Rector, The Rev. Jimmy Grace
Jimmy is a native Houstonian. He graduated from Episcopal High School in 1994 and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Art History at Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. Jimmy served as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, from 1999 until 2002. He then began studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 2005. He was ordained into the Episcopal Church that same year, and served as Associate Rector at Epiphany, Houston from 2005 to 2010. During this time he was also President of the Board for Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS). In 2010, Jimmy was called to serve as Canon for Formation and Worship at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston. Following four years of service there, Jimmy accepted a call in 2014 as Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Houston. In addition to his work at St. Andrew’s Church, Jimmy serves as President of the Board for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Episcopal High School. Jimmy is married to his wife Marla and they have three sons, James, William, and Henry.
Associate Rector, The Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis
Carissa is a native of Austin, Texas raised at All Saints Church on the campus of the University of Texas. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and began her non-profit vocation in Washington D.C. in the field of human rights. She went on to faith-based community organizing in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and later graduated from the Seminary of the Southwest in 2007. In her time as Assistant Rector of St. Stephen’s, Houston, and as Director of Peace and Justice at All Saints, Pasadena, CA, Carissa helped connect church members to the need for mercy and justice in the world.
Head of School, Nancy Simpson
Nancy holds a B.S. and M.S. in Education and Counseling from the University of North Texas and is currently enrolled in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Rice University. She has over 25 years of experience in Education and is a member of St.Andrew's Episcopal Church.
Parish Administrator, Trish Mehrkam
Trish Mehrkam was hired as secretary for the parish in 1999 by The Rev. Paul Fromberg. Her responsibilities have steadily increased over the years, serving three priests and two interim priests at St. Andrew’s. Trish was promoted to Parish Administrator by The Rev. Barbara Lewis, and The Rev. Jimmy Grace has added the responsibilities and title of Ministry Coordinator.
While balancing many parish duties in her 25 hour week at St. Andrew’s, Trish additionally works as the Office Manager for Speech Language Learning in the West University area and has coordinated and hosted exchange students for 15 years. Trish is married to Tom Mehrkam and they have one daughter, Celine-Marie. Trish and Tom enjoy RVing as often as they can to relax and get back to nature.
Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation, Lisa Puccio
Lisa Puccio joined the St. Andrew’s staff in January 2015 to begin a weekly Rhythms of Grace service for special needs families and to develop a new Sunday school program for the parish. She has worked in family ministry for almost 15 years and serves on the diocesan formation advisory committee. Lisa is a member of the board of directors of Forma, a national association of Christian educators and formation professionals that celebrates and upholds the diverse ministries of Christian formation across the Episcopal Church. Since 2011 Lisa has volunteered with Kids4Peace, where she has helped to lead groups of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian children from Jerusalem and the United States to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. Lisa and her husband, Mike have been married for thirty-three years and have four grown children.
Youth Intern, Liz Luna
Liz was born in Reynosa, Mexico and moved to Texas when she was 7 years old, and is very proud of her family and heritage. Liz is working towards an Associate of Liberal Arts degree from San Jacinto College and hopes to transfer to the University of Houston in the fall to major in History or Anthropology. Liz served as a youth leader in her home parish for five years and feels that she has been able to meet and work with incredible people in the Episcopal Church.
Treasurer, Chris Barker
As a cradle Episcopalian, I grew up on the Southwest side of Houston, and attended Church of the Epiphany with my parents. About 40 years ago, I moved to the Heights, subsequently married, and had a daughter who I wanted to raise with the same spiritual tradition I was provided, so we joined St. Andrew’s. I became very active in the youth activities as Christy progressed through school.
My education background was in accounting, but practicing that didn’t give me the people exposure I wanted, so my professional career led me in another direction, and for the past 30 years have served as an HR Manager for an international engineering firm. I have served twice on the St. Andrew’s Vestry, and have been our Treasurer since 2009. I consider my Treasurer position at St. Andrew’s as my “fun” career, and I thoroughly enjoy doing what I’m called to do for our parish.
Organist & Choirmaster, John Kirk
From a young age, music was a large part of John’s life—music was always playing at home and in the car, a year of obligatory piano lessons, singing in musicals and choir in high school, playing double bass in jazz band, playing in a band throughout high school and college, and always vibrant congregational singing at the Lutheran church in which he grew up. Like his musical activities, his tastes were diverse: Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, J.S. Bach, Tchaikovsky, and the Star Wars soundtrack were among his favorites.
John attended Capital University, studying both Religion and Double Bass, and while there, the university installed a new organ. The educational seminars about the organ piqued John’s interest, and the series of inaugural concerts exposed him to the depth and power of the organ’s repertoire. He started taking organ lessons and soon found himself spending more and more time at the organ console and less time behind the bass, and so he added yet another musical interest with no clear vision of how things might come together.
After moving to Houston following college, John began studying organ, voice, and church music with Robert Brewer and assisting in the music program at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Houston as a Choir/Organ Scholar. Here, John was finally able to connect all the musical threads of his life in church music by immersing himself in strong music program that presented a wide variety of material and was composed of committed, hard-working volunteer singers under a passionate and energetic director. In church music, John found the energy and conviction of rock music combined with the craftsmanship and interest of classical music, all within a context that focused on something bigger than music itself.
Following his work at Epiphany, John was Music Director of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Dickinson, Texas and Organ Intern at St. Philip Presbyterian in Houston, Texas. He is presently Organist & Choirmaster of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Houston and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Organ Performance from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where he studies with Robert Bates and studied improvisation and service playing with Sigurd Øgaard.
Organist Emeritus, Dr. William H. Gilbert
Bill was the Parish Organist and Choirmaster from 1987-2015.
Facilities Manager, Byron Pineda
I was born in the city of Guatemala in Central America. There I attended college earning an accountant degree. I began my career as a mathematics professor. I also became certified in carpentry and as a shoemaker. When I came to New York City, I worked as a laboratory assistant in the NYU Hospital in Manhattan, NY. I achieved my high school equivalency diploma in NY. Years after, I moved to Florida where I became a US citizen and had my own landscaping business. Currently I live in Houston where I got certified as an electrician. I was blessed by the Lord, and found this great job and love being a part of both the St. Andrew’s church and school.