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The Standing Committee is the Bishop’s counterpart and advisory body providing a check and balance on the Bishop’s authority and also giving the Bishop the benefit of its council.
  • Made up of four priests and four laypersons;
  • Nominations welcome from throughout the diocese;
  • Self-nomination is permitted;
  • Elected by the Diocesan Annual Convention in a concurrent vote by orders;
  • Two-year terms, with a limit of three consecutive terms.

The Standing Committee becomes the Ecclesiastical Authority in the absence or incapacitation of the Bishop. It also has final approval of applications for candidacy and ordinations, consents to episcopal elections, and property sales of diocesan or parochial properties.

Standing Committee Members

Leadership

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Eric Rhodes

Mr. Eric Rhodes

President of the Standing Committee
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Ms. Alexandra Connors

Standing Committee Secretary

Clergy Members

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The Rev. Larry Ehren

Standing Committee Member

Priest-in-Charge, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, Belton (Central Deanery).

Elected to Standing Committee in 2022. 1st two-year term.

Previous Cures/Assignments:

  • Internship at St. Luke’s in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
  • Transitional Deacon at St. Mary Magdalene in Belton, Missouri.
  • Coordinator of the Way (Adult Catechumenate) at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Twenty years in faith sponsored health care at the Executive and Departmental level – most recently Director of Spiritual Care at Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill in Kansas City, Missouri.

Involvement at a Deanery Council/Diocesan Level:

  • Standing Committee 2018-2020.
  • Commission on Ministry Sub-committee on Lay Ministry Licensing.
  • Commission on Ministry Sub-committee on Discernment Process.
  • Faculty member at the Bishop Kemper School of Ministry, 2017 – present.

Involvement at a Provincial/General Church Level:

Baptized for Life – An Episcopal Church Discipleship National Initiative – A partnership with the Lilly Foundation and the Virginia Theological Seminary – 2018 to Present.

Additional Comments:

Board Certified Chaplain, Certified Listening Hearts trainer, MBA in Organizational Development from Rockhurst University, Certificate in Health Care Ethics from Saint Louis University and the University of Washington, ten years on a Diocesan staff with a focus on ministry formation, twenty years of faith sponsored healthcare leadership, currently completing a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality at VTS

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The Rev. Ted Estes

Standing Committee Member

Rector (Interim), St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Joplin (Southern Deanery)

Elected to Standing Committee in 2022. 2nd two-year term.

Previous Cures/Assignments:

  • Rector at St. Paul’s Church, Lee’s Summit.
  • Associate Rector at Grace Church, Carthage.
  • Rector at All Saints Church, Nevada.
  • Chaplain at St. Luke’s Nursing Center, Carthage.
  • Youth Minister at Grace Church, Carthage.

Involvement at a Deanery Council/Diocesan Level:

  • Member & Vice-president Standing Committee 2020-Present.
  • Diocesan Council 2016-20.
  • Diocesan Executive Council 2016-20.
  • Deanery Council Member 2008-Present.
  • Secretary of the Diocese.
  • Member & Secretary of the Board of Trustees for St. Luke’s Nursing Center.
  • Diocesan Board of Examining Chaplains.
  • Board Member of Bishop Kemper School of Ministry.
  • Bishop’s Transition Team.
  • Campus Ministry Commission.
  • Hispanic Ministry Commission.
  • Camp WEMO Staff.

Involvement at a Provincial/General Church Level:

  • Province Deputy 2009-2018
  • General Convention Deputy 2012 & 2015

Additional Comments:

  • Licensed Psychotherapist (LPC, LMFT) 1993-Present in Independent Practice.
  • Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists 1993-Present.
  • Member and President of the Missouri Licensing Board for Marital & Family Therapist 2005-2020.
  • Educator, Counselor, and Psychological Examiner in public schools 1978-2012.
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The Rev. Canon Robin James

Standing Committee Member

Elected to Standing Committee in 2023. 1st two-year term.

Involvement on a Church Level

  • Rector of Grace Church in Liberty (2019 – Present)
  • Priest-in-Charge of St. Andrew’s Church in New Paltz, New York (2014 – 2019)
  • Canon Precentor of Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Salt Lake City, Utah (2003 – 2013)
  • Junior Warden of St. Paul’s, Utah (1998 – 2000)
  • Chair of St. Paul’s Property Committee, Utah (1996 – 2000)
  • HIV/AIDS Ministry, St. Paul’s Church, Utah (1995 – 1997)
  • Christian Education, 7th-9th Grade of Trinity Church, Kansas (1989 – 1992)
  • Resident & Peer Minister, Canterbury House Campus Ministry, Kansas (1986 – 1987)

 Involvement on a Deanery Council/Diocesan Level:

  • Dean of Northwest-Metro Deanery, West Missouri (Jan. 2022 – Present)
  • Episcopal Ministry Support Team, West Missouri (Jan. 2022 – Present)
  • Diocesan Council, West Missouri (Jan. 2022 – Present)
  • Finance Committee, West Missouri (Jan. 2022 – Present)
  • Constitution & Canons Committee, West Missouri (Feb. 2022 – Present)
  • Communications Committee, West Missouri (Jan. 2023 – Present)
  • Human Resources Committee, West Missouri (Dec. 2021 – Present)
  • Chair of Resolutions Committee, West Missouri (Oct. 2021 – Present)
  • Campus Ministry Committee, New York (2014 – 2019)
  • Standing Committee; Secretary of the Corporation, Utah (2011 – 2013)
  • Co-Chair of Consecration Committee, Utah (2009 – 2010)
  • Commission on Ministry, Utah (2006 – 2009)
  • Music & Liturgy Committee, Utah (2005 – 2008)
  • Ministry to Diocesan Latino Congregations, Utah (2003 – 2005)
  • Lay Representative, Administrative Council, Community of Churches in Utah (1998 – 2000)
  • Delegate for Diocesan Convention, Utah (1997 – 2000)
  • Board Member for Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry, Utah (1995 – 1996)

 Involvement on a Provincial/General Church Level:

  • Deputy to 2024 General Convention, West Missouri (Elected in 2023)

Additional Comments

“I bring twenty years of ordained ministry experience and nearly twenty years of lay ministry experience to the ministry and work of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and I will be honored to serve.”

The Rev Ron Verhaeghe

The Rev. Ron Verhaeghe

Standing Committee Member

Elected to Standing Committee in 2023. 1st two-year term.

Involvement on a Church Level:

  • Priest-in-Charge
  • Hospital Chaplain

 Involvement on a Deanery Council/Diocesan Level:

  • Diocesan Council (2018)
  • Standing Committee (2015)
  • Board of Examining Chaplains (2012 – Present)

 Involvement on a Provincial/General Church Level:

  • None

Additional Comments:

“Active Ministries for 32 years, diversity minded, and a great listener.”

Lay Members

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Dr. Jeremy Chesman

Standing Committee Member

St. James Episcopal Church, Springfield (Southern Deanery)

Elected to Standing Committee in 2022. 1st two-year term.

Involvement at a Church Level

For over 15 years, I have served as organist at St James church. In addition to serving in my lay position, I have also participated in youth programs and Christian formation. We were married in the church, and both of our children attended St James.

Involvement at a Deanery Council/Diocesan Level:

On the diocesan level, I have been involved with providing music at diocesan events and for clergy retreats.

 Involvement at a Provincial/General Church Level:

At the general church level, I coordinated music for the installation and consecration of the Rt. Rev. Jos Tharakan.

Additional Comments:

Because of my employment at St James, I have avoided serving on vestry due to conflicts of interest. I would welcome the opportunity to serve on the diocesan level, where I wouldn’t have the same conflicts.

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Ms. Marsha Patterson

Standing Committee Member

Christ Episcopal Church, Springfield (Southern Deanery)

Elected to Standing Committee in 2022. 2nd two-year term.

Involvement at a Church Level

  • Vestry – 2001-2007 (2 terms).
  • Vestry – 2012-2018 (2 terms).
  • Senior Warden (2013-2018).
  • Chair of Parish Council 2015-2018.
  • Co-Chair of Parish “Ripe for the Harvest” program 2013 -2014.
  • EfM Graduate 2011-2015.
  • Volunteer at Center City Christian Outreach Well of Life Food Pantry 2012-2019.
  • Treasurer – St Macrina Chapter of DOK.
  • Chairman of 2 Congregational Discernment Committees – 2001 & 2013.
  • Stewardship Committee – Chair 2005 & 2006.
  • Member of 2 Youth Minister Search Committees.
  • Coordinated Congregational Mediation Process – 2016.
  • Facilitator Women’s Bible Study 2021- present.

Involvement at a Deanery Council/Diocesan Level:

  • Diocesan Council – 2015-2019.
  • Member of Development Committee for the South Youth Network – 2013-2015.
  • Bishop Day Conferences.
  • Delegate to Diocesan Convention 2012- present.

 Involvement at a Provincial/General Church Level:

None at present.

Additional Comments:

I have been an Episcopalian since I was a young child at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have attended Christ Church, Springfield for more than 35 years. Over the years, my family has received many blessings for which I am very grateful. Serving on the Standing Committee for another term would be a way for me to use the knowledge I have learned in the past two years to continue the work of the Diocese in this period of transition and to give back to God, the Diocese, and the Church.

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