Steven J. Cox, Senior Pastor
My mother used to say to me, “No one is better than you Steven, and you are no better than anyone else.” This has instilled in me a sense of equality, acceptance, and teamwork. I love this congregation because there is not one person more important than the next as all are called to Seek God and Serve Others. The staff, congregation, and community empower me to be the pastor Abiding Presence and I am honored and blessed to serve.
At the center of my life is God, and while not perfect I strive to live my life according to God’s will. I seek God’s will one day at a time in prayer, mediation, and study knowing that I can start my day over at any time. I believe that everyday tasks, words, meals, and encounters can become sacred events that focus on the wellbeing of others and the world.
I love my wife Becca, who is amazingly talented and brilliant. She inspires me daily to be a better husband, father, and child of God. Our daughter Elisia loves art, theater, and music, especially the tuba! Our son Sam loves making people laugh, being together as a family, and challenges us in math and logic puzzles that sometimes go way above my head. We have two dogs, Lucy and Charlotte who complete our happy home.
On a personal note, I love singing, playing guitar, preaching God’s word, and the Dallas Cowboys. Please feel free to stop by anytime. My door is always open for prayer, conversation, a cup of coffee, or a jam session. All are welcome!
Heather Hansen, Associate Pastor
As a life-long Lutheran, I have always “known” the emphasis on “saved by grace through faith,” but I don’t think I fully realized what that meant until serving in congregations and learning that we are all a bunch of beloved people, each with our own quirks, baggage and gifts. Not only does God love us, God loves ALL the parts of us…the good, the bad, and the ugly! So, as a pastor, the most important work I do is get to know people, listen to their stories, and love them for who they are…because the Lord loves me, just as I am!
I am blessed to be wife to Mark, a remarkable person and outstanding high school teacher, and Mom to Hannah and Alex, who bring me the greatest joy in life. As a family, we love watching movies and playing games together. And, we are home for a menagerie of animals, plus the adventures that come with them!
Besides people, my other passion is nature. I am the director of a non-profit called Red Hawk Ranch, an environmental education organization. Our purpose is to draw people into relationships with creation and remind them that we are not just stewards of creation, but an interdependent part of creation itself. I love the outdoors, camping, hiking, all God’s creatures, and simply drawing strength from the presence of the Holy Spirit in nature.
I’d love to hear YOUR story! Come see me or call me! Let’s grab some coffee and chat!
Mike Ceyanes, Minister of Youth Faith Formation
My love for youth ministry and faith formation began in my own middle and high school years in the Houston area. Being involved at my home church inspired me to share these faith building experiences with others. I love walking with young people in their faith journey – answering questions, debating different points of view, going on retreats, summer camp, and mission trips. I believe a church should provide a safe space for youth to grow in their faith. I am proud to say that APLC has been shaping compassionate youth throughout my 21-year tenure.
In my free time I enjoy playing golf, fishing, barbecuing, and traveling with friends and family. I am a huge sports fan and sort of fanatical about the Houston Astros, Houston Texans, and the San Antonio Spurs. I am blessed to have my parents and sister living close by in Seguin, Texas.
Dr. Shelbie Simmons, Minister of Music
I grew up in a Lutheran family and I have fond memories of singing in the junior choir at Zion Lutheran church in Spring City, PA. That historic church still houses a pipe organ that was built by David Tannenberg in 1791. In 7th grade, the music director at my church, Jack Charles, took me under his wing and set me on the path of music ministry. He instilled in me a love of making music to the glory of God with my friends and neighbors. Some of my fondest memories include mass choir gatherings for Reformation at the historic Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, PA.
I have spent many years as a church musician and music educator, serving congregations in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Texas. My training is in choral conducting, organ, piano, and in worship planning. I love being in a congregation that loves to sing, ring, and play other instruments in worship. When I am not at church, I like to walk, read, and spend time with my son, James.
Sue Evans, Business Manager
I came to Abiding Presence from a temp agency in 2003 and know God’s hand was in that assignment. I have loved each position I’ve held and serving the people of Abiding Presence. If you’ve got a question, I can either answer it or get you to the person who can.
Abiding Presence became my family’s church shortly after I got here. My husband, Carl, and I have raised three children in the church and they continue to be active in youth and music ministries here. I love the people here because they feel like extended family. Come by my office anytime. I’ve always got a hug to share, and usually chocolate, too.
Frances Harrelson, Day School Director
I began working at Abiding Presence as Director of the Day School in 1989. I am passionate about early childhood education and I am proud of the program the Day School has become, growing from a Mother’s Day Out to an accredited program by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We provide the highest quality care and education to the families that attend. I have two children and am blessed with nine grandchildren – three of them are currently attending the Day School.
Kristian Olson, Multi Media Coordinator
I work part-time as the Multimedia Coordinator. Most of my career has been in the technology field. I was in the Army (partial medical retirement in 2007), worked for Toyota Manufacturing, and Rackspace Hosting, just to name a few. I moved to San Antonio in 2009, after finishing a 2-year technical degree in Washington State. I graduated with my 4-year degree in 2014 from Texas A&M San Antonio.
I’m 42, though most say I look 32 (and I feel 25). I enjoy the beach, rivers, fishing, and playing guitar.
As I get older and practice turning over both the small and big things to God, my faith gets stronger and stronger, knowing He has got this, no matter what it is. He has brought me to Abiding Presence and I could not be more excited to experience the next season of my life and career with everyone here!
Nick Palacios, Custodian
Nick works part time as on-site custodian and building maintenance staff. He also owns a successful auto detailing and restoration business. Work in that field attracted him to the position here at Abiding Presence with a more stable income.
Nick is married and has three children ages 6, 8, and 10.
Amy McLin, Executive Director AmyM@aplc.org
Ron Njus, Assistant Executive Director
Curtis Ruder, Treasurer
Benajeane Jones, Secretary
Kathrine Lamb, Evangelism Ministry Action Team Leader
Linda Seewald, Care & Nurture Ministry Action Team Leader
Johnnie Jordan, Worship Arts Music Ministry Action Team Leader
Sumerlin Larsen-Lesperance, Stewardship Ministry Action Team Leader
Amy Guajardo, Faith Formation Ministry Action Team Leader