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RECTOR & STAFF

Click on a staff member below to read their bio and find their contact information. To find more information about our La Esperanza Latino Ministry leaders, visit our La Esperanza page. To get to know our vestry and read recent meeting minutes, visit the Vestry page.

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The Rev. Dr. Dena Bearl Whalen has been ordained for over thirty years, and her experience includes leadership which is both visionary and pastoral, a reconciler and community builder, preaching based on scripture that proclaims God’s love and draws people further into a life in Christ—and much more. Her undergraduate studies were in music therapy and gerontology before she heard the call to ministry. Dena started her pastoral career in Jacksonville, Fl, followed by 3 years in Greenville SC, 9 years in Clarkesville GA, and then she came to North Carolina to be rector of St. Paul’s in Wilmington. She most recently served at the Church of the Advocate in Asheville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Martie grew up in Savannah, Georgia. She went to NCSU where she received her degree i n Forestry with a minor in Horticulture. She worked at Biltmore Estate for more than twenty years in a managerial capacity and is now both an employee of the church and a member. Martie also has a certificate from AB Tech in Accounting (Phi Theta Kappa) and is the Assistant Treasurer at the church.
 
Martie is married to her best friend, John. She enjoys baking, reading, gardening and traveling as time allows. They have two rescue dogs, Jayla and Pebbles, who are beyond spoiled and are true family members.
Dr. Teresa Sumpter joined the staff at Holy Spirit in 2017. She is currently the Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Mars Hill University where she teaches applied piano, group piano, piano literature, piano pedagogy, music theory, and music history. She holds a Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Piano Pedagogy and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from West Virginia University.
 
She lives in Weaverville with her husband, Mike Robinson, and her son, David. She also has two grown daughters, Chantal and Melody.
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Martie Carson

PARISH ADMINISTRATOR
officeholyspiritwnc@gmail.com
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Dr. Teresa Sumpter

PARISH MUSICIAN
tsumpter@mhu.edu
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Lorrie Cooper

VESTRY CLERK AND MOUNTAIN SPIRIT EDITOR
lorriec773@gmail.com
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Lorrie Cooper was raised in the Dayton suburb of Kettering. In her mid-twenties, she settled in Chicago where she worked for nine years at a hospital as Community Services Coordinator. She stayed in Chicago, and went on to work a variety of jobs over 25 years, first as a word processor, later a desktop publisher, and then assistant to a graphic designer.  Through a car trip with a friend, Lorrie discovered Western North Carolina and was lured by the beautiful mountains. In 2003 she bought a home in Madison County and settled down there with her seven cats. Eager to find an Episcopal Church, she learned about Holy Spirit Church and began attending ECHS on Easter Sunday of 2004. 
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Rebecca Sharp

DIRECTOR, LA ESPERANZA
lalaesperanza20@gmail.com
Rebecca is the director of La Esperanza, an outreach of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit focusing on creating opportunities and building connections with the Latino community in Western North Carolina. To read more about Rebecca and learn more about La Esperanza, visit our La Esperanza page.
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