Class For Parents
Sundays, August 25 - May 10
10 a.m. | Theater
Parents of all ages are invited to join us each Sunday at 10 a.m. (be sure to bring your children to the nursery, CFM offerings, and Youth classes during this time!) Each month, we will look at a relevant topic for parents such as: Social/ Emotional Development, Storytelling, Technology, Healthy and Holy Sexuality, Family Traditions that Shape Us, and many more. We will welcome experts on each topic to make presentations, engage in Bible study with members of our clergy, spend quality time in small groups, and share resources and support.
Want to learn more? Email Father Eric Liles.
Dr. Matthew Housson
The Rev. Dr. Christopher D. GirataRector
The Rev. Dr. Chris Girata was called to be the eighth Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels in June, 2016 and started his ministry at Saint Michael on August 15, 2016.
Previously, Chris served as Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, a position he had held since 2012. Prior to becoming rector at Calvary, he was Associate Rector at St. Luke’s in Birmingham from 2008 – 2012, and as a seminarian served at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and at St. John’s in Chevy Chase, MD.
The Rev. Dr. Girata received his Bachelor of Arts in religious studies, in honorus, from Stetson University, a Master of Theological Studies from Emory University, a Master of Divinity, cum laude, from Virginia Theological Seminary, and received his Doctorate of Ministry from Duke University in May 2017. He is recognized as a leader in the Episcopal Church, presenting regularly at church-wide conferences, seminars and retreats, and the Consortium for Endowed Episcopal Parishes.
Chris is a native of Florida, a classically trained musician, and an amateur cook. He and his wife, Nicole, have three children; Brayden, Layna, and Annemarie.
The Rev. Kenneth H. BrannonVice Rector
Rev. Ken Brannon became Saint Michael's Vice Rector in July 2019. Ken was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, but moved to Mandeville, Louisiana at the age of one. His life changed radically at the age of twelve when his father took a job at a teaching hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He found himself attending the Kodaikanal International School, an international boarding school South India, where he graduated in 1986.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother, he attended Wheaton College in Illinois. Although his major was psychology, he spent many hours active in the theater. Ken discovered the Episcopal Church while at Wheaton and was grateful for the elegant liturgy, the appreciation for mystery, and the emphasis on ancient spiritual practices. And it was at Wheaton where Ken met Rachel.
Rachel grew up in a suburb of Denver in a family that took their faith very seriously. As a child, she took mission trips regularly, including trips to Africa and Honduras. Like Ken, Rachel’s family’s passion for the church inspired her desire to attend Wheaton College where she not only met Ken, but discovered the Episcopal Church.
As undergrads, Ken and Rachel independently discovered the Episcopal Church and found a wholeness and joy in the theological and liturgical experience. Little did they know how important this shared experience would be. They reconnected in New York City six years later and were married in 1995.
Rachel spent much of her young adult life in Boston and New York working in children’s book publishing before shifting to social work. She did her graduate work at Union Theological Seminary, first earning a master’s degree in psychology and religion. She later earned a Master of Social Work with postgraduate training in Jungian psychology.
Following college, Ken spent two years living in intentional Christian community and working with the homeless in Washington, DC. He coordinated administrative activities at Christ House, a mission of Church of the Saviour, and was active in medical and social outreach to those living in the shadows of our nation’s monuments. In 1993, Ken began drama therapy studies at New York University and graduated cum laude in 1997. His passion for psychology and theater came together in group work with children and adults at sites throughout the city, ranging from therapeutic schools, psychiatric hospitals, homeless shelters, and prisons.
After they were married, Rachel and Ken worked together at Church of the Holy Trinity in New York, co-coordinating children’s programming, and it was at Holy Trinity that Ken answered the call to ordained ministry. He attended Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, graduating in 2003. Ken first served as Associate Rector at The Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington, New York, just outside legendary Sleepy Hollow (so Ken and Rachel are big fans of great Halloween parties!). In 2007, Ken was called to be rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley, ID.
Their ministry at St. Thomas was been rich. Ken has influenced sound growth and stability for over a decade, and has been a leader in the community. In the Diocese of Idaho, Ken was active in all aspects of church life, having served as Chair of the Commission on Ministry, President of the Standing Committee, and Chair of the Idaho Deputation to General Convention.
Ken and Rachel have two young adult children, Lucy and Isaac. They are both active in their church communities and are wonderful singers. In May, Lucy graduated from Wake Forest University and in June, Isaac graduated high school in Sun Valley. Through sheer coincidence (or perhaps the work of the Holy Spirit), after Ken and Rachel answered the call to come to Saint Michael, Lucy was offered a consulting position with Ernst and Young here in Dallas! As Lucy moves to Dallas this summer to begin her new position, Isaac is moving to Western Washington University to begin his undergraduate studies.
Personally, Rachel loves to read and write, especially poetry. She has a private practice in Sun Valley and also serves as a social worker at the local hospital. She will look for new opportunities to continue that work in Dallas. Ken loves hiking and keeping up on current events, especially articles that go deeply into issues that connect to personal matters of faith. Together, they love food, travel, and any new life experiences, especially with their family.
The Rev. Dr. Eric J. LilesAssociate for Formation
The Reverend Dr. Eric Liles joined the Saint Michael clergy team as Associate for Formation in August of 2017. He leads all of the church’s formation programs including Adult, Youth, and Children and Family ministries. Eric is a 1999 graduate of Texas A&M, a 2007 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, and received his Doctorate of Ministry from the University of the South – Sewanee in 2016. He has served churches in Austin and Alabama, and spent 5 years as the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal in Ivy, Virginia prior to joining Saint Michael. Eric is married to the Rev. Allison Liles. They have two children, Hill and Pailet, and a dog. He enjoys cycling, golf, hiking, other outdoor activities, and plays guitar. He is also an Eagle Scout.
The Rev. Mary LessmannAssociate for Spiritual Growth
The Rev. Mary T. Lessmann serves as Associate for Spiritual Growth at Saint Michael and All Angels. Prior to joining Saint Michael, Mary served as Vicar of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Dallas. Previously she served for four years as Associate Rector for St. Andrew’s McKinney and, during her seminary formation, as Director of Educational Programs at Church of the Incarnation in Dallas. Mary, a CPA in her former life, was ordained in 2009. A native Texan, she holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Texas A&M University and a Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at SMU. Mary and her husband, Russ, have two young adult sons.
The Rev. Tom Blackmon
August - Intro to Class, Topics, Structure, and Groups
September - Social/Emotional Development
October - The Power of Storytelling
November - Gratitude
December - Family Traditions That Shape Us
Audio recordings from previous Class For Parents classes. Listen on-demand anytime!Read More »
Additional resources for Class for Parents participants or any parents looking for help discussing a topic with their children.Read More »