The Vestry is the governing body of the church with members elected for one, two, and three-year terms and organized by classes.
The current persons serving on the Vestry are:
Three Year Term
Elyssa de la Cruz
I have been a member of Grace Memorial since my family and I moved to Portland in the summer of 2014. I immediately fell in love with Grace Memorial’s community and was surprised to find that my search for a new church home was complete after my first visit. I have been a life-long Episcopalian, serving and worshiping with the congregations of my various church homes around the world– from Honolulu, Hawaii to Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
In my professional life, I am an educator. I have been an Elementary/Early Childhood teacher for 11 years. I have also trained teachers, evaluated programs, and built curricula. In my personal life, I enjoy spending time with my husband and young daughter. On any given weekend, you can find us either hiking through one of the beautiful trails at Forest Park, or reading our way through a mountain of books at Powell’s.
Kelly and I have been members of Grace Memorial since shortly after we moved to Portland in the summer of 2011 from San Antonio, Texas. We joined the Episcopal Church prior to our wedding in 1983. I currently serve Grace as an usher, enjoy helping with the Friday Community Dinners, and assist with the Holiday Art Faire & Bazaar as a cashier. In prior parishes I have served as a lector, chalicebearer, usher, Sunday school teacher, and on a building committee for a church school addition. In my secular life I am a research hydrologist/civil engineer with the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. I am excited for the future of Grace Memorial in expanding our role as both the anchor of our spiritual lives and an anchor to the wider community in Grace’s neighborhood and the larger Portland area.
I joined Grace Memorial with my mother and sister shortly after the death of my father in 1998. Although I was largely non-religious at the time, it turned out that growing up attending Oregon Episcopal School had been more formative than I had realized, and I quickly fell in love with the already familiar liturgy. I was baptized at Grace along with my sister Kristin at the age of 12 by personal choice, and was later confirmed as part of the first catechumenate class at Grace. My family quickly became heavily involved in parish activities, myself as a member of the Acolyte Guild. Today, I spend the majority of my time as chairman for Kumoricon, a non-profit anime, manga and Japanese culture convention with an annual attendance of approximately 8,000 individuals.
My family and I returned to Portland and Grace Memorial Church in July 2016 after a four year stay in Anchorage, AK*. Me and my wife, Carol, of Altar Guild fame, originally joined Grace Memorial Church back in 2000. We are blessed with a son, Ben, who is a freshman at Grant High School and a daughter, Ellie, who is a seventh grader at Irvington. The entire family is grateful for the never ending love and support of the Grace community.
Before our sojourn in Alaska, I worked with Grace’s middle school youth and served on the Vestry. Recently, I have been helping Kristin with the kids in Church School. I want kids of all ages to worship together and to be certain that Grace is a spiritually nurturing place for everyone.
Note: *When visiting Anchorage, don’t miss the welcoming community of Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church and the theatrical views of the Chugach Mountains from their sanctuary.
Two Year Term
Junior Warden: Gale Beagle
I have been a member of Grace for 25 years. For many years, I was in charge of Parish Life, Coffee Hour and Ushering. I retired three years ago after 22 years of Nursing at Good Samaritan Hospital, and I served for two years on the Executive Board of SEIU Local 49. My partner Earl and I live in Vancouver, WA and I’m involved in the Democratic Party and served on the Executive Board of the 49th Legislative District. In 1999, I was elected to the Vestry and served as Junior Warden for three years. During that time I put together a design committee of nine. Among the things we accomplished was getting the current Ella Brown Room carpet and our last project was hiring a color consultant and contract out for what are our current Sanctuary colors. Last year it was an honor to serve on the Search Committee for our new Rector.
My wife Connie Sullivan, our two children, Patrick and Rosalind, and I have been congregation members since 1999. I am a partner at the law firm Stoel Rives LLP, where I have worked for over 25 years. I am currently on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Northwest, served eight years as a member of the Board of Trustees at Oregon Episcopal School, including five years as a board officer, and previously served a term on the Grace Memorial Vestry, including two years as Senior Warden.
Born in Los Angeles, California, the third of six children, I spent 40 years in Southern California before moving to Portland in 1994. Higher education was an accidental career after graduating from college, and developed into a vocation as I found my way from Johnston College at the University of Redlands to Cal State Long Beach, finally landing at Reed College, where I serve as the Registrar.
When I arrived in Portland, I explored different churches, looking for a good match. When I found Grace Memorial, I decided I had found the right church home. I continue to affirm that decision, finding sustenance in Grace as a welcoming community, in its commitment to social justice, and by volunteering as a Friday Community Dinner cook, and lector.
When I’m not working, I’m adventuring to visit family and friends and discover new places. I also spend time singing with the Oregon Repertory Singers, and enjoy a variety of hospice and other volunteer work, gardening, and walking my dog.
Senior Warden: Judy Prosper
I am a transplanted New Yorker rooted and thriving in Portland since 2014. My daughter Lucia is a teenager (enough said). My day job includes urging people to “do the right thing” (with mixed success). I grew up in the church and have served various congregations in one capacity or another most of my life – altar girl, Sunday school teacher, committees, commissions, oh my! I am very dedicated to the continued success of Grace’s social justice initiatives, especially those that provide for our less fortunate neighbors. I have found a church home at Grace and would like to help keep the house tidy and welcoming for all people. This verse sums up my faith journey. The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” — Matthew 25:40
One Year Term
Clerk: Alicia Lehrle
My family came to Grace in the mid-1960s, and I maintained contact with Grace during the 20 years I migrated around the Northwest before returning home to Portland for good in 1993. I am a past member of the Altar Guild and Church School staff, and currently participate in the Bell Choir and Healing Prayer Ministry, and I am a professed member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked at Standard Insurance Company with the last 11 being in the contract drafting department. Prior work experience includes bookselling, printing, and a short stint in a pet store, which I fortunately left as I kept taking my work home with me. I’m in my 13th year as a volunteer with SMART (a literacy program in schools for Kindergarten through Grade 3), and I am also a volunteer and board member of Off The Couch Events, which is a socialization program for differently-abled adults. Additionally, I very much enjoy my family, gardening, the beach, a good book and a good beer.
Treasurer: Avril Johnson
I am a native Oregonian and have lived in Portland for most of my life. I retired a year and a half ago from a construction company that my husband and I started in 1970. One of my retirement goals is to improve my ability to speak Spanish. I have five children and six grandchildren who all, except one, live in the Portland area. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, traveling and attending Oregon Duck football games. I also volunteer in the Portland Public School system. I have been a member of Grace Memorial for seven years and currently serve as Treasurer.
I have been a member of Grace Memorial since 1966. I am retired from the City of Portland, where I was a disability claims adjuster for the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund. After four years, I retired as a Meals on Wheels driver and member of the Two Rivers’ Meals on Wheels Center Steering Committee. I have served as President of my condo association and continue to serve on the Budget/Finance Committee. My back ground at Grace includes previous Vestry member, work in Christian Education and social justice issues, convention delegate, auction co-chair, and other volunteer work. I spent many years on the Diocesan Christian Education Department and was the Coordinator of Christian Education at Trinity and St. John’s in Milwaukie churches. I am a member of St. Mary’s Guild, the Lectionary Bible Study, the St. Benedictine group, and am a member of the Catechumenate Classes of 2012 and 2015. I also serve as a Chalicebearer and Lay Eucharistic Visitor. I recently was elected to serve on the Grace Institute Board of Directors and serve as the Vestry Liaison for Grace Institute.