The Rev. Connie Clark, Vicar
A native of Alexandria and a lifelong Episcopalian, the Rev. Connie Clark came to Buck Mountain in March, 2008 from Evanston, Wyoming, where she had served as chaplain of the Wyoming State Hospital, a public psychiatric facility.
Connie began her professional ministry as chaplain at a northern Virginia psychiatric hospital in 1998. She was ordained a Priest in the Diocese of Wyoming on April 1, 2006, having attended St. Stephen's College, Edmonton, Alberta, a seminary of the United Church of Canada.
Prior to her service in psychiatric hospital ministry, Connie was a writer and communications consultant for nonprofit organizations. She attended college at the University of Chicago, where she met her husband-to-be, Guy Lushin. Guy is a social worker specializing in the treatment of addictions. He serves Buck Mountain as a Sunday school teacher and musician. Connie and Guy recently celebrated their 33rd anniversary and enjoy life with their two dogs, Bernice and Kiko.
Connie serves on the Anti-Racism Committee of the Diocese of Virginia and as a Colloquy Mentor for people in the discernment process for ordination as Deacons. She is known for her sense of humor, warmth, and passion for music. She is pleased to play keyboard for the Buck Mountain BBQ & Blues band and loves jazz, rhythm and blues, classical chamber music, and contemporary sacred choral music. You may see her at NIA classes at ACAC, or walking the dogs anywhere around town!
Diane Shelden, Administrative Assistant
Diane came to the Charlottesville area with her husband, Andy, in 2008. Diane previously worked as an assistant office manager at a Ford dealership in Yreka, California. She enjoys singing in the church choir, making chocolate truffles, reading, and working at Buck Mountain Church. Diane and her husband Andy are raising two wonderful children.
Doug Simon, Organist and Director of Music
Doug Simon's musical career began when, at age seven, he studied under the Royal School of Church Music as a boy chorister at St. James Episcopal Church in New London, CT. At age eight, he started playing the saxophone. A few years later, he picked up piano and flute. He was first chair alto sax in the symphonic band of Fort Hunt High School in Alexandria, Virginia, for three years and toured Europe with this award-winning band.
Doug attended Berklee College of Music, where he majored in woodwind performance and minored in audio engineering. He played with Patti Labelle, Sister Sledge, and many other artists and bands. (Ask him about "going platinum!") He left that fast-paced world and returned to Virginia, where he raised his family and worked for Chemlawn, then owned and operated a number of businesses. Doug now works at Crutchfield Corporation.
Doug is known around church as "Buck Mountain Man" and is greatly appreciated for his extraordinary contributions to the life of this parish for 23 years (and counting). He is married to the artist and church member Marla McNamara.
Andrew J. Shelden, Director of Music for the Celtic Eucharist and Taizé Eucharist Services
Andrew Shelden played his first church service at the age of 11 and has been at the console of at least one church's organ ever since - for a total of more than 30 years of experience. From the foot-powered 1880s vintage organ at Montague United Methodist Church to the largest pipe organ in Finland, he's played them all!
Andy studied classical piano, organ, and percussion at the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific, learned jazz at College of the Siskiyous, and completed his BA at Southern Oregon University. Formerly an instructor of Advanced Ear Training at the College of the Siskiyous, he also served as Staff Accompanist for the COS Music and Theater Departments and Music Consultant for the Theater Department. In addition, Andy served as Organist at Yreka United Methodist Church, a post he held for 26 years (with a short break for college). He currently serves as Organist and Chancel Choir Director for First United Methodist Church, Charlottesville. In addition to piano and organ, Andy also plays double bass, percussion, recorders, tin whistles, accordion and Scottish Smallpipes professionally.
Shelley Smith, Director of Children's Ministry
Shelley Smith is our Children's Education Minister. She began as a Sunday School teacher six years ago, then moved on to become Sunday School Coordinator. She is now in charge of Sunday School and our nursery. Shelley is a cradle Episcopalian and has been involved in various ministries in the churches she has attended, including Disciples of Christ in Community small group facilitation, shut-in outreach, and serving as a Lay Eucharistic Minister.
Shelley received a Master's of Science in Instructional Design from Florida State in 1985 and went on to develop training programs for businesses and non-profit organizations. She returned to graduate school at Georgia State University in 1994 and earned a Master's in Professional Counseling. Shelley worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor for Clayton State University and also worked providing counseling for a psychiatrist's patients who were struggling with chronic mental illness.
Shelley has three children and spent 10 years as a stay-at-home mom. During that time she coordinated Sunday School and taught preschool at Northridge Preschool. In addition to being our Children's Education Minister, Shelley also works as a Career Coach for Piedmont Virginia Community College and is stationed at Louisa County High School. She also pet sits and volunteers in her children's' classrooms. She loves education and working with children and teachers!