The Small Churches, Big Impact Collective began with six Episcopal clergy women who found themselves and their understanding of church transformed by the experience of serving as part-time rectors in small congregations. Join the Collective as we explore and recommit to our own spiritual transformation. We’ll also share stories of how our small church ministry impacts our priesthood, our congregants, and our communities. Our work is made possible by a generous College of Pastoral Excellence grant from Austin Theological Seminary’s Education Beyond the Walls program and the heroic efforts of our podcast producer Michael Ozment of Polymnia.
Rebekah Bokros Hatch
The Rev. Rebekah Bokros Hatch lives in West Hartford, CT with her spouse and two children. Rebekah has worked in both parishes and schools, and currently works as part-time rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Simsbury, and part-time as the Interim Dean of Formation for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. On a mission to harvest wisdom from small church leaders, Rebekah began hosting Small Church Chats with solo, mostly part-time clergy from across the country. These bi-monthly conversations have breathed life into her ministry as a small church leader and provided a space to flesh out the beauty and faithfulness of small church communities. In her spare time, you might find her reading, binging a British crime drama or playing the piano.
Allison Sandlin Liles
The Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles is a wife, mother, peacemaker, and part-time priest-in-charge of St Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Hurst in the Episcopal Church in North Texas. Allison spent the first six years of her ordained ministry working in churches in the Diocese of Alabama, followed by six years serving as Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Executive Director. Allison joined the Forward Movement staff in May 2018 as editor of Grow Christians, an online community that helps parents foster faith at home through action and conversation. Allison is married to the Rev. Dr. Eric Liles, mother of two curious, independent children, and two joyful rescue dogs named River and Dasher.
The Rev. Leyla King is an Episcopal priest lucky enough to serve as rector of Thankful Memorial Episcopal Church, Chattanooga, for more than a decade. She is passionate about spreading the good news of vibrant and vital small church ministry. Alongside her half-time role at Thankful, Leyla has served as Visiting Instructor of Arabic at the University of the South, Sewanee, and Interim Director of Contextual Education at the School of Theology at Sewanee. A wife, a mother to three young kids, and a proud Palestinian-American, Leyla blogs about her heritage, faith and ministry as The Thankful Priest.
The Rev. Kit Lonergan serves as the three-quarter-time Rector of St James Episcopal Church in Groveland, Massachusetts, where she has been for the past seven years. In her previous lives, she served as Assistant Chaplain/ Sailing Coach/ Religion Teacher/ Dorm Parent in boarding schools, Director of Diocesan Youth Ministry, and as School Chaplain (2014-2020) at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, MA. She serves as Dean for the Merrimack Valley, and as an overly enthusiastic poll worker in her town during elections. Kit writes about herding cats, sorry, raising her two young children and one older pup, at Grow Christians. Alongside a patient spouse, together they are all proud members of the Down syndrome community.
The Rev. Susie Shaefer serves as the part-time vicar of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clinton, MI and lives in Ann Arbor, where she was born and raised, with her husband Luke, two kids, and a rescue dog. In addition to pastoring, she spends time chairing the Diocese of Michigan Commission on Ministry, convening the Dismantling Racism Network for Province V, serving on the school PTO, and driving an awful lot of soccer and field hockey carpools.
The Rev. Stacy Williams-Duncan serves as the part-time Rector of Little Fork Episcopal Church in Rixeyville, VA and she is the founder and CEO of Learning Forte. While Stacy serves in multiple professional ministry capacities, she understands herself to have a single vocation of fulfilling her baptismal ministry as a co-creative priest who integrates teaching and learning, research and practice, and ministry and theological education within and beyond the parish, seminary, and digital contexts. Stacy and her husband, Joel, love to play with their boys (dogs), travel, and watch baseball.