Our staff is dedicated to serving the Parishioners at The Episcopal Church of the Ascension. We strive to provide meaningful services to every member of our community.
Interim Priest – The Rev. Rich Winters
A priest since 1993, the Rev. Richard H. Winters has served parishes of all sizes and in urban, rural, and suburban settings. He has been an area Dean and served on the boards of Cathedral Shelter of Chicago (president), The Anglican Theological Review, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (secretary), and National Episcopal Health Ministries. He has been a Clergy Associate at All Saints’ in Atlanta since 2016. Father Rich has a passion for helping people experience God as alive and active, working for good in their lives, and for helping congregations grow in faith, numbers, and effectiveness for Christ’s mission. He holds degrees from Duke University, Duke Law School, and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. For the last ten years, he has been an attorney for the federal government but finds time for interim ministry. Most recently, he served as Interim Priest-in-Charge of St. Alban’s, Monroe, from February 2020 through April 2022, and Interim Priest at Christ Church, Norcross, from June 2022 through mid-October 2022.
Parish Administrator/Communications Coordinator – Anna Reynolds
Organist & Choir Master – Herbert Buffington
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Herbert Buffington began his musical career as a treble chorister in the Choir of Men and Boys at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, where he also held the position of Cathedral Sub-Organist for several years before entering undergraduate school. He earned degrees from Duke University (A.B.) and the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University (M.Mus.). European study was at the Vienna International Music Center and the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria. His organ teachers have included Fenner Douglass, Robert Parkins, Peter Planyavsky, and Donald S. Sutherland. Improvisation study has been with Bruce Neswick, David Dahl, and Gerre Hancock.
Nationally recognized for his artistry and skill in organ improvisation, he won Second Prize in the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2010 and he frequently teaches improvisation and service playing master classes. His work has been featured many times on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and American Public Media’s “Pipedreams.” Following a performance at The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO, a review in the Kansas City Star praised his improvisation on “Veni creator spiritus” as a “fascinating solo organ fantasy . . . a tour de force.”
Mr. Buffington maintains an active concert schedule and has performed in major venues including Washington National Cathedral, National City Christian Church, the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia, Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Indiana, the Cathedral of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the University of Texas at Austin, Duke University Chapel, the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival, Brevard, North Carolina, the Savannah Music Festival, Savannah, Georgia, and the Westobou Festival, Augusta, Georgia. Additionally, he collaborates several times each year with pianist Randall Frieling to present piano and organ duo concerts. Recordings on the Sonare label include works by Bach, Elgar, Franck, Mendelssohn, Reger, Tournemire, and Widor, as well as improvisations.
Mr. Buffington is an Artist Affiliate teaching organ performance at Reinhardt University, and most recently was Artist-in-Residence at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Immediately prior to his appointment at St. Luke’s Church, he was for twenty-five years the Organist and Associate Choir Director at the historic Peachtree Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in midtown Atlanta. The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Cartersville, is thrilled to welcome Herbert as our organist/choirmaster.
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