Meet the staff
Rev. Edwin Estevez, Senior Pastor
Rev. Edwin Estevez, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, grew up in North Jersey and now calls Wilmington, Delaware home. He feels honored to serve Grace Church in downtown Wilmington and lead an ecumenical worship effort at the Riverfront 505 service. He received his M.Div and MA in Religious Education at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. Ask him about Jesus, drums, dancing with his new baby girl, Eva Ruth, and dreaming along with his wife, and oboist, Merideth.
Kia Lockman, Pastoral Associate for Children, Youth, and Emerging Ministries
A native of Philadelphia, PA, who from an early start has been surrounded with influences that helped to promote her love of God, culture and life, Kia is driven by her love of God and a passion to help her surrounding neighborhood. She is a dedicated philanthropist and community service agent.Kia earned a dual Bachelor of Arts in the fields of History and Communications from North Carolina State University in 2002 and 2003. She later went on to earn her Masters of Business Administration from Rosemont College in 2008 and her Masters of Education from Saint Joseph’s University in 2010. She currently teaches at Mt. Pleasant Elementary in Wilmington.Working in various industries, Kia found that her true calling was for spreading the word of God through acts of faith, and in 2016, she began this work through speaking engagements. Since then, she has worked to become a Certified Candidate for the Local Pastoral Program, as well as the Young Adult Chair for the Eastern PA Conference.
Jim Mehler, Parish Associate for Pastoral Care
Jim is a semi-retired pastor who has served congregations in Western Pennsylvania and Columbus, OH. Jim is a recent transplant to Delaware, having moved here when his wife, Rev. Dr. Tracy Keenan, was called as Missional Presbyter to New Castle Presbytery. Jim is a Presbyterian but says he is learning to speak Methodist as a second language. Jim says, "I ride a motorcycle (always wear a helmet), play golf very well (sure), jog (the older I get the faster I run, in my mind), enjoy old-time radio (maybe that's old man radio), read (with the aid of bi-focals) and do odd jobs around the house (which invariably involves a follow-up call to a professional). I am the beloved spouse of Tracy and we have two grown daughters and an aged cat which stills lives up to her name, Mischief.
Michael Shoremount, Director of Music
Mike Shoremount is the Director of Music at Grace. Mike was the Tenor Soloist and Section leader for the Grace Choir from 2003-2014, under the direction of Dr.Neil Harmon. He can be heard on Grace Choir’s CD, “The Wondrous Gift is Given.” In 2014, Mike was appointed as the Director of Music at Grove UMC in West Chester, PA. At Grove, he directed the Adult Tabernacle Choir, Cherub Choir, Handbell Ensemble, and coordinated the performing arts series, Arts at the Grove. Mike is also the Director of Bands at Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester, PA. His broad experience at Rustin includes leading the Wind Ensemble, concert band, jazz bands, pit orchestra, and marching band, as well as several small ensembles. He has had the great privilege to serve as the Director of Bands since the school opened in 2006. Over his summers, Mike has spent the last 16 years as the Clinic Leadership Intern Program Coordinator for Vivace Productions. In this role, he hires and works with an intern staff of music education majors from universities across the country who serve as the councilor staff and clinician assistants for the Vivace Summer Band camps. Mike is a graduate of West Chester University with a degree in vocal performance and advanced vocal studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He received his teaching certification with an instrumental music concentration from Immaculata University. He also completed a Master of Music in Conducting from Messiah College. In addition, Mike is an accomplished percussionist, and has additional studies in music technology. Mike’s principal teachers have included Alan Wagner, Randall Scarlatta, and Maitland Peters for voice, Willis Rapp and Christopher Hanning for percussion, and David Devenney, William Stowman, and Bradley Genevro for conducting. He also has had symposium conducting instruction from Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Gary Hill, and Tim Robblee.
Gabriel Benton, Principal Organist and Accompanist
Gabriel Benton enjoys a multifaceted career in music as an early music specialist, accompanist, and church musician. Deeply passionate about music of the baroque and earlier eras, he studied harpsichord performance at Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School. As a harpsichordist, he frequently performs with his group Corda Nova Baroque as well as with ensembles across the country, including American Baroque Orchestra (New England) and American Bach Soloists (San Francisco.) With the latter, he has recorded two CD’s. Past performances include concerts with Venice Opera Project, Juilliard415, Yale Baroque Opera Project, York Symphony Orchestra, and New World Symphony. Gabe has been accompanying worship services since he was a teenager, but after a life-changing experience working as director of music at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Yonkers, NY, he felt called to devote his time more deeply to church music. He went on to study organ performance at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, where he served as organist at the University Church and received the Charles Ives Award for outstanding work as an organ major.
Carol Stevens, Deaf Community
Carol Stevens has served as interpreter and advocate in Deaf Ministry with The United Methodist Church for over 50 years. Serving in the Baltimore area until 2009, she was then called to Delaware. She currently works as an interpreter but volunteer as the Deaf Ministry Area Coordinator for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference and works with Grace Church. While living in Baltimore, Carol worked in the Deaf community as an interpreter, interpreter trainer, mentor, and psychotherapist. She advocated and helped to establish the first interpreting agency in Baltimore, psychiatric inpatient service, and Deaf group homes among other things. She was very active in the 150 member all -Deaf Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf under the leadership of the then Rev Peggy Johnson who is now the Bishop of our area. In 2000 she became a 10-10-10 Missionary in the UMC and founded the Deaf Shalom Zone, a Christ-based social service agency that served thousands of people in the Baltimore metropolitan Deaf community under the Christ Church.
In 2013, Carol became a Certified Lay Minister. Serving on the national church committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries of the UMC currently as vice-chair, she is one of 6 leaders of ELM, the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist ecumenical organization. In Delaware, she works with advocacy issues to establish group homes for Deaf people with additional disabilities similar to those in Maryland and PA. I am also involved in mentoring and providing Christ-based services in the Deaf community. One of her biggest joys was having been the team leader for Deaf ministry mission teams that have led over 100 people from the US to many Deaf communities in the world: 10 teams to Kenya, 10 teams to Zimbabwe and 2 teams to Jamaica. These trips have been life-changing for the team members, the Deaf communities where we have served, and especially for Carol.
Merideth Hite Estevez, Lumina Arts
Oboist Dr. Merideth Hite Estevez has performed and taught throughout North and South America, Asia, and Europe. She is currently Assistant Professor of Oboe at University of Delaware. She has also held positions as at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston Salem), The University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) and Fifth House Ensemble, an innovative ten-piece chamber ensemble in Chicago. Before Chicago, she resided in New York City where she appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s as an active freelancer. She graduated with a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School and also studied at the Yale School of Music, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. As a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, she explored how studying baroque and modern oboe together informs and benefits the player. A passionate teaching artist, Merideth completed training over two summers at the Lincoln Center Education (LCE) Summer Forum in NYC and loves making music and the arts accessible to children and adults of all ages. Her debut album, entitled Beau Soir: French Music for Oboe and Piano, recorded with pianist Jani Parsons, will be available in March 2018. An active performer and educator, Merideth also serves as director of Lumina Arts Incubator, a ministry of Grace Church (United Methodist) in Wilmington, DE, which seeks to gather artists to explore the intersection of creativity, spirituality, and joy. When she’s not playing oboe or teaching, Merideth enjoys traveling the world and attempting to speak foreign languages with a southern accent. She hails from Abbeville, SC, but now calls Wilmington, DE home, where she resides with her husband, Rev. Edwin Estevez.
Jerry Buckworth, Church Administrator
Jerry earned his B.S. from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. His area of concentration was in hospitality management. As a long time member of Grace church, Jerry is thrilled to be on staff as we enter this very exciting time of growth. He has spent the last 15 years as the food service director at Tower Hill School. He also coaches the boys tennis team. During his free time Jerry loves to travel, play golf, work in the yard, cook and spend time in the mountains of West Virginia.
Central West, Front Desk
Central West has long been a part of the Grace Church family. She loves spending time with her grandchildren and volunteering at Stubbs Elementary. She is trained in the Godly Play curriculum and enjoys teaching the youth and children on Sundays at Grace.
Diane Rubolino, Reception
Diane spent 25 years as a manager in the restaurant industry. After meeting her husband she changed careers and worked as an admin assistant at West Side Health, Caldwell Staffing and the Rodney Square Club. In 2010, Diane accepted a position at Tower Hill school working in the dining hall. She put her love of food to use there creating daily specialty salads and also helped with preparation of special events at the school. Her many interests include gardening, sewing, crocheting and baking. Her two step-sons and five step-grandchildren that keep her busy throughout the year.
Al Taylor, Mission Trustee
Born in Charlottesville, VA, Al Taylor has lived in the city of Wilmington for the past twenty years. He is a graduate of Tower Hill School, and also attended UVa, UMd, UDe and Del Tech. He has extensive experience in heavy equipment repair and computer technology. Al’s future plans for Grace Church include converting the parking lot into a solar power plant and people park, as well as working to double our income from the current arrangement.