About Us

The mission of the Creation Care Committee is to be a sustainable and inclusive network of Episcopalians in the Diocese of Virginia committed to faithfully uplifting, stewarding and protecting God’s Creation.

The Committee successfully presented R-6: Declaration of Climate Emergency, Commitment to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2045, and adoption of Episcopal Covenant for the Care of Creation to the 227th Convention in November 2021, which was passed by Convention. 

The Creation Care Committee has working groups focused on three key areas of ministry: Gardening, NetZero greenhouse gas emissions, and Spiritual Resilience. Click here to learn more. 

Questions? Email Kristine Montamat, Committee Chair, at creationcare@thediocese.net.


Clark Abbott

St. George's, Arlington

Clark Abbott (he/him) is a software developer based out of Arlington, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Computer Science and attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of College Park, where he served as the president of Episcopal Terps, the Episcopal Church’s student organization on campus, for 3 years.

As a result of growing up watching the Planet Earth documentaries, taking environmental courses in college, and being a big fan of animals, Clark feels a great deal of urgency about mitigating the effects of the climate crisis and reaching the Diocese’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. At St. George’s Episcopal Church, he sings in the choir, volunteers for the food pantry, and is a member of the 20’s/30’s, LGBTQ+, and VOICE groups.

Paul Amrhein

St. Stephen's, Richmond

After receiving a degree in forest resource management, Paul Amrhein entered the Peace Corps and served in Niger, West Africa. He continued to steward God’s creation in his work including a return to Africa to begin a forestry project in the refugee camps of Somalia, after which he became a Franciscan brother for 6 years. Shortly after leaving the Franciscans, Paul finished his Master’s degree in environmental policy. He retired from working for the Catholic Church after 26 years.

Currently, Paul volunteers as a member of the faculty for the RUAH School of Spiritual Direction at Richmond Hill and is an active member of Illuman promoting male spirituality and Male Rites of Passage retreats.

Nancy Smith Brooks

St. Mary's, Arlington

Nancy Smith Brooks is a lifelong Episcopalian, whose father was an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Washington. She graduated from the National Cathedral School for Girls, Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and the University of Virginia. She spent 38 years as a civil servant working at the United States Department of Education doing grant and contract work in career, technical, and adult education. Since retiring, she certified as a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener and is active in the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. At St. Mary’s Church in Arlington, she serves on the Creation Care Committee, Flower Guild, and the Outreach Committee. She and her husband Nathan raised their son, Nick, at St. Mary’s. They are avid dachshund rescuers and currently have two, Eve and Peter, a bonded pair. 

The Rev. Mary Kay Brown

Co-Chair, Spiritual Resilience Working Group

Kathy Ellis

Little Fork Church, Rixeyville
Co-Chair, Spiritual Resilience Working Group

Kathy Ellis is a 70+ year old grandmother with deep concerns about both the future of our planet and the emotional and spiritual implications for young people who will live on it. She has degrees in both biology and nursing and retired after a career in community health. She mentored EfM and, chairs the Green Team at St. James’, Warrenton, and serves on the Burial Ground Committee at Little Fork Parish, Rixeyville. A lifelong Virginian with roots in both the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay, she is a voracious reader of classics, lives on a family farm (now in conservation easement) where she plants trees and is continually learning about sustainable agriculture.

Hadley Foulk

St. John's, Tappahannock

Hadley Foulk is a current junior at Washington and Lee University pursuing a Double-Major in Global Politics and Philosophy with a Minor in Environmental Studies. She grew up in the Diocese of Virginia and attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. Hadley loves spending time outdoors with friends and family, reading a good book or poetry anthology, and baking with her roommates! She is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the CCC and is optimistic about diocesan efforts toward carbon neutrality. 

Ad Lester 

Grace & Holy Trinity, Richmond

Ad Lester (they/them) is an artist and college student who has lived in Richmond all their life. They plan to graduate from VCU in 2024 with a BFA in art education. Outside of school, Ad is passionate about their work on the leadership team at Shrine Mont Camp, where they have worked every summer since 2019. A lover of all animals, Ad is a parent to a mischief of six friendly rats and one hamster. They are also a rookie roller derby player, and they are working to level up in order to eventually compete. This is Ad’s first year on the committee, and they are excited to have the opportunity to work with others on something they feel strongly about. 

The Rev. Neal Halvorson-Taylor

Grace Church, Red Hill, North Garden

Bio and picture coming soon!

Kristine Montamat, Chair

Grace Church, Red Hill, North Garden
Chair, Habitat Restoration Ministry

Kristine Montamat is relieved to have grown up before industrial-strength conveniences hijacked the planet and then double-wrapped it in eternal plastic. Her family were immigrants, and as an adult she lived in non-Western developing nations where resources were shepherded and never wasted. Friends from other cultures shared their lessons of resourcefulness, community and generosity in challenging times. All of which is to say: we should not surrender to fear. We can live sustainably and happily, because it’s been done before (and is still done in most of the world). She spent too much of her life indoors in cities. The decades of climate warnings were credible, alarming, but far-off. She began to learn “nature” digging in her Arlington garden. No green space is too small to matter. And it’s a lot more successful to work with the nature we’ve already been given. A recent transplant to Charlottesville, Kristine is converting her conventionally landscaped property into a space of natural beauty and integrity. It’s also a neighborhood conversation starter! And at the site of the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, she is working with volunteers to create a Habitat for Wildlife.

Patricia Rowell

St. Aidan's, Alexandria

Bio and picture coming soon!

The Rev. Deacon Kathryn Thomas

Piedmont Parish, Madison, and Grace, Stanardsville

Bio and picture coming soon!

Alisa Booze Troetschel

St. James', Warrenton

Bio and picture coming soon!

The Rev. Mark Wastler

Supply Clergy, Charlottesville

Bio and picture coming soon!

Outgoing Members Effective November 4

Doug Gehley, AIA, LEED AP

Co-Chair, NetZero Working Group

Doug Gehley is a member of Church of the Holy Cross, Dunn Loring. He is an Architect with over 40 years experience designing and shepherding to completion learning environments in the Mid-Atlantic region, and sustainable design has been his passion since his college days at UVA and VPI. Experienced in all aspects of design leadership, Doug brings a wealth of collaborative know-how and sensitivity to client and community needs to each project and initiative. He constantly seeks out the latest in best practices to elevate design dialogue and further conversations about 21st century learning environments. He has experience working for public and independent schools and universities, government institutions, and ecclesiastical organizations.

An established leader in the sustainable design field, Doug served as the first chair on the US Green Building Council’s National Capital Region (2001-2004) as well as co-chair of the organizations Green Schools Committee (2012-2013). He is the author of several articles and presentations on sustainable school design, including an article for ARCHITECT Magazine, “Class Session: What’s New in Green Schools.” He is the past Board of Directors member for Casey Trees, the non-profit whose goal is to replenish the tree canopy in Washington DC.

Stacey Remick-Simkins, Outgoing Chair 

Stacey Remick-Simkins has worked at George Mason University for 25 years as a program coordinator and a long-time community activist within the university. She co-founded the Staff Senate, served on the board of the Virginia Governmental Employees Association from 2012-2019 and now is serving on the George Mason University College of Humanities and Social Sciences Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council. She is a certified Master Naturalist with the Fairfax County chapter involved with such projects as the Frogwatch, Bluebird nest box monitoring statewide, completing photographic portfolios of habitat restoration projects for various organizations, has served as a Nature Conservancy Preserve Steward for Fraser Preserve in Great Falls and Voorhees Preserve outside of King George, Virginia. She also serves on the board of the Northern Virginia Audubon Society Chapter as Community Engagement Committee chair. She serves as a member of the Vestry and Creation Care Ministry team at St. Peter's in the Woods, Fairfax Station.  

Dr. Nancy D. Searby

Dr. Searby manages the NASA Headquarters Earth Sciences Capacity Building Program in Washington DC, USA. Nancy champions applying Earth Science data to decisions and actions that improve society. Through training, feasibility projects, and services co-development through programs called ARSET, DEVELOP, and SERVIR, the program builds individual and institutional capacity In the United States, in and through regional networks in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and globally to improve disaster resilience, biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability, water resources management, public health surveillance, and food security and sustainable agriculture. She participates in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and regional AmeriGEO, and serves as Co-Chair of the GEO Capacity Development (CD) Working Group (WG), Co-Chair of the Inter-American CD WG, and Chair of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites’ WG on Capacity Building and Data Democracy. Dr. Searby was primary author and researcher on Resolution R-6 that passed at the 227th Diocesan Convention in November 2021. She is a member of St. Dunstan’s, McLean.

Sharon Wayne

Hello, my name is Sharon Wayne. I am a native of Richmond, Virginia, but I have lived in many parts of the US. While I have a BS degree in psychology, I consider most of my education as a self-taught journey. I am extremely interested in all things environmental. It is my love of nature and my wellness journey that has made this especially important to me. I study every day on ways to reduce my personal toxic load, as well as those I may impose on others. I approach this from several directions including the use of essential oils. I do not use toxic chemicals and commercial cleaning products, insect repellent, or toxic lawn care. I have solar power and I utilize air purification and water purification for pH balance. This has also been a vehicle to reduce the cleaning products I use. I have been very mindful of environmental choices in the renovation work I have been doing for 31 years including recycling and up cycling. My role on the Creation Care Committee is a humble one. We have such wonderful informed talent that do the heavy lifting. I come to this group from a perspective of "the man on the street." It is my intention to bring awareness to the larger community as a spark plug for the work we do. It is my honor to serve. 

Sharon served for three years as a member of the original Creation Care Task Force before being reappointed to the current Creation Care Committee. She is a member of St. James's, Richmond.