Our Clergy & Staff

The Rev. Samuel Nsengiyumva – Rector

Father Samuel became the Rector of Church of the Ascension on September 16, 2014. He previously served as the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin; and Priest-in-Charge of Holy Family Episcopal Church in Angola, Indiana.  As Rector, Father Samuel oversees and coordinates all activities related to the life and mission of Church of the Ascension.

Father Samuel was born in Rwanda, Africa, as the first born child of a first generation Christian couple who raised him to love the church and all it offered. In 1984, Father Samuel had a spiritual awakening that led him to a greater awareness of God’s love for humanity and the need to share that news with everyone who would listen. He soon became a free-lance evangelist and church planter leading many to the awareness of God’s love for them and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives. In 1988, he felt and responded to a call to ordained ministry which led to his ordination to the deaconate in 1992 and the priesthood in 1996. He has since served churches in Rwanda, Kenya, and the United States.

Father Samuel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Bible, with minors in Christian Ministries and Community Development from Daystar University, Nairobi Kenya, and a Master’s degree from the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, where he studied Theology and Ethics with an emphasis on Peace Studies. Beyond pastoral ministry, Father Samuel is interested in local and global issues such as poverty and conflict. He is the founder and president of Taraja Resource Network Inc., a small non-profit that is attempting to break the cycle of poverty in the African Great Lakes region through education, micro-enterprise, mentoring, and networking.

In his free time, Father Samuel loves to watch soccer. Having played the game from childhood, he is still able to kick a soccer ball around. He enjoyed coaching high school soccer during his time in Indiana and Wisconsin. Father Samuel is married to Marie Rose Nirere. They are blessed with four children, Amos, Emmanuel, Rachel, and Ruth, and a beautiful granddaughter, Keza and grandson, Elijah.

The Rev. Barbara Sears – Deacon

Barbara Sears grew up in Baltimore City and graduated from Western Maryland College and Morgan State College.  After retiring from teaching math in Baltimore County, she was ordained to the diaconate in 1995.  She returned to Ascension Church, her home parish, in July 2012 after serving parishes in Braddock Heights, Monkton, Hampstead, and Mt. Airy.  Deacon Barbara’s ministry is focused in the areas of Outreach and Pastoral Care. She and her husband Bill enjoy traveling, especially in the western states, and day-hiking on the C&O Canal.

Ms. Mary Butler – Director of Music Ministry

Mary Butler has been a church musician since she was a child. She plays piano and organ and loves playing all types of music: classical and contemporary. She feels called to use music to help people come closer to God in worship. She is a graduate of Loyola College and earned a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland. She is a retired teacher and enjoys living on a horse farm in Lineboro with ponies, horses and many cats.

Mrs. Cheryl Vecera – Parish Administrator

Cheryl Vecera was born and raised in Baltimore City until her senior year of high school when her family moved to Finksburg.  She has been a member of Church of the Ascension for over 40 years.  Cheryl has served the church in many capacities such as Vestry, St. Martha’s Guild, Pins & Needles, Breakfast Committee, and Fellowship.  She joined the staff 12 years ago as an Assistant Secretary and is currently our Parish Administrator..

Mrs. Lynn Lyon-Vaiden – Handbell Choir Director

Lynn Lyon-Vaiden began ringing handbells in 1979 when her church purchased five octaves of handbells. She has directed at schools and churches since 1983 and has attended many national and regional handbell festivals and directors’ seminars. Lynn has directed the Ascension Handbell Choir since 1997 and previously directed the Handbell Choir at St. Timothy’s School. (Stevenson, MD).

Mrs. Lynn Kirby – Ministry Support Associate

Lynn Kirby is a volunteer at the church and has been a member since 1994. She publishes our monthly Ascension Extension newsletter and designs and produces our business cards and brochures. She also assists the various ministries through her administrative work as needed.

Mr. Donald Chepko – Sexton

Donald Chepko is the part-time sexton, helping us to keep our campus beautiful for all who worship with us or visit our church.


Lay Leadership

Roger Bair, III – Senior Warden
Ann Cox – Treasurer
Donna Fine – Vestry
Greg Forster – Vestry
Mary Beth Francis – Vestry
Jenny Beeker – Vestry
Judith Stainbrook – Vestry
Buck Lyon-Vaiden – Junior Warden
Anne Arena – Registrar, Vestry
Brenda Bornt – Vestry
Melissa Leahy – Vestry
Mary Lou Berg – Vestry
Pam White – Vestry