Clergy & Staff

The Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman
The Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman
Rector

 

Aaron was born in Houston, but his childhood took him to Mexico City; Washington, D.C.; Stockholm, Sweden; and Los Angeles, California, before finally settling in his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

After earning a B.A. magna cum laude in History of Science at Harvard University, Aaron spent two years with an educational non-profit in Kazakhstan. Aaron later worked as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School and as an Executive Compensation Analyst with H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh.

He received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in 2008. Before coming to St. Alban's, he served churches in Pittsburgh and Houston. Aaron is a contributor to the Mockingbird blog and magazine, and President of the Board of Directors of Mockingbird Ministries. He is a member of the Better Together BU Advisory Board

Aaron's wife, Andrea, is originally from Michigan, and holds two degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She has worked in church ministry, apparel design, and as a non-profit director and event planner. Married since 2002, Aaron and Andrea are proud parents of three children.

Contact Aaron.

The Rev. Neal Scott McGowan
The Rev. Neal Scott McGowan
Curate

 

Neal McGowan was born in Austin, but spent most of his childhood and youth in the pastures and piney forests of East Texas.

He attended the University of Dallas where he studied English literature and minored in classical Greek. Upon graduation from college, Neal spent a year driving a tractor on a ranch in East Texas and then began to teach English and History to 9th and 10th graders at a boarding school near Tyler.

While in Tyler, Neal was confirmed in the Episcopal Church at Christ Church. During his time at Christ Church, Neal served in a variety of roles at the parish, fell in love with Anglicanism, and discerned a call to the priesthood.

Neal attended the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin for his theological training and graduated in May of 2017.  He was ordained a transitional deacon at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston on June 24, 2017, and will be ordained a priest in January of 2018. Neal begins his ordained ministry as a curate (a priest in training), and will oversee youth ministry, the young adults and college students, the young families’ ministry, as well as St. Alban’s small groups.

His wife Jennifer graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in international studies and worked for five years at Mercy Ships, a non-profit that provides medical and humanitarian aid in Africa through a hospital ship. Most recently, she worked at a boutique wine shop in downtown Austin. Neal and Jennifer have been married since 2010. 

Contact Neal.

The Rev. Alberto M. Melis
The Rev. Alberto M. Melis
Deacon

 

Ordained to the Diaconate in June 2015, Al serves as our Deacon, which means he assists the clergy and focuses on outreach and service. He also has a role in coordinating mission and outreach among the three Episcopal parishes in Waco. Most Sundays he is at St. Alban's, but occasionally serves Holy Spirit and St. Paul's.

He and his wife Carol have two grown children. Prior to ordination, Al had a distinguished career in law enforcement in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, and served as Waco's Chief of Police. 

Contact Al.

The Rev. Judy Filer
The Rev. Judy Filer
Priest Associate

 

Judy Filer was ordained to the priesthood in January 2007. She is a bi-vocational priest trained at the Iona School for Ministry in the Diocese of Texas. Bi-vocational priests focus on serving small parishes, and serve other parishes as needed.
Judy has served at St. John's in Marlin, and has assisted at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Calvert, at Christ Church in Mexia, and at St. Paul's in Waco. Judy and her husband Wes have a daughter who lives in College Station with her husband and five children.

Grace Brown
Grace Brown
Director of Student Ministry

 

Grace joined our staff in 2013. Originally from Irvine, California, she completed her degree in Social Work at Baylor in 2016 and will be persuing a Masters in Social Work at Baylor in the fall. She brings extensive student ministry experience to St. Alban's, having organized and led Bible studies, events, and mission trips for middle and high school students. Her mission experience includes working with orphans in Kenya, children in Mexico, and the homeless on L.A.’s Skid Row. Grace loves working with students and is very excited to be a part of St. Albans! 

Contact Grace.

Jole R. Cromwell
Jole R. Cromwell
Coordinator for Children's Ministry and Parish Life

 

Jole oversees our Children's Ministry, including leading Children's Chapel, and coordinating our Godly Kids and Godly Play classes, our Nursery, and other Children's Programs. In addition, she assists in coordinating Parish events and additional Spiritual Formation opportunities for all ages.

A longtime member of St. Alban's, Jole grew up in Richmond, Texas, a member of Calvary Episcopal Church. After earning her B.S. in Education from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, she spent 30 years as a teacher. Before joining the St. Alban's, she served as Program Director of the Youth Development Services at the YMCA of Central Texas. She loves children—especially her grandchildren.

Contact Jole.

Hilary Gardner
Hilary Gardner
Parish Administrator

 

Hilary is on the front line at St. Alban's, serving as office manager, receptionist, and executive assistant to the Rector.  Before coming to St. Alban's, she has worked as an editor, a teacher, and an office manager.

Hilary earned her BA and MA degrees in history.  She enjoys reading books on British and American history and also loves traveling, swimming, and shopping.  A native of Kansas City, Hilary has lived in San Diego, New Orleans, and now Waco for the past 20 years. She and her family are members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  Her husband is a Baylor professor. They have a son in high school.  

Contact Hilary.

Rebekah Hughes
Rebekah Hughes
Newcomer & Ministry Coordinator

 

Rebekah began attending St. Alban’s in 2005.  She received her B.A. in Music from UCSB in 2004, after which she came to Waco to pursue her Masters in Music at Baylor. Her husband, Ross, manages LensCrafters at the Richland Mall. They have three young children. At St. Alban’s, Rebekah is on staff as the Newcomer & Ministry Coordinator. She ensures that visitors and newcomers are welcomed and connected to the parish, and that long-time members can find a place to serve. 

Contact Rebekah.

Eugene Lavery
Eugene Lavery
Director of Music


Serving as Director of Music at St. Alban's, Eugene Lavery is highly sought-after as a conductor and organist. Recent engagements include solo recitals at St. Paul's Cathedral, London; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; and St. Philip's Cathedral, Atlanta, GA. Additionally, Eugene has served on the faculty of Royal School of Church Music courses in the United States, New Zealand, and Nigeria.

Having previously held Director of Music positions at Calvary Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY and the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, Eugene has a passion for the Anglican choral tradition and a particular interest in the musical education of children.

Born in New Zealand, Eugene received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Auckland, and subsequently relocated to New York upon gaining admission to the prestigious Master of Music program at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Paul Jacobs.

Eugene is married to fellow Juilliard-graduate Dr. Sharon Lavery, and together they raise two boys, Ryan and Adam.

Contact Eugene.

Ricky Gamble
Ricky Gamble
Sexton

 

Ricky Gamble joined us as our sexton in February 2017. A native of the Dallas area, Ricky moved to Waco in 2015. He helps with maintenance and cleaning during the week. On Sundays, he assists with coffee and room set up. 

Hannah Scholz
Hannah Scholz
Organ Scholar

 

Serving as Organ Scholar, Hannah Scholz is currently in her freshman year at Baylor University where she is studying Organ Performance with Dr. Isabelle Demers. A native of Coppell, Texas, she has studied piano with Anastasia Markina and organ with Michael Groff. Hannah is truly grateful for the opportunity to serve at  St. Alban's and looks forward to meeting everyone and growing in the spirit of Christian love and service. When she's not practicing, Hannah also enjoys reading, genealogy, and pursuing her interest in dance. 

Lori Youngblood
Lori Youngblood
Business Manager

 

Lori joined our staff in November 2015. Her duties include administration of the parish finances, human resources, office and facilities management, Safeguarding God's people training, coordination with Outreach Center partners, and overseeing gifts and contributions. Lori was born and raised in Bynum, TX, 30 miles northeast of Waco. For 20 years, she served as Business Manager at Bynum ISD. She received her BA cum laude in Business Administration from American Intercontinental University.  She is a long time member of Salem Lutheran Church in Malone, TX. She is the proud mother of Elizabeth Wetzel and grandmother (mamaw) to Bowen. She has a chocolate lab named Marley.

Contact Lori.