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Below are the Vestry candidates who will be voted on at the Annual Meeting, Sunday, January 28, in Founders’ Hall, following the 10:15 a.m. service. Four (4) candidates will be elected to the Vestry, Class of 2021. Those elected will serve three-year terms, through the Annual Meeting of 2021. Candidates for Vestry must be regular at worship and giving members of record. Current Vestry members eligible for election to a second term are indicated with * in the bios listed below.

Phyllis Lautz Biddle

I’ve been a member of the Cathedral for 36 years. During these years I have participated or participate now in a number of activities, including 20 years in the choir, the Vestry, the Cathedral Bookstore, Healing Ministry, the Eucharistic Ministry, the Altar Guild, the Lector Ministry and Stephen Ministry.

Outside of the Cathedral, I have been a board member on a former Mental Health Association and President of the District Board of FTD. I have volunteered at St. Luke’s Hospital.

My vision for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral: I continue to view our parish as a vital external presence in the life of Kansas City and will work to continue its internal presence for our parishioners by encouraging participation and communication in and between both into our future.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Listener, Caring, Willing to be a worker for such a parish’s future.

I want to serve on the Vestry during this time of transition because I want to be a part of the transition into our future.


Bob Carlson*

I have been a member of the Cathedral for 10 years. At the Cathedral, I serve as a member of the Vestry, Finance Committee and co-chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee. I also serve in the Community Outreach and Healing ministries.

As Past President of 3 community service organizations and 3 additional not-for-profit organizations, I have led officers and members to prioritize and complete projects.

My vision is for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral to grow its membership and grow in community service. As the Cathedral of the Diocese of Western Missouri, I envision the church to be a leader of all churches in the Diocese.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Gets Things Done.

I want to serve on the Vestry during this time of transition to represent the congregation and to support the Interim Dean in her time of stewardship.


Paula Henderson Connors

I have been a member of the Cathedral for 26 years. During this time, I have served in various ministries, including Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, past Vestry member, Dean’s Search Committees, Bookstore manager, Youth Group volunteer and Newcomer’s Committee.

I have served in leadership roles in various community and civic organizations. For the Cathedral, I have served on two Dean’s Search committees—as a member and a committee co-chair. Professionally, I work for a Software Engineering and Technology firm as a Project Manager, managing multiple project teams, schedules and budgets. In addition, I am a member of the university recruiting team and coordinator of the Harvester’s Volunteer program for our Kansas City office.

Over 26 years as a member of this congregation, the Cathedral has provided my family what we needed, both spiritually and from a social outreach perspective. It is my hope and goal that others will be drawn to the Cathedral because they are able to find things that speak to them as well. Our Cathedral should be known as an inviting, engaging, joyful community that seeks to serve others and embraces all people. In addition to our traditional Sunday Worship services, we should consider developing new and creative ideas to grow our Cathedral family and increase our social outreach giving. These ideas may include expanding our worship life to include a wider array of service types that reach out to those that may be searching for a community and church home. The Cathedral should be a beacon for those looking for more. We, as a Cathedral church in the heart of downtown Kansas City, are uniquely positioned to do more for our community. There is no better time than the present.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Logical, Focused, Compassionate.

As we move toward this pivotal time in the life of our church, it is most important for all of us to be good listeners—to the Holy Spirit and to each other. If elected to the Vestry, it is my intent to serve as a representative of our congregation—actively listening to the hopes, dreams and concerns of our parish family and be a voice for our congregation as a whole. As a church in the heart of Kansas City, the Cathedral has much to consider in the days, weeks and months ahead. May we all listen with thoughtful, kind and loving hearts.


Sally C. Livengood

I have been attending the Cathedral since 1980 and was confirmed as a member at the Easter Vigil in 1987 at St. Mary’s after the wall fell. Currently, I sing with the Trinity Choir and serve as a Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Eucharistic Visitor and Lector. Previously, I started the St. Mary’s Food Pantry deliveries, proofreading, Social Action Committee, Chair of Every Member Canvass, Dean’s Cup Classic, First Fridays gatherings, Handbell Choir, Stewardship Committee, Delegate and alternate to Diocesan Conventions several times, Vestry, Founders’ Hall noon-time concerts with lunch worker.

Outside of the Cathedral, I have twice served as Dean of the 200-member Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and served several years as the chapter treasurer, chaired a 10-state AGO Convention, served as the Missouri State Convener for AGO, served as President of the Association of Disciple Musicians National Planning Council, taught classes to physicians and co-workers at my work place. Serve as Liturgist and Hymn Leader at Kingswood Sunday Vesper services and secretary of the Worship committee. Put on MU Phi concerts monthly at Kingswood. Each of these duties required much planning, organizing and working to motivate others. Verbal communication and negotiating skills were mandatory. Sometimes finding other ways to look at a situation.

My vision for the Cathedral is that more and more people will make our Cathedral their home, and share in the enthusiasm that is here. That more and more people will acknowledge that All Things Come from God, and will find it in their hearts to return a tithe to the Lord’s work in this place. That more and more folks will volunteer to work so that we will have to find more work to be done. That our children and youth will love our church the way we do. That we will have sufficient income and staff to lead the leaders, and we will have maximum care for and renewal of our physical plant. I think that with fine liturgy, excellent music, motivating preaching, promoting justice and peace, and caring for each other and our neighbors, we can achieve these goals. I think we have a wonderful spirit at GHTC.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Organized, Outgoing and Helpfully Caring.

I would like to serve in this ministry during this transition process because it will be a critical job for the Vestry to set up the search for an excellent new Dean for our cathedral. This duty is both scary and exhilarating. I think I could be a good part of the team to sort through all the materials and help research solutions to any problems.

Candace McDowell

I have been a member of the Cathedral for 51 years. During this time, I have been involved in many ministries. The Altar Guild is dearest to my heart. I have been a member since I graduated from college in 1966 and have served as Directress/Sacristan and Wedding Coordinator. I have served on the Stewardship, Finance and Budget Committees and on the Vestry. I have co-chaired the Every Member Canvass and Chaired and co-chaired Transition Committees. Currently, in addition to the Altar Guild, I volunteer in the office from time to time and am a member of the Women’s Bible Study group. I have recently become a Eucharistic Visitor.

Most of my job and volunteer related roles have reflected that I am left-brained. After college I was a computer programmer at BMA for three years until 1969 when I became a stay-at-home mom and community volunteer. From 1984 until 1993 I was employed by the Trust Department of Commerce Bank as the Program Assistant/Program Officer of the Oppenstein Brothers Foundation. My leadership roles have included Member of the Boards of St. Paul’s School and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, VP of Finance of the Junior League of KCMO, Co-Chairman of the 1997-1998 Transition Committee for the Diocese of WestMo, and Member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Missouri.

My vision for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral is that others may find here what I have found. A place of beginnings and endings. A place to pray, to worship, to sing and celebrate. A place for giving and for receiving, for learning and being energized, for fellowship and service. A place of encounter, promise, and renewal.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Joyful, Progressive, Steadfast.

I want to serve on the Vestry during this time of transition for the same reason that I serve or have served the Cathedral through the Altar Guild, Stewardship Committee, Vestry, etc. over the years. To use the gifts I have been given to grow, to learn, to love back. For many years I have been an advocate for reducing the size of the Cathedral’s Vestry. The Vestry class that is elected in 2018 will be the first to serve a complete term on a Vestry of twelve members. This will be new ground for the Vestry … or at least new ground in this place during our lifetimes. For better or for worse, going through a transition in clergy leadership is not new ground in this place during most of our lifetimes. Two coinciding and significant transitions will be very demanding. I want to use my experience, discretionary time and enthusiasm to continue to give back to the church I love.


Ron Michka

I have been a member of the Cathedral since 1996 (21 years). Over these years, I have been involved with the Kansas City Community Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, shut-in visits, developed various publications (including the design and production of Randal Loy’s book, The Glorious Masterworks of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, two editions) and served on the Budget Committee during a challenging economic period.

I am the founder and principal of a strategic communications agency, The Creative Department, Inc. Educated as a graphic designer, I am a strategic problem solver who works to understand and help clients overcome challenges and accomplish their business objectives. For the past 24 years, I have been responsible for making or overseeing all day-to-day business decisions regarding benefits, HR, finance and budgeting. I handle new business and daily contact with clients and vendors and manage budgets, supervise, and motivate employees. I have also served as an adjunct professor, teaching classes at the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Art Institute.

My vision for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral is for a strong Cathedral church. Develop a stronger, more welcoming environment in our Diocese. Connect with other Christian churches and government leadership in our city. Honor the past and embrace the future in defining who we are and how we move into the future. Better utilize our location, resources and facilities. Balance our internal worship with our outward ministry.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Listener, Creative, Just.

As I see it, there is change happening all around us. Besides the transition in our church, there are changes happening in our city, our country and the world that are altering people’s attitudes and behaviors.

How will we respond to these changes—as Christians, as a church, as the Cathedral church in our diocese, and as a part of the Episcopal church? We have many decisions ahead of us. I want to embrace the future and all of its opportunities, while honoring and respecting our history and traditions.

Why me? Why now? I see the opportunity. I feel the energy. I think it’s my time to serve and I want to join the other vestry members and clergy and respond to our changing world.


Chris Morgan*

I have been a member of the Cathedral since February 1973. During this time, I have served on the Vestry, co-chair of the Nave Restoration and as an usher, lay reader and Eucharistic minister. Most recently, I was the chair of the Strategic Plan Newcomer Committee. Outside of the Cathedral, I have served as Board President Brookside Charter School; Board President St. Paul’s Day School; Board member and treasurer Bishop Spencer Place; Captain US Navy (Ret) both Line and Judge Advocate General, including senior naval legal counsel for 5 state area known as REDCOM 18; Member Retirement Board Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; board member Naval Reserve Association and Counsel; Private law practice since 1970, member Kansas and Missouri Bar and US Military Court admission. Retired after 25 years Kansas City Life Insurance Company in numerous legal and marketing executive positions.

My vision for the Cathedral is to grow the membership. We are an aging and declining congregation. I will continue to work to implement, insofar as possible, the Strategic Plan that relates to marketing the Cathedral to increase membership. This is a long term, difficult project that will take years and financial resources.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Loyalty, Persistence and Curiosity.

I want to serve on the Vestry during this time of transition because as part of the Strategic Planning process I feel obligated to continue implementing and shaping the plan. I believe setting smart priorities in line with the Strategic Plan will greatly help the recruiting of a new and outstanding Dean.


Christine Morrison*

I have been a member of the Cathedral for 14 Years. During this time, I have served with Children’s Chapel, Vestry, Eucharistic Minister, BackSnack Driver, Sheffield Place Dinner Maker, Youth Ministry Meal Maker, etc. I started the parking program here at the Cathedral, and I help with the Social Action group in instituting ministries. I currently am the Northwest Metro Deanery Vice Chair—the first in the position. Last but not least, I have been the stage manager of the Nativity with Mesner Puppet Theatre for three years.

My vision for the Cathedral is simple. Jesus asks us to do two things. Love the Lord, your God and love your neighbor as yourself. Using these as our guide, how can we at the Cathedral help our neighbors? How can we serve our community? How can we be the Episcopal Church in our community? Our church is a beacon in the downtown community, but how do we shine? I would love to see more volunteering in the ministries that ‘send us out to do the work he has given us to do’. Love our neighbors, and not just in word, but in deed.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Listening, Understanding and Connecting.

I want to serve on the Vestry during this time of transition because serving on the Vestry is a ministry unlike any other. While many parishioners serve in ministry, the Vestry is unique in that it helps shape the leadership of the Cathedral. This will be important when we begin our search for a new Dean. As they do their important work, and as a Dean begins his or her time with us, the Vestry will provide important continuity by making decisions on day-to-day issues. It will be especially important to find consensus in areas where there is division and develop answers that everyone can consider a win.

David Pierson*

I typically attend the hard to oversleep, “eye of the needle” 5 p.m. service. I have been a member of the Cathedral since 2002. I have had the privilege of serving on the Vestry for the past three years. It has at times involved struggles, but it has also been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the many amazing ministries and people of our Cathedral. I am a member of the Cathedral’s Interfaith and Ecumenical Committee and attempt to volunteer and support other ministries in small ways. It was an honor to be a Cathedral delegate to the 2016 and 2017 Diocese Conventions and the Deanery. I recently joined the Diocese Finance Advisory Committee.

Outside the Cathedral, I worked with hotels for most of my adult life, including 20 years as a Realtor selling hotels and motels and other destination commercial real estate throughout Kansas and Missouri. I attended KU and hold certification through the Hotel School of Cornell University.

I serve on the Board of Directors of the Whatsoever Community Center, which serves the Sheffield industrial area of the City. The center offers after school programs, summer camp, ESL and GED classes, a preschool and a boxing program. I also served on the Board of Directors of Associated Youth Services which provided juvenile justice foster care throughout Kansas, as well as court ordered juvenile alcohol and drug abuse day treatment programs in Wyandotte County. Prior to my affiliation with AYS, I was an active volunteer with Jackson County’s Children’s Division, KVC’s foster care program, and the Voices of the Century program for “aging out” foster children affiliated with LINC. I am an embarrassingly proud volunteer at el Hogar de Amor y Esperanza in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and in a very small way with the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. El Hogar helps children from extreme poverty by providing a safe home, an education, and ultimately a future in a beautiful country struggling to overcome a history of hurricanes, political instability, and a reputation for violence and crime.

I want to serve on the Vestry during this time of transition because I feel that, while the selection of a new Dean is important, we are NOT called to take a hiatus from being the Church at this given time and place—an ongoing, moving mission. Membership and Vestry have invested greatly of themselves in developing a strategic plan which we should continue to work to implement. I also think the Vestry will need to work to provide added care for our membership and staff during this period of change. Finally, we will need to work to build more financial commitment to the care of the Church from ourselves.


Jonathan Sternberg

I have been a member of the Cathedral since 2006. I have served as a lector and intercessor since 2014, including several times reading the Passion on Palm Sunday. Additionally, since 2016, with Canon Dorn’s guidance I have been writing Prayers of the People for Sunday services. I find great joy in both of these ministries.

Outside of the Cathedral, I have run my own appellate law practice for ten years, which requires me to lead my employees and, more often, teams of lawyers who hire me, and which I have grown from a solo practice I began right out of law school into a considerable enterprise. In terms of leadership in volunteering, I have served on governing boards for the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) and the Kansas City Club, and have chaired committees related to my practice area for both KCMBA and the Missouri Bar, in which I spearheaded and organized educational and service activities.

For my vision of the Cathedral, I have reviewed the GHTC2022 strategic plan and agree with its aims. But I believe “numbers are key,” and we need to do all we can to grow our membership. Given the number of people, especially young people, who are moving into downtown Kansas City, my vision is to attract some of them to broaden and nourish our cathedral home in the heart of the city.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Determination, Constancy and Imagination.

Especially during this time of transition, familiarity with the Cathedral’s native history and culture are important. I like to think that, as a member for more than ten years, I understand and appreciate these aspects. While growing and changing to meet new needs and new possibilities also is important, and the transition period can aid that by opening us up to them, constancy also is a virtue. I want to help find that balance between these equally crucial aims.


Ryan Thomas

I have been a member of the Cathedral for 10 years. I serve in the usher ministry as an usher and lead usher.

From a volunteering standpoint, I have trained young men in my fraternity’s mentoring program, Guide Right (Kappa Alpha Psi). I have also volunteered at Harvesters, filling grocery bags and sorting food items. From a job-related perspective, I have 8+ years of people leadership experience in the position of District Manager at Coca-Cola from 2005-2013. I currently sit on BP’s National Field Sales Forum representing my Division in an effort to share ideas, best practices, and develop field sales strategies to enhance our market share across the country.

My vision is for Grace and Holy Trinity to grow in congregation size and to continue to serve our Kansas City and Episcopal community.

The three words that best characterize my strengths are Leadership, Team-Oriented and Compassionate.

I would like to serve in this ministry during this transition process because I am interested in the direction the Church will be going in over the next few years. With a young family, I want to be part of the dynamic transition process and hopefully provide a different point of view.