The Rev. Kevin Beesley, Priest in Charge
Father Kevin is overjoyed to have been called to serve St. John’s in July 2021, feeling the Holy Spirit move him to serve our parish’s rich tradition of liturgy, music, and community outreach. Before being called to St. John’s, Fr. Kevin served in the Diocese of Southern Ohio in the Columbus area. Fr. Kevin was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, and grew up in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and Florida. Phew! Fr. Kevin is the fourth generation of his family to serve God’s Kingdom, feeling the call to serve ministry at a young age. Fr. Kevin lives on campus and with his wife, a registered nurse, has two adult sons, the younger of whom is attending university in Columbus. Fr. Kevin loves Jesus, cooking, cars, the Boston Bruins, electronics and, as any true New Englander, Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee.
The Rev. Leroy “Buck” Close, Deacon
Deacon Close comes to Saint John’s from Saint Stephen’s in Providence where he also serves the Diocese as a member of the Hispanic Ministry Committee. Deacon Close was born in South Carolina, graduated from Tulane University with a BA in Economics and Latin American Studies. He and his wife, Lucy, served with the Church World Service in Nicaragua and have also started a not-for-profit job creation agency, 1000 Jobs/Haiti. The Closes live in Little Compton and have three grown children.
Peter Stoltzfus Berton, Director of Music
Peter Stoltzfus Berton arrived in June 2014, having previously directed choir programs at St. John’s Church, West Hartford, CT; All Saints Church, Worcester, MA (where he expanded the program from two boys to 35 boys & girls in four years); and Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn Heights, NY. He grew up in Lancaster, PA, and attended the University of Michigan and Yale. Integral to his training was serving as Assistant Organist at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, MI; Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, CT; and Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, NY. Peter lives in Middletown with his wife, Dr. Jenn Berton, Director of Christian Education at St. John’s, and their two school-aged daughters.
Melanie Ventura, Director of Administration
Melanie Ventura has roots in Maine and Newport and joined St. John’s in the fall of 2017 after a long career in Boston print journalism. Melanie has a strong background in editing, graphic design, and sass. She can multi-task like the wind and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rhode Island. Melanie lives in Middletown with her school-aged son, where she strives to eat less cheese and strenuously avoids laundry.
Beverly Brownell, Director of Finance
Beverly joined St. John’s in January of 2018. Beverly holds an MBA from Bryant University and has worked since 2015 as the accountant and bookkeeper at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Providence, where she and her husband, Greg, have been members since 2001. Beverly was raised Roman Catholic and Greg grew up in an Episcopal parish, so she is already familiar with our peculiar ways. Beverly and Greg live in Middletown and have three adult children and one granddaughter.
Kristin MacMannis, Director of Sustainability & Engagement
Kristin has been with St. John’s since the fall of 2019. In addition to a career in private wealth management and marketing, Kristin has spent many years volunteering on boards and committees throughout the nonprofit community of Aquidneck Island. These experiences inspired her to leave corporate America to pursue her passion for philanthropy on a more professional level. Of St. John’s, Kristin writes, “I have been so impressed by the various philanthropic narratives that are part of the story of St. John’s. Whether through religious beliefs, a love of music, commitment to humanitarian services, or passion for historic preservation, St. John’s attracts people for many different reasons and brings them all together under one roof ― and what a roof it is! Togetherness is the common thread in the fabric of the church community. This is truly something special and I feel lucky to be a part of it.” Kristin lives in Portsmouth with her husband, Bob, who teaches at Pennfield School, and their two school-aged children.