The Rev. Jeanne LeinbachRector
Jeanne is Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She joined St. Paul’s in September, 2015. Previously, she served as Associate Rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Winnetka, IL. She was ordained to the Priesthood in December, 2007.
Prior to being ordained, Jeanne was a management consultant for the financial services industry. She holds an MDiv from Seabury Theological Seminary, an MBA from Cornell University and a BA from Mount Holyoke College.
Jeanne tries to live by these words by Frederick Buechner:
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
The Rev. Jessie Gutgsell DodsonAssociate Rector
Jessie joined St. Paul’s staff as an Assistant Rector in June 2018. Previously, she served as the Assistant Rector of St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, MI. She was ordained to the priesthood in June 2016.
Before attending seminary at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Jessie served in several churches, focusing her work on creation care, interfaith initiatives, and youth ministry. She also worked as a professional harpist in Kentucky, Ohio and Connecticut. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Harp Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
As Associate Rector, Jessie has oversight over the Adult Forum, Young Adult, and Newcomer Ministries.
When not engaging in ministry, Jessie enjoys biking, hiking, cooking, knitting, making music, and spending time with friends and family. She was born and raised on a horse farm outside Lexington, Kentucky, and she remains an avid University of Kentucky basketball fan. Jessie lives in Shaker Heights with her husband Joe, an occupational therapist, their sons Abe and Bax, and their dog Sloan.
The Rev. Brandon AshcraftAssistant Rector
Brandon joined St. Paul’s as an Assistant Rector in January 2021 and has oversight for Worship and Outreach.
Brandon grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of the South, Sewanee. He then moved to New York City where he worked for the next 15 years in media relations for Wall Street firms.
After discerning a call to ordained ministry, Brandon attended the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and then completed a year-long hospital chaplaincy residency in Minneapolis. He was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York in September 2019 and prior to joining St. Paul’s, he served as a Curate at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin, Texas. Bob, Brandon’s partner, lives in Minneapolis.
The Rev. John KennedyAssistant Rector
John joined us in April 2022 He has oversight over Christian Formation and is the clergy presence to youth and children. Previously, he was the Associate Chaplain at Kent School in Connecticut. He was ordained to the priesthood in February 2020.
Before attending seminary at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, John served in youth ministry at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Canaan, CT. He also worked in the world of music and advertising in New York City. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
When not engaging in ministry, John enjoys music, playing guitar, movies, meditation, yoga, practicing the Wim Hof Method, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. He was born on Long Island and raised in Connecticut. John’s fiancée, Emma, is a PhD candidate at Boston College.
Karel has served as Organist-Choirmaster at St. Paul’s Church since 1979. He is the Curator Emeritus of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Before coming to Cleveland, Karel was associate professor of Organ and Church Music at Northwestern University and directed music at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston. He continues to concertize and teach internationally. He especially likes to return to his native Czech Republic.
Kelsey FergusonDirector of Music for Children and Youth
Kelsey graduated from CIM in May with a MA in violin performance. This summer, she will be playing in the New Hampshire Music Festival. Kelsey has been the intern for our children and youth choirs for the past 2 years. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s and grew up singing in our choirs. She is familiar with our music program and our families. She took conducting classes at CIM and continues to study the craft.
David’s parents were married by St. Paul’s Rector Ted Evans in 1940. He was baptized here in 1943. His mother Ruth was Parish Secretary at St Christopher’s by-the-river in Gates Mills and ran the nursery school there for 30 years. David played the 8-bell chime there before it became a 23-bell carillon. He studied organ at St. Paul’s with Walter Blodgett, later with Marilyn Mason at University of Michigan where he also studied carillon with Percival Price. David has been carillonneur at St. Pauls since 1990 and by day he is a private piano teacher. He is a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA).
Lois BellHandbell Choir Director
Lois has been a church musician for nearly forty years, directing and performing in both vocal and bell choirs. She recently retired from teaching music for 25 years in the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Bucknell University and a Master of Music Education degree from Kent State University. Other interests include ballroom dancing, activities with her daughter and travel, especially to visit her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in Chicago.