Our Church Leadership

Eliz HeadshotElizabeth Wirls, Office Manager

Elizabeth Wirls began work with us here at ALC on August 20, 2013! Previously, she managed a not-for-profit Cathedral bookstore in Memphis, TN for eleven years. Prior to that commitment, she was Assistant Director at the Good Shepherd Center, Memphis, where she provided adults training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, an international and ecumenical Montessori-based children's religious formation program. Elizabeth is Part-Italian, and received a Fulbright Fellowship for study in Italy (1982-83). She is a member of Trinity Episcopal, Shelburne, and is ecumenical in spirit. Her grandparents had a farm on what is now the Intervale.


Kelli Tylenda, Communications Coordinator

Kelli officially joined the Ascension staff at the beginning of September, 2014, though she's been a fixture around the office and website in various capacities for some time now. She joined Ascension as a member in 2003 by "marrying into the family," but grew up attending church and school at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, TX. She left the retail world a few years ago and now what time isn't spent wrangling four children is spent telecommuting to her office in California as a Mod for The Modsquad or working on her skills as a hobbyist photographer. She loves using the knowledge she's picked up through the years in personal endeavors and as a Mod to help keep communications flowing smoothly at Ascension and to keep the website and social media accounts in tip-top shape!


 

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Jessica Summer, Educational Ministry Director

Jessica grew up in North Carolina and currently lives in Fairfax. She has a BA in English from Franklin Pierce University and a Master of Library and Information Science from North Carolina Central University. She is called to work with youth and families and loves getting to know all the wonderful people here at Ascension! Her faith has always been a big part of her life. Growing up in the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, she was very active in choirs, both as a participant and an assistant in groups for young children, and played handbells. She also was very active in her youth group and loved the opportunities for service projects locally and across the country. After college, she spent time in New Orleans as a Servant Companion with the ELCA Youth Gathering helping to rebuild the area after Katrina. When she's not busy advancing our educational ministry efforts, she can be found at her job at Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community where she is the Youth Project Coordinator, or at home playing with her greyhoud Blaze, reading a book, or crafting. 


Ann Gnagey, Organist

Ann grew up on a farm established in the 1850s by her great-great grandfather, a German immigrant. Because their faith was important, he founded a German Reformed church which was built a mile away and constructed with bricks made on his farm. Music was an essential part of worship, so the family bought a pipe organ that arrived by horse-drawn cart over the Allegheny mountains. The instrument was played by her great-aunts and father and eventually Ann contributed as a young girl to the music, first by playing for Sunday School and later for choir and main services.

 

Ann left the farm as a teenager, lived with relatives in a small city where she had more musical opportunities (professional orchestra, etc.) and finished high school. However, love for the farm, strong community ties, and reverence for the land remained a strong influence.

 

She majored in music but changed to biology, later completing Ph.D. and post-doctoral work in molecular biology. After 30 years of research and teaching in various places (Kenya, Australia, Case Western Reserve, UVM, Vermont Technical College), she is semi-retired and largely focused on living sustainably with her husband near Jericho Center where they have maintained a home since 1990 after moving from Australia with three young sons. She also teaches music privately to violin and piano students ranging in age from 5 to adult. The family concentrates on methods to grow and provide food year-round and to harvest wood sustainably for fuel and building materials, while maintaining biodiversity on their 65-acre wooded farm. They also run a small maple syrup operation and recently began collaboration with UVM faculty to host environmental students interested in learning current techniques for living more harmoniously with God’s creation.

 
December 16, 2019

 

Ascension Lutheran Church

95 Allen Road

South Burlington, VT 05403

 

802-862-8866

 

church.office@alcvt.org


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