Bishop Alex was elected and consecrated in 2022 as the second bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America.
He was first ordained in 2000 after serving a parish for three years as a youth minister. In 2002, he was called to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Gainesville, FL, a declining church in need of revitalization. He and the members of St. Michael’s reorganized in 2006 to found Servants of Christ Anglican Church, now a thriving congregation, where he served as rector until just after his election.
Alex also served for many years as the priest-in-charge of Camp Araminta, a week-long summer camp ministry of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese. His ministry over the years has focused on the cost of discipleship, the call to unity, and the essential need to be quiet before the Lord–empowered by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jody, for 31 years. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.
Jessica Jones was raised in parish and diocesan ministry and was ordained in 2017. She serves as the Bishop’s Archdeacon and Canon for Leadership, which includes next generation discipleship, ordination preparation, clergy transfers, and clergy education. She has served in a variety of parish positions, including as a worship leader, as a Director for Christian Formation, and as an Executive Pastor. Jessica's educational experience has set her up to blend education, worship, and theology; she holds a Ph.D., a Specialist's degree, and a Master's degree, all in Educational Leadership, a Doctorate in Worship Studies, and her undergraduate degree is in Music Education. Jessica is the Associate Academic Dean, Thesis Director, and Professor at the Webber Institute for Worship Studies. She formerly served as the Provincial Canon for Next Generation Leadership for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), currently serves as their Diocesan Canon Coordinator, and serves on the Vision 2030 strategic planning team for the ACNA.
Chris McCarthy joined the diocese staff in August 2022, after serving in parish leadership for 7 years at Church of Our Savior in Jacksonville Beach, FL as a Vestry Member, Senior Warden, and then Business Manager. In his diocesan role as the Bishop’s Executive Administrator, he manages all “support-side” business functions of the diocese while assisting member parishes with the same.
Prior to serving the Anglican Church, Chris was an aircraft carrier-based test pilot in the Navy, where he had a successful 25-year career gaining experience in strategic planning, data analysis, flag staff management, disaster response, and senior base leadership. He holds two engineering master’s degrees and an MBA, and continues to attend and serve at Church of Our Savior.
Born in south Florida, Bob grew up in Gainesville and graduated from the University of Florida in secondary education. The Ayres lived for a season in Georgia and Kentucky before moving back to Gainesville in 2017. Bob has Masters of Religious Education, Masters of Education, and Doctor of Ministry degrees. All three graduate degrees are in the area of leadership. In 2000, Bob and Kathy founded a national ministry called "Deaf Teen Quest" that since 2009 is a ministry of Youth For Christ USA. Kathy retired from a career in Occupational Therapy and was ordained a deacon in 2023. She leads the Access Leadership Network for Next Generation Leadership Initiative.
Following a career in the nonprofit sector, Bob was ordained a priest in ACNA in 2019. God stirred up a vision in Bob’s heart for establishing the DEAFCHURCH TOGETHER movement in the ACNA based on his doctoral work. He produces an online weekly liturgical service in American Sign Language and has published three books including DEAFCHURCH 21: Vision for a New Generation. Bob has a deep commitment for mentoring and empowering ministry leaders. The Ayres have six adult children (two of whom are Deaf) and a dozen delightful grandchildren!
Together with his wife Karissa and their children, Taylor has a special passion for raising up and sending out leaders into the mission of Christ, for racial reconciliation, and for calling artists and skeptics to give Jesus a fresh hearing. Taylor has also served on the national church planting leadership team for the ACNA called Always Forward, and was a founding member of the Anglican Multiethnic Network (AMEN).
Father Craig has been a priest since 2004. He has served as rector and church planter in Kansas and Texas, and currently serves St. Peter’s in the Glen Anglican Church in Glen St. Mary, Florida. He has also been a missionary in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, and a part of several initiatives for new ministry or ministry revitalization.
He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Florida, and has worked extensively in that field, serving in mental health hospitals, in the prison system, and in outpatient settings. He currently serves as an outpatient provider with Baptist Medical Center.
His passion is for the transformation of the lives of individuals, families, and communities through the work of the Holy Spirit. He is deeply invested in contemplative spirituality and prayer.
He has been married to Christie for 23 years. They have two children, Craig and Timothy.
Michelle grew up in Jacksonville. She moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University, where she joined the InterVarsity campus ministry. Upon graduation, she came on staff with InterVarsity, serving as a Tallahassee campus staff for five years and then as the North Florida area director for seven years. She is deeply passionate about raising up leaders, church planting, and creating spaces for people to encounter God in prayer. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Jacksonville). She was on the core team that helped plant Incarnation Tallahassee, where she and her husband, Zach, still serve as leaders.
Samuel was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, and came to faith through as a child in an Anglican congregation. He earned a Doctor of Worship Studies degree from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Jacksonville), and a degree in Family Youth and Community Science from the University of Florida.
He was ordained a deacon in 2010 and a priest in 2011 and has served parishes in the Jacksonville and Metro DC areas. In addition to his work for the Diocese, he is Assistant Pastor and Technical Director at Grace Anglican Church in Fleming Island, and a Missionary Companion of the NAMS Network.
He is married to the beautiful and talented Allison, and has two children.
Fr. Christopher’s call is as a son, brother, uncle, mentor, friend, community builder, cultural translator, advocate for the marginalized, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. He was born and raised in Brooklyn and has preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in various cities throughout the US and in places such as far as Singapore, Indonesia, and Myanmar.
He received his first university degree from the State University of New York. He later went on to earn a Master’s in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. It was at Pitt that Fr. Christopher heard afresh his call to ordained ministry. After graduating and working in the corporate world for a couple of years, he attended Trinity School for Ministry, and finished his Master’s degree in Divinity with an emphasis in evangelism and church planting. After Trinity, he was called to Florida to plant a church with fellow seminary graduates in a historically black and entrepreneurial neighborhood that fell on tough times—a work that bore much Kingdom fruit.
In addition to his roles with the Diocese and All Souls, he is the owner/operator of Paramount Digital - a small venture that seeks to empower and guide churches, nonprofits, and small businesses up the digital mountain. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sacred Rhetoric at Duquesne University. In his leisure time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, skeet shooting, and hanging out with his 4 year old, Butch (the dog).
Dennis has lived in Jacksonville, Titusville, Gainesville, and Palatka Florida. Dennis attended the University of Florida, receiving an undergraduate degree in Accounting, and the University of North Florida, receiving a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Dennis has worked in the accounting departments of several companies in various industries. These industries include healthcare, architecture and engineering, and pulp and paper.
These experiences include managing professional and clerical staff, implementing new accounting systems, working on cross-functional teams responsible for responding to audits, implementation of strategies to retain or procure customers, and complying with regulations or service agreements.
Dennis has attended All Souls Anglican or Calvary Anglican church in Jacksonville Florida. He has been a member of All Souls from 1981 to 2000, Calvary from 2001 to 2012, and a member of All Souls from 2012 to current. He serves on the Missions Committee at All Souls. He has led several missions trips to Dominican Republic and was on the missions team to Honduras. Dennis has taught several Sunday School classes on Missions, and Biblical prophecy.
Dennis has been married to Marilou for 42 years and has two grown children.
Before accepting the assignment to become Canon for Congregational Development, Bill worshipped and served at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral since 2016. He has been married to his best friend and covenant partner, Kristen, for the past twenty-four years. They have three children, Katerina, Sophia, and Isabella.
After stints as a Special Assistant to Bishop Neil Lebhar and then Archbishop Duncan, Bill became the Canon for Missions & Evangelism in October 2020 and saw parishioner volunteer engagement increase from under five percent to over sixty percent, the doubling of the missions and evangelism budget, and, most importantly, a deepening desire of parishioners to boldly proclaim the saving power of Jesus to their neighbors. Such work has involved forming critical partnerships with local churches and parachurches, and even helping birth four separate 501(c)3 ministries. Bill has recently served as the Chairperson for the ACNA Adult Misconduct Taskforce and has served on the board of several local ministries.
Bill also manages a national employment law and human resource boutique that provides organizational, developmental, and compliance-centered consulting to its clients. Founded in 2001, the Firm assists entitles with strategic planning, human organizational development, risk management and conflict resolution. Recreationally, Bill enjoys running; mountain-climbing; hiking anywhere and everywhere in the Western North Carolina mountains; spending time with his boxer, Caesar; and having as much time with people as the day will allow.
The Director of Safeguarding oversees our Safeguarding Committee, comprised of three teams: the Response team, the Prevention team, and the Training team. The Safeguarding Our People Committee exists to protect our people, our congregations and communities and the diocese, from unnecessary or unforeseen risks; to assist with consistent and uniform policies throughout the diocese; and to help prevent, and respond with integrity to, crises arising under any diocesan policies through a supportive and transparent process
Leah holds a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Auburn University. In addition to her work for the Diocese, she is Pastoral Associate for Students and Families at Christchurch Montgomery. She has worked as a high school English teacher, in the corporate world, and as freelance writer. She is married to Guice and they have a son, a daughter and a son-in-law.
More Diocesan Leaders
Keith Allen serves the Gulf Atlantic Diocese as the Canon for Global Missions, as well as serving as the rector of Christ Church Anglican Vero Beach. Since 2017, he has served as the ACNA Provincial Canon for Myanmar. In addition, he served as Chairman of the Board for Rwanda Ministry Partners in 2016, and a Board Member for Anglicans for Life, 2011 to 2014, and is currently on the board of New Wineskins Missionary Network.
Andrew Rowell is honored to serve as the Canon for Governance for the Gulf Atlantic Diocese. In this new role, Canon Andrew will oversee the annual review of and occasional amendments to the Constitution & Canons of Diocese and advise the Bishop and Chancellors on matters of canon (ecclesiastical) law. Cn. Andrew is Rector of Christchurch Montgomery and Dean of the Western Deanery. Cn. Andrew also serves as Vice-Chair of the Governance Task Force for the Anglican Church in North America. Andrew has a passion for preaching and teaching God’s Word, for sending the church out into the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, and in the maintenance of good and godly governance, so that the church is unencumbered in its efforts to spread the Gospel.
Prior to becoming Rector of Christchurch, Andrew was Associate Rector for Evangelism & Discipleship (2012-15) and Associate Rector for Youth & Families (2008-12) at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee, Florida. Andrew received his undergraduate degree from Duke University (1995), his law degree from the University of Virginia (1999), and his Masters of Divinity from the Duke University Divinity School (2008). In his prior professional life, Andrew served as a homeless shelter manager, a speechwriter for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a tax attorney at Hogan Lovells LLP in Washington, D.C. He is married to Miriam “Mimi” Suber Rowell, who is a Critical Care Registered Nurse. They have two sons, Stephen Ebenezer (Eben) and Ezekiel McConnell (Zeke).
The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
The Right Reverend Neil G. Lebhar was consecrated in 2010 as the first bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese. Previously, he served as rector of Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, FL, as well as Assistant Rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, VA.
He and his wife Marcia were married in 1971. They have two daughters and a son, and nine grandchildren. They also have a foster daughter who has three children.
Bishop Lebhar received his B.A. from Princeton University and holds masters degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Virginia Theological Seminary. Neil and Marcia have led dozens of groups to study in the land of Israel. He loves the Lord, his family, and is grateful for the Lord’s mercy.
The Rt. Rev. John E. Miller III
Following a career as a marine biologist, John attended Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, earning an MDiv, and was subsequently ordained to the priesthood. He then served as Assistant Rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Melbourne, FL, and Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Melbourne. In February 2004, John joined the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) and planted Prince of Peace Anglican Church in Melbourne.
He was consecrated as a Bishop in the AMiA in 2008 and then served as one of the founding Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America. In 2012, he re-entered parish ministry, accepting a call as Rector of Christ Church, Vero Beach, where he remained until “retirement.” He now serves as a SoulCare Pastor, ministering to those struggling under the pressures of ordained leadership.
John has led three mission trips to Rwanda, and he and his wife, Joyce, have hosted seven pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and another to Greece and Turkey to study the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. He enjoys gardening, fishing, hiking, and travel.
Governance Committee Members & Representatives
The Diocese works to represent each deanery in its various governing bodies. They are designated below as follows: (W) Western; (C) Central; (NE) Northeastern; (S) Southern.
The Standing Committee is an elected group of clergy and laypersons who serve to assist the Bishop in effective leadership of the diocese. The Standing Committee supports the Bishop the way a vestry supports a rector, and annually reviews the Bishop. They also help review and approve congregation and clergy transfers as well as ordinations.
The Diocesan Council is an executive body with power to implement policies and programs adopted by Synod. It is composed of the Bishop, Secretary, Chancellor, Deans, SC Chair, Treasurer, three clergy (elected), and three laypersons (elected). The Bishop has authority and responsibility for budgetary and fiscal management, but the Diocesan Council works to propose and submit the budget annually. They also oversee the work of the Finance Committee, Nominating Committee, and the Constitution & Canons Committee.
The Rev. Dan Thompson (W)
Mr. David Mica Sr. (C)
The Rev. Jon Hall (C)
Mrs. Kim Hassell (NE)
The Rev. Jeff Grossman (S)
Ms. Ellen Boyer (S)
The Rt. Rev. Alex Farmer, Chair
The Ven. Dr. Jessica Jones
Mr. Chris McCarthy
The Rev. Canon Taylor Bodoh
The Rev. Canon Mark Eldredge
The Rev. Canon Keith Allen
Mrs. Michelle Herbst
The Rev. Dr. Sam Horowitz
The Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Petty, Standing Committee Chair
Mr. Mose Stuart, Chancellor
Mr. Sam Garrison, Vice Chancellor
Mr. Dennis Kelemen, Chair DRC
Mr. Justin Smith, Secretary of Synod
The Very Rev. Marcus Kaiser, Cathedral
The Very Rev. David Ball, Northeastern
The Very Rev. John Wallace, Central
The Very Rev. Mike McDonald, Southern
The Very Rev. Andrew Rowell, Western
The Very Rev. Joe Porfidio,
The Diocesan Finance Committee is appointed by the Bishop and has oversight of the business and financial control methods of all parishes and congregations in the diocese.
Delegates Through 2025: Mr. Dennis Kelemen, DRC Chair; Mr. Chris McCarthy, Executive Administrator; The Rev. Jon Hall, Central Deanery; Mrs. Kim Hassell, Northeastern Deanery; Tracy La Cagnina, Southern Deanery
Constitution and Canons Committee
The Constitution and Canons Committee consists of three clergy persons and three lay persons, one member being a practicing attorney, and all appointed by the Bishop with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee. The responsibility of this committee is to consider all proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese as recommended by Diocesan Council. They present proposed amendments to the Synod for vote. Each member serves a three year term.
The Rev. David Trautman, Chair
Mr. Matt Swanson
Mr. Jay Fant
The Very Rev. Canon Andrew Rowell, Canon for Governance & Chair
Mr. Mose Stuart, Chancellor
Mr. Sam Garrison, Vice-Chancellor
The Committee on Nominations is charged with developing a slate of candidates for each office to be filled by election at Synod. It consists of the elected members of the Standing Committee and Diocesan Council serving in the final year of their terms, plus the Deans. The Committee on Nominations is a subcommittee of the Standing Committee, which supervises its activities.
Mr. David Mica, Sr.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Petty
The Rev. Dan Thompson
Ms. Monika Woods
+ the Clergy Deans
The Synod elects one clergyperson and two lay persons to serve 5-year terms as members of the Anglican Church in North America's Provincial Council. The member of the clergy nominated must be serving either on the Standing Committee or the Diocesan Council at the time of nomination.
Delegates: Mrs. Karissa Bodoh (Lay Representative through 2025), The Very Rev. John Wallace (Clergy Representative through 2027), Mr. Mark Wilkerson (Lay Representative through 2027)
The Synod elects four lay representatives and four clergy representatives (along with an alternate in each order) in addition to their bishop to represent the Diocese at Provincial Council. The bishop appoints three youth delegates and an alternate. The Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America meets every 5 years. The next meeting is in June of 2024 in Latrobe, PA.
Delegates: Mr. Chris McCarthy, Ms. Karissa Bodoh, Mr. Mark Wilkerson, Mr. David Mica, Sr., Ms. Beth Kirby (alternate), the Ven. Dr. Jessica Jones, the Very Rev. John Wallace, the Very Rev. Marcus Kaiser, the Very Rev. Canon Andrew Rowell, the Rev. Canon Dr. Keith Allen (alternate)
Youth Delegation: Ms. Hannah McDonald, Mr. James Kaiser, Ms. Kaiti Kirby, Mr. John Driscoll (alternate)
Ecclesiastical Trial Court
Four clergy and three lay people are elected every two years for a two-year term. Members through the end of 2024: The Rev. James Manley, The Rev. Dr. Travis Boline, The Rev. David Marten, The Rev. Sudduth Cummings, Mr. Charlie Stambaugh, Mr. Tony Ladd, Mr. Bill Norwood
The Secretary of Synod
Synod elects a Secretary for a term of two years. The Secretary takes the minutes of the proceedings, and once approved, enters them into a journal, preserves the journal and records, attests the public acts of the body and faithfully delivers into the hands of successors all books and papers in his or her possession relating to the Synod.
Mr. Justin Smith is the Secretary of Synod through the end of 2024.