Priest in Charge – Erin left St. George’s at the end of November 2022. We are currently in discernment with DWNC about our future
Erin joined St. George’s Episcopal Church as priest-in-charge at the beginning of October, 2018. She is originally from Keezletown, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. Erin came to the Episcopal Church after growing up in a small Mennonite (MCUSA) house church. She still feels very connected to the Mennonite tradition and considers herself a sort of hybrid Episco-nite.
Before becoming a priest, Erin’s first career was as a bilingual medical interpreter (Spanish). Erin has taught ELL classes, has worked with refugees from Sudan, Somalia, China, and Myanmar, and has worked in substance abuse treatment. She was even briefly in the country band “Belle Star.”
Erin felt the call to ordained ministry while studying at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville. After receiving her M. Div. from Vanderbilt, Erin spent a year in Alexandria, Virginia, earning an Anglican Studies Certificate from Virginia Theological Seminary. She was ordained by the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Cashiers, NC in 2018.
Erin’s spouse, Allyn Maxfield-Steele, is originally from Rowan County, NC. The two met while studying at Vanderbilt. Allyn is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and currently directs the Highlander Research and Education Center near Knoxville. The two live in Haywood County, NC where they garden, make art and good food, run in the woods, play music, and lounge around with their child, Ursa, and sweet dog, Johann.
Erin is the author and illustrator of a children’s devotion book based on Psalm 139: You Made Me,(Pickwick, 2020) which can be found at all major booksellers. She is also a contributing author to Story, Formation, and Culture: From Theory to Practice in Ministry with Children, (edited by Benjamin D. Espinoza, James Estep, and Shirley Morgenthaler. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2018).
Erin serves on the board of the North Carolina Council of Churches.
Michael Ashmore is the Director of Communications for DCI Donor Services (DCIDS), a group of three federally designated organ and tissue transplant programs in TN, NM, and Northern California. The focus of his work is public education and advocacy – particularly telling the stories of the profound impact of organ and tissue donation on both transplant recipients and donor families, and how those personal transformations affect the broader communities. One of the highlights of his work at DCIDS has been the creation of a breakthrough national campaign to increase organ and tissue donor registration. Prior to joining DCIDS, Michael served as Creative Director for several advertising/PR firms, including his own.
He came to the Episcopal Church in the 1980s by way of the Southern Baptist Church (the church of his childhood) and the Roman Catholic Church (he was confirmed as a young adult). He has served as a choir director and organist/pianist for United Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Episcopal congregations, and as an EFM mentor and Stephen Minister. He felt the pull to ordained ministry for a long time, but it was his work as a lay chaplain at a day center for homeless men and women in Sacramento, CA that made the call clear. He was ordained to the diaconate in 2015 and served his internship at Church of the Holy Spirit in Mars Hill, then was assigned to his home parish, St. Mary’s in Asheville.
Michael has always been drawn to ecumenical/interfaith collaborative ministry. Part of his ministry with Father Norris at St. Mary’s was the formation of a host partnership of neighboring congregations that serves homeless women through Room in the Inn. Michael serves on the Faith Community Outreach Committee at Homeward Bound. He has a special love for our brothers and sisters who live on the margins and those who feel uncomfortable or out of place. He is convinced the love we are capable of, especially in faith communities, can change the world.
Michael is married to Patrick Colunga, a potter and charge nurse at Care Partners Hospital. They live in North Asheville and share their home with two Shetland sheepdogs, one collie, two rabbits, three birds, and a tank of fish. He volunteers with three rescue groups and the Humane Society… and has a very understanding spouse. When not working or brushing a dog, you will find him planting something in their backyard. He has two sisters who live in Greenville and Columbia SC with their families.
Luke Shaver is a professional pianist with over twenty years of experience playing in many styles and genres of piano with an extensive focus in Classical music. Luke maintains a studio consisting of an average of twenty students in the Asheville area, and performs regularly as a guest and collaborative pianist with performing organizations and churches in the region including the Blue Ridge Orchestra, Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra, and St. James Episcopal Church. Luke joined the staff of St. George’s in 2021.
Susan Sacco, Senior Warden
Christopher Jaquette, Jr. Warden
Barbara Petersen, Treasurer