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 called 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!
Stefan Swanson, Intern
Hi, I’m Stefan, and I’m a seminary student sojourning with the Lutherans of northern San Antonio this year. I grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota, and have since lived in the Twin Cities, central Texas, and the California Bay Area. Before going to seminary I was a band and choir teacher and then a trombonist in the Army band at Ft. Hood, TX. I have always encountered God amid communities of belonging, whether that was a concert band, a classroom, camp staff, a group of friends, or a church. I’m inspired by the story of the Martin Luther and the Reformation and believe that God’s word still compels us to work towards justice and grace in this world that God loves.
Chip Wilson, Minister of Adult Faith Formation and Multimedia
I’m originally from Houston, but San Antonio easily became home to me and my growing family. I enjoy digging into scripture, Christian Church history and Lutheran traditions. History and Paul’s letters are my favorite things to explore and I am liable to share lots of facts with you in one of our many opportunities to grow in faith. My favorite saying is, “Have faith in all that you do,” because I believe that faith is central to all aspects of life. I hope you will join us for one of our various learning offerings.
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.
Gaye Hank, Communications Manager
If you see something printed, posted, or published about what’s going on around here, I’ve had a hand in it. My passion is telling the story of Abiding Presence in a way that welcomes, invites, and enables full participation of both members and guests. And I’ll likely ask you to participate at some point, because I see God working most often in the middle of people connecting with other people in learning and service. I hope you’ll say yes.
My husband, Dennis, and I were married at Abiding Presence in 1991 – back when the sanctuary was blue and faced the other direction. We love spending time with our two grown sons and three grandchildren and are enthusiastic SPURS fans.
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.
Amy McLin, Executive Director AmyM@aplc.org
Ron Njus, Assistant Executive Director
Delia Hartman, Treasurer
Christiana Robinson, Secretary
Kathrine Lamb, Evangelism Ministry Action Team Leader
Todd Erickson, 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