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My husband Jeff and I have attended Ascension since 2007 when we moved from Houston, where we were members of a large Episcopal parish.  We were first attracted to Ascension by the warm welcome, and stayed because we found what we were looking for: a community of worshipping Christians who have a deep and abiding love of God,  who seek to follow Christ, and who hold deep respect and affection for each other.

I practiced energy-related law for many years in Texas and am now fully retired.  I enjoy long walks in the Washington Park neighborhood where we live, and am continually trying to learn how to garden in a high desert environment after living in a tropical coastal area most of my life.  We have two grown children and two grandchildren in Texas and California whom we try to see whenever their busy lives permit. I continue to be inspired by the collective dedication, faithfulness, creativity, and life-affirming optimism of the Ascension community.  I previously served on Ascension’s Vestry, 2012-2014, and am honored to be asked to serve again.



My wife, Emily and I were instantly drawn to the warmth of the congregation and intimacy of the worship service at the Church of the Ascension.  Our son Conner (7)  and Reed (13) both attended preschool in the church building before moving on to the Denver International School.  I’ve worked as a consultant in the telecommunications industry for almost 17 years, primarily with international clients for the last several years. Our family lives for our weekends together which are all about skiing in the winter and swimming in the summer with a few travel adventures and visits with family all across the country.


Lonny Kandel, TREASURER

My family joined Ascension in 2005. Both of our boys were baptized at St. John’s Cathedral but we were looking to join a small local congregation. A friend told us about Church of the Ascension and the rest is history.  Our oldest son was confirmed at Ascension in 2016 and our youngest will be confirmed in 2018.  I have previously served as the Treasurer and been a member of the Vestry.

I grew up in Arvada Colorado and have been a Denver resident since 1991.  I work in finance and hope to use my business experience to help keep the church on solid financial footing and grow the congregation.


I am Holly Butler, age 50, and a Denver girl. I grew up in southern Denver where I attended Cherry Hills Elementary and St. Mary's Academy. Both of my parents were members of the Episcopal Church, and I have fond memories of my Christian formation in the Episcopal Church. Christ Church in Englewood is where I was confirmed, and St. Gabriel's is where I spent most of my teen years. I met my sweet husband Davis Butler in college at Texas Christian University where I received my degree in Interior Design in 1989. After our wedding in 1993, we made Denver our home. After attending St. John's Cathedral for many years, Davis and I felt we needed a smaller, more intimate parish family, and we joined Ascension in 2008. Davis and I have been blessed with three wonderful children; Harris (20), Avery (18), and Collin (12). My life is filled with caring for my three amazing kids and a few design projects. I love being a part of the parish family at Ascension. It is truly a home away from home and I am honored to be on the Vestry.

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John Douglas 

I started attending Ascension with my wife Jan in the spring of 2016. Although we had attended St. John’s Cathedral for many years, when we moved back from Atlanta in 2013, we were interested in becoming part of a smaller congregation. We tried several parishes and then realized that what we were seeking was right under our noses (three blocks from our home) at Ascension!

After growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and spending my first 20 years as a Methodist, I looked at several different faith traditions before discovering the Episcopal Church in the early 1980s. Jan and I have very much enjoyed being at Ascension with its warm and welcoming congregation and the many opportunities to become involved in parish life.  A particular high point for me has been the choir which I joined after learning at the 2016 Hymn Sing that it would accept anyone who loved music and could breathe.

Jan and I have four children and six grandchildren, and are delighted that our daughter Mira has also chosen to attend Ascension with our grandchildren, Kelly and Stephen. I have been a public health physician for over 30 years and am currently the executive director of the Tri-County Health Department. When I’m not doing public health or grand-parenting, I look for time to enjoy the glories of Colorado through biking and hiking. 


I am from Western Pennsylvania. I attended James Madison University on a golf scholarship. After college I worked as a legal assistant for a large firm in Pittsburgh, where I met my husband Mac, who was my next door neighbor. We were married in 1999 in Maine and moved to Denver four days later.

I was raised Roman Catholic but ventured away from church in my college years. I really wanted to find a stronger faith and a comforting feel in church, which I never felt growing up. I looked for a couple years only to find it two blocks away. Ascension has helped Denver feel like home to me. I am grateful that our children; Lily (18), James (16), and Jackie (15), are learning about the Lord and what it means to have faith through Ascension. Lily and James recently participated in the confirmation class. James is a frequent reader and Jackie likes to usher with his sister. I recently became a Chalice Minister which brings me closer to my faith and the church. It is a special gift.

I keep myself busy chairing the East High School Teacher Appreciation Committee and volunteering in the school store, among other East activities. I love working out at Pearl Street Fitness, but what fulfills me the most is being a Mom to our three children. We travel back East for the summer to spend time with family because our fall and winter are spent supporting the Denver Broncos. I am honored to be a part of the Vestry and look forward to learning more about the church and the beautiful people who make Ascension what it is to me.  


My wife Sarah and I were married at Ascension in 2004 and have been attending here since.  We have found this to be a very warm and welcoming family and have enjoyed the friendships we have made here.  I grew up in Omaha, NE, where we attended Trinity Cathedral.  I went through Sunday School and served as an acolyte until I was about fifteen.  I am looking forward to helping my two daughters, Claire and Morgan, down a similar path here at Ascension.  

On the professional side, I have been a software engineer for more than 15 years.  I am currently the Director of Engineering at a small software company in Westminster called Cloudpath Networks.  We make utilities to simplify the process of connecting phones, tablets and laptops to secure wireless networks.  When I am not busy with my girls or working on our house, I enjoy riding my bike, skiing and playing music.

John Kayser

I joined Ascension in 2015 and immediately felt a connection and a welcoming atmosphere. I’ve found it to be a spiritual oasis in a very busy city! Originally from El Paso, Texas, I was raised in a large Episcopal church, where I did it all—acolyte, junior choir, youth choir, youth groups, church camp, and even the elementary school. I was drawn back after the Episcopal Church courageously took a stand for inclusiveness. I’ve been in Denver since 1987 and currently serve as the marketing director for Jewish Family Service of Colorado, a large human services agency. I’m married to Dan Klinglesmith and we have a hyperactive labradoodle, Scruff. I enjoy travel, biking, swimming, cooking, reading great novels, and gardening. I’m a member of Ascension’s Outreach Committee and have a special interest in the church’s physical plant and grounds. 

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Amy Leonard 

I am originally from Nashville, Tennessee and I am a lifelong Episcopalian.  My husband Jim and joined Ascension after moving from the Cathedral 14 years ago and have lived in Denver for 28 years.  Our children, John (20) and Grace (18), were both baptized at the Cathedral, but experienced their faith formation at Ascension.  I was the Sunday School Coordinator at Ascension for 8 years before we hired a Children and Youth Director on our staff.  I participated in the building of our faith formation materials, the transformation of our library and the development of our first Confirmation Class which included Grace.  I care deeply about this church and have remained a member throughout the years, because of our caring community and our spirit filled congregation.
Outside of the church, I have been lucky enough to stay at home with my children.  I have used my masters degree in education to lend a hand to their schools throughout the years.  I have been a chairperson for many community events from school fundraisers to the annual Advocates for Children gala.  I hope to lend the vestry my knowledge of Ascension and my organizational skills as we set our sights on the future through the establishment of a solid foundation and the building of our legacy.  


I have been a member of Church of the Ascension since the spring of 2014.  I joined Church of the Ascension, after visiting several Episcopal churches in central Denver, because of the welcoming and comfortable environment and because I felt called to be here.  I have been an active member of our parish, focusing on outreach ministries and serving as a chalice minister.

I have been a member of the Anglican/Episcopal Communion since infancy.  Growing up in Guelph, Ontario, I attended St. George’s Anglican Church, serving as an acolyte, youth synod delegate and on outreach and youth education committees.  I went to college at Trinity College (part of the University of Toronto) and attended St. Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto, a large urban parish, where I was involved in faith formation and street ministries.

After college, I moved to Lansing, Michigan and attended St. Paul’s, where I was a Jr. High Church School teacher and youth group leader for five years.  At St. Paul’s Lansing, I also served on the evangelism committee and on the vestry for two years.

My time in Michigan was followed by seven years in Kansas City (where I became an avid Royals fan).  In Kansas City, I attended St. Andrew’s, a large mid-town church where I felt a call to be heavily involved with the parish’s partner church and school in Maniche, Haiti.  As a result, I have been to Haiti five times on meaningful mission trips.  My involvement has continued following my move to Denver in 2014 with the Colorado Haiti Project.

Professionally, I work for CDM Smith as a transportation planner, project manager, and regional manger.  I have been with the same firm or one its predecessors for 18 years, albeit in three different cities.  My hobbies include hiking and curling (the Olympic ice sport).  In fact I won a skills competition this past fall and as a result we now have a Church of the Ascension logo on the ice in Golden where I play.  I have also been an avid Broncos fan since Jr. High so I am pleased to finally live in my football home.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve on our Vestry and would like to continue a focus on community building, faith formation, and growth in our outreach ministries.

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Peter Simon

I grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1994 with a BA in International Relations and a minor in Spanish.  I traveled and worked various jobs during my 20s, not knowing what I wanted to do for a career.  In 2000, I went back to school to study video and film production.  I’ve been working in that field every since. I met my wife Kalpana in 1998.  She grew up in a small town in Southern Minnesota called Blue Earth.  We married in 2003, when she was in her first year of medical school at St. George’s University.  The school is located in Grenada, West Indies.  We spent about two years in the Caribbean before moving to New York City in 2004.  Kalpana finished medical school there, as well as residency and fellowship in gastrointestinal pathology.  I worked in the film industry, starting out at the bottom and eventually becoming a member of the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600).  

In 2011 we moved to Denver, when Kalpana got a job at the University of Colorado Hospital.  Finding the opportunities to work in video and film production limited, I took a part-time job at the Denver Public Library in 2013.  I continue to do the ocasional camera job.  I also work on my own projects and those of my friends in my spare time.  I’ve produced two short films during my time in Colorado. We tried several Episcopal churches here in Denver before settling on Ascension in early 2013.  I’ve been participating in the Chalice Ministry for two or three years.

After trying to have a child for many years, Kalpana and were finally blessed with a daughter last August.  Ilakshi is everything we could have hoped for and more. We’ve been living in the Alamo Placita Neighborhood since 2013.  Our house in on Corona Street near the Safe Way grocery store.  We feel very much at home in this community and look forward to watching our daughter grow up here.


Deep spiritual roots go back to my earliest childhood. I'm the youngest of four and was raised in a "Midwest-like" rural home in Northern California. I had a happy childhood and loving parents. We were originally Missouri Synod Lutherans, but my parents joined a Bible church when I was in 3rd grade and that's really where I cut my spiritual teeth.

I was always very serious about my relationship with Christ and am grateful for the spiritual journey that I've been on. This has included the Charismatic movement, and eventually a year at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Fifteen years ago I found the Episcopal church and have enjoyed it's worship and ministry ever since serving in music, teaching, and leadership roles. Contemplative Christianity is also a keen interest and has been a very nourishing aspect of my faith.

Professionally, I've been in human resources for over 30 years, where I've held various leadership roles. In the past six years I created my own executive coaching and leadership development practice - a passion of mine. My partner of 17 years and I live in the Montclair neighborhood and are thrilled to be in Denver! It is a genuine privilege to be considered to serve on the Vestry and to partner with the Rector and parish in our collective journey with Christ.

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Patrick williams

I am the husband of Molly Mitchell Williams, a lifelong member of the Ascension. I’ve been a member of Ascension since 2010. I have sung in the choir here at Ascension. I have read as a lector and intercessor at the 10:00 am service. I taught math for more than 25 years, most recently at Mullen High School, a Christian brothers school in southwest Denver.

Molly and I greatly value the warmth and genuine family atmosphere of this community. I would be honored to receive your support to become a member of the vestry.