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The Rev. Dr. Marshall A. Jolly was elected the 26th rector of Grace Episcopal Church in May of 2015. In the wider church and community, he serves as a volunteer chaplain at UNC Healthcare Blue Ridge Hospital, as board secretary of the Valle Crucis Conference Center, as Vice-Chair of Mission Ministries Alliance, as President of the Standing Committee in the Diocese of Western North Carolina, and as first alternate Deputy to the 81st General Convention of the Episcopal Church. In 2020, Marshall was honored to be appointed by North Carolina State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley to the Faith & Justice Alliance Steering Committee.


Prior to his arrival in Morganton, Marshall served churches in the Diocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Lexington. A native of Paris, Kentucky, Marshall is a proud alum of both Transylvania University (BA, American Studies) and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (DMin, MDiv, Certificate in Anglican Studies). His published essays, articles, and sermons have appeared in the Journal of Appalachian Studies, The Anglican Theological Review, Forward Day By Day, and in a variety of other publications. A former NCAA soccer referee, Marshall has officiated in two NCAA championship tournaments, and enjoys running, reading, and cooking–though not at the same time!

Most important and life-giving of all, he is married to Elizabeth, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Their household is managed by Hambrick: a little Himalayan cat with a huge personality.



Pastoral Care Coordinator

Kathy Peters is a two-time graduate of Appalachian State University, earning a BS in Recreation and a MA in Special Education. In 2017, she retired after 38 years at the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center.


She is a “big sister” with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and she is a trained spiritual director, having completed the Haden Institute’s rigorous spiritual direction training program. She is also a trained SoulCollage and Labyrinth facilitator. She works closely with Fr. Marshall to coordinate pastoral care and spiritual formation in the parish.



Parish Administrator

Trish Keene and her husband Robert have been attending Grace Church since 2016 and became members in 2018. She graduated from Western Piedmont Community College in 2000 with an Associates in Arts degree. Originally from Michigan, Trish has called North Carolina home for thirty-one years. Together with her husband, she has 3 children, eight grandchildren, and 3 curious cats. Trish enjoys spending her free time making precious memories with her large family and hiking wherever the trail may lead her.



Children and Youth Minister

Brittany Deal began attending Grace in 2015 and joined the staff as the Director of Children and Youth Ministries in 2018. She is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University, where she earned a degree in Human and Community Service.  In May of 2022 she graduated from Luther Seminary with her Masters of Art in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. She was also awarded the Children, Youth, and Family Award for her thesis "The New Middle Class's Acceleration of Childhood and the Church's Complicity". 


Brittany is active in Morganton. She serves as the Chair on the Burke County Literacy Council Board of Directors. She and her husband Daniel are parents to their rambunctious daughter, Landry.




Jennifer Bagley came to North Carolina in 2007 from Mississippi, by way of Florida and New York. She began playing the piano when she was 6 years old and added organ to her instrument repertoire.


She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Delta State University and a Master of Music in Music Therapy from Florida State University. Her day job is as a music therapist at a state psychiatric hospital. She is currently working towards her Master of Social Work at Florida State University. Jennifer loves music and the joy and value it holds. She has been married for 15 years, and her children are the light of her life.



Financial Assistant

Chelsea was born and raised in West Jefferson, North Carolina. She graduated from Western Carolina University in 2011 with her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting and in 2012 with her Master of Accountancy.

She and her husband, Matthew, have lived in Morganton since 2013. They have two sons, Zeb and Zeke, and two dogs, Nora and Ryder. In her spare time, Chelsea loves to spend time with her family, play golf, and listen to true crime podcasts.


Charlotte Bridges (2025)

Paul Crutchfield (2024)

Daniel Deal, Senior Warden (2024)

Norma DeFago, Vestry Secretary (2023)

Jacques Geitner (2024)

Robert Keene (2023)

Matilda Kistler, Junior Warden (2025)

Chris Stephens, Parish Treasurer, ex officio

Sherry Willard, (2023)

The Rev. Dr. Marshall A. Jolly, Rector, ex officio

The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances. Vestry members are usually elected at the annual parish meeting. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings.

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