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Clergy & Staff

Clergy Program Staff Administrative Staff Nursery & Playground Staff


Clergy

The Reverend Elizabeth Marie Melchionna, Rector

The Rev. Elizabeth Marie Melchionna began serving as the 29th Rector of The Chapel of the Cross in August of 2016.

The Rev. Melchionna (pronounced mel-SHO-na) is a native of Roanoke, Virginia. She has always felt curiosity about God and how encounters with God shape people’s lives and communities. This curiosity led her to study and work both domestically as well as in Madagascar, England, New Zealand, and Thailand. 

After working in outdoor education and leadership development, Mother Elizabeth Marie began her ordained ministry as a Luce Scholar teaching at Payap University and facilitating interfaith dialogue at the Institute for Religion, Culture and Peace, Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Always serving with an attentiveness to leading for healthy change, Elizabeth Marie has worked as a parish priest at St. Mary’s in Arlington, VA and as the Davidson College Episcopal Campus Minister and Associate Rector at St. Alban’s in Davidson, NC. Most recently she served as the Canon for Discipleship and Parish Life at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO.

Elizabeth Marie holds degrees from Davidson College (magna cum laude) and Yale University’s Divinity School (summa cum laude). Additionally, she holds graduate certificates in Anglican Studies (Berkeley Divinity School at Yale), Liturgy (Yale Institute of Sacred Music), and Conflict Transformation (Eastern Mennonite University). 

As Rector (senior pastor and chief of staff), Elizabeth Marie gets to engage nearly every aspect of life at The Chapel of the Cross, from preaching, teaching, pastoral care and leadership development, to budgets, administration and financial stewardship. She is passionate about worship and music, the process of formation for all ages (informed by putting our faith into action), creating systems for healthy change, and in cultivating leaders who know, love, and follow Jesus.  

Elizabeth Marie and her husband, North Carolinian Will Roberts, parent three wonderful sons. 

Email The Rev. Elizabeth Marie Melchionna


The Reverend Noah Van Niel, Associate Rector

Fr. Noah graduated from Harvard College where he played fullback on the Crimson’s Ivy League champion football team and received his Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Before answering his call to ordained ministry, he trained and worked as an opera singer in Philadelphia.

Previously Assistant Rector at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, MA, Noah has also worked at Old North Church in Boston’s historic North End; St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge; the Church of the Good Shepherd in Newton; and the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Philadelphia. He also spent a summer working as a chaplain at Massachusetts General Hospital. His writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Boston Globe, Plough Quarterly, Mere Orthodoxy, and The Living Church.

Noah and his wife Melinda, who sings in the choir at The Chapel of the Cross, have two sons, Vincent and Arthur.

Email The Rev. Noah Van Niel


The Rev. Mary Catherine Young, Associate Rector for University Ministry

Chaplain Mary Cat has been serving as a campus and young adult minister for over 20 years. In her previous role as Chaplain to Canterbury Downtown (2011-2019), she ministered with students from NYU and surrounding campuses in Lower Manhattan. During that time she also served as the Coordinator of the Young Adult Network in the Diocese of New York and organized city-wide 20s-30s events with parishes across four boroughs of New York City. Before moving to New York with her husband Chad (UNC ‘96), Mary Cat was a priest on staff at Church of Our Saviour in Rock Hill, SC for five years where she served as youth minister and founding chaplain of WELCM: Winthrop Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministry. The Youngs have a daughter named Dorothy Sue, and a mini-schnauzer named “The Enforcer.”

Email The Rev. Mary Catherine Young


The Reverend Scott Balderson, Deacon

Scott Balderson came to the area after completing his training as a Physician Assistant to join the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Duke University in 1998. His specialty is minimally invasive thoracic surgery in patients with lung cancer, esophageal cancer and other malignancies of the chest. Scott, while active as a parishioner, spent a long time in discernment before entering the deacon formation process. His ordination to the diaconate was in 2017. His work with oncology patients is very much part of his diaconal ministry to serve with one foot in the Church and one foot in the world. Scott and his wife Christina are both natives of Virginia Beach, Virginia having grown up together attending the same Episcopal Church. They started dating in high school and were married in that church in 1992. They have two children, Carter and Isabel.

Email The Rev. Scott Balderson


The Rev. Philip Zoutendam, Curate

The Rev. Philip Zoutendam joins the Chapel of the Cross from St. Titus’ Episcopal Church in Durham, where he served as curate during his first year in the Reimagining Curacies program. He earned his MDiv in 2020 at Duke Divinity School, and was a member of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies (AEHS) and the Center for Reconciliation’s first Sojourners Cohort. Having grown up Southern Baptist, he has a deep love for (and himself aspires to) good preaching, especially on the Old Testament, and his hope as a priest is to see Scripture come alive in the life of God’s people. Philip’s wife, Erin, is a PhD candidate studying church history at Duke. They moved to North Carolina from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Philip briefly returned for his ordination to the priesthood in January 2021. Philip and Erin love bird watching, travel, literature, and languages (Philip speaks both Spanish and French, and hopes to learn German), as well as their long-haired cat, Remy. Philip is also an avid fly fisher, and loves chasing wild trout on mountain streams.

Email The Rev. Philip Zoutendam


The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop-in-Residence

The Right Rev. Peter James Lee has served the church for more than 50 years in positions both domestic and foreign. He and his wife Kristy are well-known and beloved parishioners at the Chapel of the Cross. At the end of June 2017, Bishop Lee retired from serving as the Assisting Bishop of North Carolina and we are lucky to welcome him back to the Chapel of the Cross as our Bishop-in-Residence!


The Rev. Jim Tucker, Priest Associate

The Rev. James Thomas Tucker (Jim), the oldest of 8 children, grew up in Liberia, Africa, where his father was an Episcopal priest and his mother an educator. The family moved back to Texas when he was 6 years old. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1974 and from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1981. He has worked in a variety of churches in the Houston area. Jim started his career as assistant rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Texas and as associate rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, prior to moving to the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, where he was rector for 17 years. Jim retired in 2013 to move to Chapel Hill with his wife, Ginny, when she relocated here for work. Ginny sings in the choir here at the parish. Jim and Ginny have two grown sons, John and David, each of whom (with their respective wives) has produced an adorable granddaughter: Tyla and Maddie.

Email The Rev. Jim Tucker


Program Staff

Joseph Causby, Director of Music and Organist

Joseph Causby is the Director of Music and Organist of the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, NC, and President of the Royal School of Church Music in America. Prior to his appointment in Chapel Hill, Joseph spent 14 years in Texas, most recently at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, where he built one of the most active music programs in the country. Under his direction, the St. Mark’s choir took part in three international English Cathedral residencies; performed major works with orchestra; and recorded and broadcasted LIVE on NPR and PBS. A passionate collaborator, Joseph has formed relationships with universities and international organizations including Snape Maltings Friday Afternoons project, the Royal Academy of Music, and Cambridge University.

Locally, he has worked with Duke University Chapel’s organ scholar initiative, private and public school music education programs, and the University of North Carolina’s music department and faculty. In addition to serving on the RSCM board since 2017, Joseph is past co-chair of the 2018 national conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians, former board member of the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio, and former Artistic Director of the Alamo Baroque Festival.

As an organ recitalist, Joseph has given concerts in the United States, Canada, England, and France. In 2019, he was a featured speaker for the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Choir School of St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City. His dissertation, Who dares stand idle? Thomas Tertius Noble, a life in church music, 1867-1953 was completed in 2015.

 A native of Morganton, North Carolina, Joseph holds a BMus from Appalachian State University, an MMus from Rice University, and a PhD from the University of Durham (UK), where he also served as the first American organ scholar of Durham Cathedral. His most recent organ study has been with Dame Gillian Weir.

Email Dr. Joseph Causby


Boykin Bell, Director of Christian Formation

Boykin graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Philosophy and a focus on medieval writers.  She received an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina, where she worked at the South Carolina Center for Bioethics.  Boykin has worked at the Chapel of the Cross since 2006, in both Children’s and Adult Formation.  Her writing – faith-focused and short fiction – has appeared at Building Faith, Episcopal Relief and Development’s Lenten Meditations and various little magazines. 

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Mike Peterson, Family and Youth Minister

Mike Peterson joined the staff in 2017. He comes to us from The Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin, where he was youth and family minister. Prior to the Good Shepherd, Mike was director of youth ministries at St. Catherine’s in Marietta, Georgia. For more than 15 years, Mike has also served as a musician and group facilitator for Episcopal conferences throughout the southeast and along the eastern seaboard. In addition to his work as a youth minister, Mike worked as assistant director of Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana, supervising construction projects for 20 simultaneous worksites in the rebuilding of houses damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He trained crew chiefs in volunteer management and oriented volunteer crews. He met his spouse Mary Bess while working for ECSLA in New Orleans. Originally from Greenville, NC, and a UNC undergraduate in the class of 2004, Mike was very active in Episcopal Campus Ministry and lived at COTC as a student resident. Following graduation from UNC, Mike worked extensively with individuals with developmental disabilities at Pathways for People in Cary and at the Carolina Living and Learning Center in Pittsboro. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history, with a minor in religious studies.

Email Mike Peterson


Administrative Staff

Diane McOmie, Parish Administrator and Stewardship Coordinator

Diane has over 25 years of experience in stewardship operations and fundraising programs in higher education and independent schools. Her most recent positions included those at the Air Force Academy Foundation in Colorado Springs and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston. Diane also served as Director of Development at TMI Episcopal in San Antonio. She has two adult sons, one living in Durham and the other in Los Angeles. A Texas native, Diane moved to Durham recently and enjoys hiking, kayaking and exploring her new home state of NC!


Nick Jaeger, Communications Manager

Nick is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University where he received a bachelor’s in communications with a focus in design and production. As communications manager he oversees all parish communications, utilizing a wide-ranging skill set as a writer, designer, photographer, audio/video engineer, and producer.

Nick lives in north Durham with his wife, Karli; their daughter, Fritzi; two dogs; and a cat. You’ll likely find him camping, hiking, cycling, tackling DIY projects, or recording music when not at work.

Email Nick Jaeger


Ellen Cole, Parish Life and Worship Coordinator

As Parish Life and Worship Coordinator, Ellen works with pastoral, engagement, fellowship, worship, administrative, outreach, and Christian education staff and volunteers. Her duties include newcomer integration, volunteer engagement, parish registrar, liturgical scheduling and logistics, and general database management.

Ellen is a North Carolina native. She and her husband, Russ, are members of the parish and raised their two children, Janie and Ben, in the pews and parish hall of the Chapel of the Cross.

Email Ellen Cole


Nursery & Playground Staff

Paw Wah, P’Saw, and Jewellery
Tha Dah and Ku Paw