Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, as a way of life

Meet the Nominees for Elected Office: 2016

Dear delegates and alternates - meet the nominees for elected office! We will hold elections at Convention 85 on Nov. 5, 2016. Reminder: The nomination timeline was moved back to the spring, as it was years ago. Nominations closed June 30. This change will provide more time to review these bios. Nominations after June 30 must come from the floor of convention.

Standing Committee (Elect 1 Clergy)

The Rev. Canon Robert A. Picken

Rochester, St. Paul's Church

I serve as Rector of St. Paul’s in Rochester, graduated from GTS (‘06), and served both a small urban parish in Brooklyn and a cathedral (Long Island). I believe that this ministry, plus serving on and as chair of diocesan and convention committees, including Canons, Dispatch of Business, and a board of managers, gives me the necessary experience to share in advising our bishop in his ministry and together furthering the mission of Christ in our diocese.

 Standing Committee (Elect 1 Lay)

Susan Woodhouse

Henrietta, St. Peter's Church

For the last several years I have served my parish and diocese in many ways; most recently as Secretary to Convention and Council, Diocesan UTO Coordinator, two-time deputy to General Convention and as Senior Warden at St. Peter’s.  I understand the diocese, its mission and growing array of ministries.  I believe my background and leadership qualities will enable to me to serve as a valuable member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Rochester.

Trustees (Elect 3 Clergy or Lay)

The Rev. Ralph M. Peter Harter, Esq.

Rochester, St. Paul’s Church

I have served the Diocese in several capacities. I am bi-vocational. As an attorney with over 40 years experience , I am familiar with the legal and canonical duties of a Trustee. I am finishing my second term as a clergy Trustee. I served on the Audit and Buildings subcommittees. I served on the Constitution and Canons committee 10 years. I presently also serve on the Disciplinary Board. I would like to continue to serve as Trustee.


Leslie W. Kernan, Jr., Esq.

Rochester, St. Paul's Church

I currently serve on the Trustees and would welcome the privilege and opportunity to continue this ministry in the Diocese.  I have previously served as a Warden and a member of the Vestry at St. Paul's - Rochester, and as a member of the Investment Policy Committee of St. Paul's.  As an attorney now serving as general counsel to a large Rochester-based not-for-profit organization, I believe I understand well the need for an organization such as the Diocese to balance mission with the prudent administration and stewardship of resources.


Douglass C. Lyon

Rochester, St. Thomas' Church

I am finishing my first term as a Diocesan Trustee.  I am currently the chair of Diocesan Investment Review Committee, which oversees management of the Diocesan Endowment fund.  I have attended St. Thomas' Episcopal Church for 18 years.  I have served on the parish's rector search committee (2010), as Finance Commission Chair (10 years) and on the Vestry (3 years).  I bring knowledge of the inner workings of a Diocesan Parish.  I am President of Lyon Capital Management, LLC, a local investment management firm founded in 1994.  I hold a Masters of Business Administration.


The Rev. Ronald B. Young

Pittsford, Christ Church

I have been in the Diocese of Rochester since 2014 as associate at Christ Church, Pittsford, and I am committed to the mission and ministry of the diocese in this time of change.  I have extensive experience in the church (as clergy and a warden), on boards of non-profits, and in my previous career as an engineer in project management, problem solving, and financial management. I can think and plan strategically (the big picture), but am also detailed oriented.

Diocesan Council (Elect 3 Lay-at-Large)

Margaret Ashley

Canandaigua, St. John's Church

I am completing a 2-year term as a lay At-Large Diocesan Council member. This year, I served as Co-Chair of the Mission Partnership Grants Committee, and as a member of Steering Committee.  During my time on Council, I have had the opportunity to learn about the  challenges and opportunities facing our Diocese.  There is still much to do as we strive to help struggling congregations grow and thrive, support missions in our Diocese and beyond, be responsible stewards of Diocesan resources, and redefine our vision for the Diocese, beginning with the sale of the Diocesan House.  I would be grateful for the opportunity to serve again on Diocesan Council.


Floyd Bayley

Rochester, St. Paul's Church

I think I am uniquely qualified to serve Council after having served in numerous areas of St. Paul's Episcopal Church spiritual and community life.

Throughout my more than 30 years of faithful worship, I have served two terms on Vestry, Diocesan Commission on Ministry,  Long Range Planning Committee and taught Sunday School and Confirmation class. I am currently serving on St. Paul's Outreach Council. I am also a Stephen Minister. I served as president of the Southeast Ecumenical Ministry food cupboard and transportation service (FISH). I helped to settle many Ethiopians and Sudanese families in the Rochester area. I am a retired Principal Electrical Engineer.


Nancy Latour

Bath, St. Thomas' Church

I have been an Episcopalian since birth.  I have attended St. Thomas Church since 1983 and have been involved in most aspects of the church.  I taught Sunday School for 15 years, served on Vestry for 10 years, being Warden twice.  I have now been the treasurer for 5 years.  I sing in the choir and play in our handbell choir.  My husband and I have had a Sunday Supper team for over 20 years.  Now that I am retired I believe I have a lot I could offer at the diocesan level and would love to help make a difference.


Nina Whitlow Johnson

Scottsville, Grace Church

Caring, concerned and organized.


Julie Syracuse

Sodus, St. John's Episcopal Church (NPEM)

Serving in leadership roles at St. John's has given me the opportunity to work with other parishes in Wayne county. One of the most important things I have learned is the necessity to  develop mutually beneficial relationships and still keep each parish's uniqueness. Most recently I have felt a calling  to represent our area on Diocesan Council. My objective is to work together with my brothers and sisters to bring the Jesus Movement into all of our communities.

Commission on Ministry (Elect 2 Clergy)

The Rev. Jimmie Sue Deppe

Gates, Church of the Epiphany

I come with an open mind that God calls each of us to use our gifts for the greater good, and it is through discernment within and with a group that one is best able to hear where and how God calls us to use our gifts. Helping someone discern a vocation requires deep listening and prayerful journeying with someone, it requires compassion and sensitivity as people open themselves to being vulnerable within the group. And these are gifts I believe I possess for the ministry of COM.


The Rev. Dahn Gandell

Rochester, Church of the Ascension

In 2014 Bishop Singh appointed me to the Commission on Ministry.  I have enjoyed serving on the Commission on Ministry and my colleagues on the committee have valued the gifts and wide range of knowledge I bring to our work together.  I would be honored to be elected to serve another term.

Commission on Ministry (Elect 1 Lay)

Robin Yergeau

Greece, Trinity Church

I believe in praying about everything and I make space/time to listen. Not sure that makes me unique, but that's who I am.  I served in most ministries at my NH church of 30 years and now have fallen in love with Trinity-my new church home these past 2 years.  I have been active with RAIHN, our Music Team, Bible Study and helping plan/lead Taize services.  If elected I will serve joyfully, with an open heart.


Disciplinary Board (Elect 1 Clergy)

The Rev. Dr. Daniel M. Linnenberg

U of R, Supply Priest

Having served one year on the Board, I desire to continue my service to the Church by serving a full term. I bring a unique perspective to the Disciplinary Board, in that I am a Priest, a counselor and a professor. I have been trained in the required process and I train others in the process of drawing out difficult information in a compassionate manner. I believe this makes me highly qualified to continue.


Disciplinary Board (Elect 1 Lay)

Catherine Cerulli

Rochester, St. Thomas' Church

I have been working in the field of social justice since 1983, when I began working at a summer camp for children, some of whom suffered from poverty and abuse. I completed college at St. Mary's and as a student was on a disciplinary board. I moved from there to doing volunteer work as a youth minister, and attended law school where I created a clinic for people suffering from abuse and neglect. I served for about 3-1/2 years as a prosecutor in Monroe County and left the office to complete a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. I then worked as a legislative aid in the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, taught law school for a few years, and eventually landed at the University of Rochester in 2002 where I have remained, leading a laboratory studying social justice issues. I now also co-direct the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University as well.

Deputies to General Convention (Elect 4 Clergy)

The Rev. Billy Daniel

Geneseo, St. Michael's Church

As the Episcopal Church and as the Diocese of Rochester, we are entering a new era of ministry that requires careful attention in all matters of spiritual formation. I have the gifts to speak the will of the diocese, to listen and to challenge, and to then return ready to communicate how the 79th General Convention of our Episcopal Church affects our local churches, and the call upon us thereby in our journey with Christ.


The Rev. Paul Frolick

Hilton, St. George's Church

I was pleased to serve as alternate deputy to General Convention in 2015.  In addition to learning about the issues facing our church and how we are led at the national level, I followed especially our efforts in developing vital congregations and supporting new church plants and mission projects.  I hope to continue to bring what I learn about these projects back to our diocese.  I am excited for the opportunity to serve our diocese and the wider church.


The Rev. Dahn Gandell

Rochester, Church of the Ascension

I am involved in the Episcopal Church at all levels.  I serve as a rector of a growing multi-cultural city parish.  I am on the Commission on Ministry.  I'm the Missioner for Global Companionship for the Diocese of Rochester.  I'm the clergy representative for Province 2 on the Provincial Council, and I am a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.  I have attended the past 7 General Conventions and am well-versed in the governance of the church.  This level of experience makes me uniquely qualified to be a deputy to General Convention and I hope you will vote for me!


The Rev. Robert A. Picken

Rochester, St. Paul's Church

I serve as Rector of St. Paul’s (Rochester), graduated from GTS (‘06), and served both a small urban parish and a cathedral (Long Island).  Elected an Alternate (’15), I have also served on committees and boards throughout the Church.  GC2015 addressed re-structuring and the vital work of evangelism.  If elected, I look forward to working with others to build on that momentum, making TEC more ready to proclaim Christ to a rapidly changing world, while maintaining our traditions.


The Rev. Lance D. Robbins

Webster, Church of the Good Shepherd

As a deputy to the last General Convention, I now have the experience and knowledge of what to expect  and how best to prepare to represent the needs as well as the vision of our Diocese at the next Convention.  In addition, as a long-term rector of this Diocese I bring a unique perspective and understanding of the needs of our congregations.


The Rev. Virginia Tyler Smith

Honeoye Falls, St. John's Church

Prior to my vocation as a parish priest and rector, I was a strategic planning consultant. I am very interested in the work that the Episcopal Church is doing to discern its future.  I would like to be an active participant in the planning and policy-making that will help our Church grow as the living embodiment of Christ's ministry in our midst.


The Rev. Chris Streeter

Penfield, Church of the Incarnation

I was privileged to serve as a Deputy to the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City. My time there was a true gift, offering me the opportunity to form relationships outside of our Diocese, gain a deeper understanding of the structure of our Church and participate in plans for a vibrant future. I ask for your vote to build on that experience. I feel called to serve and represent our beloved Diocese of Rochester!


The Rev. Canon Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough

Bloomfield, St. Peter's Church

I have represented the diocese at the past three General Conventions.  I bring to the task a breadth and depth of church experience, including parish ministry, interreligious and ecumenical engagement, Christian formation, theological education and full time campus ministry.  My passion for and experience with interfaith work and work with young people equips me with crucial insight and wisdom as our church wrestles with the challenges of ministry in a religiously pluralistic world.

Deputies to General Convention (Elect 4 Lay)

Joshua Barrett

Brockport, St. Luke's Church

As someone who has been immersed into the active life of the church from a relatively young age, I bring some insight that bridges both the dreams of the old and the visions of the young. I have represented this diocese on a national church level before, and know what it means to speak for change. I would be greatly honored to represent this collection of the Jesus movement.


Nancy Grear

Rochester, St. Paul's Church

I currently serve as Adult Formation Coordinator at St. Paul's, Rochester. 

My past experience which directly relates to this position was that of President of the Datatel Users Group, an organization of users of the Datatel administrative software product.  We conducted an annual conference with more than 2,000 attendees.   During my presidency, a second users group was merged into the larger group.  This required a great deal of negotiating skills, with considerable skill in facilitating group process, and also representing the entire group, speaking in front of the conference attendees. 

I have also served twice on the Board of Examiners for the National Baldrige Award.  This position reviews an organization who has applied to win the Malcolm Baldrige award, on a team with seven others; using critical thinking skills to determine whether or not the applicant meets the strict standards; and using group process skills as all members of the team need to agree on the outcome.  This process takes three months of intensive work to fulfill the commitment.

I have worked in higher education for the past 20 years as Registrar at Nazareth College.  This position requires the ability to work with others, formulate policy along with administration and faculty, and ensure that the policies are enforced.


Sarah Peters

Hilton, St. George's Church

In the last several years I have had the opportunity to visit a variety of Episcopal churches in our diocese. These visits have provided me with a broader perspective of the many positive attributes of our congregations. As a member of Diocesan Council for two terms, vice-chair during 2013, member of Standing Committee, EfM participant and a thirty-four year career as a public school educator, I have gained a strong background in skills and knowledge concerning our church.  I have a deep commitment to the Diocese and itsp vision and look forward to working towards a positive future.


Keisha Stokes

Webster, Church of the Good Shepherd

I am a cradle Episcopalian who has been involved in various levels of church leadership for the past several years, including my parish's vestry. I am also a student in the EFM program. I am currently the Interim Youth Missioner for our Diocese and I have been a leader for four Episcopal Diocese of Rochester youth retreats. I take great pride in being a younger lay leader in our church and I would like to use my unique perspective to represent our Diocese on the national level.


Paula D. Valeri

Rochester, St. Thomas' Church

My insight into the possibilities of effecting change in the world through our national church has developed through deep and broad involvement in my home parish, St. Thomas'.  Serving as warden and on the vestry, I've had an opportunity to learn our church's polity firsthand and to gain a great appreciation for the unique way we lead and govern.   As Coordinator of St. Paul's Adopt-a-Classroom tutoring program, I know the impact the Episcopal Church has on our community and it would be an honor to participate at the national level.