The Rev. Dr. Tim Mitchell, Rector

A native Louisvillian, Fr. Tim was installed in 2008 as the 12th rector of Advent since the parish’s founding in 1874.  He loves being back home in Louisville to serve God, Church and the local community.  He enjoys living in the Highlands, working at our village church in the heart of Louisville, and building upon the interconnectedness in our lives on this sacred earth. He dreams about transformed hearts, lives and communities.

Fr. Tim served for thirteen years on the Board of Trustees for the Episcopal Church Pension Fund (, which provides pensions and other benefits and services to the Church and its employees. Before returning to full time parish ministry, he worked for twelve years as Investment Advisor and Regional Director (San Francisco office) of an investment advisory firm in socially responsible investing, and before that as a corporate banker in Mexico City. He currently serves as Chair of the Investment Committee of the Diocese of Kentucky.

Fr. Tim holds the following degrees: Doctor of Ministry from Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA; Master of Divinity from University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL; Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; Graduate Diplomas from University of Salamanca and Colegio de España, Spain (Rotary Foundation Fellowship); Bachelor of Arts (Phi Beta Kappa) from University of Notre Dame.  And to the famous question in Louisville, “Where’d you go to school? St. X.”

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The Rev. John Fritschner, Assisting Priest

Fr. John joined the staff as a part-time assisting priest in May 2015. He assists with Sunday morning worship, pastoral care, stewardship and other ministries.

Fr. John has served as interim rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Anchorage, KY and Grace Church, Paducah, KY.  Prior to that, he served as Rector of churches in Alabama, South Carolina and Lexington, KY.

Fr. John, a Louisville native, is married to his wife, Nancy (John likes to say he outkicked his coverage when he married Nancy), and they enjoy their life, history and family in the Highlands. Fr. John’s parents were married at Church of the Advent more than a few years ago.

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The Rev. Dr. Karl Ruttan, Priest-in-Residence | Spiritual Director

Karl Ruttan has ministered as an Episcopal priest for over thirty years serving parishes in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Central Africa. He is a trained and skilled spiritual director, has an office for spiritual direction on the lower level in the parish office, and has an interest in male spirituality and retreat leadership. Karl is married to the wonderful Mary Barkalow; they have two adult children and one grandson.  Feel free to e-mail Fr. Karl if you may be interested in learning more about spiritual direction.

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The Rev. Barbara Merrick, Deacon

Barbara has been a deacon for 6 years.  She was originally from St. Paul’s, Louisville where she was a lay leader for 37 years.  After becoming a deacon, she was assigned to St. Peter’s, Louisville.  She has been serving St. Peter’s for the 6 years before coming to Advent.

Barbara lives in St. Matthews with her beloved dog Abby and cantankerous cat, Tiger.  She has two sons, Christopher who works on the American Duchess on the Mississippi River, and Tommy who lives in Lexington and is a math assistant professor at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati.  Tommy has a beautiful wife, Angela, and two fabulous children, Odessa (11) and Evariste (5).  

For hobbies, Barbara bakes cookies with her sister Nancy and sews and reads.  She spends as much time as possible with her 2 grandkids in Lexington.

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Austin Echols, Organist | Choirmaster

Austin Echols is a conductor, organist, and composer from Louisville, KY. Austin received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the UofL School of Music. Immediately following his graduate studies, Mr. Echols was appointed conductor the UofL Singing Cardsmen. Since 2007, Austin has served as the Organist and Music Associate at Highland Baptist Church of Louisville. Austin accompanies school and community ensembles and is frequently asked to work with area choirs as a guest clinician.

Mr. Echols was recently invited to assist the Louisville Male High School Chamber Choir in preparation for their performance of his work at the 2020 Kentucky Music Educators Association conference. In 2019, Austin led the New Albany High School choir in a workshop with the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble, Chanticleer. Mr. Echols was the pianist for the KMEA High School All-State Choirs in 2018 and 2019. Austin is a member of the Louisville Chamber Choir and served as Vice President of the Board of Directors from 2013-2017. Austin is a member of the American Choral Directors and is active in the American Guild of Organists. Austin has sung with the Evensong Choir at St. Francis in the Fields for over a decade, and previously served as the bass soloist and section leader at Christ Church Cathedral under the direction of John Cantrell. Austin is an honorary member of the Black Classical Artists of Louisville and has collaborated on many performances of African American Art Song and Spirituals.

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Debbi Rodahaffer, Minister for Parish Life

Debbi Rodahaffer looks forward to meeting you. Email her at anytime to schedule an in person visit or to answer your questions.

Debbi has spent twenty five years in various roles in The Episcopal Church. For eighteen years, she served as Christian Formation Director for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Louisville. During her time as CFD, Debbi served on the board of directors and as president of FORMA, a national organization for lay leaders and clergy in the Episcopal Church, in the diocese, Debbi served on the Christian Formation Steering Committee, the Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, on the All Saints Board, and as a three-time deputy to General Convention where she served on the Christian Formation Committee. Debbi is married and the mother of two adult children.

Mrs. Marti Taber, Bookkeeper

Marti wears many hats.  In addition to part-time bookkeeping duties for Advent and St. Thomas Episcopal Churches, Marti is the Office Manager/Christian Education Director at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.  Questions regarding your pledge statements should be directed to Marti at the email address below.  Marti is married and has three daughters and one grandson.

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Ms. Kate Meeks, Director of Children and Families Ministry

Kate Meeks is a native of Dublin, Ohio and a cradle Episcopalian. Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Davidson College, and a Masters of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary. Currently, Kate is pursing a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and is a postulant for the priesthood in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Kate is delighted to work with the children and families of Advent, and excited to be a part of this vital community. Kate will work very limited hours, leading Children’s Worship and ensuring the staffing of Advent’s nursery each week.  

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