The Reverend Gillian R. Barr


Gillian spent the first 20-some years of her life in Annapolis, Maryland, where she came to love history, old buildings, the water, and small boats. Both of her late parents were teachers, so her love of teaching and learning is genetic. In addition to Annapolis, she lived in Rochester, Minnesota; San Diego, California; and several cities in Virginia before moving to Providence, Rhode Island five years ago. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Virginia Theological Seminary (Anglican Studies). Prior to discerning her call to ordained ministry she worked in history museums, as a lay Director of Christian Education in parishes, and as an assistant manager in public libraries.

Outside of ministry, her interests include travel, history of all sorts, photography, folk music, sports cars, college football, moderate exercise, reading, pets, Harry Potter, stationery and fountain pens. She is currently pet-servant to Roxy-cat, a dilute tortoiseshell. She grew up with dogs, and hopes to adopt a rescue Brittany when the time is right. She is ecstatic about her call to Calvary Church and looks forward to making Stonington her home.

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Betsy Carr, Co-Senior Warden


Betsy moved to Stonington with her family in 1969.  A life-long Episcopalian, she has been attending Calvary Church ever since. Her sons, Revell and Geordie, served as Acolytes and occasionally sang in the choir.  She has been an active volunteer at the church and served as secretary of the vestry for eight years and Senior Warden for one year after serving on the search committee that called Mark Robinson to Calvary.  Again, seven years ago, Betsy served on the search committee that called Alfred Tisdale to Calvary. 

Betsy greatly enjoyed her career of twenty-five years as a professional fund raiser working at Yale, Brown, Connecticut College, The Yale School of Music and finally at Mystic Seaport. She is now retired and volunteers on several local boards including The James Merrill House Committee, The Stonington Historical Society and Music Matters at the LaGrua Center. She loves to travel widely but most of all she loves to visit her sons, Revell and his wife and little boy in Kentucky where he is a professor at the University of Kentucky and Geordie and his wife and family in Sonoma, California where they grow and make wonderful wine at their Bump Wine Cellar. 

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Jennifer Parsons, Co-Senior Warden


Jennifer moved to Stonington in 1995 with her husband Josh. They have three children, Quintin (age 21, a 3rd year St Andrew's), Oliver (age 19, a freshman at College of Charleston) and Charlie (age 17, a junior at St George's School). All three boys were confirmed through Calvary Church, and attended Calvary Nursery School where Jennifer served on the board as Vice President. Jennifer's vestry service includes previously serving as Junior Warden of St John's Church, Fishers Island, NY where she was co-chair of the search committee for their current rector. She has also served on the vestry of Calvary Church under Mark Robinson after which she was Junior Warden.  During her time as Junior Warden at Calvary Church she worked with the interim rector and was on the search committee that called The Rev. Alfred Tisdale. Additionally, Jennifer served on Calvary's music search committee that resulted in Joey Ripka’s engagement. Jennifer has served on the boards of the Fishers Island Yacht Club, Hay Harbor Club and Island People’s Project. 

Jennifer and Josh opened and ran Culinary Capers (now Mystic Market East) from 1995 to 2002. Currently she and Josh co-own Sound Real Estate Services in Mystic, and Jennifer additionally travels to manage financial and pharmaceutical companies’ off-site corporate events.

She most of all enjoys spending time with her family, and in whatever free time is left enjoys sailing competitively

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John Phelps, Junior Warden


Son of an Episcopalian priest, John is a lifelong Episcopalian himself. He and his wife, Rina, and son, Erich, joined Calvary in 2007. John originates from Massachusetts but now lives in Pawcatuck, CT.  John was a member of the search committee which brought Alfred to our parish as well as a member of the vestry from 2010 – 2013. John has been an engineer at Electric Boat in the field of submarine acoustics for over 30 years. In that capacity he has made contributions to over 5 submarine class designs, ensuring that these ships remain undetected. John’s hobbies include playing guitar and composing his own music as well as golf and attending NFL Patriot games where he has been a season ticket holder for over 24 years.

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Mary McAuley, Treasurer


Mary McAuley and her husband, Jim, moved to Mystic 10 years ago from their homes in Manchester, CT and Sturbridge, MA. Both are retired from their careers in Banking and Insurance respectively. They live on Mason’s Island with their two Portuguese Water Dogs, Izzy and Jax. 

Regulars at Calvary Church for the past three years, Mary and Jim have served as Ushers at the 10 o’clock services.  She has also worked with her husband, assisting the hospitality committee, hosting dinner for a Progressive Dinner, and catering meals for two Deanery Picnics, a New Comers Luncheon, a Lenten Luncheon, the WARM Shelter and various Church Receptions. 

Mary’s last job was as a financial consultant to a private company providing investment management and financial advisory services to high net worth individuals. Prior to that, she was a Senior Vice President and the Hartford Regional Manager for Webster Bank’s Wealth Management operation.  She also held various division and risk management positions with BankBoston (10 years) in Hartford and Chase Manhattan Bank (10 years) in New York NY, Austin TX, Boston MA and overseas. Mary is a graduate of Williams College where she earned a BA in Economics.

Jim and Mary have been married for 23 years. Jim has two grown children from a previous marriage and five grandchildren.

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Candy Sanford, Secretary


Candy and Tom Sanfordstarted attending Calvary regularly in 2001 when they moved to Stonington following Tom’s retirement from the Bank of New York. Candy grew up in Stonington, but lived in Bronxville, NY and London while Tom was working. During this time she taught pre-school for 16 years and raised three children.  Since coming to Calvary, Candy has served as chairman of the Outreach Committee and President of the CNS Board. She has taught church school and is presently serving as the Church School Superintendent. She is also a member of the Prayer Group, Handbell Choir and schedules cooks for the WARM Shelter.

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Paul James Leeming


Paul is a resident of Stonington Borough where he lives with his wife Julia, an architect, and children David and Emilia. He grew up in Stonington where he attended Calvary, serving as an acolyte for several years in the 80s and 90s. He attended Deans Mill and Pine Point schools before Choate Rosemary Hall and The University of California at Santa Barbara, where he earned degrees in Economics and English. He is currently an Executive Director of Research at UBS, the Swiss Bank, overseeing the intellectual capital offering for US based clients. He splits his work week between New York City and Stonington. In Stonington, he is currently President of the Board of Directors at La Grua Center and a member of the Board of Governors at the Wadawanuck Club.

Paul is a life-long Episcopalian. He is the grandson of an Episcopal priest and the namesake of the late Paul Moore Jr. former Bishop of New York, part time resident of Stonington, and family friend. Before returning to Stonington as full time residents, Paul and his wife were long time members of the Congregation of St Saviour at the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine in New York, where they were also married in 2010. His parents Pam and David Leeming and sister Juliet Hodge are active members of the Calvary community.

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Susan Ayers


Emory and Susan Ayers became members of Calvary in May of 2012. As Emory’s health declined, life at Calvary took on even deeper meaning and significance. Emory, Susan’s husband of 31 years passed in January of 2014. Susan’s service at Calvary and outreach include Lay Eucharistic Visitor; New London Soup Kitchen; and helping to provide music and hymn-singing for Nursing Homes. Susan received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado/Boulder in 1971; and an M.A. Degree in Education from Wichita State University’s Teacher Corps Program in 1976. Susan served as secretary/treasurer in the consulting firm that Emory and Susan founded; and Susan has experience in running a tax-exempt charitable organization. Susan has lived in the Stonington/Mystic area since 1983. Along with Calvary, Susan loves her family and step-family; playing the flute; swimming, and walking.

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Lori Taylor


Lori Taylor moved with her family to Pawcatuck 14 years ago from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania where she and her husband, Jim, were members of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Yardley. Lori has served Calvary as an Outreach Chair and Vestry member, as well as organizing the Covenant to Care Backpack Program, the Annual Turkey Drive, and serving on the Stewardship Committee. She was also an active volunteer for the West Vine Elementary School and Pawcatuck Middle School PTO, as well as the President of the Stonington Education Fund. She has two daughters, Katie and Jamie, who are both in college in New York. She enjoys boating, reading, and playing tennis.  

Doug Champion


Doug and his wife Stevie have lived in Westerly for 18 years and joined Calvary in 2004.  At Calvary, Doug served for eight months as Interim Director of Christian Education (2004) and as a Vestry member for two years (2005-06).  He then was asked to work with two continuing members (Liz Hall and Barbara Loftus) as a Vestry Subgroup on Structure and Roles (2007).  Doug helped draft a primer to clarify canon-based and bylaw-based roles of the Rector, Vestry, and committees; propose a structure for clustering existing committees into several mission-related coordinating teams; and facilitate a special Vestry planning session to consider, refine, and implement structural changes.  Doug was schooled in adult education and organizational development and was a management consultant for four decades, mostly in the public sector and most significantly to the nation’s governors, while in but during the critical challenges of smoothing transition into and out of office.  Doug recently retired as a sportswriter for The Westerly Sun, and Stevie did likewise after four decades as a freelance copyeditor for the University of North Carolina Press. They and their 23-year-old miniature poodle Sasha have been transitioning this year into their new down-sized home elsewhere in Westerly.  Stevie was co-chair of Calvary’s hospitality committee and continues to co-chair Calvary’s group of prayer shawl makers.  Their three grown children are scattered (New Mexico and Hawaii), as are their four grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren (Virginia and Colorado). Seven canine forever-children await them in heaven.  

Karen McGee


Karen Bonini McGee moved to Stonington in 2013.  She was born and lived in the Midwest most of her life.  Her children and their families encouraged her to move so they could share their lives. The children and grandchildren who brought her to the east have been the light of her life and they visit frequently.  Karen’s professional life was as a nurse midwife in Cincinnati where she started the first private nurse midwifery practice in Ohio and practiced and taught midwifery at the University of Cincinnati for 40 years. She periodically joined a medical team in Haiti to teach midwifery.  It was a life changing experience.  Karen was confirmed a United Methodist and is new to the Episcopal Church.  Her father was Episcopalian and he would be overjoyed about for her recent confirmation in “his” church. Her Grandfather Louis Emilio Bonini was on the Vestry in Appleton, Wisconsin in the late 1800’s.   Calvary Church has enriched her life beyond measure.  She believes that serving on the vestry will be an honor and privilege.  She loves her spiritual groups, sailing, swimming, writing, knitting and reading.


Meg Raftis

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Meg has lived in Stonington Borough for twenty years and began attending Calvary Church about the time that Alfred Tisdale was installed as the new Rector.  She was received into the community on Confirmation Sunday, May 20th, 2012.  Since then Meg’s involvement with Calvary has included Calvary Ringers, Ushering, Shawl Makers, Bible study, the Memory Garden and Frozen Assets. She is currently a member of the board of La Grua Center.  Meg’s interests revolve around music, theater, art, her dog, current events, hospitality, gardening and boating. Her work experiences include being Madeleine L’Engle’s personal assistant and teaching the History of Art to undergraduates at Parson’s School of Design.

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Brenda Williams


Brenda and her husband Bob moved to Stonington in 1994, where they have raised their two children Aaron and Casey (both currently attending college). Brenda began attending Calvary when the children were infants and the family has been fortunate to worship here for 20 years.  The kids were actively involved in Children’s Chapel and volunteered as Acolytes.  Bob served on the Vestry and has volunteered as a cook for the Uganda Chicken BBQ events and Shrove Tuesday pancake suppers.  Brenda has been involved in the Religious Education Program at Calvary for over 15 years, volunteering her time with various age groups during Children Chapel on Sunday mornings.

Brenda began her career as a Respiratory Therapist at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital and currently works in the Research organization at Pfizer Inc, in Groton for over 33 years.  Brenda is a Senior Compliance Manager in Quality Assurance, supporting clinical trials and new drug submissions to the U.S. and Global markets.

Along with enjoying watching her children grow, she loves to travel to Cape Cod to the family beach house, golfing and relaxing by the pool.

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Evelynn Haines Lyons


Evelynn, born and raised in suburban Philadelphia is a life long Episcopalian.  She and husband Doug first visited Stonington on their honeymoon in 1976.  When they moved to Greenwich in 1992, they purchased a summer home in the borough and became part time attendees at Calvary.   Evelynn previously taught art in the public schools in Haddonfield, NJ and worked as a realtor.  After the birth of twins she stayed at home to raise her three children and went back to school to study historic building restoration at Parsons in NYC. The Lyons moved to Stonington full time 12 years ago. Evelynn returned to her real estate career working for Switz.  Retiring a couple of years ago, she remains active as the chair of the Education Committee of the Stonington Historical Society and with volunteer activities at Calvary, the Garden Club and NESS.  Daughter Juliet was married at Calvary six years ago and Alfred officiated at son Alex’s marriage at Weekapaug Chapel just two years ago. With four young grandchildren, Doug and Evelynn frequently travel to Philadelphia and New Orleans.

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Michael (Spike) Lobdell


Spike has been a member of Calvary since 1999.  His family created the Episcopal church in Rumson, New Jersey; so the church has been an important part of his life. Currently he serves on the Finance and Investment Committees. He founded the New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) in 2002 and now serves as its President & CEO. He established NESS with a vision of enabling everyone to get out on the water, learning and having fun, regardless of financial needs.  NESS teaches thousands of students annually, many of whom are on scholarship. He recently received the National Recreation Foundation’s Robert W. Crawford Achievement Prize in 2016, an award that recognizes the individual that has done the most to advance the lives of inner-city youth through recreation. He was also recognized by US Sailing as the Outstanding Organizational Leader of a sailing organization in 2016. Formerly CEO of XL Capital’s non-insurance operations, Spike worked at JP Morgan for 27 years in various senior management capacities. Spike is a past Commodore of the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club where he was one of the Founding Members. Former Trustee of Westminster School (Simsbury CT), where he was Vice Chairman of the Board for 9 years. Spike sails a Hinckley Sou’wester 42.

Diocesan Delegates

Nancy Parker


My father’s family were members of the Episcopal diocese of the City of New York, so I was baptized into the church.  However, my father was an Army officer and we moved constantly, and I was not an active member of the church until he retired and we lived in Garden City, Long Island. In junior high school, I joined the girls’ choir of the Cathedral of the Incarnation and remained active until I graduated from high school. (That’s why my family says the only place I can sing is in church.) For my four years of high school, I was also an officer in the Young People’s Fellowship, the cathedral’s youth group.  I was introduced to the church’s dogma there by three wonderfully educated priests and confirmed at 14.

As an undergraduate at Hollins College, a woman’s college outside Roanoke, VA, I was the denominational coordinator of the Religious Life Association.  This experience, as well as my time with YPF, gave me a chance to be involved in various religious retreats. Most of my work life was in the Daytona Beach area of Florida. I attended St. Mary’s in Daytona and was in the choir there. My daughters were both baptized in Florida and were brought up in the Sunday school of St. Mary’s.  When we moved to Ormond Beach, we attended Holy Child where both of my daughters were acolytes and I was a lector as well as a member of the choir. Some time after we moved to Mystic, I met Father Alfred and began attending Calvary Church.  My husband and I are both currently members and I serve as a minister of communion, lector or intercessor as needed, and have volunteered with Kairos Prison Ministry for three years.  My scholarly involvement also includes several years of teaching an introductory comparative religions course at my place of work, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  I am currently a Professor Emerita from Embry Riddle. I became interested in the field of comparative religions when my daughter majored in Religious Studies at Brown. When she spent her junior year abroad, I joined her in Nepal and was able to visit Buddhist sites and meet lamas and Rinpoches.  We also attended teachings and two Kalachakras in the United States where we heard the Dali Lama teach.


Kate Robins


Kate Robins moved to Mystic from Boston in 1994 with her husband, Tom Verde, and son, Sam. A life-long Episcopalian (St. Paul's in Riverside, Trinity Church in Boston), she joined Calvary as the first order of business. Her daughter, Lulu, was born two years later and baptized at Calvary by the Rev. Mark Robinson. Kate has taught Sunday school, co-directed the pageant, sung with the choir, and coordinated her Calvary activities with those of Lulu who sang in the treble choir under Simon Holt and provided child care in later years. She is currently on the Calvary discernment committee. Kate is a public relations consultant. She has served many boards of non-profit organizations in New London and is currently active with The Writer's Block, Ink, which transforms the lives of youth through the arts. She enjoys hiking on Sunday afternoons on the vast network of trails in the Pawcatuck watershed.