In late 2007, Tommy Hinson joined with a group of men and women living in Columbia Heights, and together they established Church of the Advent. Prior to this time, Tommy lived in Boston, where his passion for urban renewal was born out of his tenure as a mental health counselor working with underserved populations.
A native of North Carolina, Tommy attended Furman University in Greenville, SC, where he met his wife and best friend, Laura. Tommy received an M.Div. and an M.A. in counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. He and Laura have two sons, Riley and Maddox, and a dog named Jasper.
Deborah Tepley has been attending Church of the Advent since the fall of 2010. She has twelve years of experience in business, operations and human resources management for mission-based organizations in the faith-based, non-profit, and international development sectors. She especially enjoys leading organizations that are starting up or transitioning to a different organizational development stage.
Deborah felt called to ministry at a young age and holds an MA in Cross-Cultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and an MBA from Georgetown University. This position brings things “full circle” for Deborah, combining her love for the church and skills in organizational leadership, and she feels like she’s landed her dream job. Deborah met her husband, Luke Jackson, at an Advent potluck. They have both been deeply involved in several church ministries over the years and count Advent as their family in DC. They live with their two cats in Mt. Pleasant.
Dan Beilman and his family moved to DC from Austria where they were part of a church-planting team in center-city Vienna, Austria. In many ways, DC is a return home. Dan grew up just down the road in Annapolis, MD and has very vivid childhood memories of DC: the feel of his Washington Redskins pajamas, the sight of the Mall stretching endlessly before him, and even the smell of tear gas wafting over from a nearby demonstration.
After graduating from East Carolina University, he moved to Akron, OH where he was insanely lucky to meet his wife, Jennifer. They lived in Maryland and rural Florida before going to the mission field. There are lots of things he's missed about DC: the National Symphony, the Barns at Wolf Trap, the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Arucola on Connecticut Avenue, and DC United. But it's the people they've met at Advent and the beauty of Anglicanism that drew Dan and his family back to the District.
Jane Olson has been attending Church of the Advent since 2011. Jane has over a decade of experience in Christian education, including classroom teaching experience at the preschool, middle school, and high school level. Most recently, Jane served as the Director of Student Life at an area high school. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and BA in English literature and Creative Writing. Jane has a passion for liturgy and a desire to design formative children’s ministry programs that engage heart, mind, and imagination.
Jane lives in Brookland with her husband Lars and their two children, Claire and Teddy.
Melissa Litwiller came to us from Park City, UT with 12 years experience as a counselor. She is a licensed professional counselor in Colorado, Utah, and DC. She has enjoyed working with couples, individuals, families, teens, and children. Melissa acquired her Masters Degree in Counseling from Denver Seminary and believes that her educational background and her personal relationship with Christ, as well as her internship and fellowship experiences in various churches, have prepared her for the ministry God has called her to at Church of the Advent.
Melissa is certified to provide marital and premarital counseling, using the Prepare/Enrich Assessment. She also has several trauma-specific certifications, foster- and adoption-specific training, play therapy training, and experience and certifications in a number of different therapeutic approaches helpful to individual adults and teens. Melissa is thrilled to be a member of the Advent community. Melissa, her husband Jonathan, and their three children live in Brookland.
Josh Ruiter and his wife Candice first stumbled into Church of the Advent in 2014, when he was a youth pastor in search of place to worship "off-the-clock." Two years later, he is grateful to find himself on the journey to ordination in the Anglican Church of North America via the role of pastoral assistant at Advent. Prior to coming to Church of the Advent, Josh served four years as a youth pastor in Potomac, MD and two years as an international missionary to Jamaica, where God orchestrated Josh meeting Candice at her home church in the hills of Jamaica.
Josh received his Bachelor's Degree in Theology from Dordt College and his Master's Degree in Theology from Liberty University Seminary. When Josh is not doing ministry in the church you can most likely find him at the local baseball fields catching a game, in the hunting field with his French Brittany Spaniel, or exploring the food of DC with Candice.
Liz Downey has been attending Advent since the fall of 2015, after moving to DC from New York City. Though not originally familiar with the Anglican tradition, she was drawn to the rich liturgy and the wonderful community at Advent. Before coming on staff, Liz spent seven years in the news industry, working most recently as a Social Media Producer during coverage of the 2016 primaries and presidential election. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in History and English.
Liz loves Nats games, volunteering at George Washington's Mount Vernon, and taking advantage of the great cultural and natural resources this area has to offer. She lives in Northwest DC.