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.
Ms. Mary Butler – Organist and Choir Director
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.
Ms. Stephanie Schaffer – Community Engagement Coordinator
Stephanie will graduate with a degree in Communications from Carroll Community College in the fall of 2018. She has experience in marketing and has a Social Media Professional Certificate. She looks forward to faithfully serving and honoring God in her work at Church of the Ascension.
Mrs. Abigail Shell – Children and Youth Minister
Abigail graduated from Messiah College with a degree in Music Education. She was a Senior Counselor and Music and Worship Coordinator at the Claggett Center for several summers and is now a Music Educator at Martin Boulevard Elementary School in Baltimore County. She looks forward to bringing her talents and experiences to our Children and Youth programs.
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).
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.