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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.  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.  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.  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!

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Mr. Charlie Sheerin
Vice President & Chair of Capital Campaign

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.

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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.  It is rare to see Carrie without her two beautiful golden retrievers.

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Ms. Koko Bickford
Trustee & Governance Committee

Dr. Alison Packard
Trustee & Chair of Governance Committee

Alison Packard has been visiting Upper Saranac Lake for decades to Grouse Cove in Little Square Bay with her husband Zander and their three children Caleb (pictured above with Alison), Avery, and Rowan.  Alison works as an OBGYN at Mass General Hospital, and she often makes the weekend commute from Boston to spend the weekends in the mountains throughout the year.  An avid outdoors-woman, Alison can often be found on the trails with their black labs Tupper and Quinn (short for Algonquin)!

Koko Bickford has spent summers on Upper Saranac Lake since 1968 at her husband Ed’s family’s camp on Markham Point. Ed and Koko bought and renovated Sunset Lodge, a part of the old Saranac Inn in 2017. They have four grown children (Ted, Bill, David, and Annie) and ten grandchildren. Koko has taught preschool, worked in development at Noble & Greenough School, and was head of guide services at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Koko and Ed split their time between Dedham, MA and Upper Saranac Lake. 

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Ms. Katy Briggs
Trustee & Memorial Glade Committee

Ms. Julia Schnupp
Trustee & Chair of Memorial Glade Committee

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Katy was married to her husband Jack Pranikoff at the Church of the Ascension in August 2020.  She has been coming to the Church for as long as she can remember, being born into the extended Harder-Short-Briggs clan from Red Pine Point on the tip of the old Saranac Inn peninsula.  Katy works as an elementary school teacher in Boston and visits the Adirondacks throughout the year. She recently welcomed her first son, Guiseppe, into our world and community.


Ms. Patty Koch
Secretary to the Board & Grant Writer

Patty and her husband Larry purchased their property in Back Bay - directly across from the church driveway - in 2006, after vacationing at the St. Lawrence University Camp on the north shore for twenty years.  Patty and Larry have been faithful summer residents and leaders in the community.  Patty spends the year in Savannah, Georgia. She and Larry have two adult children, Peter and Maddie, a granddaughter named Aurora and a distinguished white Terrier named Hopscotch who is often patrolling Back Bay Road.  Patty is a frequent contributor to the USLA mailboat newsletter!

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Ms. Ashley Nalle
Vice Treasurer

Ashley Nalle has spent much of her life visiting Spring Pond Camp in the summer from outside Austin, Texas where she grew up; although, Ashley recently relocated to Colorado with her husband Owen and their family (which includes their two beloved German short haired pointers). Their first daughter, Ella, and their twins, MacKenna and Parker, are the fourth generation of the Nalle family to come to the church. Owen and Ashely were high school sweethearts. Ashley is a CPA with a degree from Texas A&M and worked as an accountant at Ernst & Young in Austin before she transitioned to full-time mom.

Julia has been visiting the lake with her family for more than fifty years, and has served on the Board for more than a decade. Her children, John and Mary, are both married and live in North Carolina.  Julia and her husband Kevin own Camp Sunrise between Colgate and St. Lawrence camps on the north shore.  They live in Towson, Maryland when they are not with us in the north woods.

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Ms. Wendy Lincoln

Wendy Lincoln and her husband Mike own Moss Ledge Camp in Gilpin Bay on the southern end of Upper Saranac Lake. They won the Adirondack Preservation Award in 2018 for their restoration and rehabilitation of the William Coulter-designed camp that was built in 1898.  Wendy discovered the Adirondacks by visiting Lake Placid for their son’s lacrosse tournaments.  After touring some camps, she decided that this was a place where her family would establish a multigenerational family gathering point. Wendy and Mike met in their 7th grade homeroom class, and they have four children together: Wes, Sarah, Will, and Jay. They live in McLean, Virginia during the year where Wendy is a youth group leader at Vienna Presbyterian Church, involved with the Community Coalition for Haiti and Five Talents service organizations, and an avid tennis player.


Ms. Cathy Wooters

Cathy Joyce Wooters first came to Upper Saranac Lake to the Mills/Slaughter/Wooters camp on Back Bay in 1974 with her then-boyfriend-now-husband of 43 years, Larry Wooters. When the family camp sold, Cathy and Larry purchased and renovated Camp That’s Why in 2017. Now the 6th generation of their family continues to enjoy the waters of Upper Saranac Lake. Cathy is a co-founder of San Miguel Academy of Newburgh, NY, where she co-created the Graduate Support Program and was the Advancement Director until 2018. Cathy lives in New Canaan CT, where she and Larry raised their three children: Mark, Catherine and Julie. Their spouses and seven grandchildren visit often. Cathy's greatest passions are her family, networking to provide options for under-served children, and kayaking on Upper Saranac Lake.

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