The Reverend Martin Elfert
I started going to church shortly after our son, Ami, was born. Church hadn’t been part of my life growing up in Vancouver, BC. But the experience of being present for Ami’s arrival into the world changed something for me. The Celts speak of “thin places,” of physical locations in which God is particularly close at hand; Ami’s birth was a thin experience, an occasion on which something loving and beautiful and awesome and beyond words filled up the room.
Afterwards, I realized that I wanted – that I needed – a community and a set of practices within which to respond to that experience.
Thankfully, I am married to a PK – a Preacher’s Kid – and the beloved members of my extended family invited me to explore The Episcopal Church (or, as it is called in Canada, the Anglican Church). There I found a tradition that held room for ambiguity and paradox, that celebrated beauty, that honored doubt even as it nurtured faith, that cared profoundly about social justice, that took scripture seriously enough to argue with it, that allowed the possibility that Jesus came both to comfort us and to challenge us.
For the first time, I considered the possibility that there might be a home for me in church.
Ami and I were baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2005. Not long thereafter, my worshipping community began to encourage me to consider ordained ministry. After several years of discernment (“discernment” is church speak for thinking and praying about a possibility), the church gave me its blessing. And my wife and I decided that I would leave a job that I loved as Technical Director of the Vancouver East Cultural Centre and that we would move our family to the San Francisco Bay Area so that I could begin seminary at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
After three fabulous years at CDSP, we moved to Spokane, WA, where I served as Associate Dean of St. John’s Cathedral from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, I had the uncommon privilege of being called to serve as Rector (i.e., Senior Pastor) of Grace Memorial.
While I no longer work in the performing arts, I continue to love the theatre and to look for opportunities to integrate its lessons into Sunday morning. I also find joy in reading, writing, riding my bicycle, and taking on home improvement projects with my family. I live not far from Grace along with my wife, Phoebe, the aforementioned Ami, his sister and brother, Mimi and Timo, and our cat, Enid Punter II.
I am daily grateful for the invitation to serve the Lord Jesus Christ here in the marvelous community that we call Grace Memorial. I can’t wait to see where God is calling us next.
You can follow me on Twitter @martinelfert, receive my weekly reflections by subscribing to Grace’s weekly newsletter, and find my blog and my (very irregularly published) advice column on Spokanefaithandvalues.com. You can also give me a call at the church – I’d love to take you out for coffee and to hear some of your story.
The Reverend Doctor Liz Klein
I look forward to being a Deacon at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church. My mission, as a deacon, is to bring the needs, concerns and hopes of the world to the people in the church and to engage, enlist and encourage others to live out their baptismal ministries and see Christ in everyone. I hope to help people at Grace realize their spiritual gifts, develop them, and use them to spread the love of God to those in our community. I am especially interested in racial justice, community advocacy, ending homelessness and decreasing gun violence. I enjoy pastoral visits, preaching and writing liturgy.
I grew up in the Episcopal Church, was baptized as a baby and confirmed at age 12. My husband and I have attended St John the Baptist Episcopal Church in SW Portland since 1991, where I taught Sunday School for many years, sang with the Family Musicians, served on the Healing Prayer Team, participated in the Julian Study Group and was a eucharistic minister. I did a medical mission to Niger in 2014, which was life changing. I became a Stephen’s Minister in 2014. I retired from family medicine in 2017 to pursue my calling to be a deacon in the Episcopal Church. I was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church August 7, 2021.
I am most proud of my marriage to my medical school sweetheart Dr Arnold Klein for 37 years. I enjoy spending time with our 2 wonderful adult sons, Matthew and Sean. In my free time, I enjoy baking, playing piano, photography, hiking with Arnie and playing fetch and soccer with Hope, our Cavapoo Puppy.
The Reverend Doctor D. Corbet Clark
I have served as teacher and chaplain at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland since 1988. For many years I served as Chaplain in the Upper School, and I am currently the Chair of the school’s Religion Department.
I received my A.B. degree from Harvard College and an M.A. from Yale University, before going on to receive his Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from the General Theological Seminary in New York. In 2011, I earned a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.
After ordination in the Diocese of Olympia in 1977, I served parishes in Seattle and Tacoma, worked as a civilian Chaplain at Ft. Lewis, and taught at several schools in the Puget Sound area before moving to the Portland area.
I serve on the faculty of the Academy for Formation and Mission of the Diocese of Oregon and am member of the Commission on Schools for the Diocese of Olympia, where I continue to be canonically resident.
The Reverend Canon Doctor Richard Toll
I was born on April 14, 1939 in Pecos, Texas. I graduated from Pecos High School in 1957, and received a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas in 1962. On September 1, 1962, I married Elaine Higginbotham and we have two children: David & Sondi, and four grandchildren.
I received a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from The Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1967 and was ordained as a Deacon on June 29, 1967. On January 10, 1968, I became an ordained Priest at Grace Memorial where I served as Curate. From 1967 to 1970, I served as as City Missioner, Diocese of Oregon. In 1970, I entered Chaplaincy for a year of training in Clinical Pastoral Education at Emanuel Hospital in Portland.
From 1971 to 1976, I was Rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Baker, OR, then was called as Canon Pastor at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle from 1976 to 1984. In 1984, I became an Honorary Canon of the Diocese of Olympia in 1984. From 1984 to 2003, I was the Rector at St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukie and retired from parish ministry in September 2003.
I was appointed by Retired Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning as the Chair of Friends of Sabeel North America, from 2001 to 2011, during which time I had the opportunity to organize 34 conferences in the U.S. on the issues of justice and peace in the Holy Land. As Patron of Sabeel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has supported Sabeel internationally and within the U.S. I am still on the board of Sabeel.
In 1985, I received a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) degree from Virginia Theological Seminary, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) from The Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2001. I served on the Board of Trustees at The Church Divinity School of the Pacific for 10 years and served as President of the Alumni Association that established the present day Alumni Council in the mid 1980’s.
I became a Priest Associate at Grace Memorial in 2013.
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I am happy to be part of the Grace Memorial team. In addition to working in the office and around the campus, I work as a Campus Coordinator for PHAME. I grew up in Nampa, Idaho and graduated with a Music degree from Boise State University. I have spent most of my life working in the food service industry in order to support my musical career. I toured internationally as a bass player for many years. And after the world shut down, I looked for a job involving less travel. Grace provides a wonderful place to find my way.
In my spare time, I enjoy playing music around Portland and beyond. I also like cooking and watching movies.
Bookkeeper & Parish Assistant
503-287-0418, ext. 103
I’m a native of California and joined the US Army at 19 where I worked as Operations for a Military Police Unit until 2007. In 2016 I earned my Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Religion and History from Pacific Lutheran University with a focus on the development of religious attitudes around personhood, liberation and identity in post-Reformation Europe. In the academic year of (2015-2016) I was the Vice President of the Congregation Council for PLU’s Campus Ministry. After earning my BA, I worked in administrative roles at Pacific Lutheran University, to include being the Administrative Assistant for the office of the Provost. During the fall of 2020 I was living in Utah and studying at Utah State University in Logan, UT for my Master’s in Religious History specializing in minority religious movements in the US. Due to the complexities and challenges that came with COVID, I decided to put my academic pursuits on hold.
I was brought up as a Primitive Baptist and then in my late 20s and early 30s, I joined and was heavily active in the Greek Orthodox Church. In spring of 2018, after an immense amount of personal tumult, left the Orthodox Church. I now attend Trinity Episcopal Cathedral here in Portland and am happy to now work for Grace. With my academic background in religious studies and my work in administration, I’m happy to be able to “blend” both worlds with my work here to some extent.
During my spare time I enjoy reading, running, embroidery, satisfying my appreciation for pre-code era cinema and spending time with my adorable cat, Odin.
503-287-0418, ext. 100
Organist & Choir Director
A lifelong Episcopalian, I had many formative musical experiences which set me on a path of music ministry in the church. I have worked in six Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Oregon beginning in 1974, and since 1994 I’ve served in music ministry at Grace Memorial. I graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance and pursued post-graduate studies in organ with Margaret Irwin-Brandon, and harpsichord with Edith Kilbuck and Ton Koopman. I was appointed organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Portland from 1977 to 1989 and was the principal harpsichordist and organist with the nationally acclaimed Portland Baroque Orchestra from 1985-2018 where I had the amazing opportunity to perform hundreds of concerts – including two live performances of Handel’s Messiah on National Public Radio. In demand as a continuo player, I’ve performed at the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Opera, Chamber Music Northwest, the Oregon Bach Festival, as well as many festival series in the Northwest. On the Fine and Performing Arts faculty of Oregon Episcopal School teaching Visual Arts since 1982, I served as Music Dept. Chair (PreK-12) to 22 faculty members from 2006-2016. Organizations that I love: the Association of Anglican Musicians and the Royal School of Church Music.
Digital Production Specialist
Originally from Middle Georgia, I moved to Portland in Summer of 2018 and it wasn’t long before I started looking for a church to call home. Grace quickly became that home for me when I joined the quilting ladies of St. Mary’s Guild and started working with Grace Institute. When we went remote for the pandemic and Martin asked the congregation for assistance with live streaming services, I knew this was a chance to use my skills from community theater to help my new church family. I have greatly enjoyed being the live stream producer these past few years.
I work for Portland Community College with their Environmental Health & Safety team and in my spare time I enjoy knitting, spinning yarn, and volunteering with the Rose City Rollers.