Staff & Clergy

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus, GA is seeking a mature Christian with a calling to help youth discover God's love for them, follow in the way of Jesus, and go into the world to love and serve the Lord to serve as Youth Director and Christian Formation Assistant. St. Thomas is an open and inclusive congregation committed to seeking and serving Christ in all persons and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The person serving in this position will help youth grades 6 to 12 get involved with worship leadership, plan monthly opportunities for fellowship and service for youth, and be involved with Christian formation activities for children and youth on Sundays and Wednesdays. The ideal candidate will have proven experience of working successfully and joyfully with teenagers, strong communication and social media skills, a lively Christian faith, and respect for the traditions and values of the Episcopal Church. This is a part-time position (10 to 12 hours a week) and reports to the rector. Interested applicants are asked to send a statement about their understanding of the purpose of youth ministry along with a letter of interest and resume to by July 20.

Rector: Reverend Grace Burton-Edwards

GraceOur rector, Grace Burton-Edwards, came to Columbus in February 2014 from Indianapolis. She was originally ordained as an American Baptist pastor in 1994 and served in American Baptist, United Methodist, and ecumenical settings before discerning a call to the Episcopal Church. That call began during a college semester in London where she met God in new ways through Anglican liturgy. It reemerged as she served as youth minister with an Episcopal church. It deepened when she enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry program at an Episcopal seminary and learned more about our baptismal covenant and commitment to God's mission in the world. She was confirmed in 2004 and ordained as a priest in 2007. Grace graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, completed her MDiv at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and completed a Doctor of Ministry in Congregational Development at Seabury-Western. She is married to Taylor Burton-Edwards, a United Methodist Elder now serving as Director of Worship Resources for the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church. They have two adult sons. Jacob works as an EMT in Indianapolis, and Will attends The University of the South at Sewanee. 

Organist and Choir Master: Rick McKnight

SONY DSCRick has been a member of St. Thomas for over 25 years. Has has served as Senior Warden twice, chair of the Stewardship Campaign and Acolyte Master. In 2000 the Rev. Lori Lowe, Rector of St. Mark’s, LaGrange, asked if he would come and help her out for three weeks by playing the organ and directing the choir.  That three weeks turned into three years!
He has served as the President of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Cultural Arts Alliance. In 2004 Rick answered the call to serve St. Thomas as Organist-Choirmaster. During Rick's years with St.Thomas, the Choir has grown to almost 40 singers. In addition to singing weekly, the choir has sung at Washington National Cathedral and our own St. Philip’s Cathedral. Rick has served on the Diocesan Music and Liturgy Commission and led the “100th Anniversary of the Diocese of Atlanta Celebration” at the RiverCenter in Columbus. 
Rick is proud of the musical accomplishments of the Choir but the spirit of community and care that is fostered amongst the members is what gives him the most gratitude. He is married to Marquette McRae McKnight, who also serves St. Thomas as a Verger, Lector and Lay Eucharistic Minister and on the Flower Guild. They have two children, Mac McKnight and Mitchi McKnight Wade.

Minister for ADult Formation and Communications: Meg Olive-Allison

Meg Olive-Allison has been serving at St. Thomas since 2016. Meg grew up in Columbus in the Baptist tradition and attended McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georiga. Meg is surprised  and  delighted to be back home serving at St. Thomas. Meg is committed to making St. Thomas a place where true Christian formation happens for adults that leads deeper love and service and believe good communication can help this happen.  Meg and her wife Susie have one daughter, Sam, and are foster parents to babies and toddlers. They have fostered 13 children since becoming licensed to foster in 2013. 

Children's Education Director: Erin Redden

Erin Redden has been a member of St. Thomas since 1996, when she was invited
to sing by then music director, Dr. William Bullock. After marrying her husband Roger and attending church for a year she decided to become more actively involved and became the Children’s Choir director. As her love for St. Thomas grew so did her family. Both of her children, Madison and Hugh, were born and baptized at the church. After working as a staff singer and Children’s Choir director she felt led to work directly with the children of the parish. She has been employed by Lee County Schools for the last 17 years as an elementary music teacher and her love of children and her love for sharing the Word of the Lord prompted her to apply for the Children’s Formation Director position at the church. Her passion is planning, encouraging volunteers of the parish to work with children, Vacation Bible School and learning to love the Episcopal Church through the eyes of a child. In 2013, Erin earned her graduate degree in Educational Leadership and Administration. She is hoping to one day be the principal at her own elementary school as well as remaining actively involved at church working with the children and families of St. Thomas.

Parish Administrator: Patty Slembarski

A displaced Florida native, Patty has lived in the Columbus area since 1999 and has worked at St. Thomas since 2006.  She manages the business side of the church, from membership to finances; recording baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials, making deposits, paying the bills, and keeping the church in compliance with Diocesan, Federal and State regulations.  She is married and has two children.

Support Staff

Kitchen Manager: Dawn Farrow
Sexton: Tom Danison
Housekeeping: Frances Woolfolk
Nursery: Diane Berson
Nursery: Taquanula Williams
Nursery: Kirin Wilson
LOCATION: 2100 Hilton Ave, Columbus GA 31906 SERVICES: Wednesday - 5:30 PM // Sunday - 8 AM & 10:30 AM OFFICE HOURS: 9am-2pm M-F P: (706)324-4264 E: