Dear Friends,My wife Bernadette and I have been married thirty years, and are the parents of three grown sons. I grew up outside of Chicago; have lived in Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, and Virginia; and now, God has been kind enough to give us a home here in the Lake Travis area.
After serving with congregations in Virginia for twenty-three years, we were called to Lake Travis in December, 2013 to help Church of the Cross be born. I am part of this ministry because I’m always excited to see what new things God has in store; and that you…whoever you are that’s reading this…might receive and discover the full, rich, encouraging, and challenging relationship with God that the Lord intends for you.
I’m a runner, and occasional cyclist. I’ve played bass in a band or two. I enjoy a good book that makes me think, and movies that make me laugh. My life verse is Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” It’s a word from the scriptures that reminds us that God’s promise is goodness, and mercy, and love, and generosity, and peace, and joy; and that always, God wants a relationship with us.
If you are looking for a church home, the adventure of helping a new people be created, and the excitement that comes from witnessing what God is up to next, we invite you to come along with Church of the Cross.
Blessings to you this day, and I bid you God’s grace and peace.
I’m Lizzie, your new Curate (which is Episcopal-speak for freshly ordained). Though I am new to being clergy, I’ve spent the last six years working as a youth pastor, family minister, and hospice chaplain. I graduated from Duke Divinity with my Master in Theological Studies in 2016 after wrapping up my Bachelor in Religion at Mount Holyoke in 2014.
My spouse, Jonathan, and I moved to Texas in 2018 – and the tacos and boots are too good to leave! We have two cats, Mary Poppins and Burt. Jonathan is a priest just up the road at St. Julian’s. I grew up primarily in North Carolina, but I’ve lived all over the world – Kotido, Uganda and Edinburgh, Scotland are my two favorites. Baptized Catholic, raised United Methodist, briefly a Mennonite missionary, and now contentedly Episcopalian, I am deeply committed to ecumenical and interfaith connection. My favorite books are The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and of course, Harry Potter.
I am excited to partner with you in the building of God’s kin-dom as siblings in Christ!
Mary Allen Smith
Mary Allen joined the staff of Church of the Cross in the summer of 2021, and brings a wealth of wisdom, compassion, and experience to this ministry, and a heart to see children, youth, and entire households grow in their walk with God. She has served as a children’s Sunday School and youth group leader, and has also served on the Camp Allen Steering Committee for the Youth Happening Ministry. She has been in education for over twenty-five years, serving as a teacher, licensed specialist in school psychology, mental health provider, and behavior specialist. She and her husband Kevin are parents to four children and she knows deeply the joys, responsibilities, and challenges of being a parent. We’re grateful for Mary Allen’s presence and service in the ECC congregation, and invite you to be in touch with her at [email protected].
I am Niki Taylor-Jeff and am newly married to Brian Jeff and have a wonderful blended family with 5 kids (ages 14, 12, 10, 10, 5)!
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Music Business from The University of Texas in 2002. I taught oboe lessons in many middle and high schools, then was called to use my administrative skills in ministry. Before having kids, I was a Ministry Assistant at Austin Christian Fellowship, assisting the Senior Pastor, Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry and Missions Ministry. I then became a Ministry Assistant at Austin Ridge Bible Church for the Men’s, Business and Young Adults Ministry. In 2016, I became a single mom and navigated my new normal with my wonderful church, community, friends, family and mentors. I simultaneously shifted and became the Assistant to the Vice President and to the Audiobook Division at a Christian literary agency from 2017 to 2019.
I started with Church of the Cross as the Office Administrator in summer 2019 and also continue to assist small business owners as a Creative Project Coordinator.