CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
THE REV. EMMANUEL ATO MERCER
Emmanuel comes to Christ Church having previously served at All Saints Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA. where he worked on Refugee Ministry and Trinity Cathedral, Columbia, SC where he was responsible for Youth Ministry and Pastoral Care. Emmanuel earned a Masters in Sacred Theology at Yale University, Masters in Divinity at Emory University and Licentiate in Theology from St. Nicholas Theological Seminary, Cape Coast, Ghana. Emmanuel has also completed the EfM theological education and is currently enrolled at the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia for his Doctorate in Ministry.
Emmanuel grew up in the West African country of Ghana and is married to Monique with whom he has four children – Havilynd, Frances, James, and Georgina.
THE REV. DENISE SCHIAVONE
Denise came to Christ Church in 2020, hailing from her home parish of St. John’s, Ellicott City, where she spent several years as staff Pastoral Care Coordinator and as founding leader of the Mental Health Ministry. In her secular profession, she works as a writer for The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit company serving the public good. She and her husband Matthew have three children: Joe, Connor and Jordan. As Deacon, Denise strives to guide and work alongside the people of Christ Church in stepping out into the world to minister and bring the Good News to those on the margins, those overlooked and neglected, those whose voices have been silenced and whose views have been suppressed.
THE REV. MARCIA DAVENPORT
We are blessed to welcome the Reverend Marcia Davenport as the Priest Associate for Christ Episcopal Church. Marcia served here at Christ Church during the tenure of our beloved former Rector, Jim Shields. She has served at different places between her times here in Columbia, most recently residing "across the pond" in the beautiful country of Ireland. Marcia will be primarily be working on children's formation as we begin to regather over this coming year. She will not be exclusively focused on that area of ministry; she'll dedicate energies towards adult formation and small group ministries, as well. Marcia began her current ministry at Christ Church this past September, and we're very blessed to have her as part of our parish family.
DIRECTOR of MUSIC
I grew up in the Baltimore area where I began studying piano as a child and went on to pursue a piano performance degree at Towson University. I have taught piano lessons, early childhood music, and served as a church musician for over 20 years, and am currently the music teacher at Hammond Elementary School. My husband and I moved to Columbia to raise our children in a diverse community where all are welcome and treated with kindness - something I see mirrored in the community at Christ Church. I believe in music’s ability to unite, challenge, and lift us spiritually and I look forward to making that happen together. I am very happy to be a part of the Christ Church community!
I joined Christ Church back in 2008, when my sister invited me, my son, and our mother to the church. I immediately fell in love with it, as it was a very welcoming community that encouraged new members to participate in different ministries. My first opportunity to volunteer at Christ Church was around 2009, when I helped Father Richard Ginnever in the office with the weekly newsletters, then subsequently volunteered as an usher and a Sunday school teacher. I eventually stepped into the role of Youth Group Coordinator around 2018, when the opportunity was presented to me. Now, as Parish Ministry Coordinator under Father Manny, I aim to continue to help every parishioner find their own calling in one or more of the ministries here at Christ Episcopal Church.
Feel free to stop me any time with suggestions, questions, or to say "hello," and I’ll respond with a smile. You can also email me at email@example.com
DIRECTOR of YOUTH & FAMILY MINISTRIES
Kiona Lookingbill (M.Div., BCC) was born to Korean immigrant parents in Chicago, IL. Her family lived in Champagne-Urbana, IL, and Whitewater, WI before moving to South Korea. Kiona went to elementary school there; middle school in (then) West Germany; graduated from High School of Music & Arts in Classical Piano in Seoul, Korea; and has a B.A. in Business Administration from Ewha Woman's University (not a typo), the largest woman's university of the world started by missionaries, who started higher education for women.
Kiona lived nine years in Kyrgyzstan, where she did mission support work, taught math & ESL at an international school, and served as pianist and youth leader at the International Church of Bishkek. Inspired by her missionary friends, Kiona sought a theological education at Fuller Theological Seminary, where she graduated with a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Family Pastoral Care & Counseling and a full scholarship. Kiona and her seminary friend, Josiah, got married after graduation; together they moved to Beijing, China, and taught ESL for over four years. They returned upon the birth of their son, Marcus.
All her life, Kiona has served the church using her talents: piano accompaniment, choir direction, youth ministry, outreach, and overseas missions. For the past two years, Kiona has served at St. John's Episcopal Church, Ellicott City as the day school chaplain and director of Children's Faith Formation. Kiona is a hospice chaplain who was trained at Mount Sinai, Chicago for her internship and at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for her residency.
Kiona is a postulant for Holy Orders. She completed her internship at St. John's, Ellicott City as well as her Diploma in Anglican Studies through the Stevenson School of Ministry, Lancaster Theological Seminary. Additionally, Kiona was trained in Godly Play and Walking the Mourners' Path facilitation.
Josiah Lookingbill, an HCPS educator, and Kiona have been married for eleven years. Together, they have a soon-to-be 7-year-old son Marcus, whose passion is all things Pokemon. The Lookingbills currently reside in Ellicott City and will soon be residing in Columbia.
Hello Christ Church! I am your Seminarian Associate, Mike Looney, and I am thrilled to be serving in this amazing community. I am discerning my call to the priesthood and recently started my four-year journey at The General Theological Seminary in NYC, where I will be pursuing a Master's in Divinity degree online.
I am blessed with a beautiful family including my wife, Anne, children - Ella (22) and William (21), and our three loving dogs. We moved to Columbia from DC in 2001. Ella now lives in Denver, CO, and William is a senior at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Our home parish is St. Andrew's in Glenwood.
In 1991, I graduated from McDaniel College (known then as Western MD College) and took a job at T. Rowe Price. After four years I joined a startup consulting company and in 2004 founded Chesapeake Benefit Partners, which I still own and manage.
In 2017, I realized I could not deny my calling any longer and began to transition toward being "a teacher and a preacher". In 2020 I started teaching at McDaniel College (teaching two classes - Business Ethics, and Intro to Innovation). In 2021, I became the Director of the Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at McDaniel, and also formally entered into the discernment process with the Diocese of Maryland.
I expect to be with Christ Church for at least two years, and will initially be involved with the older youth's Sunday School as well as helping lead the Theology on Tap program.
I genuinely appreciate the warm reception I have received at Christ Church and look forward to worshipping, serving, and growing with you!
Aisha has worked for various churches over the last decade-plus, including St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in nearby Ellicott City, where she was able to assist in the volunteer effort during the flood of 2018. Her last position was with The Leadership Conference of Women Religious where her report detailing the border crisis in 2019 was featured in Time Magazine. Originally from Michigan, Aisha has lived in Maryland for over 18 years. She currently resides in Windsor Mill with her 16-year-old son, Devon.
As Parish Administrator, Aisha's goal is to continue to help each and every parishioner - newcomers and long-standing members of the parish family - find their own calling here at Christ Episcopal Church, and to make their visit to our campus as safe and comfortable as possible. Feel free to reach out to her any time with any questions, or just to simply say, "Hello!"