2023 Vestry Candidates

Lesley Watson  has spent 20 years in corporate Learning & Development across advertising, marketing, PR, and branding industries. She specializes in training topics that focus on communication and relationships: leadership, writing and public speaking, creativity, management skills, DiSC, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Social Styles, and others.

She grew up in the Denver area and is a graduate of Cherry Creek High School and holds a BA and MA in music performance and pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1995, Lesley moved to New York City, to pursue a career as an opera singer, where she lived until 2021 when she returned to Denver.

Lesley served on the vestry of the First Reformed Episcopal Church, New York City, for one term and as senior warden for one term. Her time with FREC included serving as a trustee for the launch of St. Alban’s Christian School, grades pre-K through five.

In her spare time, Lesley is mommy to Vivienne, a toy, red poodle. Lesley is also an avid reader, knitter, and cross-stitcher. She is a foodie and a huge fan of Marvel movies.

VISION: I am humbled to have been asked to stand for the vestry at St. Andrew’s. When I moved back to Denver in 2021 and was searching for a new church community, the choice was very clear. The community at St. Andrew’s is welcoming and friendly; I felt at ease. I am proud to be a part of a church where every person and every question is accepted. I would be honored to serve as a leader in our church and blessed to use my gifts to lift up our community.

 

Bobbie Kite In 2016, walked through the doors of St. Andrew’s for the first time.  For a period prior to that, I was seeking a religious community that I could be my full self within.  After researching a bit online, I discovered that the Episcopalian faith was exactly what I was looking for. St. Andrew’s embraced my wife Casey and I by affirming our queerness rather than just tolerating it. We immediately started attending services and fell in love with the community of St. Andrew’s. After a while of attending, it became apparent that I had some personal things I needed to work through if I was going to make a commitment to this community. By the end of 2021, I was able to resolve the challenges and make a commitment to return to this beloved community.

I dove in feet first with eyes wide open in 2022 and made a commitment. I’ve had the pleasure of serving on several committees including the Neighborhood Task Force, the Website Task Force, and the Financial Audit Committee.  I also began serving as an Acolyte and Lay Eucharist Visitor (LEV).

My career background is in public health, higher education, and data analytics. I currently serve as a Teaching Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Denver. Casey and I have been in Denver now for 7 years and are both originally from Texas. We have an ole baby lady chihuahua named Lady that is such a joy in our lives.

I take great comfort in knowing that my contributions to the St. Andrew’s community are part of something much bigger than I could ever imagine. My hope is to help make sure the St. Andrew’s experience exists for those who walk through the doors now and for many years to come.

I am happy to serve this community in whatever capacities are needed.

 

Jennifer Barker has been a member at St. Andrew’s for over 20 years.  She and her husband Christopher Bates were married by Rev. Connie, their 3 children (Fiona, Vivian and Elena) were baptized in the church.  I have served at St. Andrew’s in several different ways.  In the early 2000’s, I served on the Vestry.  I have served on the Endowment Committee.  I have also worked to bring the voices of families, children and youth to the church.  I have participated in the Sacred Ground program, examining the impact of racism on society and our own church.  In my life outside of church, I am a parent to 3 children, two of whom are in high school and the third is in college (!), I am a wife to my husband, and I am a pediatric endocrinologist practicing at Children’s Colorado and am active in the education of medical students and pediatric endocrine fellows.  I align strongly with the vision of St. Andrew’s to be an inclusive community, serving those who are in need, and being a voice for justice.  If elected, I would keep our mission in the forefront of my mind as we consider the important decisions facing the vestry.

Christen Epstein I have been a member of Saint Andrew’s since 2012, shortly after moving to Colorado from Georgia. My partner, David, is Jewish and we are raising our two children (Ayala age 11 and Lucas age 8) in an interfaith home. I have previously participated on the Mission and Outreach Committee, and I am currently a member of the Youth Ministry Task Force. I am particularly passionate about serving our local and international friends and neighbors, along with fostering growth for our children and youth ministries.

 

Duane Claassen I am honored to be asked to stand for election to the vestry at St. Andrew’s. It is not a position I seek but if elected I will do my best to use my gifts for the good of our parish, trusting that God is deeply involved in motivating our choices as we seek God’s guidance.

In contrast to some in my position I am not a cradle Episcopalian. The faith community of my early formation was Mennonite, followed by Plymouth Brethren during my adolescence and early adulthood.
The Bible had a prominent place among us and its interpretation tended to be more literal. Following Jesus, which I embraced as a young child, meant striving to be guided by a biblical perspective in all of my life. I tried to do that. There are significant values and perspectives from that time by which I have sought to be guided throughout my life.

Life happens with its ups and downs. The perspectives of those early years have grown and changed, sometimes almost imperceptibly, at other times through crises that seemed to shatter our very foundations. Early beliefs have not been so much replaced as morphed to include a much deeper sense of mystery and less certainty, but maybe more faith. A 51 year marriage to the love of my life, Marjanne, a family with three adult children and six grandchildren, participation in several local churches of different denominations, and a professional life as a family physician have taught me that it’s all about grace. We are earthen vessels who by God’s grace can be used to further the kingdom.

St. Andrew’s has been our spiritual home for the past 17 years. It has been a source of love, fellowship, truth, beauty, and opportunities to serve. I sing in the choir and have helped with the lawn and gardens, kid’s music, and in the Community of Caring. Strengths that I bring to the vestry if elected are thoughtfulness, compassion, sensitivity, and the capacity to view issues from multiple perspectives. Based on those perceived strengths, you can guess my weaknesses.

 

 

We will be re-electing Shawn Nowlan as senior warden, for the second of three one-year terms, and Lisa Sisneros as junior warden, for the third of three one-year terms.