Noelle York-Simmons


The Reverend Doctor Noelle M. York-Simmons is the 28th rector of Christ Church, joining the Christ Church community in September of 2016. Originally from Atlanta, she received her Bachelor of Arts from Emory University, Master of Divinity from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University, and Doctor of Ministry from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Prior to moving to Alexandria, Noelle served churches in Atlanta and Nashville. She has served as convocational dean in the Diocese of Atlanta, as well as on diocesan committees and task forces exploring the full life of Christian formation from infancy to adulthood. She is a committed lifelong learner and a passionate pilgrim, both gifts she is excited to share with Christians and seekers of all stripes. In addition to a passion for Christian formation, Noelle is a student of homiletics, having published articles in preaching guides and commentaries over the last decade. Her most recent project is a doctoral thesis on preaching controversial topics, that was presented and accepted at Emory University in May of 2017. Noelle and her husband Kevin, a college professor in Religion and Ethics, have two children, two dogs, and two guinea pigs. They are enjoying exploring Alexandria and the greater DC area.

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Heather VanDeventer

Associate Rector

Heather is the Associate Rector. Previously, she served three years as Assistant Chaplain and Teacher of Religion at Episcopal High School, Alexandria where she taught Biblical Theology to tenth graders, regularly led and preached in chapel services, and co-led the Girls Christian Fellowship. Prior to EHS, she was priest associate at St. Paul's, San Rafael, California and St. Mark's, Berkeley, California while being a stay-at-home-mom for her daughters.

During this time, she trained in church planting and redevelopment, and conducted community study to test feasibility for starting a new church. Heather began her ordained ministry as Associate Rector of St. Augustine's, Wilmette, Illinois where for six years, she shared leadership across areas of ministry, directed Christian formation for children and youth (including children's chapel and Journey to Adulthood), and fostered and expanded the parish's community-based social action. Heather began her journey toward ordained ministry during college. She has served as a diocesan camp counselor, a homeless shelter volunteer, a hospital on-call chaplain, a coordinator and liaison for community social justice initiatives, and an insurance legal/compliance assistant.

Heather graduated from Yale University with a BA in history (focus in medieval history) and received her M. Div. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

She is married to the Rev. Dr. David Gortner, Director of the Doctor of Ministry programs and Professor of Evangelism and Congregational Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary. She serves that community as chaplain to the spouses and partners of seminary students. Heather and David have two daughters, Cassie and Miriam, both attending Douglas MacArthur Elementary. Heather is a self-professed Sci-Fi junkie. She enjoys baking and cooking, watering and working (but not weeding!) in the community garden hosted in their front yard, learning to play the piano along with the girls, and getting to the mountains when she can.

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Lyndon Shakespeare

Associate Rector

Lyndon joined the staff in April of 2018 as an Associate Rector. Ordained in 2002, Lyndon has served in various capacities in the Episcopal Church, most recently as an Interim Rector for a number of parishes in Virginia. From 2011–2013, he was the Director of Program and Ministry at Washington National Cathedral. He is delighted to be part of the vibrant life of prayer, learning, and service at Christ Church. A dedicated scholar-priest, Lyndon received his PhD in 2015 from Archbishop Justin Welby at a ceremony in Lambeth Palace. From 2009 to 2014, he studied as a member of the Archbishop's Examination in Theology under The Rev'd Andrew Davison, PhD (University of Cambridge). In 2016, Cascade Books published his dissertation with the title: "Being the Body of Christ in the Age of Management." Lyndon is an active writer and speaker on topics ranging from Christian understandings of the human person to questions on the role of leadership and management in the church. His most recent writings explore the place of imagination in the role of parish leadership. Lyndon is fond of good coffee, Australian Cricket and Rugby League, and time spent in the company of good friends.


Diane Murphy

Priest Associate

Diane serves in a variety of roles—celebrant, officiant, preacher, lecturer and pastoral care provider—upon request. As a bi-vocational individual, she is also a corporate business owner and lecturer.

Diane has been a Priest Associate at Christ Church since 2005. She was received into the Episcopal Church at Christ Church in 1992 and quickly became instrumental in the formation of a Pastoral Care Ministry. She served as a longtime member of the Christ Church stewardship committee and often was called upon as a real estate advisor to both the parish and the Diocese of Virginia.

Diane holds a BA in English from Gannon University, a Master’s and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. After two full blown careers in education and real estate brokerage, she was called to the priesthood and ordained in 2003.

In addition to her work at Christ Church, she works full time in real estate and teaching. Writing prayers and reflective essays are two of her passions. She also loves studying American culture, working in the garden, restoring homes and furniture, and being a wife, mother, and grandmother.