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.
I am a Portland native and fifth generation Oregonian. I attended The Catlin Gabel School, received my BA in Geology at the University of Oregon, my Master of Social Work at Portland State University, and my School Counseling Licensure at Lewis and Clark. I retired from Portland Public Schools in 2016.
I have two adult daughters, Gwynneth and Avery, of whom I am extraordinarily proud.
I joined Grace Memorial in 1999. My grandmother, Margaret Watt Edwards, attended Grace Memorial as a child.
Senior Warden: Andrew Eshelman
Andrew grew up in rural Pennsylvania where his family attended a Methodist church. After college he began his first line of full-time work in the retail furniture business managing stores in upstate New York. He went to graduate school in Southern California to study religion and philosophy, and it’s there that he began attending an Episcopal Church. After his first teaching job at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he moved here six years ago to chair the philosophy department at the University of Portland. He and his wife, Alice Gates, live in NE Portland.
I moved to Portland from Tallahassee, Florida, in June 2013 following the death of my husband, and joined Grace Memorial shortly after I arrived here. I have been an Episcopalian since college, and I was an active member of my Florida church for 30 years. At Grace Memorial I have participated in Benedictine Way, the Catechumenate, and the 2017 Auction Committee, and I was a delegate to diocesan convention in November 2016. I have been very impressed with the enthusiasm and sense of mission here at Grace Memorial ever since I arrived, and I look forward to serving you.
Treasurer: Curt Germundson
I have been a member of Grace since 1992. The Grace community has been a key component of my growth as an individual, as a husband and as a father. Grace has always been an organization that is close to my heart. Because of this experience and the spiritual guidance I find as I walk the journey I wish to pay it forward to help others.
Executive experience, accounting and financial management experience, non-profit and low income housing development experience. Certified public accountant and a die hard do-it-yourselfer; just ask Susan.
Over the course of his career, Curt has led a variety of organizations. Most recently he served Evosus holding position of Chief Executive Officer and VP of Finance. Prior to co-founding Evosus he founded and practiced public accounting for Germundson & Company, CPA’s. Curt holds a Bachelor degree in Financial Accounting from National University.
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.
Charles A. McGee II
I am humbled to once more be called to serve as a member of the vestry, for I believe service to God is the rent we pay for living on earth. I come with steadfast faith and am blessed with a wealth of experience in administering the affairs of a church that makes me a suitable fit to work in unison with like-minded individuals to articulate what God has called Grace Memorial Episcopal Church to be for this and succeeding generations.
My family history in the Episcopal Church spans four generations. And, I have been very active in the church from my formative years, serving as a youth, acolyte, and so forth. I also attended church schools, both Catholic and Episcopal, throughout my academic career in Liberia and the US and recently graduated from the College for Congregational Development. Earlier, I served three terms on the vestry, as well as delegate to the Diocesan Convention. Currently I am an usher, acolyte, lay reader, chalice bearer, Licensed Lay Eucharistic Minister, member of the Pastoral Committee, and Verger.
Charles fled the Liberian Civil War and joined his brother, James Skirving Smith at Grace Memorial 1991. He was later reunited with his family. He holds B.Sc. in Political Science, B.A. in Secondary Education, M.Ed. in Educational Administration, Diploma in Criminal Justice Administration, and graduate of the College for Congregational Development.
Charles worked in the Office of the President of Liberia, before becoming Chief of Staff to the Chief of Police. In the United States, he has served as a school and licensed nursing home administrator, Policy Assistant to the Mayor of Portland and is an adjunct professor and Lead Community Account Manager at the United Way. Charles serves on many boards including the Diocesan Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon where is a member of the Diocesan Program Assessment Committee, and IRCO Africa House Board. At Grace, he is the Verger and has served on several committees and multiple times on the Vestry in the capacity of clerk, He and Cecelia five children and eight grandchildren.
Youth Representative: Ben Snead
I was born in Portland and have attended Grace, along with my family, for my whole life. I was baptized in 2002 and this community has played an important role in my upbringing. I am grateful for everyone at Grace who has helped me grow in my spiritual life. After living in Alaska from 2012 to 2016, I returned to Grace. Now, I serve as an acolyte and I am a part of our Youth Group. I think youth voices are critical to the decisions we make at Grace, and I am interested in including them further in our community discussions. Outside of Grace, I am a student at US Grant High School (class of 2020); I also enjoy the outdoors.
I am inspired by the spirit and love of the Grace community, and I look forward to serving you.
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.
I have been a member of the parish since my son, Riley, was born in 1999. A lifelong Episcopalian, I am proud of the church’s emphasis on inclusiveness and social justice. I am married to Peter West. I am Founding Director of Camp Blue Spruce, a summer camp for kids with food allergies. I have a background in political campaigns and project management and program planning with non-profits and the City of Portland.
Junior Warden: David Waldow
For the past 15 years, my son has been my responsibility while my wife worked. Now that he is becoming more independent, I feel that I can start to be more engaged with the various communities that I am involved with.
I worked for many years in the Portland architecture community prior to becoming a caretaker for my son and am fairly familiar with some of the development processes that need to occur in order to build a multi-use urban building. I might be of additional assistance in aiding the Vestry with the potential task of developing the campus.
David is age 48, Married to Rachel Sanborn, son Brennan Waldow. Church member since 2008.
Born in Santa Rosa CA, Architecture degree from U of Oregon. Worked in architecture in Portland from 1996 until 2010. From 2010 until last Spring, home schooled our son.
Two Year Term
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.
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.