Covenant deacons ensure that members of our church family receive the care, support and encouragement needed for facing life’s challenges. a deacon, as defined in scripture, is a person of sympathy, witness and service in the example of Jesus Christ. Deacons minister to those in need, to the sick, to the friendless and to anyone who may be in distress, both within and beyond the community of faith. Deacons provide congregational care to enable people to continue to grow in Christ and to reach out with Christ’s love in Austin and around the world.
Our deacons recognize significant celebratory milestones in the lives of our congregants as well. They serve our members by celebrating births, graduations and momentous anniversaries. For more information, contact Brent Stover, deacon moderator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julia Alejandre has been a Covenant member since 2000. She and her husband Mateo have two children. Julia serves as PW outreach coordinator and has previously served on the strategic planning committee and as an usher, and helped coordinate the contemporary service. Julia, who was an elder at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Houston, works at the Department of State Health Services as a Project Manager for high consequence infectious diseases.
Leslie Bagby has been a Covenant member since 1990. She is married to Gaines Bagby. They met in the church choir and have three grown children. Leslie sings in the Sanctuary Choir. She has served as a deacon, on the Pastor Nominating Committee and was a D-group leader. She attends Lamplighters, and has been on nine short-term mission trips and traveled to Cuba. Leslie, a registered dietitian, works as a consultant.
Lynn Brown joined Covenant in 2015; her involvement with Covenant began in 2010 when she attended Career Transitions. In 2012, when looking for a church that provided a sense of community, she came back to Covenant. Lynn has three children and is the director of real estate accounting with a company focusing on residential and multi-family developments, along with other natural land resources. She enjoys reading, cooking and traveling, and volunteering with CASA.
Don G. Davis
Don G. Davis, a Covenant member since 1972, was married Avis for nearly 42 years. He has three children and two granddaughters, and worked as a professor of library history (now emeritus) at University of Texas for 35 years. His service to Covenant includes deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher, small group leader and hospital visitor. He currently leads the Service of Morning Prayer on Wednesdays. He is a certified lay pastor in Mission Presbytery since 2004. Don resides at Westminster Manor and serves as liaison/lay pastor to Westminster.
Karen Ellis and her late husband Orm moved to Austin in 1983 and were members of Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church. Now living in Northwest Hills, Karen joined Covenant, where one of her two daughters and grandkids are members. She participates in Lamplighters. Karen’s career in public relations and publishing spanned several decades. She enjoys reading and classical music, serving as an Austin Women’s Symphony League board member and Long Center volunteer.
Jason Florey is married to Christi. They have two children and officially joined Covenant in 2014. Jason attends Downtown Men’s Bible Study, and has helped with children’s Sunday school and Upward Basketball. Jason, a certified financial planner, enjoys helping coach his son’s sports teams, as well as playing golf and watching Longhorn sports.
Karen Jones has been part of the Covenant community since fall 2004 when she started working with Covenant youth as a D-group leader and has been involved with D-Now weekends, retreats, summer camp, and in youth staff search committees. Karen has also participated in IHN, Shaped to Serve, women’s small groups and most recently the Refugee Welcome Team. Karen married Lance at Covenant in fall 2013, and moved to Miami for two years. Karen’s career background is in higher education.
Gina Lento and her two children have been attending Covenant since 2011, and members since 2014. Gina, her husband Liam Shannon (partial to his Catholic upbringing) and the kids moved to Austin from New Zealand, where Gina was New Zealand’s Consul General Designate to New York. Gina has numerous degrees in biochemistry and related studies and now serves as VP of Operations at Lung Therapeutics. She is a Sunday school teacher and a Prayer Shawl Ministry knitter. In her spare time, Gina is a specialist science reader, recording audio books for the blind and visually impaired from her home recording studio.
Sarah McCracken has been a Covenant member for about a decade, joining before marrying long-time member Brewster McCracken. Through their three children, Sarah has engaged in the Covenant community through Sunday school and children’s choir program. She is the Director of Programming at the LBJ Presidential Library, where she manages membership programs and public programming. Sarah loves college baseball, baking, pilates and reading.
John McFarlane and his wife Suzanne have been members at Covenant since 1976, the same year that he began practicing as an otolaryngology specialist. John, who sings barbershop harmony, was instrumental in designing and procuring the sanctuary pipe organ. John has served as an elder, on the Fellowship and Worship Committees, and has participated in eight medical mission and church planting trips to Zambia. A choir member since 1976, John organized the GraceNotes with seven other choir members in 1993.
Juan Medrano and wife Benita joined Covenant in 2011. Juan is having “a great time” serving as an usher. He also enjoys helping with VBS. Juan and Benita have three children and five grandchildren. After serving in the military and working in construction, Juan retired at the in 2008 and has devoted his time to enjoying his grandchildren. Juan has a model train collection that nobody touches except, of course, his grandchildren.
Longtime Covenant member Sarah Ott is serving her second term as a deacon at Covenant. Sarah is the director of wholesale major accounts at Kendra Scott. She has been married for more than 35 years. She and her husband have one son and two grandchildren. Her greatest joy is spending time with her family and sweet babies.
Jennifer Palm joined Covenant about nearly 20 years ago; she and her husband, Ryan, were married here in 1999. Jennifer has four daughters and one grandson. Jennifer was a paralegal for 10 years before becoming a lease administrator for a national movie theatre chain. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom. Jennifer has either taught or been a shepherd for the daughters’ Sunday school classes for 10 years and counsels each summer at a faith-based camp in New Braunfels.
Monique Penner and her family have been a part of Covenant since 2012 and members since 2015. She loves helping with Covenant’s children’s ministry and missions for the homeless in any way she can in order to help the community and give back. She and her husband Brian have been married for a2 years and have three sweet and crazy boys. Monique is the owner of Posh Interiors and is a “Spartan Trifecta Racer,” a competitive obstacle course racer.
Bob Peterson, a Covenant member for nearly 50 years, is married to Elaine. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Bob has served as an elder, deacon moderator, Stephen Minister, grief program facilitator, VISIONS trip chair and hospital visitation team member. He’s been a small group leader, children’s Sunday school teacher, and STAND mentor; he has chaired the Mission Committee and taken mission trips to Senegal and Cuba. Bob, retired from engineering and marketing, has served Meals-On-Wheels for 20 years.
Deborah Robertson and her husband Eric joined Covenant nearly 20 years ago. Together with their daughter Alex, who grew up in the church, the family participated in several youth activities, weekend gatherings and mission trips (Zambia a definite favorite). Deborah enjoys working “behind the scenes” for VBS and teaching Little Lambs. Her greatest joy in serving involves music, food and people, serving on the worship team and Stephen’s Ministry, mentoring teens for STAND, and participating in AGAPE Sunday school class, Presbyterian Women and Lamplighters. She, Eric and Sara Singleton started the Marriage Course.
Jen Russell and her husband Ryan have been Covenant members since 2014. They have three kids. Jen participates in Lamplighters and serves in children’s ministry. Jen taught elementary and junior high school for five years, and has a master’s in Theology. Jen has taught at-risk children in L.A., worked for a Refugee Agency in Atlanta, and walked alongside women recovering from lives of prostitution and drug abuse in a Christian recovery program.
Amy Sint and her husband Thaw have been attending Covenant since 2012. They have one son. Amy attends Lamplighters, serves on the Day of Service planning team and the visitors and new member committee. She participates in MoMs Group and Midweek Connect as often as she can. Trained as a lawyer, Amy now works in the legal industry as a recruiter. Amy worked in South Africa for two years, caring for orphaned and abandoned children.
Allison Small and her husband Clint joined Covenant in July 2007. They have two children. Allison is an independent communications consultant. She has taught Sunday school for several years. She was an All-American Division III college basketball player. Clint and Allison are very involved with the Seton Hospital System. She is also on the board of Trojans Pop Warner and the Northwest Austin Youth Basketball Association.
Haden Spencer and her husband John joined Covenant in 2014 after years of attending as visitors. Haden has participated in Lamplighters for six years and this year is a co-leader for a Lamplighters small group. She also serves on the new member and visitor committee, and enjoys helping with IHN, Shaped to Serve and Advent Event. John and Haden have two kids. Chocolate chip cookies are almost always in the cookie jar. Haden loves to share them with friends and neighbors.
Monroe Talley began attending Men in the Word in 2011, and became a church member in 2014. He’s been to Cuba and Zambia and says “it has been his delight to work and play within the church in everything from Men in Transition to ushering to Upward Basketball.” Monroe loves most outside activities, particularly things with wheels and motors. He also loves music and is an avid listener. Monroe and his late wife Ursula have one daughter.
Beth Voorhees has worn many hats since joining Covenant with her husband Fred in 1982; serving as a deacon is her favorite. While raising three children, Beth was involved with children’s Sunday school, VBS and youth group. She has also enjoyed being part of Lamplighters, the Welcome Team and the Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC). Beth is a retired dental hygienist. She and Fred have gone on dental mission trips to Mexico, and volunteered at the Manos de Cristo dental clinic.
Diane West has been a member of Covenant since 2014. She is a member of the hospital visitation team and Sarah-Elizabeth PW Circle, and is a mentor for a seventh grade student at Webb Middle School. Diane has two adult children. Since retiring as an internal medicine/emergency medicine physician in 2014, Diane enjoys doing volunteer work with the Travis County Medical Society providing free athletic physical exams for AISD students.
Rhonda Brink-Green and her husband, Bob Green, have been Covenant members for more than 35 years and have three grown children. Rhonda, a trust and estate attorney, has served Covenant through children’s activities, missions trips, women’s retreats, as a deacon and on the Foundation Board.
Diane Davis and her husband, Don, have been members for 30 years. Diane has taught Sunday school, served on committees, and been a youth confirmation mentor, a deacon and a Lamplighters leader. She has helped with the youth choirs and has served on the Senior Pastor Nominating team. She and Don have three daughters.
Sue DiCristofaro and her husband, Al, have been members of Covenant for more than 10 years. This is her second term as a deacon. She has served as a Sunday morning greeter and helped with IHN. Sue and Al have two daughters. Sue has been in the insurance business for more than 40 years.
Judy Gunnels became a Covenant member in 2012. Judy has participated in Lamplighters Bible study. She chairs the VISIONS Travel Committee and attends many VISIONS activities. She also volunteers in our preschool where her granddaughter participates.
Laura Hargrave and her husband, Rodney, joined Covenant in 2003. Laura has served as a Sunday school teacher, VBS helper, has participated in Lamplighters and is on the PW Committee as Missions Coordinator. She was first installed as a deacon in 2009. Laura and Rodney have two teenagers.
Christy Heimsath and her husband, Charles, have been Covenant members for about eight years. Christy is part of the Advent “Hanging of the Green” ministry team. She and Charles, strong advocates of suicide education, own their own research firm, and she and her sister own a small cookie company.
Margaret Hobgood and her husband, George, have been Covenant members for more 40 years. Margaret has served as a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, in PW circles and Lamplighters Bible study. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. She and her daughter have an interior and exterior design business.
Marsha LeGrand has been a member at Covenant for 10 years. She has participated in Lamplighters, Stephen Ministry, cooking for homeless youth, medical mission trips to Honduras, Nicaragua and Zambia, and has previously served as a deacon. Martha, a proud mom of three, is a counselor with a private practice.
Lori Magruder and her husband, Tom, joined Covenant in 2000 and again in 2007 after spending three years in Baltimore. They have three children. Lori, who has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, is a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin Applied Research Laboratories. She played with Pro-Musica Handbell Choir and teaches Sunday school.
Laura Marra and her husband, Nick, joined Covenant in 2014. They are guardians of two teenage cousins. Laura and Nick helped start Covenant’s 20/30’s group. Laura is involved with Street Youth Ministry and traveled to Belize for the Spring Break Mission Trip. She is the senior research coordinator at the UT Child and Family Research Institute.
Dave Maxwell has been a member of Covenant since 1989. In 2005, he became a very active member, joining Men in Transition. He co-leads the Emotional and Spiritual Fitness class and sings in the Sanctuary Choir. Dave met his wife, Karen, at Covenant in 2006. Between them, they have three daughters.
Karen Maxwell joined Covenant in 1997 and has served in children and youth ministries. She’s been involved in the Manos de Cristo back-to-school event, Lamplighters and served as an IHN host. She traveled to Cuba in 2013 and recently joined Covenant’s Mission Committee. Karen is Marketing Director for AECOM.
Elizabeth McBride, who joined Covenant in 2013, is a member of a Wednesday night small group “parents of elementary-aged children.” She and husband, Brandon, have three children and teach Sunday school. She is a copywriter and account executive at Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing.
Susie McCaleb and her husband, Bill, have been members of Covenant for more than 40 years! They feel blessed to have their two grown daughters and their families as members. Susie has taught Sunday school, greeted on the patio, led Lamplighter groups, and participated on the Cuba mission team. This is her third term as a deacon.
Emily McGinnis has been a Covenant member since 2006. This is her second term as a deacon. She serves on the Presbyterian Women’s coordinating team, on the Children and Preteen Ministries committee, and teaches Sunday school. She and her husband, David, have two children.
Marta Meyer is happy to be a deacon again. At Covenant, she is involved in Lamplighters, the Kairos class, is one of the “puzzle people” at Senior Activities Day and serves as the Friday night host for IHN. Marta and husband, Charlie, love coming to the 8:15 Sunday service.
James (Jim) Palmer and his wife, Annette, have been part of the Covenant community for 25 years. They have enjoyed participating in the children’s ministry, in various Bible studies and most recently serving homeless youth through Daily Bread. Jim has been a computer software developer since before it was fashionable.
Alice Sessi and her husband, Tony, joined Covenant in 1982. She immediately started working with the children’s choirs, first accompanying them and later directing them. She just retired after 32 years! The mother of three, Alice currently takes tap dancing lessons!
Bill Short and his wife, Carol, have been Covenant members since 2013. He has participated in the Men’s Downtown Bible Study, the Daily Bread program with Street Youth Ministry, and has been a member of the Advent Devotional Committee and the Intercessory Prayer Team. After marrying Carol in 2012, Bill inherited three children and eight grandchildren.
Richard Swallow started coming to Covenant after he retired from UT’s School of Architecture, and became a member in 2013. Richard has four children and nine grandchildren. Daughter, Susan Ashton, and her family are Covenant members. Richard sings in the choir, traveled to Cuba, is active in the VISIONS programs, and has participated in the Mo-Ranch men’s retreat and Pilgrimage.
Doug Vreeland and his wife, Elizabeth, joined Covenant in 2011, and are members of the Caravan adult Sunday school class. They look forward to doing mission trips in the future. Doug attends the Men in the Word Bible study group. Doug and Elizabeth have two daughter. He works in the legal department of Dell.
Deon Wright and her husband, Hunter, joined Covenant in 2011. She has taught Sunday school classes and serves as hospitality co-chair for Covenant Preschool’s Parent Advisory Team. Deon, mom to two energetic boys, worked at Dell in sales and marketing until becoming a full-time mom. She volunteers at the preschool and at the Scleroderma Foundation.
Larry Zatopek and his wife, Susan, have attended Covenant since 1979; Larry joined in 1999. Married for 44 years, they have three children with seven grandchildren. Larry chairs the Congregational Care Committee and has served as a deacon and deacon moderator. He enjoys serving communion, and has been active with Men in the Word since its beginning in 2003.
Pat Beckham and his wife Margene have been Covenant members nearly 40 years, and are the parents of three and grandparents of three. Pat has been a physician with a Plastic Surgery practice in Austin for more than 40 years. Pat has served as an elder and on the Missions Committee. He helped start Austin Smiles for cleft palate and cleft lip projects.
Charlene Cole, a Covenant member for 17 years, works as a preschool teacher; the past two as an educational associate in an early childhood intervention class. Charlene helps plan and facilitate the caregiver’s support group and the Oasis Sunday school class. Charlene and her husband, Jeff, have one son, Brandon who participates in Special Olympics.
Daphne Corder became a Covenant member in 2004. She is a licensed clinical social worker who was the program director for Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services in Austin. She is married to Jay and they have two daughters. Daphne has participated in Lamplighters, preschool ministry, Sunday school and Club 56.
Al DiCristofaro, a member since 2003, is a consultant who helps Texas governments fix retirement plans. An ordained deacon and former deacon moderator, Al has served on the Sunday transportation ministry and on the missions committee, and played a key role in Covenant’s initial Habitat for Humanity efforts. Al is married to Sue. They have two daughters.
Marv Hackert, a Covenant member since 1975, is a biochemistry professor and the associate dean of the graduate school at UT. An ordained elder (clerk in 2012) and deacon, Marv serves on the Administration Committee and participates in Armchair Travelers. Marv, a substitute usher and grounds/maintenance volunteer, is married to Bretna.
Tom Hutchison and his wife, Susan, joined Covenant in 1981. They are parents of three and grandparents of seven. Tom, a semi-retired dentist, has been active in choir and numerous Bible studies. Ordained as an elder and a deacon, Tom is a Stephen Minister who serves on the Intercessory Prayer Team, the Joy Ministry, is a facilitator in Covenant’s grief ministry program and volunteers on our pastoral hospital visitation team.
Barbara Knisely and her husband, Marc, have been Covenant members for about 30 years. They have three adult sons. Barbara has a business called Knisely Gee Interior Design. Barbara is a deacon, and has been a Sunday school teacher and a Bible study leader.
Dorothy Layne joined Covenant twice. The first time was in 1969, and the second time was in 1994. She retired from GSD&M’s accounting department after 21 years. One of the founders of the Covenant Preschool, Dorothy served in the first class of deacons under the leadership of Tammy Gregory Brown. Dorothy and her husband Len have two sons.
Patsy Martin joined Covenant for the second time two years ago. She is a retired teacher who participates in the life of the Covenant community by serving meals, transporting the sick to doctor appointments and taking part in church programs. She is the mother of two, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of six.
A.V. Ootsey became a member of Covenant in 2011. Now retired, A.V.’s first career was in the United States Air Force. A.V. retired after 30 years with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. His second career was as a field service supervisor with Wight Engineering . A.V. participates in the life of Covenant through VISIONS, Kairos, Bible study and VISIONS trip committee. He is also an usher on Sunday mornings. A.V. is the father of five and grandfather of 11.
Kathleen Reish joined Covenant in 1993. She met her husband, Troy, when they were involved in Covenant’s singles group and are now the parents of two sons. Kathleen taught first grade in Pflugerville for 11 years before retiring to become a stay-at-home mom. She has participated in MoM’s Group, Lamplighters, Sunday school teacher, and singles group.
Mike Rhoades and his wife, Ruth, joined Covenant in 1975. Mike worked for Motorola/Freescale Semiconductor as a product engineer, a program manager and an application engineer for 23 years. Mike and Ruth have been Sunday school teachers beginning with babies and toddlers, and moving to teaching different grades. During the 90’s they were asked to integrate computers into the Sunday School Curriculum. Mike refurbished computers and Ruth wrote the first software. They continue to teach in the Zone K4 Computer Lab. An ordained elder, Mike has served on the Congregational Care, Worship, and Children’s Ministries Committees.
Ruth Rhoades and her husband, Mike, joined Covenant in 1975. Mike and Ruth have been Sunday school teachers for most of their lives at Covenant. Beginning with babies and toddlers, they moved to teaching different grades. During the 90’s they were asked to integrate computers into the Sunday School Curriculum. Mike refurbished computers, and Ruth wrote the first software. They continue to teach in the Zone K4 Computer Lab. Ruth and Mike edited and composed Covenant’s monthly newsletter for several years and currently serve as Communion Coordinators for the traditional services. Mike and Ruth were married in 1974 by Carl Eaton, and have two children.
Will Schmidt grew up with Covenant and “officially” became a member in 2007. After graduating from college, Will became a bookseller at Half-Price Books and loves being surrounded by books every day. He was active in youth ministry before college and is looking forward to serving as a deacon. Will is the son of Patrick Schmidt and Kathy Willis.
Florita Sheppard has been a member of Covenant since 2005. She is retired from the U.S. Department of State where she worked as a Foreign Service Officer for 25 years. Her service to Covenant includes: Lamplighters leader, small group member, AGAPE Sunday school class member, Emotional and Spiritual Fitness Sunday School class member, and Walking the Mourners Path participant.
Brent Stover met his wife, Stephanie Emmons, in the Covenant Sanctuary Choir. They were married in 1997. They have twins, and Brent has an older son who attends Austin College. A member since 1993, Brent has been a Sunday school teacher and has sung in both the Sanctuary and 9:30 choirs. He has participated in Men in the Word since its inception. Brent works as a principal member of the Technical Staff/Technical Project Manager for AT&T.
Lee Terrell and his wife Lorrie became Covenant members in1989. An ordained deacon and Stephen Minister, Lee has participated with the Sanctuary and Handbell choirs, the Monday morning “Bagel Bunch” and Men in the Word. They have two adult daughters; both live in Texas.
Lorrie Terrell (and her husband Lee) joined Covenant in 1989. Retired from IBM, Lorrie has served Covenant in various ways: choir mom, choir member, adult education participant, Lamplighters participant, PW circle participant, youth sub-committee member, PWOC treasurer, STAND mentor, Interfaith Hospitality volunteer and Manos de Cristo volunteer.
Adele Trigg became a Covenant member in 1999. She is a medical coder for Central Texas Ob-Gyn Associates and has worked for them since 1996. An ordained deacon, Adele has served two terms on the Board of Deacons, participates in Lamplighters, is a greeter and has studied in various Sunday morning classes. She is mom to one son, Ryan.
Kristen Tritle became a member of Covenant in 1990. She home-schools her two daughters, Destiny and Victoria. A deacon, Kristen is a licensed childcare provider who cares for children in her home. During her 20-plus years at Covenant, she has been a Sunday school teacher, D-group leader and children’s choir mom. She has participated in handbells, choir and Lamplighters.
Greg Wilson has been a Covenant member for 12 years. An attorney, Greg is currently working on a coffee shop development in South Austin. Greg and his wife, Sally, have been married for 34 years and have three sons. He has taught adult Bible study and middle school Sunday school, and has coached Upward Basketball for the past three years.
Sandy Youman and her husband, Dudley, became Covenant members in 1971. They have a rich family heritage in this community of faith including baptisms, confirmations and weddings. An ordained deacon, Sandy has taught Sunday school to children and adults. She worked at KLRU public television for 21 years and was vice president of major gifts.
Wesley Young, a Covenant member for more than 20 years, is a civil engineer specializing in water resources. An ordained deacon who moderated the first Board of Deacons under the leadership of Tammy Gregory Brown, Wesley is also an elder, Sunday School teacher and Cuba Partnership member. He and his wife Camy have three sons.