Our Clergy and Lay Staff
The Reverend Patricia (Patty) Phaneuf Alexander began her ministry as St. Dunstan’s fifth Rector in September 2019. A native of Massachusetts, Patty earned her BA (magna cum laude) in English Language and Literature from Yale University, where she also completed the Teacher Preparation Program. She began her professional career as a middle- and elementary-school teacher at the Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, during which time she earned her MA from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
It was while living in Greenwich that Patty first visited the Episcopal Church, at the invitation of a colleague who encouraged her to “come and see.” Raised Roman Catholic but having attended an Episcopal high school, she immediately felt at home in the liturgy and soon was received into the Episcopal Church. As Patty began to discern a call to the priesthood, she worked as Director of Christian Education at St. James’ Church in Manhattan before entering the Virginia Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity (cum laude). During seminary, Patty was honored to serve for a year as Personal Research Assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London – which goes to show that God is full of surprises!
Ordained in 2001, Patty ministered for ten years as a parish priest in the Diocese of New York before coming to Washington to serve first as Head Chaplain at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac and now at St. Dunstan’s. Patty also is a member of the Commission on Ministry in the Diocese of Washington. Having served in parishes of varying sizes, Patty feels particularly called to pastor smaller congregations and feels blessed to be walking with the people of St. Dunstan’s at this time.
Patty is married to the Reverend J. Randolph (Randy) Alexander, Rector of Immanuel Church on-the-Hill in Alexandria, Virginia. Patty and Randy are the proud parents of three amazing sons and two incredibly spoiled rescue dogs. When not ministering to her family or parish, Patty enjoys pursuing her passion for Art History and traveling with her family.
“Deacon Mary” joined St. Dunstan’s in January 2021, shortly after her ordination to the vocational diaconate* at the Washington National Cathedral. She is a lifelong Episcopalian who has lived in Washington, DC, for over three decades. For many years, she designed programs on the arts and cultures of countries from Morocco to Kyrgyzstan for the Middle East Institute and the Smithsonian Institution. She then worked in international development on Middle East
health and environment projects.
In 1999, Mary became the first executive director of Charlie’s Place, a day program for unhoused English- and Spanish-speaking adults at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in the District. Five years later, she set up shop as a communications and public-programs consultant. One day, she invited her priest from Washington’s Church of the Epiphany to an exhibit, which she had cocurated, on Iraqi art and poetry. Over coffee afterward, she made an offhand remark about her high-school dream of becoming a deacon. Before she knew it, she was part of the diocese’s third class of deacons.
Mary and eight others trained for three years locally (right here at St. Dunstan’s) and online through the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. As an undergraduate, Mary majored in Arabic and Middle East studies and minored in botany at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, she went to Syria as a Fulbright Scholar to continue studying Arabic literature at the University of Damascus. While working full-time, she earned a Master of Public Health degree from The George Washington University by concentrating on environmental health, particularly Palestinian women’s use of water on the West Bank. Mary now serves on the diocese’s
Creation Care Committee and the deacons’ council.
I am originally from Paris, France. In 2003, I joined my husband Kam in the US. We now have 4 children from elementary school to college age.
I am a very dedicated mother who considers my children as the most effective life-skills teachers, and I am continuously learning how to be the best parent possible. In an effort to stay attuned to my children’s needs, I have supported them through home instruction at various times in their lives.
I love colors and am an artist (when time allows). Horses are also a big part of my life, and I especially appreciate how they allow you to slow the pace of your day down and to bring some magic into it.
Life struggles also lead me to seek many different ways of healing the body and mind. Practicing Qigong is one of the answers I found, because it is a daily self-care routine that can bring peace and harmony to one’s life. I am a Qigong teacher and an avid searcher for answers.
I am very humbled to be at the service of St Dunstan Episcopal Church, and so grateful for this new community, and for the opportunities to make a difference.
Diane brings a wealth of musical experience to St. Dunstan’s, having sung as a professional soprano both in Europe and the USA. She has also taught voice as an Adjunct Professor at American University and worked as a Teaching Artist with the Children’s Chorus of Washington.
As a Church musician all her life, Diane started singing in the choir at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Sheffield, UK, and then as a student at St. Peter’s Parish Church in Huddersfield. Her graduate studies took her to London, where she sang as a member of the professional choir at St. Marylebone Church until moving to the United States in 2003, where she sang at Washington National Cathedral for 12 years.
The combination of all her musical experiences led her to St. Dunstan’s, where she is enjoying singing as Cantor and Directing the Children’s Community Chorus.
Originally from China, Hexin moved to Boston in 2010 to study at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she took organ lessons with Thomas Handel. Six years later, she moved to Seattle to get her Doctorate in Piano Performance at the University of Washington.
Last summer, Hexin and her husband moved to the DMV area. In addition to her ministry here at St. Dunstan’s, Hexin is pursuing a Master in Collaborative Piano at the University of Maryland, College Park.
When she’s away from the piano and the organ, Hexin spends most of her time making jewelry and baking sourdough bread.
Hi, I'm Amy and I'm the Children's Minister here at St. Dunstan's! As a 2023 graduate from The Catholic University of America with a double-major in Theology & Religious Studies and Hispanic Studies, I am passionate about serving the Lord through outreach ministry to various and diverse groups of people. I've been at St. Dunstan's for about one year and my experience as a member of this community has been absolutely wonderful. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, reading, and traveling with friends and family.
My name is Katie Spero and I can't tell you how grateful I am to have this opportunity to become a part of your community, and serve alongside you as your seminarian. I'm from the Diocese of Chicago, and am currently a middler in the MDiv program at Virginia Theological Seminary. Coming to this point on the spiritual path has been a long, interesting, and often surprising journey for me, and I look forward to the chance for us to share our stories with each other. After I studied poetry at Columbia College Chicago, I went on to teach music and Yoga in the Chicago Public Schools, while preaching at Church of Our Saviour. Later I worked as their Parish Life Director for several years, and studied to become a spiritual director, before coming to seminary. For fun I love to play musical instruments (and any chance for a sing-along), laugh as much as I can muster, and study both Western and Eastern spirituality. I thank God for bringing us together at this time, and for letting me experience the work the Holy Spirit is doing in your parish.
About the Vocational Diaconate
*To learn more about the vocational diaconate, please click here.