2020 Vestry Nominees

Britton Gregory

My name is Britton Gregory, and I’m running for a Vestry position at St. David’s. From choir and EFM to Wisdom Ways and EYC and other activities, I feel that St. David’s has given an incredible amount to me and my children. I’ve endeavored to give back over the years, by service on the stewardship committee, giving presentations on personal finance, etc., but every year my response to a call to the Vestry has been, “maybe next year; next year will be a good year, when I’ll have free time”.  And yes, I know I’m late to learn what you doubtless already know — there is no “good year” — and so: here I am.

In the community, I’ve worn two very different hats: from graduation until a few years ago, I worked as an engineer (and engineering manager), after which I switched careers to become a financial advisor. Both jobs have involved walking a “via media” that always appealed to me as an Anglican — on the one hand, using the analytical gifts God gave me to come up with logical solutions to problems, but on the other never forgetting the human and spiritual elements that are, ultimately, the whole point of solving the problems in the first place! In fact, that’s why I finally made the move to be a financial advisor: while engineering has always been fulfilling, in the end I wanted to help people in a more impactful, personal way. So again: here I am.

On the Vestry, I hope to continue to meld number-crunching analysis with theological reflection as taught through EFM and Wisdom Ways. I’ve learned at St. David’s that there is a rarely a simple answer to a question, and that good theology rests on a tripod of reason, scripture, and tradition; it’s my hope to put what you have all taught me to good use in serving our church. Thank you; “here I am; send me.”

Rex Hunt

St. David’s Episcopal Church has been part of my life since I was born in 1953: baptized and confirmed here, and many times dragged out during services by my Mother for various disturbances of the peace.  Elaine and I were married at St. David’s in 1974.  Now we have granddaughters that have been baptized here.  But for a few years in Fort Worth, St. David’s has been my Church home my entire life.  This place is very much my spiritual base. 

Currently, Elaine and I are Sunday School Teachers for a very precocious group of 6-ish year olds.  Other parish activities and small groups include bell choir member, usher, eucharistic minister, and lector; building committee member for the current campaign; and serving on the Warm Heart International Board of Directors and the water well subcommittee within Warm Heart.  Several years ago, I also served on Christine Mendoza’s discernment committee and presented her at her ordination to the Priesthood.    

When we lived in Fort Worth and were members of St. Andrew’s there, Elaine and I served as youth directors and Sunday School teachers; and were heavily involved in the Cursillo, Happening, and Vocare Movements, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese in north Texas.  In addition, I served as a member of the Vestry at St. Andrew’s on two separate occasions and as Clerk of the Vestry during part of one term.  

Civil engineering is my education and career; and I am currently a consultant with a water and wastewater engineering firm.  In that capacity I am a Principal with the firm and the Water Quality / Permitting Practice Leader in the company.  In addition, I serve on the Board of Directors for my company, currently as Board Secretary.  Engineering, at least the way my company approaches it, is an opportunity to serve public and private clients by applying our collective expertise to make a positive difference for their water-related issues.  We are a company of servant leaders.  Servant leadership is what Christ expects of us and it helps me stay focused on why we are here; that is, it is a way to make a difference for others.  The experience gained in my career will certainly be helpful in my duties on the St. David’s Vestry.

The Texas Ramp Project (TRP) is an organization that uses volunteers to construct residential wheelchair ramps for individuals with impaired mobility.  The St. David’s team, of which I am part, works primarily within Travis County.  Working with this remarkable team of men and women has been my primary community activity for the past 2 years.  In that time, we have built more than 20 ramps, many exceeding 50 feet in length.  

Explaining why I feel called by God to serve on Vestry is not easy.  It has always been challenging to discern God’s will in my life.  Serving on Vestry is a ministry in itself; but then so are all other actions needed to bring about God’s Kingdom.  Thomas Merton said, “My great obligation is to obey God, and to seek His will carefully with a pure and empty heart…. This means certainly a deep consent to all that is actually and manifestly His will for me.” Deep consent means that it is enough for me to believe that God is always using me for His purposes.  So, I cannot really explain the why of this calling but only say that I believe it to be true.

Joy Harris Philpott

Joy Harris Philpott

During the past year, I’ve had the honor of filling a one-year term on the Saint David’s Vestry, and I would like to continue in that capacity for a full three-year term.  As a Vestry member I’ve served as a member of the finance committee, and as a parishioner I’ve been part of our outreach to refugees both through our “Go and Do Likewise” project and in service to refugees in Matamoros.  I regularly serve as a lector at the 11:15 service in the historic sanctuary.  Outside of Sunday services, the bulk of my Christian formation now occurs in a weekly Bible study with friends that I met through Saint David’s.  I am grateful for opportunities afforded by Crail C lectures and the annual Eckhardt Mission Series.

During the past year, I’ve had the honor of filling a one-year term on the Saint David’s Vestry, and I would like to continue in that capacity for a full three-year term.  As a Vestry member I’ve served as a member of the finance committee, and as a parishioner I’ve been part of our outreach to refugees both through our “Go and Do Likewise” project and in service to refugees in Matamoros.  I regularly serve as a lector at the 11:15 service in the historic sanctuary.  Outside of Sunday services, the bulk of my Christian formation now occurs in a weekly Bible study with friends that I met through Saint David’s.  I am grateful for opportunities afforded by Crail C lectures and the annual Eckhardt Mission Series.

Prior to my own children becoming youth, I served as a youth Sunday school teacher and as a confirmation leader.  I completed all four years of Education for Ministry (EfM) and then facilitated the class for two years. 

I believe that the purpose of all formation, and of church in general, is to better equip us to live as Christians outside the doors of the church.  As the prayer following the Eucharist invokes, “you have fed us with spiritual food . . . Send us now into the world  . . . to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart . . .”  Outside of church, my occupation is as a public school administrator.  After teaching (history and English) for 10 years, I’ve served as an administrator at both campus and district levels for the last 13 years.  Through this work, I’ve developed skills in budgeting and in short term and long-range planning.  Perhaps my greatest skill lies in working with groups of people to share ideas to build plans together.

I feel that these listening, facilitation, and planning skills are of use back within the walls of the church on the Vestry.  I would be honored to continue serving St. David’s in this way.

Mary R. Rose

My name is Mary Rose, and I have been a member of the St. David’s community since 2005. I am a cradle Episcopalian – child of two(!) clergy parents – and raised in the Diocese of Los Angeles. I followed (what I think is) the not uncommon route of dropping out of religious life in my early twenties, only to come racing back when I had children of my own, having learned that there is no other entity in modern life that stands for all the good that our church stands for. I wanted my kids to bask in that goodness, to hear these messages from someone – many people – besides myself. St. David’s has been a phenomenal place to “come home” to, to raise my two children (Marielle, 14, and Marsden, 9), and to assist me in figuring out the right ways to serve our community and our city. I am delighted to offer my service on our Vestry.

While at St. David’s, my primary community has been the 9:15 Bethell service. There I have been, since about 2012, a “verger,” which is the word we use to describe the people who pinch-hit for pretty much any role needed in Bethell, be it set-up, ushering, offering, EM, or lector. For several years I was also a happy member of, and then co-led, the “Parenting in Connection” group as an adult formation option, and I have volunteered with children’s ministry. Less often I have led a session in Crail or slept overnight in Trinity’s cold weather shelter. 

What do I bring to this opportunity? I hope the Vestry would help me discern the skills that would be most helpful to it and to St. David’s. I know that I bring these to the table: I have a PhD in Social Psychology and do research and teaching at UT Austin’s Department of Sociology. My specialty is the intersection between social science and the legal system, and I study juries and jury decision making in particular. I therefore spend a lot of time thinking about how groups function well (or not) and about meeting one’s obligations to serve, even when one might not want to. On the more practical side, I can write surveys, tell you what is wrong with other people’s surveys and studies, analyze data, and participate in report writing. As with most universities, UT has given me a plethora of committees on which to serve, and I consider myself a pro on that score. In general, I am what is commonly called a “lifelong learner,” and I look forward to embracing all that the Vestry and St. David’s has to teach me.

Billy K. Thomson

My name is William King Thomson, and I go by “Billy K”. I usually attend the 9 a.m. Historic Church service. I have previously served on the Vestry and was Treasurer. I have also served on the St. David’s Foundation, where I was chairperson. I have served the parish as an intercessor for 10+ years and as an usher for 40+ years. I owned and operated a successful dental practice for 46 years, and I am now retired. I was actively involved in local and state dental associations throughout my career. I have been a faithful, pledging member of St. David’s since 1976 and participated in three previous capital campaigns. Being retired, I now have the time to commit to service for St. David’s. I feel I would be most effective in serving as a vestry member.


Laurie Eiserloh

Vestry Member seeking re-election and Nominee for Diocesan Council Representative

I’m a cradle Episcopalian, mom and an attorney.  We’ve attended St. David’s for 20 years. I’ve served on Vestry, Finance Committee, Personnel Policy Committee, Diocesan Council and as a lay Eucharistic minister. We support Trinity Center financially as well as volunteering for cold weather shelter.  In the Diocese of Texas, I serve on the board and chair the governance committee for El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission and was appointed by the Bishop to serve on the Unity in Mission Task Force. Nationally, I attended the last six General Conventions, the triennial national meeting of the Episcopal Church, and was elected an alternate deputy from the Diocese of Texas. Internationally, my family and I were Canterbury pilgrims. My goal is to increase St. David’s focus on evangelism and outreach particularly in downtown Austin.

Kristine Devine (Alternate)

Nominee as Alternate Diocesan Council Representative

I first became a member of St. David’s in the early 2000s, when I was a member of the choir; my husband and I were married at St. David’s in 2004. We left Austin in 2005 for graduate school, and after two cross-country moves, returned home to Austin in 2017.  We also promptly returned to St. David’s, with our two children, Clara (8) and Jack (almost 5).  Our children regularly attend Junior Journeys and we attend the 9:00 service (more regularly now that they are a little older!).  I hope to rejoin the choir when my children are a bit older and my work travel schedule eases up a bit.

I grew up actively involved in my childhood parish and diocese (West Texas), and the nurturing relationship that fostered in me with the Church led me to college at Sewanee (and I am a nominee for a seat on the Board of Trustees for Sewanee).  But in our time away from Texas, I struggled to find a church home and a way to meaningfully contribute.  Now that we are back in Austin and St. David’s has one again become part of the rhythm of our lives, I am eager to find the best way to give back to a community and a Church that has given me so much.

I am a transactional and regulatory attorney, and much of my practice involves thoughtful business and strategic counseling and advice for entities at all stages, from startups to established companies moving into new areas.  I also serve as the secretary of the board of the Tony Foundation, a local non-profit that provides direct assistance to families whose primary breadwinner is unable to work due to cancer.

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