The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut


The 233rd Annual Convention held elections for positions on both the Standing Committee and the Mission Council. The results of those elections are listed below.

Standing Committee | Lay Order

We elected two positions to the Standing Committee in the Lay Order for three-year terms.

Ashley Pilar Atencio | Three-Year Term

Present Involvement in ECCT
I currently serve on the on the Leadership Committee of the North Central Region, ECCT. A member of Old St. Andrew's in Bloomfield since 2012, I am a member of the vestry, the ECW, and the Balcony Bells (our bell choir). This past year I chaired our Recruitment Committee which identified OSA’s 26th rector. I am currently steeped in the planning of the ECW’s Christmas Bazaar (our craft fair); this is my second year as co-Chair. We are blessed with our antique church, built in 1809, and I am proud to be one in a long line of physical caretakers of our beloved building. A woodworker by training, I enjoy spending time painting, fixing, and restoring our historic site.

Community Involvement
I am an enthusiastic volunteer with the Hyacinth Williams Foundation’s Weekend Backpack Program. We provide students in Bloomfield enrolled in the free school lunch program with backpacks filled with weekend meals. A native of Simsbury, I previously served as a Simsbury High School rowing coach.

Personal Statement
Chairing the Old St. Andrew’s Recruitment Committee in 2017 was a transformative experience. It not only depended my connection to my fellow committee members and my home church, but it deepened my personal faith and allowed me to feel connected to the Episcopal Church as a whole.  It was a humbling experience, but at the same time I gained confidence in my collaborative leadership skills. That has lead me to feel called to participate more fully in the mission and work of the Church. I feel that I bring a good combination of respect for current Episcopal traditions coupled with an enthusiasm for the new paths we are forging. I would feel blessed to be elected to the Standing Committee and lend my voice to their important work.

Danielle A. Gaherty | Three-Year Term

Present Involvement in ECCT
I am currently a member of the Standing Committee and of the Faith & Order Commission.

Community Involvement
I participate in a local feeding/pantry program.

Personal Statement
I am committed to working with the other participants in the effective work of the Diocese of Connecticut.



Standing Committee | Clerical Order

We elected three positions to the Standing Committee in the Clerical Order: two for three-year terms and one to a one-year term.

Diana McKelvey Rogers | One-Year Term

Present involvement in ECCT
Priest-in-Charge at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Orange, CT.  Current member of the Standing Committee, Priest-in-Charge Consultants, South Central Region leadership team

Community Involvement
Orange Food Shelf, Orange Clergy Association (includes all of the Christian clergy plus rabbis and an imam), Naugatuck Valley clergy network of Episcopal congregations

Personal Statement
I was elected in 2014 to fill out an unfinished term on the Standing Committee.  I seek to serve a full term to continue the work of the Standing Committee including property matters in the faith communities, prayerful engagement with the postulants and candidates for ordination, and honorable conversation with our bishops about the health of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.  I have been privileged to be a part of this dynamic committee for three years of change and hope to continue in a new term of missional ministry for the whole church.  

Tracy Johnson Russell | Three-Year Term

Present involvement in ECCT
Standing Committee (2014-Present); President (2016-Present)
Bishop’s Fund for Children (2005-2015) at Camp Washington (2016-Present)
Clergy Conference Planning Committee (2015-Present)
Served as Ministry Supervisor to Postulants for Order Priest and Deacon (2015-2017)
GC Deputy (elected 2016 Convention)

Community Involvement
Serves on the Steering Committee of the Faith Based Initiative (FBI) Hartford (2015-Present)
Serves on the Leadership Team of the Sponsoring Committee of Greater Hartford (2015-Present)
Founder and Executive Director of Your Place Center (2008-Present) Ministry to youth of New Haven and Hartford
Served on Leadership Team for the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care (2008-2015)
Member, past President, District and National Chaplain of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.(1995-Present)
Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Tau Omega Chapter (2015-Present) and serves as the Chair of the Polished Pearls Foundation (2016-Present).
Served as Ministry Supervisor for Office of Supervised Ministry at Yale Divinity School (2003-2015)
Serves as Practicum Instructor for the Office of Supervised Ministries at Yale Divinity School (2013-Present )
Served as a Teaching Assistant in Pastoral Care at Yale Divinity School (2012)

Personal Statement
Since my ordination, I have served the Episcopal Church in Connecticut in a variety of capacities. I believe that the work of the Standing Committee is important work and I have been honored to serve. I am committed to the well-being, integrity, and vitality of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and I seek to insure that a balanced, transparent, and spirit-centered approach to the work of the Standing Committee is employed to advance God's mission, both now and in the future.  

Peter Freely Walsh | Three-Year Term

Present involvement in ECCT
I am in my tenth year as the Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Canaan. Currently, I am a member of The Holy Landers Ministry Network of ECCT and a participant in a Rector’s Group, a support group for clergy in my area. In the past, I have served on Bishop-Diocese Executive Committee (BDEC); the Program and Budget Committee; as an Alternate Delegate to 2015 General Convention; and as a board member of Connecticut Clergy Association.

Community Involvement
I am an active participant in my local community as the Rector of a church that prioritizes community involvement and outreach ministries. I work closely with parishioners and community representatives to support numerous local initiatives. The St. Mark’s Gospel Garden grows food for the New Canaan Food Pantry that is hosted at our church. We are heavily involved with joint initiatives with the town that includes confronting opioid addiction, mental health issues for youth, and refugee resettlement. We host large Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops and a myriad of support groups too many to number. The parish also participates in a myriad of outreach ministries such as the Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s Summer Lunch Program, Community Bridgebuilders (Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County), Christmas Doves (meals through Person-to-Person), Ashes to Go at the Metro-North train station, clothing drives, and the funding of community and church ministries near and far.

Personal Statement
I desire to serve as a member of the Standing Committee because I would like to more fully participate in the continuing evolution of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. During my tenures in Connecticut, Arizona, and Ohio I have accumulated extensive governance experience which I believe would allow me to make a meaningful contribution to the work of the Standing Committee. As a Rector for the past fourteen years, I have led two large parishes and overseen a 500-student day school. Apropos to the particular work of the Standing Committee, I have extensive experience with complex financial issues, property, and the ordination process. Regarding the latter, I served as Chair of the Commission on Ministry in Arizona. I also have worked on several strategic plans, including one for an interfaith community outreach and advocacy center. My Connecticut experience includes small town, urban and suburban tenures. In addition to my current role as Rector at St. Mark’s in New Canaan, I lived in New Haven while attending the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, was a seminarian at St. John’s in Washington, and served as Chaplain at the Kent School. Prior to becoming a priest, I worked in advertising and investment banking in New York City. These experiences have been invaluable for me as a leader. If elected, I would be honored and energized to serve.

Mission Council

We elected three members to the Mission Council from the ministry networks in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Carolyn C. Clement | Three-Year Term

Present involvement in ECCT
I’m spending much of my current ministry time on the discernment and now the recruitment team for my home parish, Trinity Tariffville. A soprano and cantor in the choir, I am also a part of the Evangelism Team, and am Trinity’s social media manager and co-webmaster for the website.

I have served on Vestry, directed the children’s training choir, been involved with VBS and women’s ministry, served as a small group leader, and been a part of many other various and sundry other ministries where help was needed.

In 2013, I started Social Media Sunday at Trinity. This has grown into a yearly international ecumenical event, where people of faith everywhere use digital tools to share faith on the last Sunday in September. We get over 10,000,000 impressions on the hashtag on that one day. Please make plans to join #sms18!

I am a part of the Digital Ministry Network for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and teach workshops on digital ministry each year at Spring Training.

Community Involvement
An important part of my community involvement is in supporting educational theatre and music. I serve as the webmaster and social media manager for Simsbury Summer Theatre, and manage the social media and do design work for the Simsbury Friends for Music and Performing Arts. I serve as a Hartford Stage Education Ambassador, and do props design and propscrafting for local theatre.

I also serve my community by moderating the most active Facebook group in my town. With over 5000 members, this lively group requires careful tending and is an impactful part of our community.

In addition to my work in the arts and local community, I am an active participant in the Insurtech Hartford community, and I work on the innovation and product development team at a worldwide association for the financial services industry.

Personal Statement
A cradle Episcopalian, I was baptized, confirmed and married at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Grand Island, Nebraska. My husband and I and our three children have been members of Trinity, Tariffville for 20 years.

I have come to understand that one of the reasons God put me on this earth is to help lead the church into digital ministry. People are more connected than ever before, but the church has been slow in adapting from serving a largely industrial economy to the global knowledge economy. At all levels of ministry, we need to be asking: are we meeting people where they are? Are we using digital tools to meaningfully engage and serve people?

Scripture has enduring truths, and to reach people and help transform lives, innovative approaches are essential. The church must embrace its new, and most important, mission field, and learn to effectively use digital tools to connect with seekers, meet them where they are, and bring the love of Christ to the world. And I am delighted and energized to be a part of that.

I look forward to continuing my digital mission, and invite your conversation and connection. You can find me on Facebook or @singingcarolyn on Twitter and Instagram.

Amjad John Samuel | Three-Year Term

Present involvement in ECCT
I am currently involved with the Companions in Mission Ministry Network. I am also serving as Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Shelton.  For the last one year, working at the direction of the Dean of Formation, I have served as mentor for a priest new to ECCT. I have also led Vestry retreats for other ECCT parishes.

Community Involvement
For the last 6 years I have been involved with Africa Education Partnership, an organization that makes possible for Christian and Muslim children to receive quality education in a religiously polarized and fractured Nigeria.  Locally, I have worked with the Shelton Clergy Association to engage our congregations in the mission of Spooner House, a local homeless shelter.

Personal Statement
I am currently leading a congregation of about 105 ASA. Through some creative and risk taking ministry, I am witness to the transformation of this parish from a narrative of scarcity to over 50% of ASA engaged in midweek small group ministries preparing to impact their community in some very tangible ways. So, I believe, I am suited to be a part of a Mission Council that seeks such a response to God’s call all across ECCT.  

Linda Mitchell Spiers | Three-Year Term

Present involvement in ECCT
I am Rector of Trinity, Collinsville; President of the ECCT Title IV Disciplinary Board; Mentor for a Postulant; Convener of the North Central Region Leadership Team; Priest in Charge Consultant; Convener of the Holy Landers Ministry Network; and deputy to General Convention.

Community Involvement
My community involvement includes board member of the Canton Housing Authority, alternate for the Canton Juvenile Review Board, member of Focus on Canton, member of the Canton Mental Health Task Force, board member and volunteer for Heads Up! Hartford ecumenical camp, board member for the Society for the Increase of the Ministry (SIM), member of the Greater Hartford Christian Activities Council.

Personal Statement
I have served ECCT in a number of capacities throughout my ordained life and believe in offering my gifts to the wider church. The work of the Mission Council is essential to our common life--to the whole body of the Episcopal Church in CT, to our regions, and to our parishes. Being part of this leadership body and working together with Council members with diverse perspectives would be an honor. I bring the Holy Landers' Ministry Network passion for raising the awareness of our Holy Land to the table along with my lifelong passion for the Episcopal Church.