Rector: The Very Reverend Daniel P. Richards

Senior Warden: Stephanie Conrad

Junior Warden: Ben Irwin

Treasurer: Gloria Swaine

Clerk: Freda Schenck


Members: Melissa Bull, Carolyn Hartman, Dennis LeBlanc, Tony Madden, Chaz Moody, Chick Morgan, Rebecca Scarpino, and Peter Spang.


Merriam Webster defines the word "vestry" as "an elective body in an Episcopal parish composed of the rector and a group of elected parishioners administering the temporal affairs of the parish". Christ Church Vestry members are elected in the Annual Meeting in January. Usually members are elected to a term of three years. Also in the annual meeting, the Junior Warden is elected for a term of one year by the parish. The Senior Warden is appointed by the rector. The Vestry votes for the secretary and treasurer during the first meeting of the year.

Top Three Goals & Priorities of Christ Church of the Ascension

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life and ministries of our parish.
  • Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our parish.
  • Further develop ministries that work toward healing those with broken by life circumstances in our community and beyond.

Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month to discuss how we are accomplishing our mission to Know, Love, and Serve Christ through our management of outreach opportunities, upcoming events in the life of the church, the overall budget, and occasional large expenditures. These meetings are open for any member to attend.

Vestry Board

Stephanie Conrad, Senior Warden

Stephanie is originally from Philadelphia and moved to Phoenix with her husband, Jesse, after their medical training. She is a physician at Phoenix Children's Hospital and the proud mother of two boys, Jack and Henry, and her 'first child', an Old English Sheepdog.

In her free time, she is an avid Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, and Villanova (alma mater) basketball fan. She and Jesse consider themselves blessed to have found Christ Church of the Ascension.

Ben Irwin, Junior Warden

After attending the University of Arizona and graduating with a bachelor’s of science degree in Civil Engineering, Ben started his 20+ year career in Construction.  He started Frontera Building Company with a partner in 2009  then ventured on a new company, Irwin Construction company this year.

A native of Phoenix he is married with 3 children. Ben stays involved in the local community and is a life member of the Executive Council Charities and an active member of the Thunderbird's.

Gloria Swaine, Treasurer

Gloria is a native of Phoenix and has been a member of Christ Church of the Ascension since high school. Gloria has a daughter, Risti, a son, Marshall, and 8 grandchildren. After holding several administrative/management positions with the City of Phoenix, Gloria is now a freelance bookkeeper.

Volunteer work for Christ Church has included Choir, Vestry, Christ Church Players, Storyteller for children, and lay reader. Gloria has been on 3 Rector Search Committees for Christ Church. When not volunteering or doing bookkeeping, Gloria likes to travel. She also breeds and shows dogs. Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is an uncommon scent hound that was bred to flush rabbits for hunters.

"My favorite thing about Christ Church is the people. As a single parent, it was a place where my kids were able to feel valued as they navigated their teen years. It was amazing to watch how the interactions with fellow parishioners (especially adults) help transform them into responsible adults. Christ Church has always felt like home."

Freda Schenck, Secretary

Freda's career began with Bell Telephone of PA, then to military systems in Philadelphia, PA in 1956; she relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1963, and entered a new field working for lawyers. Working with attorneys in our nation’s capital presented many opportunities; e.g., to go with a congressional delegation to a meeting in Chicago. She attended subcommittee meeting hearings in the House, pursued the Congressional Record for matters of interest to the clients.

Freda relocated to Tucson in the spring of 1974 where she continued to work for litigation lawyers. In 1975 that firm relocated to Phoenix where she continued with them until her then-boss took a sabbatical. She had an opportunity to switch from law to spend 7 years as the executive secretary to a model agency and finishing school. "Aren’t all lawyers’ great actors?" Freda returned to law in the mid-eighties and concluded her career with a firm that specialized in medical malpractice.

"In 1991 I became a member of Christ Church of the Ascension. They were and still are, warm, inviting and eager to have new members get involved. My first invitation was to join the Christ Church Players; then to help with hospitality and serving on the Vestry. It was during my term on the Vestry they discovered my ability to take meeting notes using shorthand. The rest is history. I served as Clerk of the Vestry with Rectors Cook, Semen, Jackson, and am now concluding my term with Rev. Richards.
Sometime around 1993-94 I became a member of the chalice bearer and lay readers ministries, and when Don Helm retired was asked to serve as coordinator which involves recruiting and training new members. That lasted for about 10 years. The gift shop invited volunteers to help on Sundays, it is great fun to help and shop there and meet parishioners and visitors. Another opportunity arose to teach Sunday School, who could resist! I can’t forget the joy of working with the flower guild. (But that’s not work, it’s fun!) During a time when Rev. Jackson was interviewing for a new assistant, he called upon me and my secretarial skills where I put them to use in the office. Then while Rev. Richards was interviewing for an assistant, it was an honor to dust off my secretarial skills once more.

Thank you for the opportunities to contribute my talents to CCA it has been very, very satisfying. I highly recommend it."