First layperson elected to lead Order of the Ascension

Posted May 24, 2016

Michelle Heyne, OA, was elected April 21, 2016, by the professed members of the Order of the Ascension to serve as the eighth Presiding Officer of the community. Michelle assumed her role immediately during the Order’s retreat at the Community of St. John the Baptist in Mendham, NJ.

Michelle has been a professed member since 2010 and is the first layperson to lead the community since its founding in 1983. She works full-time as a consultant to financial services firms, having previously worked as a financial industry executive. She also consults with Episcopal churches and dioceses, and leads leadership retreats and training programs.  She is interested in helping build productive relationships between clergy and lay leaders, and in developing capacity for parish health and management through sound spiritual and secular processes and methods.

The Order of the Ascension is a dispersed Benedictine community with a charism for parish revitalization. The charism is expressed through the individual work of members, as well as through materials published by Ascension Press of the Order of the Ascension. Michelle brings to the Order a particular passion for Christian formation, and for truly equipping the laity for service in daily life by building proficiency in traditional practices.  She received training through the Church Development Institute and National Training Laboratories, and is the author of In Your Holy Spirit: Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today’s Christian Life.