Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Staff & Clergy


The Very Reverend Doug  Travis

The Very Reverend Doug Travis

Interim Rector
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Dean Travis served for six years as Dean and President of the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. He also has served as Rector of Trinity Church in The Woodlands, near Houston, and St. James Church in Dallas.


Ordained in 1988 in the Diocese of Dallas, Dean Travis has earned four graduate degrees in theology including a Doctorate of Ministry from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology in Spiritual Direction from The General Theological Seminary in New York, and a Master of Arts degree from The Divinity School at the University of Chicago.


He and his wife, Pamela, an attorney with the Environmental Protection Agency, have been married for 42 years and have a home in Dallas. They have two adult daughters.

The Reverend Claire Makins

The Reverend Claire Makins

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Mtr. Claire is a native Texan who grew up in San Antonio. She received her BA from the University of the South in 2001. Prior to attending seminary, also at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, Mtr. Claire and her family lived in San Angelo where she was a high school liberal arts teacher and tutor. Mtr. Claire and her husband, Daniel, have two children, Cal and James.


Now serving the Church of the Heavenly Rest as Curate, Mtr. Claire participates in the leadership of the New Member Formation Class and helps to coordinate Christian Education. She also participates in pastoral care and the liturgical leadership of the church as a member of the clergy. She was ordained to the priesthood here at Heavenly Rest. 

The Reverend Amanda Watson

The Reverend Amanda Watson

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Amanda is a University of Texas, Austin graduate, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. Before seeking the ministry, she taught secondary mathematics. Her education continued at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, Houston Theological Seminary and at Seabury Western, Evanston, Ill. Amanda serves the church in a variety of ministries:  She mentors the Education for Ministry class, provides pastoral services with Hands-On Outreach and recently began working with the Neighborhood Committee to participate in partnership between Heavenly Rest and the surrounding neighborhood.? In 2014, she started her participation inthe IONA Project, which is a preparation program for bi-vocational priests.


Amanda is married Tom Watson, an attorney. Together they have 3 children, Morgan, Claire, and Michael, as well as 6 grandchildren.


“Walking the neighborhood and meeting the neighbors, volunteering at Bowie Elementary and FaithWorks, is a passion. Through these both organizations I see people grow and become that wonderful self that God created them to be. Between these activities,there is sewing and arts and crafts—I have no talent, but I love to make a mess!!” - Amanda

The Reverend Dr. Doug Thomas

The Reverend Dr. Doug Thomas

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Doug received his B.A. in Psychology/Sociology from California Baptist University; his M.A. in Social Sciences from California State University, Fullerton; and his Ph.D. in Psychology from United States International University, San Diego.


He worked as a Psychologist and Manager of a Community Mental Health Clinic for San Bernardino County Department of Mental Health from 1980-1994.


In 1994, he accepted the position as Head of the Department of Psychology at Hardin-Simmons University from which he retired in 2013.


In 2016, he graduated from the Diocese of Northwest Texas School of Ordained Ministry and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church.


Doug is married to Deanna Thomas, a retired elementary school teacher. They have one son, Trevor.

 Bikole  Mulanda

Bikole Mulanda

Swahili Minister

Mulanda leads the congregation of Abilene refugees from the Congo in Swahili services. As part of the Heavenly Rest team, he connects the congregation with the Heavenly Rest community and other area resources. 



April  Powers

April Powers

Manager of Operations
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April was born and raised just outside of Chicago. Her first accounting teacher taught her that accounting is fun and exciting. It helped that he looked and acted just like Fonzie from Happy Days. From there she received her Bachelor’s in Accounting.  She moved from Arkansas to Texas in 2012 to expand her job possibilities. After working for many profit organizations in collections and accounts payables, she joined our staff in 2014. She is interested in making a home with us and has found everyone to be very warm and inviting. She is married to John and has 3 children, Jasmine, Brandon, and John. She also has a grandson.

Dr. Mitsi Willard

Dr. Mitsi Willard

Director of Children's Ministry
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Leah Bennett

Leah Bennett

Communications Coordinator
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Abilene is home away from home for Leah. Born and raised in upstate New York, Leah attended Syracuse University where she graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. After graduation, Leah moved to Abilene to start her career. Leah was a producer and morning anchor at KRBC and managed Communications and Media Relations for the City of Abilene before coordinating communications at Heavenly Rest. Leah lives in Abilene with her husband Ross and daughter Lyla.
Susetta Rockett

Susetta Rockett

Music Assistant
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Susetta Rockett has been a freelance musician and private oboe instructor for 15 years. She has performed in a variety of professional ensembles from symphony orchestras, symphonic wind ensembles, and chamber ensembles. She joined Wes Gomer at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in 2013 and has assisted in continuing the great musical traditions at the church, building upon the already successful Heavenly Rest Chamber Music Concert Series. She has music degrees from Texas Tech University and the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Mass. Susetta currently teaches at Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, and McMurry University.


Susetta Rockett is a native of West Texas and she and her husband, Chris moved to Abilene in 2006. Their two children Amelia, 5 and Eleanor, 2, attend St. John's Episcopal School and enjoy their church home. Susie's mother, Jamie Dunn, moved to Abilene in 2010 and is also a member at Heavenly Rest and works as an Outreach pastor. Susetta enjoys spending time with her family, being involved at church, and loves exercising, cooking, traveling, and making music whenever possible.


“I first fell in love with Heavenly Rest when Dr. Wes Gomer invited me to perform on the very first Heavenly Rest Chamber Music Concert Series. I wanted to be a part of any place that would include music so completely with Sunday worship and also utilize the space as an invitation for anyone who wants to hear beautiful music in a sacred or secular setting. I hope you will consider visiting our wonderful nave and experience music at Heavenly Rest.” – Susetta

Dr. Lindsay Neal

Children's Music Assistant

Sharon Kelley

Kitch & Hospitality Manager
Arnold Guerra

Arnold Guerra


Arnold joined the Heavenly Rest staff in 1986. More than 200 people applied for the job. Arnold’s previous experience working on the Parish Hall floors gave him an advantage over other applicants. Since joining the staff, Arnold has watched the Church grow and change.


Arnold is originally from Hebbronville. Together with his wife, Dorothy, he enjoys spending time with family including 4 children and 15 grandchildren.


“Heavenly Rest has been a true blessing to my family. I’m better off here.” - Arnold

Dorothy Guerra

Dorothy Guerra


When the nursery needed an extra hand, Heavenly Rest approached Dorothy first. After serving in the nursery when Heavenly Rest had a Mother’s Day Out program, Dorothy became the housekeeper for the church. Her son, Domingo, occasionally assists her or her husband to ensure the grounds are maintained and cleaned for worship and other activities.


“We know the people here. Members are family – they know me, and I know them. We have been blessed here.” – Dorothy 

Robert Becerra

Maintenance Assistant

Anne Morrell

Nursery Manager


CODA Meeting Thursday, Aug 16 @ 12:00 PM
NMF Leaders Mtg Thursday, Aug 16 @ 1:00 PM
Bagpipes Thursday, Aug 16 @ 7:00 PM
8 P-AW C-CM A-DT B-AW Sunday, Aug 19 - All Day
P-AW C-CM B-VDT Sunday, Aug 19 - All Day

August 12, 2018
Sunday, August 12, 2018
The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest | ADDRESS: 602 Meander Street • Abilene, Texas 79602 PHONE: (325) 677-2091 |  Site by Church Website Design
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Welcome to Heavenly Rest



Welcome to Heavenly Rest! We are glad you are visiting our site and hope you will accept this invitation to become part of this faith community.  Together we seek to know the reconciling love of the God and share that love with everyone.  Beautiful worship, exquisite music, inclusive fellowship, generous outreach and excellent Christian education await you. We thank God that more and more people are making this church their spiritual home.  Feel the caring, sharing, creating and serving that God intended for your soul at Heavenly Rest.


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