The Rev. Daniel Vélez Rivera
Fr. Daniel’s passion is to help make the Episcopal Church relevant and accessible to all people in their spiritual and life journeys. He is committed to nourishing and strengthening communities by raising multigenerational and multiethnic leaders to be Christ’s ambassadors inside and outside the walls of the church.
Fr. Daniel's ministry began as a church planter; he established a Hispanic ministry at Grace Church and then founded the bilingual congregation of St. Peter's ~ San Pedro in Salem, MA. He served as Interim Rector at St. Michael and All Angels in Baltimore, MD, and he consulted for the Office of Hispanic/Latino Ministries of The Episcopal Church Center.
Fr. Daniel was appointed by the Presiding Bishop to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee in the last triennium and he is currently the personal representative for the President of the House of Deputies on the Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism.
Fr. Daniel has a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Engineering and a dual master’s degree in Divinity and Social Work from Boston University. One of his most gratifying achievements was to help found Esperanza Academy, a tuition-free Episcopal middle school for girls in Lawrence, MA.
In his free time Fr. Daniel likes to be with friends and family; he enjoys cooking and eating, running, playing golf, listening to music, dancing, and learning.
The Rev. Holly Hanback
The Rev. Deacon Holly Hanback, was appointed by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, Diocesan Bishop of Virginia to Saint Gabriel's in Advent, 2016.
Deacon Holly's ministry at St. Gabriel's includes serving our bilingual community and the people in greater Leesburg and Loudoun. Her secular vocation is as pastoral as is her clerical vocation, she works for the Loudoun County Public School as a Parent Liaison. Deacon Holly also serves on the board of Mobile Hope, a non profit that serves precariously housed teens. Her service ministry includes Grace to Go, a ministry for the food insecure in Leesburg.
The word “deacon” derives from the Greek work diakonos meaning “servant” or “minister.” The deacon’s service is a sign or sacrament of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve. The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need (especially the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely), and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments; at St. Gabriel's Deacon Holly proclaims the love and Spirit of Jesus in English and Spanish!
In the Episcopal Church, a deacon is one of four orders of ministers: lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. There are two types of deacons: transitional deacons, and vocational deacons. Deacon's such as Holly are called to a lifetime of Diaconal ministry.
Holly and her husband Clint are the parents of four beloved children. Meet Holly and you will know that you are in the presence of a spirit filled and beloved child of God.
Mr. David (D.j.) Gunning, Jr.
David "Dj" Gunning is a Baltimore native who recently moved to the Leesburg area.
Dj is an Aspirant to Holy Orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Interim Organist and Choirmaster at St. Mark's On-The-Hill Episcopal Church in Pikesville, MD, and also Parish Administrator at his home parish, Grace in Brunswick, MD. Dj recently transitioned from a 15-year career in Broadcasting and Journalism, having worked at radio stations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and locally at 92.5 WINC FM.
Becoming involved in the day to day operations at St. Gabriel's is a big step in transitioning his life's focus to service to the church. Dj is an avid connoisseur of music of all types, wine, food and locally produced microbrews and spirits. He also enjoys taking his 11 year old chihuahua/better half, Chloe on adventures to local state parks and beaches, and spending time with friends and family.
Mr. Peter Schweitzer
Peter Schweitzer has been involved in music at St. Gabriel's since the initial launch in 2002, playing flute and piano, and singing. Currently, he leads the choir and provides piano accompaniment, in addition to choosing the music in our English language worship services, keeping a history of our musical life together in a web-enabled database. In the Spanish-language service, he plays the flute and sings with the choir, with occasional piano.
He was a member of the choirs of St. James' before the launch of St. Gabriel's, is a graduate of EFM, and has led numerous small group studies at St. James' and at St. Gabriel's.
By day Peter is an earth scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey.
Ms. Anica Lee
Anica Hee Yun Lee, holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal performance and in Music education from Eastman School of Music. She is a winner of the Asian American Music Society where she had an opportunity to perform at The Kennedy Center. She has numerous experiences on stages in concert and opera performances (including Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro) and Fortuna in L'incoronazione di Poppea). She also is an experienced choral performer! Anica is also an experienced pianist that worked with students from all different levels.
Anica is a gifted voice teacher which is a wonderful asset in her direction of the Engliish and Spanish-language choirs at Saint Gabriel's. Anica loves to work with singers of all levels and along with Peter, she welcomes you come and try singing in the choirs!
Ms. Vegain (Abi) Hernández Cruz
Children & Youth Minister
Abi Hernández Cruz is a student at NOVA Community College - Loudoun Campus with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Abi plans to transfer to George Mason University to complete her Bachelor´s Degree.
Abi and the Hernández Cruz family were one of the first families who joined St. Gabriel´s Latino Ministry; she and her sister were the first acolytes too! Abi learned so much of what she brings to the ministry for children and youth as a five-year Shrine Mont camper. She aspires to attend law school and become a family and immigration attorney. Abi is passionate about children and youth formation because it has grounded her in the love for Jesus Christ and the church.
Mrs. Sarah Ali
Director of Life Skills Literacy Programs
Sarah joined St. Gabriel’s as the Director of Life Skills Literacy in January 2018. In her former roles with Loudoun Literacy Council as well as an educator at the Children’s Science Center and coordinator for several school-based STEM programs, she observed how interactive, conversation-based approaches to learning could be both enjoyable and highly effective at increasing mastery of content. Seeing the additional need to deliver quantifiable, goal-focused English instruction geared toward student self-sufficiency, Sarah wove all these elements into an interactive English workbook which is currently used as the curriculum and lesson plan at the English classes she oversees. Sarah graduated from Cornell University with a degree in economics and art history. She went on to receive a Masters in health policy and management from the Harvard School of Public Health. After graduating, she served as a management consultant to health care facilities in the US and abroad in Kenya and Germany. In her free time, Sarah volunteers as a certified stream monitor, evaluating water quality in local creeks. She is also a member of Zero Carbon Virginia, a group that seeks to mitigate the impact of climate change.
St. Gabriel's Vestry
The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish. At St. Gabriel´s there are seven vestry members with three-year terms, the Vicar holds an ex-officio position and does not carry voting rights.
From left to right: (Back row) Chuck Mitchell, Anne Donohue, Jennifer Smith, Bob Cusack.
(Front row) Roy Worrall, Lorena Thompson-Thompson, Ivonne Medina, Sue Schweitzer).
Missing from photo: Paula Callaghan, Steve Rice, and Karen Ballesteros
St. Gabriel’s Vestry
Anne Donohue (Senior Warden/2021), Roy Worrall (Junior Warden/2021), Steve Rice (Treasurer/2021), Dj Gunning (Clerk), Chuck Mitchell (2021), Ivonne Medina (2021), Bob Cusack (2021), Lorena Thompson-Thompson (2021), Sue Schweitzer (2021), Paula Callaghan Morato (2022), Karen Ballesteros (2023)