investors. We work with our members to advance sustainable investment practices, engage with corporate leaders, and advocate for key policy and regulatory solutions to accelerate the transition to a net zero emissions economy. Our global collaborations include Climate Action 100+, The Investor Agenda, the Paris Aligned Investment Initiative, and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative.

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

The long term sustainability of our church depends on our support for the spiritual growth of members and neighbors through relevant formation programs, powerful worship experiences and embodied spiritual practices that include service, prayer and contemplation.

Our work on racial justice and climate change is critical. Here in the Bay Area, we must focus on the housing crisis, poverty and violence.

Why are you running for this position?

 

My congregation is now in growth mode with a capital campaign launching and many new projects on the horizon. We are financially stable and not facing internal conflicts. We have strong partnerships with our sister congregations in Marin and with local community organizations. It feels like a good time for me to contribute some of my time and energy to the wonderful work of the Diocese.

Nominated by The Rev. Kirsten Spalding 

Episcopal Church of the Nativity, San Rafael

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Rev. Shane Scott-Hamblen

 

St Ambrose, Foster City
Peninsula Deanery 

Interests 

 

Music performance, calligraphy, liturgy, handyman projects, travel, languages, historical research, reading, film.

 

Professional Association 

American Guild of Organists, Interim Ministry Network, volunteer fire chaplain, honorary canon.

Summary of activities within my congregation / diocese

Interim Rector of St Ambrose’s, Foster City - liturgical, spiritual direction, chair of parish committees, becoming an expert amateur on hybrid online liturgy

Major activities beyond diocese

Professor of Church Music, Liturgy, and Church History at The General Theological Seminary. Served on various committees both in the US, Europe, and in the Church of England: Standing Committee; chair of Liturgical Commission; chair of Resolution Committee; Examining Chaplain; Standing Committee; Budget & Finance Committee; Diocesan Council; Area Dean.

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

To be a church that not only welcomes everyone but a church that can live up to a claim “To Not Judge”. As society becomes more secular with each generation, we need to find a way to be relevant, non-judgmental, and welcoming without losing our uniqueness.

Why are you running for this position?

 

I want to be of use and help make an intelligent and compassionate difference.

Nominated by The Rev. Stacey Grossman 

SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION

 

Elect: 1 (lay or clergy order) for a one year term.

 

CLERGY  NOMINEE

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Rev. Richard Edward Helmer

 

Church of Our Saviour, Mill Valley
Marin Deanery 

Interests 

 

family, classical piano and chamber music, religious life, web programming

 

Professional Association 

Professed member of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory

Summary of activities within my congregation/diocese

•Rector, Church of Our Saviour, Mill Valley (2006-present); •Secretary to the Diocesan Convention (2020-present); •Appointed to the Diocesan Committee on Governance (2018-2020); •Standing Committee President (2012-2013); •Standing Committee Secretary (2010-2012); •President of the Marin Deanery (2009); •Vicar, Christ Church – Sei Ko Kai, San Francisco (2002-2006); •Secretary to the Marin Deanery and Asian Ministries Commission in DioCal (2003-2008)

Major activities beyond diocese

•Secretary, House of Deputies Resolutions Review Committee (2015-present); •Appointed to the Standing Commission on Governance and Structure, Constitution and Canons (2018-present); •Alternate Deputy to General Convention (2009, 2012, 2018, 2022) •Deputy to General Convention (2015); •Minister Provincial (Province 8) of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory (2015-2020); •Secretary to the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries Council (2003-2006)

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

- Ongoing renewal of our shared prayer and sacramental life; - Being a healing presence in a world ravaged by pandemic, climate crisis, inequality, and the siren song of authoritarianism; - Providing sanctuary for our members, for the marginalized, and for the communities we serve; - Envisioning and building a reconciled Church that has shed institutional structures of racism, elitism, and insularity; - Managing institutional decline and overcoming fear with a hopeful, faith-filled vision for the future of the Church and a transformed world.

Why are you running for this position?

 

It has been a privilege to serve a second year as Secretary of the Convention. I would be honored to serve again alongside the inspired leadership of this Diocese in the coming year, bringing “out of our treasure what is new and what is old” (Matthew 13:52-53) to serve as Christ’s eyes, ears, voice, and hands in a world in need.

Nominated by Emily Hopkins 

St. Paul’s, Walnut Creek

TREASURER OF THE DIOCESE

 

Elect: 1 (lay or clergy order) for a one year term.

 

LAY NOMINEE

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Lane Ringlee

 

St. Stephen’s, Orinda
Contra Costa Deanery 

Interests 

 

My interests outside of the church have included leadership positions within Boy Scouts (backpacking trips, orienteering, and other activities), coaching soccer, and participating in the William & Mary Parent and Family Council. I was also the Treasurer of a local lacrosse club (501(c)(3)). In addition, I am an avid cyclist and enjoy reading history, particularly the American Civil War and Revolutionary War and European history.

 

Professional Association 

I have a professional involvement with the National Association of Corporate Directors and Corporate Boardmember as an invited conference speaker. I have also spoken before professional conferences sponsored by Equilar and CHRO Leadership. In addition, I have authored research that has been published by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Risk and Compliance Magazine, in addition to other professional publications.

Summary of activities within my congregation/diocese

 

I served as Treasurer of the Diocese since October 2020, member of the Finance Committee since 2019 and as member of the Executive Council from 2017-2019 including as Chair and Vice-Chair. I have served in a variety of capacities as St. Stephen's of Orinda, including the Discernment Committee, usher, Outreach, finance team for weekly collection/offering accounting, and hospitality.

Major activities beyond diocese

I have served or participated in Boy Scouts, William & Mary Parent and Family Council, and youth athletic organizations as noted above. For my consulting firm, I am currently on a second term on our operating leadership committee and serve as the financial matters partner.

In my opinion, the major issues facing the church today are

We are facing a longer-term dilemma of expanding/maintaining our spiritual formation and strengthening our parishes and missions, with the challenges of declining average Sunday attendance and stretched endowments. The onset of the pandemic has made this more difficult. We need to ensure we continue to invest in and protect our facilities, particularly in light of climate change impact on our geography. We are in a position of needing to maintain and expand the creative use of our financial and fixed asset resources. In addition, we must continually ensure our clergy are properly compensated thru a comprehensive pay and benefits program.

Why are you running for this position?

 

I believe I can bring my understanding and background in financial and governance matters to benefit the Diocese and deepen my involvement with The Episcopal Church. I understand the need to listen carefully and collaborate while effectively addressing confidential and difficult matters. I hope to be able to provide trusted advice and counsel to the Diocese on financial matters.

Nominated by Brad Barber 

St. Stephen’s, Orinda