...creating space for all to encounter God in Jesus Christ...
Israel Ahimbisibwe [pronounced: Aa-he-mbi-see-bue] was born, raised in Uganda and ordained in the Holy Orders of the Anglican Communion of the Church of Uganda. Originally he was trained to teach Chemistry and Biology in High School but he got a spiritual conversion in the second year of teaching.
This new Christian experience would eventually turn Israel’s worldview. It was a time when many Ugandan youths were at the risk of HIV/AIDS and Israel believed that the Gospel of Christ is the only transformative force so vital to transform and bring about the necessary human behavior. He therefore got deeply involved in the evangelism to the youth. Evangelism to the youth also had a component that involved teaching these new converts on how to grow and succeed in the Christian faith. The more Israel did this work, the more he felt God was calling him to a deeper theological training that would better equip him for a full time Christian Ministry.
After deep thinking, prayer and commitment Israel felt God was assuring him by opening and providing the following educational opportunities: B.D- (First Class Honors) at Makerere University, Kampala/Uganda; Th.M-Princeton Theological Seminary- NJ-USA; MTS (Hebrew Bible)- Harvard University Divinity School- Cambridge-MA; Graduate Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem- Jerusalem-Israel; MA & Ph.D (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament) at Rice University- Houston-USA.
Israel has had a year’s teaching ministry at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Cohasset, Massachusetts. He has also offered lecture series on the Book of Genesis & The Prophets at Saint John the Divine’s School of Theology in Houston Texas. He has offered courses on the Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at both Houston Baptist University and the University of Houston. He currently gives instruction in the Old Testament in the IONA Program of the Diocese of Texas. He is the Vicar of Redeemer Episcopal Church, Assistant Rector at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, Instructor of Christian Education, Lower School, at Holy Spirit Episcopal School, and College Missioner at the University of Houston.
Israel believes his passion and talent is to be a pastor and teacher for the strength and edification of Christ’s Church. He cherishes the love and tremendous support he constantly gets from his wife Dorcas. Their three boys: Isaac, Emmanuel and Israel Jr have been an added joy to the ministry of the Church.×
KariAnn Lessner was born in a Yankee state – but one look at her and her parents KNEW they had to raise her in the south (New Mexico to be exact.) So her life as a preachers kid was pretty Norman Rockwellian (with a southwestern twist.)
She met the man of her dreams, Ron Lessner, at McMurry University where she was studying Christian Education and desperately seeking an Mrs. degree. They were married in 1994 by her daddy in a small country church surrounded by friends and family – her momma cried! Eleven years, later Keatyn Olivia danced into their life with her own personal soundtrack which went viral (in their home) “Pre-school Musical”. You just wouldn’t believe how talented young Keatyn was… I don’t think a breath of her existence went unphotographed! And then a surprise – three years later – Karsyn Olivia (her middle name a birthday gift from her big sister) joined the dance! The two girls are BFF’s (most days) and are a constant source of material for their mother’s stand up comedy routine, which has yet to take off. Apparently, comedy doesn’t pay.
KariAnn is the Director of Parish Life & Youth Ministries at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Houston. She likes English Breakfast tea, hand crafts and making plans so she can listen to God laugh! You can read more about her on her VERY outdated blog firstname.lastname@example.org (hopefully that motivates her to get back to writing!?!?)×
Helen Ramey, a native of Shreveport, La, has served as Holy Spirit’s parish secretary since 2006. She also serves as a lay reader, chalice bearer, and participates in the prayer shawl ministry. Helen attended Stephen F. Austin and then South Dakota State University, where she majored in horticulture. She and her husband Mark are blessed with three wonderful grown children, two amazing daughters in law, and three wonderful grandchildren!
Before coming to Houston in 2003 Helen worked first as parish secretary at the Catholic Campus Parish at S.D.S.U., and then later at Sylvan Abbey United Methodist Church in Clearwater, Florida.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, needlework, cooking, thinking about exercising and spending time with her family.×
Leona Baker has worked for Holy Spirit Episcopal Church since 1989 when she began as a part-time Financial Secretary. There have been many changes since then and it has always been her privilege to serve the members of Holy Spirit during these years. Over the years, she has been an usher, does Ladies Night Out programs, is a member of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, and attends a Home Group.
Leona was born and raised in South Dakota and comes from a large and wonderful family. While in South Dakota she attended Nettleton College and then worked for John Morrell & Co. until her marriage in 1970 at which time she moved to Chicago. She lived in various places until 1985 when she moved to Houston. Leona has two wonderful daughters and sons-in-law, and six even more wonderful grandchildren.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, craft projects, knitting and being with family and friends.×
Stephen J. Morris has enjoyed an extraordinarily wide-ranging career as a professional musician, having worked as a soloist, accompanist, conductor, composer, church musician and educator.
He holds degrees in music education and piano and organ performance from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and a Master’s Degree with distinction from Baylor University in Waco. He has done additional graduate work in sacred music, organ, and choral conducting at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston.
For nearly twelve years, Mr. Morris has been the Organist-Choirmaster and Director of Music Ministries at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Houston, where he is in his 43rd year as a professional church musician.×
Gardner is a native Houstonian and grew up in Memorial Bend next door to the old rectory, just west of the church, and attended preschool and kindergarten here at Holy Spirit.
Gardner’s prior work experience includes over twenty years in retail operations and facilities management with various retailers including Joske’s of Texas and May Company.
Gardner came to Holy Spirit as Parish Administrator in January of 2006 and loves being back in his old neighborhood and helping to support the clergy, other staff members, and parishioners in their various ministries.×
Ron married KariAnn July 30th 1994 with very little experience in cooking. A few years into their marriage Ron started to learn how to bake by cooking Cheesecakes. After making a ton of cheesecakes he started to take a couple of small cooking classes at Central Market, Brennan’s of Houston and Haven.
He attempts to use the information he has learned over the years into cooking for his family friends and church. Ron still cooks for some Diocese retreats that his wife helps run some them have included : YES, College Retreat, and Mid-winter retreat.
As other hobbies he enjoys coaching his daughters in sports, traveling, and Top Gear [BBC version the Best].×
The Reverend Joshua T. Condon has been the Rector of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church and school since May of 2013. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Religion and Sociology then attended seminary at Virginia Theological Seminary receiving a Master of Divinity. He was ordained in the Diocese of Atlanta June 7, 2003 to the Deaconate and January 4 to the Priesthood. He served as Assistant Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia from 2003 to 2006 and then became Assistant Rector at Christ and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City and served there until 2008. At that time he became part-time Priest-in-Charge of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Eastchester, New York while studying full time for a second masters degree, a Master of Sacred Theology, from General Theological Seminary in the area of Theology in 2009. Upon completion of that program, he was called to be Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Armonk, New York, which was his last position before coming to Holy Spirit.
In the Diocese of Atlanta he served on the Board for Higher Education and the Board for Mikell Camp and Conference Center. He also served as Vice Chair of the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Alliance of Gainesville, GA, and was asked to be a leader for the national gathering Episcopal Youth Event. In the Diocese of New York he was on the Ecumenical Council, Chaired the Episcopal/Methodist Dialogue Committee, became an Associate of Holy Cross Episcopal Monastery, served on the communications board for the Episcopal New Yorker. In the town of Armonk, New York he was on the Town Ethics Board and Board of Trustees for the Public Library. He also served with the Volunteer Fire Department as an Interior Certified Fire Fighter.
Josh is married to Sarah Condon and they have a three year old son, Neil. Sarah is also ordained and serves as an on-staff Chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital. Josh likes to hike, play basketball, play guitar, read, and his favorite thing to do in his free time is spend time with his family.
For Josh, the role of the church is to foster and enliven our relationships with God and with each other. We become who God created us to be when we are together. If you are looking for a new church home where you can grow in the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, come spend some time at Holy Spirit! We would love to get to know you.×
The Rev. Ben Shawhan celebrated the 50 year anniversary of his ordination as a priest several years ago here at Holy Spirit. While Fr. Ben is “retired” he continues to minister to our community and others, we are very fortunate to have him and his wife Diana as members of our parish.
Fr. Ben is one of five clergy that serve as Chaplains to the Retired in the diocese of Texas. In the Houston area he and other chaplains stay in touch with the retired through personal phone calls, birthday cards, area lunches, and an annual Retreat for the Retired at Camp Allen.×
French Bread, sliced, or other sliced bread
Bacon bits (homemade or store purchased)
Diced yellow onion
Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise
I am excited to join Holy Spirit from the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
I grew up in Bethlehem and was raised as a cradle Episcopalian. I was an active participant in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity throughout my life, including being ordained to the Diaconate there on March 2nd of this year. I graduated from Allegheny College in 2011 with a BA in Religious Studies and Mathematics. Upon completion of my undergraduate, I moved to Tennessee to attend seminary at The School of Theology at Sewanee. During seminary, I worked as a lifeguard, sacristan (altar guild member), and as the student director of orientation for new seminarians. One of my internships during seminary was as a chaplain at Naples Community Hospital in Naples, FL.
I have many interests and hobbies, including, but not limited to, kayaking, making paperclip earrings, knitting, making electronic kits, and reading science fiction. Since May 1st, I have been on a world wind tour: completing my first triathlon, studying in Israel, traveling in Turkey, on pilgrimage in New Orleans with a J2A group, and spending time with my family and friends.×