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VESTRY BIOS 2020

Below are the Vestry candidates who will be voted on at the Annual Meeting, Sunday, January 26, in the Nave, during the 10:15 a.m. service. Four (4) candidates will be elected to the Vestry, Class of 2023. Those elected will serve three-year terms, through the Annual Meeting of 2023. Candidates for Vestry must be regular at worship and giving members of record.

Chip Buckner

Chip joined the boys’ choir in 1969 and returned to the Cathedral more than 20 years ago after school and work took him away from Kansas City. Chip is a chorister, has served on the Cathedral budget committee, and supports his wife’s work with the St. Mary’s pantry.

My areas of interest and giftedness: I am a problem solver, rather than a visionary. My interest is in being where I can be useful. I perceive my “gift” as being the interest/ability to figure out how to get from point A to point B. I’ll play by the rules but tend to discount conventional wisdom and use overlooked resources in unexpected ways. Over the holidays, I built a couple of game-winning bird sanctuaries, ransomed King Richard and terraformed Mars. I don’t particularly care about any of those things, but they were interesting puzzles. Having said that, keep me away from Buildings and Grounds. As Deb has observed, when we walk into a greenhouse, the little plants lean away from us, whispering “don’t pick me.”

My experience in leadership: As an assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri, I ran Kansas City’s consumer protection office before being called to Jefferson City to do the job for the state. I escaped the political world to become a lawyer for Bartlett, a Kansas City agribusiness. While there, the National Grain and Feed Association asked me to arbitrate a dispute between grain companies, which turned into a position on the faculty of its dispute resolution school and then chair of its national legal council. I’ve been a cubmaster, scoutmaster, Rotary Club president, Civil War Roundtable president, Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park advisory council member, chairman of a city historic preservation commission, and an officer of my homeowner’s association.

My vision for GHTC: I want to be a part of a safe, stable, welcoming place that exemplifies that which is good and beautiful.

Bill Colvin

Bill has attended the Cathedral for more than 15 years and serves as an usher and Connection Corner greeter.

My areas of interest and giftedness: Finance/ Budget Committees. I have worked in the financial services industry for over ten years. I would be very interested in working with other Vestry members in finding new sources of revenue to achieve our immediate and long-term financial goals.

My experience in leadership: I have been a sole-practicing attorney and/ or in-house counsel for small businesses for over 25 years. I also served as the chief risk officer at a small bank. I have had to assume a leadership role in my job throughout my career, both in the courtroom and in the board room. I also recently volunteered as the head football coach of a middle school football program (Holy Spirit Catholic School, Overland Park, KS) from 2014 – 2017.

My vision for GHTC: Because the church has such a long history in downtown Kansas City, I believe GHTC should focus on offering something for every age group living and working primarily downtown and on the Plaza, without compromising the best of our Anglican tradition. We should try to strengthen our ties to other organizations that share our long-standing history and commitment to Kansas City.

Amy Cornwell

Amy has been at the Cathedral since 1986. She has served as a member of the Cathedral Caregiver team and for several years taught Sunday School in the K/Pre‐K classroom and Godly Play education/classes.

My areas of interest and giftedness: I believe the areas in which I’m “most gifted” would be listening, communication, diplomacy and team-playing; listening to the needs and wants of the congregation and representing the various views in meetings. Realizing you can’t say “yes” to every request, it’s also necessary that you don’t say “no” to everything, either. We are embarking on a new era, with a new Dean, with new vision, and tremendous excitement that promises hope and growth.

My experience in leadership: I work with incredibly bright people who have taught me the benefits of listening, learning, challenging and growing. One of the best tools is giving people a voice to allow them to express opinions, ideas and suggestions. As a volunteer with GHTC Sunday School, I learned to expect the unexpected (it’s amazing the questions 3–5 year olds can ask!!!) and to work with the Sunday School leadership and framework to make the experience for its children as beneficial as possible. Volunteering has taught me to demonstrate leadership with grace and understanding.

My vision for GHTC: : GHTC is on the edge of tremendous growth and expansion (spiritually, personally, visually and more). Being situated downtown presents unique opportunities for enhanced outreach, community involvement and participation within the area. GHTC is a community of tremendously bright and experienced individuals and working together, I believe (hope) GHTC’s vision will include a lot of its past, but allowed to grow with the changing future of the congregation, community and city. More outreach consideration; expanding the reputation, understanding and mission of GHTC are just a couple ideas for its future vision. And, being open to God’s doors that open when we ask and search.

Phaedra Fahnestock

Phaedra has been attending the Cathedral for 12 years. In that time, she has assisted with Children’s Chapel when her son, Jonah, was younger. She has helped with assembling BackSnack packs, worked at Kansas City Community Kitchen and donates to the various monthly collections, such as HappyBottoms.

My areas of interest and giftedness: While I feel that my project management skills would be favorable for any of the committees, I’m most interested in Hospitality and Public Relations. I would like to engage in activities that help to grow our congregation through inclusivity and various methods of communication. As a manager at Premium Waters, I enjoy working on people development. As a member of the Vestry, I would enjoy working on parish development.

 My experience in leadership: In my role with Premium Waters, I am a strategic planner managing the sales and production forecasts for 11 manufacturing facilities and 18 sales managers across the United States. I report directly to the CFO and work directly with all levels of employees from production crews to senior leadership. My work activities are primarily results-driven minor and major projects. I also manage a team of individual contributors: Contracts and Customer Onboarding Coordinator, New Item Coordinator, Graphic Design Artist and Pricing Coordinator.

My vision for GHTC: My vision for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral includes a thriving, diverse community of parishioners who act as a unified body to serve the local and greater communities in acts of outreach, compassion and love.

Sarah Ingram-Eiser

Sarah has been at the Cathedral since the 1960s. She currently serves with the Altar Guild and Holy Hands Hospitality Ministry and Funeral Hospitality Committee and Tuesday Coffee and Conversation group. In the past, she served on various committees: Vestry, Executive, Long Range Planning, Chair of Hot Food Program at Church, Delegate to Episcopal Diocese Convention, Co-Chair of Organ Committee, Adult Server, Stephen Minster, Urban Resources committee, Children’s and Stewardship Committees.

My areas of interest and giftedness: Stewardship (have served on before): To fulfill our mission, we need to expand and reach out to every age group in cooperation with the clergy. Checking and getting in touch with everyone and trying to reach others through events, programs, meetings, etc. Long Range Planning: The Cathedral has one of the only private green spaces and downtown parking spaces available. We need to be involved in planning for the future—both for the church and for the city. I have had a lot of experience with the city planning committee, the city council and neighborhoods on land usage. Outreach: Strengthen ties to other organizations for benefit of all. An example—our Cathedral Hot Food Program—involved other churches from both Missouri and Kansas, downtown planning and committees, businesses-KC Southern, homeless shelters, not for profit organization grants, etc. and cooperate with other churches—downtown and others—youth groups, like minded activities, book groups, etc.

My experience in leadership: I have served on various community, civic boards and committees: Truman Hospital Board, Chair—Western Mo. Missouri Mental Health Center, Chair—Citizen’s Advisory Council for the MidAmerica Regional Council, Co-Founder Guild of Friends of Art, Guild Boards of Ballet, Lyric Opera and Missouri Rep Theater, Election Commissioner of Jackson County, Friends of Chamber Music, De La Salle School Board, Rockhill Neighborhood and Kansas City Historic Boards. I have also served as a volunteer, board member, president or chairman and planner—all involve leadership or maybe they were desperate. I am a retired professor and realtor.

My vision for GHTC: Continue to build on our foundation—to expand and reach new audiences, young and old, downtown and surrounding areas in our Episcopal tradition through more community involvement and hosting events for all kinds of venues. Increase laity participation. Make sure the Cathedral participates in downtown planning and welcomes all outside our walls.

Donna Knoell

Donna has been a Cathedral member for 30 years. She is a lay reader, member of the Altar Guild, chair of the College Outreach Ministry committee, greeter and is currently on the Vestry. She serves as Vestry Liaison to the Hospitality Committee, who coordinated the Parish Picnic last year. In the past, she served two years as Chair of the Children’s Christian Education Committee and as buyer for three years for the Cathedral Bookstore. Together with her husband Jim, Donna coordinated the Cathedral Small Dinner Group for 11 years.

 My areas of interest and giftedness: The Strategic Plan Committees that I feel most passionately about are Hospitality and Care, Newcomers, Social Outreach (College Outreach Ministry) and Congregational Life. I believe strongly in the importance of creating a hospitable and welcoming community here at the Cathedral, and I have a great deal of experience in our various hospitality ministries, and I also have a lot of hospitality experience in my professional and volunteer activities. Making people feel welcome, letting them know how important they are as people, and providing opportunities to meet others in the congregation, to get involved, and to build Christian community and fellowship, are crucial to building and sustaining strong congregations. I am committed to each of these interactive activities, and I am willing to give time and talent to make them happen. Along with, and overlapping with Hospitality, is my interest in Newcomers, and helping each visitor and new member feel welcome and a part of this congregation. I have a huge commitment to the College Outreach Ministry, and believe it is essential to stay connected with our college students while they are away at school, and to let them know that we are thinking about them. As part of that ministry, I enjoy sending notes, cards, snacks, books and other meaningful items throughout the school year to each of our college students.

My experience in leadership: As a national educational consultant and author, I demonstrate my leadership as a speaker, as a participant and leader of national committees, and as an officer in state and local organizations. I offer professional development, parent workshops, and I design and write instructional materials. I speak at numerous conferences throughout the United States and around the world, sharing ideas and strategies to improve instruction and learning for every student. I have served as President of the Kansas Reading Association, am an active member of numerous professional organizations, where I have served on award committees, and I have served two times as President of two different local professional organizations. I am a member of the Theater Advisory Committee for the Johnson County Theater in the Park, and I am a past member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Kansas Chapter of the March of Dimes. I serve on the Duke University Alumni Advisory Committee, and interview potential students. And together with my husband, we host numerous international officers who are studying or are international liaison officers at Ft. Leavenworth, to offer them an opportunity to learn about our community and about American life outside the military.

My vision for GHTC: My vision for Grace and Holy Trinity is a thriving, growing congregation, both in numbers and in its ministries. I hope that will include a growing number of new members, and I also hope it will include a return of some members who have not recently been attending the Cathedral. I also envision new ministries and small groups developing, to build community, to provide new opportunities to learn, and to offer additional forms of outreach to those outside our walls. I envision a continuation of our wonderful music program, and I hope that our Christian formation programs can continue to grow and thrive. I believe we can become a more caring Christian community, as we plan and host more intergenerational programs and events. I believe it is crucial to maintain close contact and community with those whose mobility or health issues prevent them from regularly attending services, and I hope that we can offer rides to church, offer lay visits to these individuals, and to encourage their participation and inclusion as much as possible, as valuable and necessary to the whole of the church. Each of these visions reflects my belief, commitment, and dream that we can grow and nurture one another as caring Christians, living out our faith. I have an abiding faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and I believe that as we live out our faith, we will be drawn to these visions, and that the “light” and enthusiasm we show to others as we live our lives, will be contagious in bringing others to this place.

Charles “Bud” McDowell

Bud has been a member of the Cathedral for 26 years. He worked with the Building and Grounds Committee soon after coming to the Cathedral. He served on the Vestry and was elected Junior Warden. Additionally, he has served on various committees such as Nominating, Finance, Dean Search that called Terry White, Adult Education Committee, Discernment Committee for Father Andrew McMullen, Usher, Finance Committee and Governance Policy Committee. He worked with Mike Thomas to reopen the bookstore which had been shuttered for some time.

 My areas of interest and giftedness: I would like to serve on Building and Grounds and Finance. I think my work experience could benefit those two committees’ work. Candy and I have visited several Episcopal churches thorough the years and quite frankly their services are all very similar. So why is one church growing and another stagnate. I think it is the involvement and the sense of ownership by the congregation. So how do we get ownership and a sense of belonging. I think we do it after church, so to speak, sometimes by working on a committee, other times by playing. We have met many people while serving on committees, and Candy and I have carried forward these friendships for many years. Let’s go to service, of course, but let’s encourage the enrollment of parishioners to committee work and let’s begin to find ways to play together and to get to know each other.

My experience in leadership: While on Buildings and Grounds Committee, I was able to provide the committee with my years of experience in the heating and air conditioning and contracting business. I owned and operated Edwards McDowell Inc., a company providing commercial air conditioning and sheet metal for the Kansas City metro area. I employed from 25 to 50 union Sheet Metal Workers, while serving on the Sheet Metal Contractors Association local chapter. I served on the Finance Committee for the contractors as well as well as on the Health and Welfare Fund Finance Committee for the union, funds in excess of 50 million dollars. I served as president of the contractors association for two terms prior to my retirement. I belonged to Rotary 13, as well as Town and Country Investors, and the North Kansas City Breakfast Club.

My vision for GHTC: I would like to see entertaining and fun events, such as chili cook-offs, golf outings, croquet. We should give the congregation that feeling of ownership and belonging. Give the congregation a greater role in the church’s work. We have lost the KC community Kitchen with a large space in Founders Hall sitting vacant, we have closed the rent assistance program that served our communities need. These were good and powerful outreach functions. We should do more along these lines.

Robin Rusconi

Robin has been a member of the Cathedral for almost 26 years. She serves, or has served, as a Eucharistic Minister, Acolyte, Lector, Vestry (including as clerk), Personnel Committee (chair), Stewardship Committee and Young Adults.

 My areas of interest and giftedness: Throughout my time at the Cathedral, I have worked very hard to model inclusivity, hospitality and generosity. I would continue this work and grow it under the Dean’s direction. I also have worked to provide distinct and meaningful worship through my service as a Lead Acolyte, Eucharistic Minister and as a Lector.

When I was Cathedral Administrator, we started a series inviting the city to the Cathedral. It would be amazing to bring that back and I would do whatever I could to build this.

My experience in leadership:

I served with the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations as a board member and provided leadership for member organizations in both policy and practice, chaired Strategic Planning for Multi-site Clinical Trials, worked with other board members to develop/promote national policy with VA Research Staff as well as members of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees and their staffs. With the Troost Corridor Community Association, I served as the first board president and was initial incorporator, including drafting bylaws and other corporate documents. I also served as Chair of the Governance Committee.

My vision for GHTC: Ever since we came to the Cathedral I was drawn to its inclusiveness and its willingness to include everyone. My vision is to expand this inclusiveness. Downtown population is growing, it is a true opportunity to welcome new people. At the same time, the beauty of our liturgy can attract many who long for beauty in a challenging world.

Nick Smith

Nick has been a member of the Cathedral for about two years. In addition to regularly serving as a Eucharistic Minister over the past 18 months, he has had the chance to be a part of multiple ministries at the Cathedral including the Social Justice Committee and the Young Adults. While only a part of the Social Justice Committee a short time, he volunteered at multiple “Get Out the Vote” efforts and attended meetings focused on the group’s strategic plan. He was asked to lead and grow our Young Adults in August of 2019 and has enjoyed planning multiple events, defining the group’s purpose, increasing their visibility and, most importantly, growing the size of the group with new and current Cathedral attendees.

My areas of interest and giftedness: Newcomers: I want to serve on this committee so I can share my story as it relates to the individual story of any newcomer who finds themselves at the Cathedral for the very first time.

The first time I attended the Cathedral was when I was back in Kansas City for a visit, while in the process of relocating from New York to California. Moving back to my hometown was not the original plan. It was during one of my visits that I was introduced to Marco Serrano and eventually invited to attend The Way and Young Adult gatherings. Simultaneously, compounded by deepening connections to my fellow parishioners and an emerging opportunity to work remotely, my hometown quickly became home again. Social Outreach: I have extensive experience in media and communications: I would enjoy combining this knowledge with the rest of the committee’s ideas for good.

My experience in leadership: I’m a recipient of the Eagle Scout Award which required me to both participate and lead community improvement projects that impacted thousands in the Kansas City area. In professional roles at CBS New York and others, I lead sales and sales management teams with a particular focus on training, developing and mentoring young professionals in the world’s largest media market. Using advertising-share-based incentive programs, I worked between the company and marquee advertisers to steer a percentage of their media spend to critical projects such as the cleanup and restoration of the New York Botanical Garden after Hurricane Sandy. Until recently, much of my career was focused on political, issue and advocacy advertising, spotlighting issues and topics such as: long term care advocacy, hotel workers’ rights, rent stabilization, carriage horse conditions and Millennials. Through this work I was named one of “40 under 40 Future Leaders of New York Politics.”

 My vision for GHTC: Fully realizing the possibilities of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral as a beacon is my hope. Recently, someone told me they look toward downtown and, when they see the pillars of our convention center, they know the Cathedral is “just right there.” Not every place has the stature, central location and physical beauty of our Cathedral. No place has our people. We are fortunate to have a church that will always attract eyes, in a location that should continue to attract people. Together, we can show up, say hi, extend our hands and engage each wandering eye with our personal stories of wonder in this place. With authentic, lasting engagement, of all ages and all groups, we’ll be just right there and always here.

Ken Stewart

Ken has been a member of the Cathedral for more than five years. He has managed the Cathedral Bookstore since he came to the Cathedral. He is a substitute acolyte, a lector and attended and assisted in The Way for its first two years. He also served on the most recent Dean Search Committee.

 My areas of interest and giftedness: Communications: Even though this is not a current committee, I feel that is of great importance to the Cathedral. And, I have an expertise in this area both on the local and national levels. Information is of paramount importance in the life of the Cathedral. I believe that I can help in this area. Public Relations: I’ve worked with this on the national levels with the American Library Association and American Association of School Librarians; and, on the local levels with schools across the US. I’ve successfully trained groups in procuring support and assistance from their local communities.

 My experience in leadership: In my 22 years as a school librarian, I volunteered locally, state-wide, and nationally with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the American Library Association. I was active on, and chaired, many committees such as on-line class work, volunteer coordination, and professional and leadership development. I am a past board member of AASL. I have also served as board liaison to various committees and well as co-chairing a national conference. Locally, I created and co-founded the Kansas City College Readiness Dialogues, bringing together (for eight years) school, academic, public, and special librarians to discuss and develop one common goal: the success of our students; this grew from a local endeavor to one of national recognition. I am experienced in working one-on-one as well as with large groups. I am a people person!

My vision for GHTC: For the church to be a living, viable presence in the life of Kansas City. I would like it to be seen as a place of hope and continuance; active and dynamic with the love of God.

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