Our Ministers

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The Rev. Bob Holum
Rector Emeritus

The Rev. Bob Holum served as Rector from 2007 to 2020, and he continues to serve as Rector Emeritus, opening and closing the summer worship season with Tyler.  Bob has served as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America since 1973, and he brings a lifetime’s worth of experience to our little log church on the hill.  Bob served as head pastor of churches in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., and he served as a Mission Director and assistant to the Bishop for ten years in Baltimore.  He met the love of his life, Binnie Holum (1950-2014), in Philadelphia during his seminary years at Lutheran Theological Seminary, and Binnie brought him to the shores of Upper Saranac Lake for the first time in 1972.   Bob has cared for our lake community with great generosity and thoughtfulness.  He lives in Mount Airy, Pennsylvania next door to his daughter Suli, her husband Trey, and his granddaughter Coralie.

The Rev. Tyler Montgomery

The Rev. Tyler Montgomery was appointed Rector of the Church of the Ascension in August 2020 after serving as Associate with Bob Holum.  Tyler was baptized with lake water in 1987 on the hill, and he has spent a portion of every summer of his life but three on Upper Saranac Lake.  Tyler and his wife Mary live and work at Woodberry Forest School in Madison, Virginia.  They welcomed their daughter, Grace, on the fifth day of Christmas in 2020.  Along with their red heeler named Willie, they love to hike and canoe in the north woods.  Tyler previously served as Chaplain to the College of William & Mary and Associate Rector of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The Church of the Ascension is holy ground for their entire family, and the cool waters of the lake are a welcome respite from the Virginia heat during their summer months.

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Ms. Karen Baker

Karen Baker is a Rochester native, but she moved to Saranac Lake in 1972 to make a home with her husband and two children.  Music is what she loves most.  She plays with two bands and performs solo with the piano.  She has been playing organ at the Church of the Ascension since 2001.  Other than making beautiful music, Karen enjoys the outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and several pastimes that include knitting, yoga, photography, and writing. She rarely misses an opportunity to visit her daughters in California!

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Mr. Joe Rollins
President of the Board

Joe Rollins has served as the President of the church Board of Trustees since 2009. Joe is a Philadelphia native and parishioner at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania. He has served the Church of the Ascension with distinction – cleaning, winterizing, repairing, and organizing everything and anything that the Church has needed for decades.  Joe has spent a lifetime’s worth of summers on Upper Saranac lake with his sister Joan, brother Dick, and his two daughters Emily and Alexandra and their families.  He is a tenacious water skier, and is well known for charging across the lake!


Mr. Charlie Sheerin
Secretary to the Board

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Ms. Carrie Donatello

Carrie Donatello has served as the Church treasurer since 2005.  Carrie was raised on the shores of Upper Saranac Lake by her parents Mike and Sallie Ritchie.  She lives at the Northwoods school outside of Lake Placid where her husband Andy serves as Assistant Director of Athletics.  Carrie works as a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway's Adirondack division. Carrie and Andy have raised three children together, Sara, Drew, and Haley, who regularly return to the lake on weekends and during the summer months.

Charlie Sheerin serves as secretary of the Church Board of Trustees.  Charlie spent his childhood summers in the lakeside rectory when his father served as lead minister to the Church of the Ascension from 1966 to 2001.  Charlie and his two sisters, Anne and Edie, have been great stewards of the Church of the Ascension over the decades, and each of them spends a portion of the summer at their family camp adjacent to the old Saranac Inn property.  Charlie is a Washington D.C. resident where he serves as senior director of strategic philanthropy at the World Wildlife Fund.

Members of the Board of Trustees

Ms. Katy Briggs

Ms. Patty Koch

Ms. Julia Schnupp

Ms. Alison Packard