Vicar: The Rev. Canon Alissa Newton
The Rev. Canon Alissa Newton became Vicar of St. Columba's on August 3, 2014, after serving them as Deacon-in-charge for several weeks. Alissa grew up in Northern California and moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend Seattle Pacific University in 1996, where in the course of her undergraduate career she found and fell in love with the Episcopal Church. After completing her BA in Religious Studies at SPU, Alissa worked as a research interviewer for Washington State's Department of Social and Health Services and spent her free time playing the drums for an all-female rock band she formed with friends.
In 2008 Alissa received a certificate in Congregational Development from the Congregational Development Institute and was accepted into postulancy for priesthood in the Episcopal Church. She attended seminary at Seattle University while also working as a congregational development consultant in the Diocese of Olympia and as a founding trainer for The College for Congregational Development. In February of 2014 Alissa became the Director of The College for Congregational Development. She graduated from Seattle University in 2014 with her MDiv, and was ordained priest in July of 2014.
In addition to directing The College for Congregational Development, Alissa currently serves the Diocese of Olympia as Canon for Congregational Development and leadership formation.
Alissa married her husband Andrew, a native of Poulsbo, WA, in 2005. They have two daughters, ages 11 and 13. The family also includes Wanda, a one year old rescue puppy, and five chickens who joined them when chickens were all the rage, early pandemic. Alissa and her family live in Des Moines, WA. In her free time, Alissa loves to spend time with her family, read geeky fiction, play the drums, and grow dahlias.
You can contact Alissa at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Vicar: The Rev. Meghan Mullarkey
The Rev. Meghan Mullarkey became Associate Vicar of St. Columba's in January 2019. Meghan grew up in Northern Virginia and moved to the Pacific NW in 2007 to work at a teen homeless shelter. She began seminary at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in 2008 and found a home in the Episcopal Church in 2009. She began the discernment process to the priesthood shortly after and has worked at numerous churches within the diocese doing pastoral care, youth work, and adminstrative work. She was ordained to the priesthood in July 2017. She completed her curacy at St. Andrew's, Tacoma in January 2019 before beginning at St. Columba's.
Meghan met her husband, Luke, in graduate school where he was pursing his Master's in Counseling. They were married in 2013 and moved from Seattle to Tacoma in 2016. They have two small children. Meghan loves exploring the Pacific NW; going on long walks with Luke, the kids, and their dog (Scout); and participating in the intersection of listening and God’s healing work in the world.
You can contact Meghan at: email@example.com
Associate for Liturgy and Music: Martin Pommerenke
Martin has been singing at churches almost as long as he can remember, and has interned or worked in congregations ofseveral demonations: Baptist, Lutheran, and charismatic. He has been a professional in the Episcopal church for nearly twenty years. several of those as music director at Episcopal congregations in Tempe, Arizona and Sammamish, Washington.
He has performed with numerous wind and choral ensembles, including the choirs of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, All Saints' Episcopal Church, and the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and on the euphonium (a brass instrument similar to a small tuba) with the Phoenix Metropolitan Philharmonic, Phoenix Concert Band, and the Rainbow City Band of Seattle.
Martin graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona with a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music, with an emphasis in Choral Conducting where he also studied voice and euphonium. There he was awarded the Ray-Maben scholar designation, the school's highest academic honor.
When not at St. Columba's you can find Martin working (feverishly) to complete his Master of Divinty degree at Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, British Columba.
You can contact Martin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children, Youth, and Family Support Coordinator: Val Rawlinson
Val Rawlinson joined St. Columba’s staff in fall 2022 after attending St. Columba’s for 7 years. Val’s love for play, children, and this church community led her to her current position. Before coming on staff at St. Columba’s Val worked in a retirement community and nursing homes as a Registered Dietitian. She has her BS in Nutrition and Food Science.
Val is passionate about nurturing the health of the whole body - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That is why she is currently working to become a professional organizer to help create joyful surroundings, studying how to practice being a Dietitian with an anti-diet focus, alongside spiritually nourishing the children and youth of St. C’s.
Val not only brings her love of children and play, but also her openness to spirituality and her own journey where she has practiced and explored many different expressions of faith, that ultimately led her to find her spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. This makes her equipped to help guide our children and youth as they explore their beliefs and relationship to Christianity. Also, she just really loves playing with the toys on the children’s carpets along with the other kids (and kids at heart).
Val enjoys sharing her life with her husband Chad, their son Erik, an ancient-of-days Cairn Terrier Benson and a high energy tuxedo cat Jack Jack. You can often find her crocheting, junk journaling, doing yoga, walking or running, feeding wild birds, reading cozy mysteries, or trying new recipes and eating all the delicious things.