|The Reverend Shannon Leach, Priest-in-Charge Under Special Circumstances
Shannon is a life-long Episcopalian, raised in Salt Lake City, Utah where he attended the University of Utah
and Westminster College. He graduated from Church of Divinity School of the Pacific in 1985.
Shannon has served parishes in Berkeley, California, Salt Lake City and Princeton, New Jersey before
being called to Christ Church in 1999. He finds his deepest meaning in the day-to-day demands
called out in parish ministry. He especially enjoys parish administration, liturgical planning &
implementation and spiritual direction. Shannon has a special devotion to St. Ignatius of Loyola and
The Spiritual Exercises, which has helped to form his method of prayer and worship. He is married to
JoAnn Zwart Leach, who is the Priest in Charge at Christ Church. They have two grown sons, two cats and
two dogs. Shannon enjoys walking & golfing in his free time.
|The Very Reverend
Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, Mary Bredlau began serving God as a Roman Catholic Benedictine teaching nun for
seven years in Texas and Minnesota. She left the monastery to find ministry in a setting that was less cloistered. She
was ordained a priest in 1995, after earning a master’s degree in ministry. She served as Priest Associate and then
Interim Rector for 15 months at All Saints’ Church in Las Vegas, as well as Chaplain to their Day School. Rev. Mary
served seven years as the first full-time Chaplain for Nathan Adelson Hospice, then 12 years as full-time staff
Chaplain for Palm Mortuaries, and now as mortuary per diem funeral officiant in Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City
for families of all faiths. She is a grief counselor and thanatologist (trained in death and dying studies in Colorado);
a Spiritual Director, trained in Tucson; has completed four units of CPE (clinical pastoral education) chaplaincy training
in Loma Linda University and Las Vegas hospitals; and serves as volunteer chaplain for the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue
Department. She leads retreats and quiet days at Grace and other churches. Mary was widowed after 27 years of marriage to
retired Las Vegas City Firefighter, Kurt. She is blessed with a local son and daughter and their spouses and two grandsons.
Her family, her animals and her sense of humor bring balance to her work with the dying. Rev. Mary is an inspirational
breast cancer survivor who brings a passion for living to her ministries at Grace in the Desert .
Sherm Frederick grew up in Glendale, AZ where Sundays were all about sports, not church.
Sundays changed when he married the former Christina Secker of Angleton, TX, the daughter
of an Episcopal priest. Sherm attended Arizona State University for two years, then joined
the Navy where he edited the base newspaper during his Viet Nam era tour of duty in Guam.
Returning from the service he enrolled in Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff majoring
in journalism. He played championship tennis as singles, doubles and mixed doubles
champion in Northern Arizona. In 1976, as a student intern, he covered night cops for
the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 1980, he became editor of the Hawaii Tribune Herald in
Hilo and held that position for 5 years. A three-year stint as publisher of the Alamogordo
(NM) Daily News, lead him back to Las Vegas as the Editor of the Review-Journal.
He subsequently became publisher the newspaper and president of the Stephens Media Group,
which included the Review-Journal and a collection of daily newspapers throughout the
country. In June 2011 formed a new company the new company named Battle Born Media LLC and
purchased the Ely Times and Eureka Sentinel from Stephens Media. as well as Mineral County
Independent-News in Hawthorne from brothers Tony, Ted and Frank Hughes. He is active in a
variety of charitable and civic groups in Las Vegas, including Rotary and St. Sherm
continues to write editorials for the RJJude's Ranch for Children. Sherm and Christina
were founding members of Grace in the Desert. He was ordained in 1994 and has served
Grace as a priest since then. Sherm writes an opinion column for the Review-Journal and
says he "never, ever" mixes politics with sermons. "Sermons are too important for that."
He and Christina have numerous grandchildren and a couple of great grandkids.
Jim is professor of philosophy and religion at the College of Southern Nevada,
and an adjunct professor of philosophy in the Philosophy Department at UNLV.
Jim received his M.Div. degree with a special competence in Biblical Studies from
the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D.
in philosophy and religion from the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.
Jim has written one book, Post-Holocaust Christianity, and is working on another on religious
responses to the Holocaust. The focus of Jim’s research is in religious pluralism (theologies of religion),
the interreligious dialogue, and Holocaust Studies. He has written many articles on these subjects and
reads them at professional conferences and other venues. Jim co-taught a class on the history of
Jewish-Christian relations with Rabbi Herschel Brooks, D.D. He taught a course with Rabbi Mel Hecht
and Imam Dr. Aslam Abdullah called The Abrahamic Faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The course
included a trialog between the three participants. Jim also has experience in the Jewish-Christian Dialogue.
This was when he was a college chaplain at the University of California, Irvine. His dialogue partner was
Marlene Silverman, Jewish chaplain at the university. Jim received a fellowship to participate in the Seminar
in Jerusalem, Israel. The National Conference of Christian and Jews, Inc., NY, NY, and the David
Hartman Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, Jerusalem, Israel granted the fellowship.
The purpose of the seminar was for Christian and Jewish scholars to study together each other’s texts
in an attempt to come to some mutual understanding of the texts’ meaning for both religions’ faith.
Jim is a member of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada. Each fall IFCSN offers a series of forums,
3 panel discussions on pertinent topics, with many religious traditions represented on the panels.
Grace in the Desert has hosted some of these forums, and
Jim has participated in these fall forums for a number of years.
|The Reverend Deacon
Born in Chicago, Barbara was the youngest of Reginald and Lillian Waddell’s 3 children. Reginald, Jr. and Clifton inherited
a baby sister with whom they vied for their father’s attention. Barbara attended public schools and spent 3 years at Chicago
Teacher's College. During the Korean War she was married to James Lewis, bearing her daughter Cynthia Ann (Love). She met
and married her second husband, Douglas G. Lewis (no relation to James although both were medics during the Korean War).
Barbara also welcomed her stepdaughter Gayle to the family. Barbara is the grandmother of four girls, and has one great
grandson. Barbara and Douglas moved to Las Vegas from Michigan in 1993. She began attending Grace in the Desert in 1994
and was chosen from the congregation to pursue the Deaconate. She studied for the next few years and was ordained on June
22, 1997. “My experience as a deacon is fulfilling. I served as a hospice Chaplain and am a Deacon at Grace.” Her beloved
husband Douglas died February 3, 2000. For 9 years The Reverend Barbara Lewis served as Diocesan Secretary working for The
Very Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Rt. Rev. Dan Thomas Edwards, Bishop of Nevada. She retired
November 1, 2010 and now volunteers in the parish office.
|The Reverend Deacon
Barbara was born and raised in Milwaukee to two loving parents. Her brother Chuck and his wife Diane live in Frankfurt, Ky. Barb has four children
from her first marriage: Paula, Jeff, Christine and Brad. Her husband Rhine has three children: Matt, Caroline and Sarah. Together they share 9
grandkids. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Stout in Menominee; Barb move back to Milwaukee; lived in Illinois, Indiana and California where
she was a single mom of three teenagers at one time. She met Rhine Preas in Las Vegas and within a year she moved from California to Nevada became Mrs.
Rhine Preas. The Preas' have been married for twenty nine years. In 1989, a flyer appeared in the Review Journal indicating that a new Episcopal church
was forming in Summerlin. Rhine and Barb joined Grace and from the first day, both were “hooked”. He gave up basketball on Sunday mornings and they
became deeply involved in the Church. In 1991, the parishioners at Grace called Mrs. Preas to be a Deacon. After consulting with Bishop Zabriski, and
a great deal of prayer and soul searching, Barb began her studies. In 1994 she was ordained Deacon; at the same time that Sherman Frederick and John
Zaiss were ordained as Priests. Barbara and Rhine have enjoyed being part of the many changes at Grace over the past twenty-two years. Grace in the
Desert continues to be a major force in both their lives and they are "thrilled at the growth they have seen."
|Rick Smallwood, Postulant
Richard L. Smallwood was born on the cutting edge of the Baby Boom in Washington, DC, eldest of three
children reared in rural Maryland. A near cradle Episcopalian, Rick grew in the Episcopal Church, which
was one of the focal points for activities in the local community. Following graduation from high school,
he attended Montgomery Junior College, dropping out after one semester, instead entering active duty in the
United States Navy. This maturing experience enabled him to complete a Bachelor’s of Science degree, using
off-duty education. This ultimately led to a commission as a Surface Warfare Officer. The War in Vietnam
had a major impact on my life. I married, Jeanne, my college sweetheart. During this time their son’s
Douglas and Kenneth, were born. After serving on seven ships, two submarines, plus serving several shore
tours his 30-year Navy career came to an end. The Smallwoods moved to rural Arkansas where Rick became a
realtor and business owner. After 11 years in Arkansas, their boys grown they sold out and hit the road as
full-time RV’ers. In 2006 the Smallwood’s left the road and settled in San Antonio, TX. The Bishop of the
Diocese of West TX began the process of answering Rick’s call that had been welling up for a long time, but
never before fully actualized. This led to a door opening in Nevada, and an an opportunity provided by Bishop
Dan to fully achieve the goal of becoming a priest. Rick’s studies have included EFM, Sewanee, University of
the South, courses from CDSP and General Seminary, numerous courses through the Diocese of NV, Frensdorff School,
and other local training classes. Rick serves as a local EFM mentor and Family Promise volunteer.
In the 19 plus moves and many Episcopal churches the Smallwoods have attended, he says “we have always felt a
warmth and sense of being at home in the church…always participating and trying to discern God’s will we are
continuing our journey.”
|Nicholas L. Neubauer, Postulant
Nicholas L. Neubauer is a Las Vegas, NV native. Married to his wife Brooke, the two are proud parents to three beautiful
children, sons Jaxon and Nevada and daughter Ava. Nicholas attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he earned a
BA in psychology as well as a Master of Social Work. Professionally, Nicholas is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is the Clinical Director of
two outpatient mental health clinics where he works primarily with adolescents and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities and social service related cases.
Nicholas has served in various ministries including hospice chaplaincy, funeral, visitation of the sick, mission work, and areas related to mental/behavioral health.
Currently, Nicholas is a student in EfM and participates in further spiritual and educational development opportunities in the Diocese including Basic
Discipleship in Nevada and The Gifts Discernment class as he continues to
fulfill his call to the priesthood within the Episcopal Church. Nicholas’ goal is to serve the
Lord and all of His people to the fullest of his abilities, in whatever way he may be of service.
Understanding that relationships derived from the inherent love of God and one
other strengthens our community and our collectively ministry in Christ he looks forward to sharing
in and developing those loving relationships with all at Grace in the Desert.