Clergy & Staff
Get to know the Clergy & Staff of Church of the Redeemer!
The Rev. Philip DeVaulRector
When and how did you know it was your calling to become a priest? This was something with which I wrestled for a several years. But the actual “moment”? I was on the phone with my dad, driving through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. He had called because he said the last time he saw me I had been more overtly conflicted than I usually am – which is a lot. During the conversation he asked me why the turmoil, and I responded “Because I’m afraid.” Before he could answer I lost my signal and the call dropped. And it hit me: I’m not afraid because I don’t know what to do - I’m afraid because I do know what to do. A few minutes later I got a signal and had a voicemail from my dad. He said, “Son, we got cut off, but I heard you say you’re afraid. And it seems to me that you’re afraid because you know exactly what you need to do.” Boom. Priest.
Anything you would like people to know about your family? I have been married to Krista since July 19, 2008. She is patient, kind, tender, and a phenomenal mother to our three children.
Where did you go to school? I received an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2010, and a B.A. in Drama from Tufts University in 2001.
How did you become a Christian? I became a Christian when I was baptized as an infant, and there has not been a time in my life when I have not known Jesus. At the same time, I feel like I am still becoming a Christian, am still learning what this means, and I hope I never stop becoming a Christian.
How did you come to be at Redeemer? By the Grace of God.
What’s the best thing about being a Christian? Living into the knowledge that we are all being loved no matter what, that we are born out of God’s love, and born for love.
What’s your favorite movie? Pulp Fiction, The Lord of the Rings, Inside Llewyn Davis, Searching For Bobby Fischer, Fearless – these are a few of my favorite things.
What are your favorite restaurants in Cincinnati? The Echo and Mazunte.
What’s your favorite place in the world? A Movie theater or a Bob Dylan concert right when the lights go down.
Any pets? Django the dog. He is named after Django Reinhardt, my favorite guitarist. He is a mutt and he rocks.
How do you spend your days off? Hanging with my family, playing the ukelele, cooking, watching as much TV as humanly possible.
What’s a personal project you can’t wait to finish/start? My wife and I are watching the AFI Top 100 movies in ascending order. As of this writing we are somewhere in the 80s. We stalled out for a few years, but I think I can talk her into starting back up. Also I want to learn the drums.
What was your first job? I sold sheds and patio furniture one summer in New Hampshire. I was exceptionally bad at it.
What’s the most powerful book you have ever read (not the bible) and why? Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger makes me believe in God. And True and False by David Mamet kept me out of grad school (until I ended up going to grad school, but that’s a different story.)
What will you ask Jesus when you meet? I’m looking forward to the embrace more than any specific conversation we might have.
What’s your prized possession? My wedding ring.
What’s a time when you felt close to God? Pretty much whenever I fail. So, yeah – a lot.
Who’s the person you’d most like to meet (living or dead)? Johnny Cash
What would you like to say to the people of Redeemer? Never underestimate the depth and the width and the breadth of the love that God has for you. It is the heart of this community, the center of the Church and the message of the Cross. If we are to be a center of Grace we must be rooted and grounded in that love. Love for our God, our neighbor and ourselves will pour out of us when we tap into the love that He has for us. But, really, I didn’t need to tell you that, did I? Because you can see it and feel it here on a Sunday morning and it can get you through your day, your week, your life.
The Rev. Melanie W. J. SlaneAssociate Rector for Mission
I am overjoyed at the opportunity to serve among you as pastor, priest, teacher, and friend beginning this December, as I join the Redeemer staff as Associate for Mission and Liturgy. On the surface one may think that these two things do not “go together,” but truly, they do!
Our Christian response is made manifest in two great commandments, Love God, and Love Neighbor. Liturgy, as it turns out, is our expression of our love for God, and mission, mission is how we show love to our neighbor. Together, with you, I hope to engage these two expressions of our faith that allow us to proclaim our Christian identity in a world that seriously needs some good Christians around.
I am so excited to get to know all of you and hear the stories of your lives too! I am a native Midwesterner with a nomadic heart and my family and I look forward to making Cincinnati our home while exploring with all of you the fringes and margins of our city, the kinds of places where Jesus would hang out.
I spent most of my life in St. Louis, but the cumulative decade that I spent away taught me a lot about God and God’s people from all walks of life. I love to preach and look forward to sharing the stories of my encounters with God with all of you.
The Rev. Joyce KeeshinAssisting Priest
When and how did you know it was your calling to become a priest?
I first experienced the call to the priesthood in the mid-1980s. At that time, I had been in spiritual direction for a number of years and had been keeping a spiritual journal. I showed up for spiritual direction one day wanting to talk about a desire to explore a different path for my work than my corporate role in marketing. My spiritual director raised the question, had I ever considered the priesthood, and I said “no”. I had never conceived of that as even a possibility, and yet I felt such an intense joy at the very thought of it.
My spiritual director encouraged me to go back through my journals and see if there was any suggestion of that call in the writing I had been doing over recent years. When I did that, I saw a longing and sense of call on page after page. I did enter the discernment process for the priesthood at that time and later became a postulant, but after several years I stepped aside, feeling overwhelmed by a number of life circumstances. While I immediately regretted that decision, I was counseled to stay out of the process until a time I might be certain of my ability to move forward.
Over all the intervening years, I never lost that sense of call although at times it was difficult to discern any pathway. Decades later, while I was in supervision to become a spiritual director, that experience of call to the priesthood overwhelmed my resistance and feelings of failure over not moving forward initially. When a friend asked me, “What if this has always been about timing, and the time for you is now?” – I felt enormous relief. When she asked, “How would you feel if you simply said ‘Yes’?” – the pure joy was indescribable. I entered the discernment and ordination process anew, and was ordained as a priest in 2014.
Anything you would like people to know about your family?
My roots are in Cincinnati, yet my family is fairly widespread. My son Brooks (known by many at Redeemer as Ryan) lives in Utah with his wife Susana, six-year old daughter Elia, and dogs Zurich and Sosa. My devoted housemate here is SweetP, thought to be a dachshund/lab mix. My siblings live in Atlanta and Boca Raton, Fl.
Where did you go to school?
Locally, I attended Walnut Hills High School and graduated from The College Preparatory School, now part of Seven Hills. I received my Bachelor degree from Western College, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from the Athenaeum, and a Master of Divinity from Bexley/Seabury Seminary.
How did you come to be at Redeemer?
My neighbors, Linda and Andrew Jergens invited me to their anniversary celebration and seated me next to Jim Hanisian, who was then the rector at Redeemer. After a very free flowing dinner conversation, I was curious as to what Jim might preach from the pulpit and asked Linda to let me know the next time he was scheduled. That first Sunday at Redeemer marked the beginning of a journey I might never have imagined and that would change the direction of my life.
What’s the best thing about being a Christian?
Being in community united by Christ’s love. Knowing we are loved and are called to love God and one-another. Knowing God is with us and we never walk alone.
What are your favorite restaurants in Cincinnati?
I enjoy small neighborhood restaurants offering good food and drink and a relaxing time for visits with friends. Café Mediterranean, Bangkok Bistro, Wild Ginger, Arthur’s, Bronte’s, and Dewey’s are some of my local favorites.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place is the Isle of Iona, in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland. I’ve only been there once but hope very much to return. Other favorites include Ireland, Italy, Peru and New Mexico. Salt Lake City has become a favorite because my family is there.
How do you spend your days off?
My schedule at Redeemer is halftime. I also work on contract for Christ Church Cathedral facilitating their Premarital Counseling program, and independently I offer spiritual direction and quiet days through the Cathedral Center for Spirituality. In my time off, I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, hiking, times of solitude at home with my dog, SweetP, and relaxing times with friends.
What’s a personal project you can’t wait to finish/start?
The project I want to start and finish is clearing space for an art studio at home.
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was in high school and taught “Tadpoles” how to swim at the YMCA. It was six back-to-back classes in an in-door pool. I still can almost smell the chlorine.
What’s your prized possession?
My prized possessions are anything my son or granddaughter have made for me.
What’s a time when you felt close to God?
I feel God’s presence very deeply when I’m sitting with someone in great difficulty and am able to know and share the comfort that God is with us and will guide us. I also feel the presence of the Holy Spirit very much during the Eucharist.
What would you like to say to the people of Redeemer?
I love being at Redeemer. I am so grateful to God to be able to serve as a priest in this wonderful place and do ministry along-side parishioners, lay-leaders, staff and clergy who I love and who inspire me everyday.
Our Worship and Music Staff
Greg MillerAssistant Choir Master
Our Family Ministry and Pastoral Care Staff
Our Administrative Staff
Our Preschool Staff
Annie MiskimensPreschool Teacher
Emily FeldmanPreschool Teacher
Linda GeersPreschool Teacher
Patty FanningPreschool Teacher
Rene WallPreschool Teacher
Patty HeywoodPreschool Teacher
Jennifer ReedPreschool Teacher