Clergy, Staff, Vestry 2024

Clergy & Staff

The Rev. Dr. Joan E. Beilstein

The Rev. Dr. Joan E. Beilstein

Rector

Bio

The Rev. Dr. Joan Beilstein is a native Washingtonian and cradle Episcopalian. She earned her Masters in Divinity degree (M.Div.) from The General Theological Seminary in New York City and her Doctor of Ministry degree (D.Min.) from The Virginia Theological Seminary. She has been an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church for 30 years. During this time, she has served as a chaplain in hospitals, mental health facilities, and senior living centers; as an interim rector assisting churches to move through times of transition when there is change in leadership; and as a rector. For the last 16 years, Joan has served as Rector at Church of the Ascension, Silver Spring. In addition to parish ministry, Joan is a seasoned retreat and pilgrimage leader, spiritual director, seminarian supervisor, and clergy mentor. Joan’s philosophy of ministry: “It is an honor and privilege to serve God’s people, to do ministry with them, and to walk alongside them no matter where they are on their spiritual journey.” Joan lives with her spouse, Libbie Griffin, and their beloved rescue animal companions, their two dogs Clyde and Sweet Pea, and Nabba, their calico cat.

The Rev. Terri M. Murphy

The Rev. Terri M. Murphy

Deacon and Director of Christian Education

Bio

The Rev. Terri M. Murphy serves as a deacon at Church of the Ascension. A former educational psychologist and Massachusetts native, Terri was ordained in 2012 and serves as Director of Christian Education. In this role, Terri teaches, leads retreats and pilgrimages, and oversees sacramental preparation. In addition to serving in these roles at Ascension, Terri also leads a vigorous homeless ministry and is deeply involved in local interfaith ministries. Terri was one of a team that established a disaster chaplaincy team to work with local police, fire and emergency services agencies. She served as co-chair of the disaster chaplains for five years. She has worked with the State Department in their International Visitors Program, where groups from several countries would travel together and come to the U.S. to learn, among other things, new ways for diverse faiths to get along with each other. Terri is finishing up six years of service on the Diocesan Commission on Ministry and is on the faculty of the Deacon School where she teaches and supervises internships. Terri has three grown children, Adam who lives with his wife Sammie Jo in North Carolina, Colleen and her husband Matt who live in Maryland, and Leigh and her husband Brandon, who live in Maine. Terri resides in Montgomery Village, MD.

Bailey Joy Myers

Bailey Joy Myers

Director of Music Ministries

Bio

Bailey is a cradle Episcopalian from Shawano, Wisconsin who has been on staff at Ascension since 2018. She received her Master of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in Ohio. Prior to serving as Director of Music Ministries at Ascension, Bailey was the organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Shawano, WI and Magyar United Church of Christ in Elyria, OH. In her role at Ascension, Bailey directs the Chancel Choir and Youth Choir, provides organ and piano music for worship services, and plans and coordinates musical programming for the church. She also leads the technology and communications volunteer teams responsible for live-streaming church services and keeping Ascension’s website and social media up to date. In addition to her work at Ascension, Bailey also performs as a freelance French horn player and serves on the board of the Brass of the Potomac. Bailey passionately believes in the transformative power of music ministry and strives to engage and inspire others through her leadership.

Vestry

The vestry of an Episcopal parish is comparable to the board of a non-profit organization. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed; to select the rector; to ensure effective organization and planning; and to manage resources and finances.

Vestry members carry out these responsibilities in a variety of ways, including meeting monthly to provide guidance on issues related to the budget and activities of the church, and serving on various committees and as Warden of the Day on Sundays.

Ascension’s Vestry members serve three-year terms. Current officers and members are listed below.

Jane Alperson

Jane Alperson

Senior Warden (Term ends 2026)

Bio

A cradle Southern Baptist, Jane came to Ascension in 2015 and has loved the variety of experiences and learning that Ascension offers. She spends her time working out, meditating, socializing, and traveling, and lives with her dog and two cats, and, occasionally, her fabulous daughter.

Leticia Read

Leticia Read

Junior Warden (Term ends 2026)

Bio

Leticia has been a member of Ascension and the coordinator of Ascension’s Sunday School program since 2000. Since her retirement in 2017, she has also been in charge of Ascension’s buildings and grounds.

Karen MacPherson

Karen MacPherson

Secretary (Term ends 2025)

Bio

Karen, her husband, and their two now-grown children have been members of Ascension for more than three decades. After two great careers as a newspaper reporter and then a children’s librarian, Karen is happily retired and loves spending time with friends and family, reading, walking, playing the piano, speaking French, frequently visiting the Washington Cathedral gardens, and writing occasional book reviews for The Washington Post.

Denise Franklin

Denise Franklin

(Term ends 2025)

Bio

Denise has been going to Ascension for over 36 years. She was confirmed and married at Ascension and her three children have also been baptized and confirmed at Ascension. Her full-time job is very demanding so in her spare time she enjoys vacations at the beach, gardening, decorating her home, watching TV, going to the gym, and of course volunteering at Ascension.

Christine Parker Hunt

Christine Parker Hunt

(Term ends 2025)

Bio

Chris and her husband and daughter have attended Ascension since 2009. She enjoys working in the non-profit sector, playing tennis, and exploring different parts of the country on family vacations.

Joe Simpich

Joe Simpich

(Term ends 2025)

Bio

Although Joe grew up in Connecticut, his parents were from NW DC and Chevy Chase, making this region his second home thanks to early, and frequent, holiday travel. Joe teaches in the Montgomery County Public Schools, and he and his wife Elena have been members of Ascension since 1993.

Cathy Eliot

Cathy Eliot

(Term ends 2027)

Bio

Cathy is an occupational therapist for Montgomery County Public Schools. She enjoys cooking for her family, her husband, and sons. For fun she likes to paint, hike, see friends, and read. 

Barb Menard

Barb Menard

(Term ends 2027)

Bio

Barb, her wife Heidi, and their daughter Anna have been members of Ascension since 2014. In addition to serving on the Vestry, Barb is a volunteer on the tech and counting teams.  Outside of church, Barb has spent most of her career as a public servant in the Federal government.

Deborah Percell

Deborah Percell

(Term ends 2027)

Bio

Deb, married with two children, was raised Episcopalian and has been at Ascension for around 20 years. In that time, she has been a choir member, Altar Guild member, and Lay Eucharistic Minister.  

Andreas Smith

Andreas Smith

(Term ends 2027)

Bio

Currently an IT Specialist with the federal government, Andreas spent many years in Washington as a health care attorney in the public and private sector. At Ascension, he has spent many years as a Sunday School teacher and has had prior service on the vestry as well. He loves the people of Ascension and the natural diversity and fellowship.

Treasury Team

Leona Cosby

Leona Cosby

Treasurer

Bio

Leona has been a member of Ascension since 1990. She assumed the role of Treasurer in 2021, and is also a long-time member of the Altar Guild.

Fred Paul

Fred Paul

Assistant Treasurer

Bio

Fred Paul is a cradle Episcopalian, originally from Montgomery, AL and has been a regular communicant at Ascension since Fall 2012. In addition to his role as Assistant Treasurer, he has been a member of the vestry, a lay eucharistic minister, and an acolyte trainer. He graduated from Auburn with a degree in Theatre Management and has worked at Olney Theatre Center since 2011.