Clergy & Staff


The Rev. Elizabeth G. Maxwell, Rector

The Rev. Elizabeth G. Maxwell began her ministry as Rector of the Church of the Ascension on January 12, 2015. She has lived and worked in Manhattan for 35 years, first as Associate Rector of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea, which also made her Program Director of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest emergency feeding program in New York City), and then as Interim Pastor of St. Michael’s Church on the Upper West Side. She is delighted to have joined with the people of Ascension in discovering and witnessing to the gospel in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Liz says: “The Church of the Ascension has a proud history; wonderful music and liturgy; and a healthy, inclusive community life. What is the Spirit is calling us to in this new chapter? Welcoming new and diverse folk, engagement with the tremendous challenges of justice and peace in our city and our world, deepening our love for God and each other all come to mind. I am eager to get to know the people of Ascension and to share our journey with, to and in God as we grow and serve together.”

Liz grew up in a small college town in the piney woods of east Texas. She is a graduate of Duke University and Princeton Theological Seminary, and was ordained in the Diocese of Newark in 1983, serving there before coming across the river to New York. She also completed training in depth psychology and spirituality at the Blanton Peale Graduate Institute and is licensed as a psychoanalyst in New York State, experience that serves her well in exploring with deeper currents in congregations. A native New Yorker now, she loves the city’s great energy, diversity, art, and food- and also loves to escape to the wide open spaces. She hikes, swims, travels as adventurously as she can, and reads voraciously.

The Rev. Edwin Chinery, Associate Rector

The Reverend Edwin Chinery was ordained to the priesthood in June 2010. Prior to serving at Ascension, Father Chinery served as half-time Priest-in-Charge with St. Mark’s Keansburg in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. In addition to this work, he also served part-time with Grace Episcopal Church in Plainfield, NJ, the town where he was born and raised.

Prior to his seminary studies, Father Chinery had a career as Benefits Administrator for Middlesex County, NJ where he was a volunteer with a variety of social service programs including mental health and chemical dependency, homelessness prevention, and AIDS care and treatment. In the course of this work, Father Chinery is grateful to have held leadership roles in the areas of board governance, program planning and policy development; the related skills both helpful in understanding the nature of public advocacy, as well as being readily transferable to any brand of parish ministry that seeks to blend secular social service with community of faith experience. Father Chinery attended the General Theological Seminary where his studies focused on spirituality, scripture and preaching. In addition to a Masters in Divinity, he graduated with certification as a Spiritual Director.

Parish Staff

Dennis Keene, D.M.A., Organist & Choirmaster

Dennis Keene is Artistic Director and Conductor of New York’s Voices of Ascension Chorus & Orchestra. He is also Organist and Choirmaster of Church of the Ascension. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Chorus America and has served on the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, he has given numerous workshops and master classes on conducting and on choral music.

Charles E. Schmidt, Chancellor

Br. Andrew P. Jones, OSF, Parish Administrator

Kelli Long, Business Manager

Sajia Choudhury, Parish Bookkeeper

Dwight Roberts, Head Sexton

Rashean Thompkins, Assistant Sexton