Staff & Clergy
Rector: Reverend Grace Burton-Edwards
Our 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
Rick 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 10 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.
Youth Director: Tiffany Bonaker
Tiffany Bonaker has served as the Youth Director at St. Thomas since November 2012. Tiffany is very passionate about Youth Ministry and has been instrumental in the growth of our Youth program. She has helped to build stronger relationships with parishes in the Diocese of Atlanta and has helped our youth to become more involved in areas of outreach within our community. Since coming to St. Thomas is 2005, Tiffany has been active in Children and Youth Ministries through teaching Sunday School, VBS, chaperoning various activities and trips and helping to organize special events and fundraisers. Tiffany is employed by Harris County High School as a Teaching Assistant and a Work Readiness Instructor in the Special Education Department. She serves on the Area 10 Special Olympics Committee and is very active in her community. Tiffany is married to David Bonaker, and has two children, Lauren Elizabeth who attends Auburn University, and William Kent who attends Harris County High School.
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.
Sexton: James Mills
Kitchen Manager: Dawn Farrow
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: email@example.com