The Rev. Dr. Caroline "Caro" Hall is priest-in-charge of St. Benedict's. She loves to preach, teach and lead worship. One of her passions is helping people who feel excluded from Christian faith community because their beliefs don't fit the mold, to realize that Christianity is a lot bigger and broader than they thought and that God's abundant love is available to everyone. Her background is in social work, and non-profit management. Caro is English but has lived in the US for more than 20 years - most of them in Los Osos. She met her spouse at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland where she lived for several years in the 1980s. Caro is the author of the just-published A Thorn in the Flesh: How Gay Sexuality is Changing the Episcopal Church. She is the President of Integrity USA, the national Episcopal ministry for LGBT and their loved ones; she also serves on the board of People of Faith for Justice (formerly known as Central Coast Clergy and Laity for Justice), and is one of the founders of the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations.
The Rev. Mary Elizabeth Pratt-Horsley spent much of her childhood in Mexico City and Caracas. She also lived in Paris for 8 years as a young adult, so she is fluent in both Spanish and French. After teaching French at a Bay Area community college, she used her familiarity with Latino culture as director of the Santa Maria Urban Mission in San Jose from 1995 to 2000. She was the pastor of St. Benedict's from 2000 until her retirement in 2006. Mary Elizabeth is now most active at St. Ben's providing pastoral and liturgical support, and as the organizer of the parish's community-building events, such as movie nights. She also uses her skills as a quilter in leading the creation of items for our annual holiday bazaar. She and her husband, John, have two children and two grandchildren.
The Rev. Brian McHugh was born and raised in Canada. From age 21 to 35 he was a monk in the (Episcopal) Order of the Holy Cross, in which his ministry was mostly teaching, but included being Prior of Mt. Calvary in Santa Barbara. After leaving the Order in 1982, he was a parish priest in Southern Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Newark NJ, New York, and Arizona. He retired from full-time ministry in 2008 and moved here. Brian is a dedicated blogger, with separate blogs for daily reflections and for sermons.
Brian moved to New Mexico in January 2012, but we still list him here because we keep hoping that he'll come back.
The Rev. Donna Ross was the pastor of parishes in Oberlin, Ohio; and Cambria, California before her retirement in 2005. She is now assisting in worship and teaching classes through the Hollister Institute at St. Benedict's. She has long been involved in interfaith groups, attending both Episcopal and Lutheran seminaries before her ordination in 1985. After ordination she completed an Internship in Spiritual Direction at the Jesuit Renewal Center in Milford, Ohio. In "retirement" she still serves as a spiritual director for women and men from several faith traditions, and she has many friends she's met through spiritual discussions. Donna and her husband, Rob, have been married for 51 years; they have three children and five grandchildren. Donna's blog of homilies and book studies is Faith Matters.
John Cribb recently returned to St. Ben’s, after serving as our very first musician in 1987/8. He has also served at St. Stephen’s Episcopal, SLO United Methodist Church, Orcutt Presbyterian, Zion Lutheran and First Presbyterian. He has been accompanist for the choirs at SLO High School and Assistant Director of the SLO Vocal Arts Ensemble; and active in community theater as pianist and Music Director for numerous companies. He studied organ with Paul Knox in Dallas and James Bratton at the University of Denver. In addition to his work as a performer and director, John has served on the Board of Directors of the SLO Mozart Festival, Pismo Light Opera Theater, Pacific Repertory Opera, Vocal Arts Ensemble, and SLO Symphony; and as State Secretary of the American Choral Directors Association. When not contributing to the arts, John is a Realtor in San Luis Obispo.
The church is led by a group of dedicated members who together with the Priest-in-Charge are responsible for managing all aspects of the church’s life. Serving us this year are (from left) Pam Bleisch, Lisa Gonzalez, Brian Spolarich (Junior Warden), Carol Baker, Rev. Caro, Pat Armstrong, Stefanie Shuman (Senior Warden), Lorienne Schwenk, and Celeste Pennington. Not pictured: Michael Lucas.
Lisa Gonzalez is our bookkeeper as well as Treasurer. When not volunteering for St. Ben's, our diocese, or many other non-profits, Lisa works as an IRS Enrolled Agent in her business "Controller-On-Call".