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Our Clergy and Staff

Mother Paula Harris, Priest

“I grew up in a missionary family. My paternal grandparents were missionaries in the Tibetan part of China; my uncle and his wife in Taiwan; and my great aunt and her partner, in Ethiopia. But I was born in a more ordinary place: Dallas, TX before my parents left the US for their first call to Papua New Guinea (where I spent some of my childhood and where my three sisters were born). Imagine, I was a toddler, my mom hugely pregnant with my next sister, while we attended “jungle camp” - bootcamp training for missionaries to live in the jungle. I won’t start naming all the countries I grew up in or have worked in or visited because my current country count is about my age. (We have a map, in our home.)

Although my folks were committed Christians, they never committed to a denomination, so I grew up in all different types of churches which helped me be flexible. Every time we moved, we changed churches and denominations. I became an Episcopalian in the early 1990s. I appreciate the historicity, the liturgy, the sense of mystery, the sense that “you don’t have to check your mind at the door” and the commitment to love and to justice which I find in the Episcopal church. As a young person my education was equally peripatetic (moving around), but my professional education has all been in Illinois: Wheaton College, BA English and Secondary Education 1986; Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Masters of Theological Studies 2006; Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Doctorate of Ministry (preaching) 2012.

I have served seven churches from 1500 members to 50, in urban and rural contexts. In every place, I have enjoyed getting to know the folks and finding ways our different churches could be vibrant and sustainable.

 

I obviously don’t have a lot of spare time, serving the church and commuting from Madison, until we move. But when I do, I like to read (usually mystery novels which come to a satisfying conclusion); to grow plants indoors and out; to organize wine pairings for my spouse's fabulous meals; and to listen to jazz. We like to travel, still adding a country a year… except during the pandemic. And on our holidays, we always manage to find an Episcopal or Anglican church.”

Amanda Zasada.jpg

Amanda ZasadaParish Administrator

Amanda joined the team at Grace in February 2024 with a nonprofit administration background including previous work at several churches, a food pantry, and a museum. With a knack for church administration, she describes the work as "loving people while keeping them organized." She also lives a dual life as a freelance musician, usually singing in musicals or teaching music lessons in her hometown of Platteville. Her free time is often spent caring for her energetic black lab with her partner, tackling renovations in their fixer-upper home, or embarking on adventures with her twin.

Robin French, Music Director
A life-long musician, Robin has been Music Director at Grace since 2019, after 6 years as accompanist of Grace Choir under the inspiring direction of Pat Terry, and as organist. With a rich and varied background in music - she has been a public school educator; private piano teacher; plays a few other instruments; has led or collaborated in many pit orchestras for various theater productions; been the Music Director at several churches in Colorado; and sung in choruses and ensembles in all 7 states where she has lived as an adult. The 5th in a full octave of children in a multi-talented musical family, she had no choice but to sing in harmony from an early age, and is still known to encourage “finding a note in the chord” wherever two or more are gathered. 

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