Stephen Hood has been the rector of Ascension since 2007. He came to Ascension from Louisiana where he served churches in Baton Rouge and Thibodaux. Under his leadership, Ascension has intensified its focus on Christian formation and outreach ministries while continuing to encourage Ascension’s long heritage of excellence in worship and music. Stephen completed his undergraduate degree at Texas State University and his Master of Divinity at The School of Theology at the University of the South. Stephen has served as the Chair of the Department of Camp McDowell and on the board of the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Stephen is the father of two children, Rivers and and Claire. When he has free time, Stephen enjoys the outdoors, auto racing, and reading. Email Stephen
Jane F. Ellis
Jane was born and raised in Lowndes County, Alabama and graduated from Judson College in Marion, AL. She holds Masters’ Degrees from Troy University, Auburn University, and a graduate specialist degree from the University of Alabama.
After 12 years in direct patient care and management, Jane moved into hospital administration. She spent the remainder of her 40-year career in executive management in hospitals in Alabama, Mississippi, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Jane attended Cursillo in the early 90’s and finished her EfM training in the Diocese of Mississippi. New York’s General Theological Seminary in Greenwich, CT, provided her diaconal training and education. In 2000, she was ordained as a Vocational Deacon in the Diocese of Connecticut. Since that time she has served in large inner city parishes in Connecticut and New Jersey.
Jane retired in 2015 and moved south to reconnect with her Alabama roots and dedicate herself to her call and passion for the Diaconate. As a people person, Jane enjoys providing spiritual direction, pastoral care, teaching, and community outreach. She is an avid reader and enjoys all aspects of nature, including gardening and birding. Email Jane
Mike Sparks has been the organist-choirmaster at Ascension since 1978. Under his leadership the Ascension choir has developed a solid repertoire, technique and reputation. Mike has degrees in Church Music from Birmingham-Southern and SMU and has served as dean of the Birmingham Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He has been active as an organ consultant completing projects in four Southeastern states. In addition to his musical leadership Mike also developed our website.
In addition to his work at Ascension he chairs the Humanities department at Wallace State, Hanceville. Before his current role he taught music courses and directed the choirs. He was the first person to develop online classes at Wallace.
He is married to Sarah E. Heaslett, also an organist, and they have raised a son, Will, at Ascension. When not working he enjoys cooking reading, watching movies, walking, and sailing. Email Mike
Barbara Ann Bilbo Hash serves as the parish secretary at Ascension. She started as the part-time secretary in1979 and the job became full time in 1989. She was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 1964 and has been a member of Ascension since 1973. She has served in many volunteer roles at Ascension including serving as the ECW President. She is passionate about children’s Sunday school and she has continued to teach for over 50 years.
Barbara’s parish responsibilities include managing the parish’s printed communications including editing and publishing the parish newsletters and the weekly service booklets and bulletins. Additionally, she keeps most of the parish records and helps the parish bookkeeper with accounts payable.
Barbara was raised in Lumberton, MS, and has a degree in Library Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to moving to Alabama, she was the Director of the Hattiesburg Public Library. She had a wonderful marriage to C. Patton Hash and has been widowed for a number of years. She had two sons, C. Patton, Jr., now deceased, and Andrew B. (Drew) who lives in Dalton, GA. Drew is married to Missy, and they are the parents of Barbara’s two grandchildren. Barbara’s hobbies include reading and doll collecting. Email Barbara
Amanda Austin started as the new Christian Formation Director in 2013. She grew up in Birmingham, and graduated from Auburn University with a degree in English in 2006. She has since been involved in Ascension’s ministry through the youth program, and was commissioned with the Lay Ministry Certification Program for Children and Youth in February of 2012.
She is married to Kyle, and they have one daughter, Emily. She also works as a teacher for Ascension’s Mother’s Day Out program. Email Amanda
Len Skelton, Treasurer. Email Len
Laurie Tanner, Assistant Treasurer. Email Laurie