Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Staff

       
The Reverend Jon Strand    

The Reverend Jon C. Strand, Rector
The Reverend Jon Strand has been called to be Holy Comforter’s new Rector. For the past 16 years he has been the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Natick, Massachusetts, following three years as Priest-in-Charge there. Before coming to St. Paul’s, he served for six years as Canon Resident at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, Maine.

Jon received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1992, along with a certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and a certificate in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He also holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music Performance from Wichita State University, where he was a Gore Scholar.

During his time at St. Paul’s the congregation has grown from fewer than 100 members to about 500 today, including a flourishing youth group and extensive outreach activities. In a brief online autobiography he lists his areas of ministry focus as church growth, organizational development, preaching, music, youth ministry, hospice work, and street ministry to the homeless.

As a trumpeter, Jon has given recitals throughout New England, often in collaboration with his father, who is a church musician and retired professor of music. Jon is also an avid runner, kayaker, and an amateur telescope builder. He and his wife Beth, a nurse practitioner specializing in oncology, have three children, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mark. Both daughters are currently attending college, while their son is in eighth grade.

Jon will start work at Holy Comforter in mid-March, with his first Sunday being March 18, two weeks before Easter.


The Reverend Valerie Hayes    

The Reverend Valerie J. Hayes, Senior Associate Rector
The Reverend Valerie Hayes was called to serve as Associate Rector at Holy Comforter in August of 2013. In her role as Senior Associate Rector, Valerie is responsible for congregational and pastoral care, including oversight and collaboration with lay leaders of the Stephen Ministry, the Healing Team and monthly Healing Service, the Addiction and Recovery Care Ministry, Eucharistic Visitors, the Prayer Chain and Prayer List, and the Prayer Shawl Ministry.  Valerie also coordinates Adult Formation, including Sunday Adult Forums, Adult Inquirer’s class, small group offerings, Education for Ministry, Advent and Lenten quiet days, retreats, and other Bible and book studies. She also works in collaboration with other churches in Region V and in Vienna, Virginia to foster shared ministry and outreach. She is fully involved and engaged in the worship and fellowship life of the parish. 

Before coming to Holy Comforter, Valerie served for four years as a hospital chaplain. She completed a one-year residency in Clinical Pastoral Education at Georgetown University Hospital and then served as Staff Chaplain at the Clinical Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Valerie’s experience as a chaplain gives her unique and exceptional experience and skills for pastoral care as well as a compassionate heart and strong, non-anxious presence. While a chaplain, she served as Priest Associate at All Saints Sharon Chapel Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

Valerie earned her Master in Divinity in 2009 from Virginia Theological Seminary and also holds a Master of Education (1989) and a Bachelors of Business Administration (1987) from the University of Georgia. She has two college-aged sons, Will and Jonathan. In July of 2014, she married Jim Wolfe, a professor of business at George Mason University who has two young-adult children, Avery and James. Valerie loves to be outdoors whether it is walking, hiking, cycling, or sculling on the Occoquan—all the better when done with family—and also loves to read, watch movies, and play games. Three things she knows with absolute certainty: God loves us more than we can possibly imagine; God can heal and transform any wound or suffering; and a sense of humor is absolutely essential to life, including a life of deep faith.


David Kelley    

Dr. David Kelley, Minister of Music
David Kelley was appointed Minister of Music at Holy Comforter in May 2011, where he serves as organist and director of a full choral program affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music. David holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, as well as professional certificates from the American Guild of Organists. David has served as Dean of the Delaware Chapter AGO, as a member of the AGO’s Regional Nominating Committee for Region III, and on the faculties of the RSCM summer training course in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the AGO’s Pipe Organ Encounter in Delaware, and the Potomac Organ Institute. His compositions are included in The Crowning Glory and the Delaware Organ Book, and he has published articles in The American Organist and The Diapason.


Lauren Breeden    

Lauren Breeden, Director or Children's Ministries
Lauren is a lover of coffee, chocolate, sports and particularly the Red Soxs. With over ten years of experience both working with children and creating diverse and innovative children’s curriculum, Lauren truly feels called to Children’s Ministry. Believing in a holistic approach to Children’s Ministry, Lauren looks at parents, teachers, volunteers and children as a part of one great big Children’s Ministry Family.

Lauren encourages parents, volunteers and her new church family to drop in and visit her at the Holy Comforter Church Offices. Please know children are always welcome to come with their parents!


Peggy Miller    

Peggy Miller, Parish Treasurer and Office Manager
Peggy Miller has been a parishioner at Holy Comforter for 27 years. She has been Holy Comforter's volunteer treasurer for 18 years. Peggy joined the church office staff in 2010. Prior to working at Holy Comforter, Peggy spent 33 years in banking. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Arts in History.


Tom Gadell    

Tom Gadell, Facilities Manager
Tom came to Church Of The Holy Comforter from Saint Timothy Parish in Chantilly where he was the Facilities Manager of five buildings and 18 acres. He is the seventh of ten children and has lived in Vienna over 50 years. He and his wife Marty have five children and six grandchildren. Tom enjoys spending time with family, golfing, fishing, and cooking. He feels very blessed to be part of the Holy Comforter community.


Liz Bleich    

Liz Bleich, Office Assistant
Liz Bleich has worked in the office of Church of the Holy Comforter since 2001. She holds a BA from Virginia Tech. She currently resides in Reston, Virginia with her husband of twenty years, Larry, and their two children, Joseph and Laura.


Elys McLean    

Elys A. McLean, Communications Designer, Editor
Elys Mclean joined the Holy Comforter staff in June, 2008. She began her communication career at USA TODAY where she worked for 15 years as an Illustrator and Informational Graphics Specialist. Additionally, she designs and produces communications for other Episcopal churches, as well as local and national organizations. Elys and her husband Chris Coker are the parents of teenagers Kyle and Kora.


Carole Hamric     Carole Hamric, Director of Childcare
Carole Hamric joined the Holy Comforter staff in 2003. After graduating Colgate University, Carole spent 18 years in business development and marketing. She returned to school at Marymount University to study elementary education, and worked for Arlington County Public Schools in special education. Carole loves working and playing with Holy Comforter’s youngest parishioners, and is always happy when her “graduates” return for visit and a hug! Carole lives in Oakton with her husband, Clay, daughter, Emily, and her furry children, Shiloh and Fenway.

     

Susan Gosline, Director of Holy Comforter Episcopal Preschool
Preschool Director, Sue Gosline, has more than 34 years experience in early childhood education. Together with the preschool board, she has staffed the school with enthusiastic and loving teachers. All lead and assistant teachers receive continuing education in early childhood development.


     

Victor Hernandes, Sexton