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 at Harvard Business School and 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 is past President of the Board of Directors of Mockingbird Ministries. He is on the advisory board for StoryMakers NYC. He is on the board of the Great Commission Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. He is currently the Dean for the Northwest Convocation of the Diocese of Texas. Aaron co-hosts Same Old Song, the weekly lectionary podcast of Mockingbird Ministries, with the Rev. Jacob Smith.

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. She is the Coordinator of the Families & Foster Care Coalition Heart of Texas. Married since 2002, Aaron and Andrea are proud parents of three children.

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Armond

Associate Rector

Andrew is a native of Louisiana. At Louisiana Tech he double majored in music and English and graduated summa cum laude. He then earned a PhD in Religion and Literature from Baylor. While at Baylor, Andrew met his wife, Patty. After finishing his doctorate in 2006, Andrew began a career as a university professor.

Andrew was raised a Southern Baptist and is the grandson of Baptist missionaries. During his time as a graduate student in Waco, he became an Episcopalian at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, where he and Patty led the young adult ministry. Later, after nearly ten years of college teaching, Andrew responded to a growing sense of a call to ordained ministry. He left academia in 2015, became the lay chaplain of an Episcopal school in Louisiana, and soon started the ordination discernment process. In 2019, he completed a Certificate in Anglican Studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, an Episcopal Seminary in Berkeley, CA, and was ordained later that year in the Diocese of Western Louisiana. He has previously served parishes in New Iberia, LA and Longview, TX.

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.

The Rev. Kara Leslie

Assistant Rector for Pastoral Care

Kara grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and has degrees from Emory University (BA in sociology), Texas Tech University (Masters in Educational Psychology), and Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Master of Divinity).

Kara was originally a United Methodist Pastor and was ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church in 2006. As a priest, she was on the staff at St. Mathew’s Cathedral and Church of the Transfiguration, both in Dallas.

Kara has worked as a Board Certified Chaplain for over 15 years. She is a Certified Spiritual Director and had a private practice as a counselor in Lubbock prior to moving to Waco.

Kara enjoys playing tennis, dancing, and baking.

The Rev. Garrett Lane

Curate

Garrett was born in West Texas and raised on the Central Coast of California. He holds degrees from Abilene Christian University (BA, Biblical Text), Princeton Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity), and Seminary of the Southwest (Diploma of Anglican Studies).

Before coming to St. Alban’s, Garrett worked for a refugee resettlement agency in Abilene, a dairy farm in New Jersey, and an Episcopal school in Tyler as a lay chaplain. While living in New Jersey, he began discerning a call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. He has served in various lay roles at parishes in New Jersey, Tyler, and Austin. Garrett is married to Rachael.

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 who recently graduated from Baylor University.

Dr. Rachel Toombs

Director of Formation and Connection

Rachel oversees and teaches in adult formation, serves as point-person for newcomers, and manages other forms of connection at St. Alban’s. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion (Theology) from Baylor where she wrote her dissertation on the power of sparely-told stories to convey the possibility of grace looking specifically at the fiction of Flannery O’Connor and the biblical Hebrew narrative. She also has an M.A. in Theological Studies (Old Testament) from Regent College in British Columbia, Canada and a B.A. in Youth Ministry from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to her position at St. Alban’s, she teaches as a Part-Time Lecturer in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) at Baylor University. She is the author of Flannery O’Connor and Stylistic Asceticism and has a forthcoming book (Fall 2024) with Baker AcademicReading the First Five Books: The Invitation of Hebrew Narrative.

Rachel is married to Lance and has two dogs, Eowyn and Rosie. In her free time she likes to bake, read fantasy, and watch her hometown baseball team, the Twins, reliably disappoint in playoff years.

If you’d like to learn more about formation opportunities or are new to St. Alban’s, contact her.

Stephanie Drum

Director of Youth and College Ministry

Stephanie Drum is originally from the Piney Woods of East Texas and grew up in the church as the daughter of her father, a bi-vocational prison chaplain and pastor, and her mother, a teacher. She has two older brothers both living in the Houston area, with four nieces and one nephew. She studied theology and music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and moved to Waco in 2009. She studied at George W. Truett Theological Seminary for her Master of Divinity, as well as Baylor University for her Master of Social Work.

Before coming to St. Alban’s, she worked at VOICE, a local non-profit for four and a half years, and also served as Youth Minister at The Well, a congregation in Moody, TX. There she was also a worship team member, playing the drums and other instruments. She likes karaoke, coffee shops, art, reading, animals, and traveling.

Emily Barton Spinks

Director of Children's Ministry

Emily is from coastal North Carolina. When she wasn’t at the beach, she grew up in church and was shaped by the legacy of priests and lay ministers in her family. She received her BA in Christian Education and Ministry from Wheaton College before receiving an M.Div. from Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. While in seminary, Emily’s academic focus was Spiritual Formation and Discipleship. She has completed a 2 year study in Spiritual Direction through Truett. Before serving at St. Alban’s, Emily’s ministry contexts have included guiding backpacking and kayaking trips in and around Lake Superior and as hospital chaplain serving families in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Emily lives with her husband and several dying houseplants.

Eugene Lavery

Organist & Director of Music

New Zealand-American organist and choral conductor Eugene Lavery is highly sought after as a performer and teacher, having concertized at venues such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; St. Ignatius Loyola, New York; and St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney; performed with the American Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra; and having served on the faculty of Royal School of Church Music courses in the United States, New Zealand, and Nigeria. Eugene has also appeared as an organist for live broadcasts for Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand.

Eugene currently serves as Organist and Director of Music at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Waco, TX where he directs the semi-professional adult choir, the St. Alban’s Chorister Program, and a vibrant concert series. Eugene has also recently overseen the design and installation of a new world-class organ, Schoenstein Op. 180.

Previous church positions in the United States include Organist and Director of Music at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Louisville, KY and Artistic Director of the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, one of the most prominent Episcopal chorister programs in the United States.

Born in New Zealand, Eugene received his Bachelor of Music with First Class Honors from the University of Auckland while also serving as Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2007 Eugene relocated to New York after gaining entry 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.

Jesse E. Lee, III

Director of Finance and Operations

A native of Houston, Jesse E. Lee, III, got his degree in finance and accounting at Baylor, then pursued a career in commercial real estate and finance that spanned over thirty years. He has largely served as CFO/Controller for real estate investment firms and has been a Property Manager for several large commercial and residential properties, primarily in Austin. Before moving from Waco, Jesse and his wife, Barbie, were members of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Austin. They have seen Irish rock band U2 perform live over 20 times. 

Jeff Humphrey

Facilities & Maintenance Manager

Born into a military family, Jeff Humphrey moved to Waco in 1963 upon his dad’s, Joseph Humphrey, retirement from the Army. Baptized in 1965 and confirmed in 1968 at St. A/ban’s, he served as an acolyte and a Boy Scout for many years. The theater bug thoroughly bit Jeff in high school, igniting his passion for the performing arts. Upon graduating from Richfield High and briefly attending Baylor University, Jeff left Waco and St. A/ban’s for several years, dancing and performing in many shows throughout Texas and Oklahoma.

As a “starving artist’, Jeff realized the need for a more stable career. Returning to Waco and graduating from TSTC in the early 1980s with a degree in Laser Electro-Optics Technology, he moved to the DFW metroplex. Jeff found a way to continue his joy of the performing arts, working as a local laser light technician for musical groups such as The Gap Band. With the incredible advancement of technology in the ’80s, Jeff was soon working for the Superconducting Super Collider project in Waxahachie, Texas.

He returned home to Waco in the 1990s, becoming a real estate investor before it was popular, at one point owning up to 17 units. Jeff’s love for Waco also encouraged him to run for city council in the mid-90s. Though he lost the election, Jeff continues to love and support Waco. In the early aughts, Jeff returned to college, graduating MCC with a degree in Liberal Arts. He later attended Southern Methodist University, where he met his lovely wife, Dawn.

Jeff returned to the workforce afterward, specializing in electrical and maintenance manufacturing repairs. Jeff and Dawn moved back to Waco in the fall of 2007. He “retired” in 2013, but Jeff’s passion for science, the arts, and learning continues. Jeff is a member of the Waco Euterpean Music Club, Texas Federation of Music Clubs, Baylor Singing Seniors, and serves as the Administrator for the Humphrey Surname Genealogical DNA Project. He is also a Prospective Member of the Sons of the American Revolution “Peter Sides” Chapter of Waco. He returned to St. Alban’s in 2019, where he joyfully serves in whatever capacity is needed.

Robert Brown

Director of Communications and Technology

Originally from Dallas, Robert grew up in and around the Waco area. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Robert worked for a chain of newspapers, was a computer programer, and then took a job as a graphic designer for a Waco advertising agency. Robert went on to own his own agency for over 18 years. Robert and his wife Polly have been active members of St. Alban’s for many years and look forward to many more.
 
Robert serves on the board of directors of the Marlin Public Library and The Palace Theatre in Marlin, Texas. Robert has written and directed many community theater productions and has produced, co-written and recorded over 500 original pieces of music. None of which have appeared anywhere near the Billboard top 100. 

Wes Jacobs

Office coordinator

 In this position, Wes operates from the front desk and will manage the day-to-day business operations of the office; supply stocking, reception, phone coverage, etc. Wes has already been a valued member of the staff in a volunteer capacity. This position recognizes his contributions and formalizes his role here at St. Alban’s.

Laura Smith

Organ Scholar

Laura Smith is currently a junior organ performance major at Baylor University, where she has studied with Dr. Isabelle Demers, Dr. Margaret Harper, and Dr. Jens Korndoerfer.  A native of Wichita, KS, she began her musical studies in kindergarten.  In 2020, she won first prize in the Young Organists’ Competition hosted by the Greater Columbia, SC chapter of the AGO.  In her time at Baylor, Laura has performed as a soloist in the School of Music’s centennial Collage Concert, competed as a finalist in the organ division of the Semper Pro Musica competition, and travelled to Ireland on tour with Baylor’s premier women’s choir, Bella Voce.  Most recently, she travelled to England to attend the Oundle for Organists summer course in July 2023.  When she’s not practicing organ, piano, or singing in choir, Laura enjoys reading and writing. 

Rick Gamble

Sexton

As Sexton, Rick is responsible for custodial duties such as general cleaning of rooms and grounds, room set-ups for events, supply stocking and all other related duties of the St. Alban’s buildings and grounds.

Martha Siller

Nursery Attendant

Delores Trevino

Nursery Attendant