Staff & Clergy
By virtue of Baptism, we are all called and equipped by the Holy Spirit for ministry through the Church and in the world. Our staff lead ministries of worship, formation, service, community, administration, and hospitality to help St. Thomas members grow in love for God and demonstrate love for neighbor.
Rev. Grace Burton-EdwardsRector
Grace Burton-Edwards, came to Columbus in February 2014 from Indianapolis, IN. 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 a 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.
Grace 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, who works with United Methodist Communications and serves as pastor in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). They have two adult sons.
Roxane GwynAssociate Rector for Pastoral Care
Roxane is grateful for the evolving journey she's taken through Lutheran, United Methodist, and house church settings, and for landing in The Episcopal Church in 2004. She received her MDiv from Duke Divinity School (concentration in Gender, Ministry, and Theology) and her STM from General Theological Seminary. Ordained to the priesthood in 2011, she has served parishes in the Dioceses of New Hampshire, North Carolina and Atlanta.
And she's grateful for the opportunity to live among and minister to the good people of St. Thomas as pastor and priest.
Dr. Denny ClarkParish Theologian
Denny Clark has been teaching religious studies for well over thirty years, involving a wide variety of biblical, theological, and other religious courses — twenty-two years of which were at The College of Idaho. While there he was also on the Board of Directors for the Bethsaida Excavations Project in Israel and led multiple study tours to Israel/Palestine for college and community members.
He was previously a Lutheran pastor (ELCA), including service as the pastor-developer of a new congregation and as Lutheran campus pastor to the University of Chicago. Since moving to the Columbus area nearly ten years ago, he has taught part-time for a variety of educational institutions (including Columbus State University), and continues to teach online courses for Saint Leo University, a Benedictine Catholic university based near Tampa. In addition, he worked for Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, and been involved in fostering inter-religious understanding and cooperation in the Columbus area.
Denny graduated from Aurora University with a B.A. in Theology and heavy minors in both Biology and Chemistry. Both his M.Div., which focused on Constructive Christian Thought and on Pastoral Ministry (which also included six months of Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Chicago Hospitals & Clinics), and his Th.M. in New Testament were from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. His Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation was from The Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver.
Sara GonzalesNursery Assistant
Hi, my name is Sara Gonzales! I grew up in Northern California and relocated to Nevada for a few years before coming to Georgia. I love to cook new things, travel, and just be adventurous. I came to St Thomas because there was a job opening for a nanny position and taking care of children is one of my passions. I’m hoping to learn more things about the church and grow more as a person.
Rick McKnightOrganist & Choirmaster
Rick has been a member of St. Thomas for over 25 years and has served as Senior Warden, Chair of the Stewardship Campaign, and Acolyte Master. In 2000 the Rev. Lori Lowe, Rector of St. Mark’s (LaGrange) asked if he would play the organ and direct the choir for three weeks, and that three weeks turned into three years!
Rick has also 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 his years at St. Thomas, the St. Thomas 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 among the members is what gives him the most gratitude. He is married to Marquette McRae McKnight, who 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.
Taylor MackDirector of Youth and Young Adult Ministries
Taylor grew up in Columbus and attended St. Thomas as a child. During her teen years, Taylor became involved with the St. Thomas youth group and began to develop a more personal relationship with faith. She graduated from Georgia Southern University where she was a leader of the Episcoapal Campus Ministry. In 2021, Taylor returned home with her husband, Jeremy Mack, who is also a Columbus native. They now live in Phenix City with their corgi puppy, Gus.
Meg Olive-AllisonDirector of Parish & Community Engagement
Meg has been serving at St. Thomas since 2016. She grew up in Columbus in the Baptist tradition and attended McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. She was surprised and delighted by the opportunity to be back home serving at St. Thomas. Meg is committed to making St. Thomas a place where Christian formation happens in ways that lead to deeper love and service, and she believes good communication can help this happen.
Meg and her wife Susie are proud parents to two daughters and one son. They are also proud foster parents and have fostered 15 children since becoming licensed in 2013.
Erin ReddenDirector of Children’s Formation & Parish Life
Erin has been a member of St. Thomas since 1996. While working on her B.A. in Music Education (Columbus State), it was her passion for music and liturgy that brought her to the Episcopal Church as a staff soloist and Children’s Choir Director.
Erin earned her MSEd (Troy State) in Instructional Leadership and has been a music educator for over twenty years. She enjoys using her educational and leadership experience to develop Christian Education programming and faith-filled experiences for “kids” of all ages. Her mission is to answer Christ’s call as outlined in the Baptismal Covenant and to proclaim God’s love for all people.
Erin is married to Roger, a music educator who serves St. Thomas as a musician. They have two adult children, Madison and Hugh.
Patty SlembarskiDirector of Parish Administration
Evie SmithNursery Assistant
I’m Evie Smith, a current student at Columbus State University studying psychology. I’ve been a member of St. Thomas ever since I was in middle school. It is a warm and welcoming place, and as I entered young adulthood, I realized that I wanted to help out in this wonderful community, especially with our youngest members.
Sandy TrentNursery Assistant
My name is Mrs. Sandy Trent
I'm a proud mother of 5 children and 3 stepchildren. I've been working in the medical/nursing field for a very very long time. I was born in Germany, and grew up in Georgia. My favorite place to be is in our garden planting flowers. My second place is to be around my kids watching them spread happily like butterflies. So thank you for not just having me as apart of your church but also part of the nursery too.
Dorothy UwanawichNursery Assistant
My name is Dorothy and I'm the youngest of six. I have a chihuahua named cookie. I enjoy event planning and baking cakes. Well because I'm the youngest of six I grew up taking care of nieces and nephews and that's something that just came easy to me taking care of kids.