Staff & Leadership

Vicar & Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Gray Lesesne

Gray (whose last name is pronounced LE-sayne) is the founding pastor and Vicar (meaning pastor appointed by the Bishop) of Good Samaritan. He’s an energetic Episcopal priest with more than 19 years of experience in growing communities of faith and helping followers of Christ connect with God and each other. A South Carolina native, you can occasionally hear the “twang” in Gray’s accent, though he has now fully acclimated to the Hoosier dialect and culture, having lived here since 2008. Gray served from 2008-2015 as a Canon and Senior Associate at  Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, the mother church of the Diocese. A believer in the ministry of all Christians, Gray never refers to himself as “the minister,” because he believes that all of us are ministers. His role as a priest is to empower us all for ministry. 

Read more about Father Gray

Gray holds Master in Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from  Virginia Theological Seminary, and completed his undergraduate work at  Presbyterian College. He previously served as Rector of  All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Glen Rock, New Jersey from 2003-2008 and as Assistant Rector of  St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in North Augusta, South Carolina from 2001-2003. He is married to Ethan, and they live in Indianapolis.

Director of Children’s & Family Ministries

Barbie Russell

Barbie lives in Avon with her husband, Bryon and their two kids, Anna and Joshua. She also has two adult children, Tyler and Zach, who live in Houston and Chicago. Barbie and Bryon coach their children’s sports teams and volunteer at their children’s elementary school, but her true passion is ministering children in the open and affirming atmosphere of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church. 

“Kids are full of passion, energy, and creativity, and they’re also incredibly funny,” she says. “There is never a time in their lives where they are the most themselves as when they are children. I love watching them grow and learn.”

Read more about Barbie

Barbie started with Good Samaritan in 2015. Working closely with Gray and lay ministry leaders, Good Sam’s Kids launched regular meetings in 2016, and has grown to include:

-Good Sam’s Littles, the nursery and PreK/Kdg. group

-Good Sam’s Kids, the 1st  through 4th grade group

-Good Sam’s Explorers, the 5th  and 6th grade group

Both of Barbie’s children take part as a Good Sam Explorer and a Good Sam Kid.

“It’s incredibly important to me that my kids grow in a community amongst diversity and acceptance, where they know they are loved by God for who they are, and they in turn love others for who they are,” says Barbie. “And just as important, I want to be a part of an open-minded community of parents like me, who want for their families what Jesus wants from all of us: Love God and love one another.”

Barbie is dedicated to families at Good Samaritan. She is happy to meet with families to talk about their unique spiritual journeys at their convenience.

Musical Artist-in-Residence & Director of Music

Kendall Ludwig

Kendall is lead vocalist, songwriter, and manager of   The Yellow Kites, an Indianapolis-based band described as “Americana meets well-traveled folk music with closely melded harmonies.” In addition to his band music, Kendall has served as a choir member and instrumentalist at St. Michael’s Church in London, and as a worship leader at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He blends old-favorite church hymns, Gospel spirituals, and classics in his classical guitar style and with the beautiful lap dulcimer. His style is contemplative, beautiful, and rich with sound.

Read more about Kendall

Kendall has been playing original music for the last 14 years. Whether with band mates in college, a lap dulcimer duo called Stories of Clockwork, rootsy folk with his wife in Europe or in an Americana band right here in Indianapolis, penning songs and capturing new sounds and expressions has been his heart’s aim. It’s his simple and focused determination that has allowed him to tour across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and South Korea, sharing his music and love of guitar, lap dulcimer, and Asian lutes. In 2011, he and his wife, Erina Ludwig, made their first two-month North American tour with their band, The Yellow Kites. When they toured their sophomore album, ‘Alchemy’, in 2013, it was Kendall’s idea to do it in a 1980 Mercedes-Benz which ran on used vegetable oil in order to be kinder to the environment.

To Kendall, music is not only an expression, but also an extension of all creation. To play music, is to be part of something bigger. This is the earnestness that can be heard in his songs and performances, and it’s this that will continue to peel back more of his talents: “Everything that’s good comes from God, and if you take part in music, you’re taking part in God.” He lives in Indianapolis with his wife Erina, their daughters Juniper Rose and Elowen, and their boxador dog, Lucy.

Director of Youth Ministries

Erina Ludwig

Erina is originally from London, U.K.; she spent her twenties volunteering as a youth leader in her local church. She brings with her eclectic work experience from youth ministry in London to teaching, to writing about social justice, and assisting in church music. Her experiences offer a diverse readiness for youth ministry. “I find young people both fascinating and still able to teach me how much our love and confidence in them is what can make all the difference,” she says. In her work as a youth leader, she learned how to be a guide to teens and an ear for them, whether they were dealing with self-esteem issues, homelessness, or how do come to terms with family life after their parents’ divorce. 

Read more about Erina

At her heart, Erina is a writer. In 2011, she authored: Unnoticed Neighbors: A pilgrimage into the Social Justice storya subject still very close to her heart. She shares anecdotes and real-life tips on how we can be a real part of our communities and help them thrive. In this way, she brings to Good Sam’s a perfect blend of passion for and experience with young people and a heart for serving others.

She taught ESL for over 12 years, working on curriculum, creating courses and devising new strategies to engage young learners (8-12 year olds). She’s also coordinated with several nonprofits who are working together to develop and improve Indianapolis. She lives in Indianapolis with her spouse Kendall (who also happens to be our Musician-in-Residence), their three-year old daughter, Juniper Rose, baby Elowen, and their boxador dog, Lucy.

Parish Administrator

Astrid Caruso-Lynch

Astrid Caruso-Lynch works in our office at Elevate Brownsburg on Tuesdays-Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Astrid comes to us with a variety of ministry experiences, including prior service as Administrator at St. Luke’s~San Lucas Episcopal Church in Vancouver, Washington. She and her husband Chris relocated to Indianapolis in the summer of 2019 after an overseas jaunt in Christchurch, New Zealand. Astrid is also a church musician, and has many gifts for ministry, including organization, energy, and a desire to be a part of a church that focuses on loving and serving. While we don’t see her most Sundays since her job is working with our priest and ministry leaders, she is always glad to see you in the office or answer your calls!

Nursery Director

Rachel Lawson

Rachel has been the Good Samaritan’s Nursery Director since 2016 and watches over and teaches the youngest members of our church, from newborns to Kindergarteners. She is a graduate of Ivy Tech Community College with a degree in general studies. In her spare time, you will often find Rachel babysitting and dog sitting for friends and members of the congregation. Rachel enjoys helping out around the church, whether it’s painting backdrops for the Christmas pageant or helping with the fall festival. She enjoys being able to be with kids of such a young age because she believes so much can be taught early in life such as kindness and acceptance towards others. She plans lessons and crafts for the Littles and encourages them to use their imaginations and creativity. On the few Sundays that Rachel isn’t in the nursery, she is attending service with her fellow Good Samaritans. Rachel lives in Avon with her mom, Karen, and poodle, Charlotte.

Good Samaritan’s Governing Body

Bishop’s Committee

The Bishop’s Committee is Good Samaritan’s governing body of lay people and our priest. Members of the Committee are elected by the congregation at our Annual Meeting. We normally meet on the third Sunday of each month after worship. Meetings are open to members of the congregation and all are welcome to attend. You can send feedback or concerns to all of the Bishop’s Committee members anytime by email. 

Our current members (and their term expirations) are:

The Rev. Dr. Gray Lesesne

Jason Addis (2021)

Kevin Samples (Senior Warden; 2021)

Ellen Burton (2022)

Erin Tanner (Junior Warden; 2022)

Melinda Sowers (Treasurer; 2023)

David Huang (2023)

Denise Young (Clerk; 2020)

All Sunday worship services will be held ONLINE until further notice due to COVID-19. Please check out our calendar to find all of our online and in-person gatherings. Calendar
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