About Us

Vestry

It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that
surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. 

An Episcopal Vestry

An Episcopal vestry is a group of elected parish members who oversee the church operations. The vestry assists the rector and have promotional, institutional, financial, and personnel responsibilities within the church.
 
It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. Through this promotional program the church will be able to grow and attract new members to the congregation.   The vestry is also responsible for the maintenance of the church property and handles the financial responsibilities of the church. The members will oversee the donations and tithes as well as dispersing funds to programs ran by the church. The taxes, utilities, payroll and other financial responsibilities are also approved and paid out by the members of the episcopal vestry. Finally, the vestry members have the duty to identify individuals who can fill open positions at the church and for providing training and guidance to those individuals.
The Rev. Richard Maxwell
Interim Rector

The Reverend Richard Maxwell (known as Max), was born and raised in Michigan, and graduated from Stanford University.  After college he moved to New York City where he began working in theater. His experience in theater paved the way to a career as a fundraiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum, and an officer at the Dana Foundation. As life would have it, he heeded his call to the priesthood and received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and Master of Sacred Theology from General Theological Seminary.  Prior to becoming a parish priest, he was a postulant and novice at Holy Cross Monastery where he served as a spiritual director and retreat leader.  Rev. Max served as the interim rector at Grace Church in Madison, NJ, and St. Timothy’s in Fairfield, CT. He also served as the rector of Grace, Hartford, and the assistant minister at Church of the Incarnation in New York City.  Rev. Max arrives in Miami with Paul Kline, his spouse of almost nineteen years, their cat, Lyndon, and their dog Cosmo. Rmaxwell@stepsmia.org

Our Senior Warden

Larry Levis
Larry Levis is a professional architect and master planner and an Episcopalian for 27 years (having been raised Jewish). Twice he has been the Junior Warden of a parish, most recently at St. Thomas, about a decade ago. Larry and his wife Elena raised their three daughters at St. Philip's and St. Thomas. He has been a church musician since arriving at St. Thomas 15 years ago. He sang in the choir until three years ago, and was a founding member of 40 Days, the Contemporary Worship band, which he has played with for the last nine years. larry.levis@atkinsglobal.com

Members of the Vestry

Melanie Montenegro
Melanie M. Montenegro is an experienced attorney in the media and entertainment industry. She currently is the VP, Business and Legal Affairs for NBCUniversal's Telemnudo Industries, focused on Spanish language programming. She is the chair for the South Florida NBCU Women's Network, which focuses on the professional development and advancement of women in the workforce. She also serves on the NBCU Professional Development and Communications Committees. Melanie and her wife Sherri relocated to Miami from New York City in 2006. In 2009, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, and are now a happy family of three. Montenegro@nbcuni.com

Leonor Belaval
Leonor Belaval has been married to Edgar Belaval for 16 years. They have one son who attended St. Thomas Episcopal from kindergarten through fifth grade. Leonor attended Florida International University and received her degree in Education. She received her Master's Degree at Barry University in Educational Leadership. Leonor is employed by Westminster Christian School as the Director of College and Career. She has been a part of the St. Thomas Parish since 2007. lbelaval@wcsmiami.org
 
Elizabeth Bellande
Born and raised in Venezuela, Elizabeth graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor's in early childhood education. She has taught language arts at Atlantis Academy. At St. Thomas School, Elizabeth currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Parents Association and has previously chaired numerous PA committees as well as being a Girl Scout co- leader. Elizabeth and her husband Philippe have three children, one at St. Thomas and two recent graduates. They have been members of St. Thomas Church since 2005. elibellande@gmail.com

Debby Hutchins
Debby Hutchins had a 40-year career as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the Miami Dade County Public School system before retiring in 2011. She was chairperson for Speech, Language, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing Services in Region VI. She and her husband Joe have two adult sons, both of whom attended St. Thomas Parish School years ago. A member of St. Thomas since 1972, Debby is a volunteer in the church office, serves on the Christmas decorating committee, was active in the Cursillo community, trained and worked as a Stephen Minister, and is a volunteer with the Homeless Assistance Center in Homestead.
 
Joseph Kalbac
Joe Kalbac is a civil trial lawyer and partner with the law firm of Colson Hicks Edson. He and his family have been members of St. Thomas for over 20 years.  During that time he has served in many capacities including as usher, lay reader and sub-deacon, vestry member for nine years, including as Chancellor and Senior Warden, member of the St. Thomas School Board of Trustees, and member of the Rector Search Committee. Joe has served on the Palmer Trinity Board of Trustees for nine years including several years as chair. He and his wife Mary have three children, all of whom attended St. Thomas Parish School. Kalbac, Joseph Jkalbac@colson.com

Rob McDougal
Robert McDougal, IV, is a native Miamian. He and his wife Caryn have two daughters, and they have been members of St. Thomas for 20 years. Rob has been a business owner and a former president of an international luxury yacht company, and currently is the executive director for Fowler White Burnett, a 73-year-old law firm. He understands business, people, and the importance of a team philosophy. He is an usher at St. Thomas and participates frequently in the Homeless Assistance Center program with fellow church members. Rob also participates with the law firm in the Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build annually.

Ann Rose
Retired from a long teaching career at Miami Dade College, Ann Rose is currently an adjunct professor at St. John Vianney College Seminary. She also co-facilitates the Ignatian Retreat at MorningStar Retreat Center. At St. Thomas, she leads the Wednesday morning Bible study and is part of the Pastoral Care Team and the Newcomers Team. Last year she served on the Diocesan Search Committee for the Bishop Coadjutor. She and her husband John have been parishioners at St. Thomas since 1980. They have two adult children. anngrose65@bellsouth.net

Mary Lou Shad
Born in Venezuela, raised in South Miami, Mary Lou is a retired Neonatal ICU Associate Head Nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital and former Guardian ad Litem with the 11th Circuit Court. The Shads came to worship at St. Thomas after hurricane Andrew. Mary Lou has been a Sunday school teacher, member of two choirs and the Contemporary Music Group. She has been on three Cursillo teams. Mary Lou has been a leader in Stephen Ministry. She completed EFM and facilitated EFM classes for four years. She is currently a trained facilitator with DOCC. Mary Lou currently serves as clerk of the vestry and the vestry liaison for Pastoral Care. tom.lulu@att.net

Nathaniel Tobin 
Nathaniel Tobin is a litigation attorney and partner at Kelley Kronenberg where he focuses on insurance defense. He grew up at St. Thomas, the elder son of Father Roger and Jan Tobin, who was the rector from 1986-2010. Nate is an alumnus of St. Thomas Parish School and Palmer Trinity. He attended law school at the University of Miami where he was a Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Service. Nate currently serves as Acolyte Master and is a tenor in the St. Thomas Choir. He and his wife Maryann were married at St. Thomas. They have one daughter attending St. Thomas Parish School and another on the way. ntobin@kelleykronenberg.com

Peter Zubizarreta
Peter Zubizarreta resides in Coral Gables with his wife Aymee and has four children. Peter is the Senior Vice-President at UBS Financial Services Inc.  Before joining UBS, he held positions with Prudential Securities, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Citigroup Global Markets. He has broad-based experience in the financial services industry, particularly in serving the wealth management needs of individuals and families both domestic and international. At St. Thomas, Peter has been involved in the Finance Committee and Stewardship Committees. He supports the arts and serves on various community boards for the arts, education, and non-profits.   Peter currently serves as the Treasurer and as the vestry liaison to Stewardship and Finance Committees.

Kitty Espinosa
Catherine “Kitty” Koch Espinosa is an attorney and mediator specializing in Workers Compensation law. She has a JD from the University of Miami, a BA from FIU, and two undergraduate years at the American University of Paris. At St. Thomas she has served as an usher, a member of the Outreach Committee and the Children’s Committee, and in a variety of other capacities. She is married to Jorge Espinosa and has one son now in college at Columbia University who graduated from St Thomas. Kitty was involved in her son’s schools as an active parent and more recently as the Chair of the Book Fair and International Committee at Palmer Trinity.
 
Cindy Fleming
Cindy Fleming, retired as a Park Ranger, is active in Bicycle Advocacy and Safety. She is a National Mountain Bike Patrol Instructor. At St. Thomas, she is a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a member of the Bible and Book study, a participant in the outreach programs of Feed My Sheep and Chapman Assistance, and part of the Flower Ministry. She and her husband Mike do the set up for all 6 p.m. services. Most recently she was trained as a Verger for the 10:00 traditional service. Cindy and Mike have two adult daughters.
 
Andy Kershaw
Andy Kershaw is the head swim coach at the University of Miami, and has been a collegiate swim coach for 18 years. He served as the Manager for the US Olympic Swim Team in both 2012 and 2016. Through these experiences, he has gained experience in teamwork, leadership, and inspiration. He and his wife Liz have been members of St. Thomas for two years, along with their 11-year-old daughter who was part of the 2017 St. Thomas First Communion class. Andy currently serves on the First Sunday Committee and is involved with Athletes in Action.