Clergy & Staff
The Laymen’s Interview with the Rector, the Rev. Jemonde Taylor
Learn more about the rector in this interview from our Laymen’s Ministry.
The Reverend Robert Jemonde Taylor
The Reverend Jemonde Taylor is the eleventh rector at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church, Raleigh. Father Taylor grew up in Saint Matthias’ Episcopal Church in Louisburg, NC. Father Taylor holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in robotics and vehicle design from Stanford University. Jemonde worked as an automotive performance and design engineer for Michelin Tire Company in Greenville, SC for three years before entering seminary.
Jemonde earned his M.Div. from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City in 2009. That same year, he was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood. Prior to arriving at Saint Ambrose, Father Taylor served as a priest at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX as a part of the Lily Foundation Fellowship. In addition to his responsibilities at Saint Michael, Jemonde’s ministry encompassed Jubilee Park and Saint Philip’s School.
Father Taylor is active in the diocese and larger Church by serving as president of the Standing Committee, member of the Discipline Board, Diocesan Council, co-chair for the Nominating Committee to elect the XII Bishop Diocesan, consultant and advisor for the Office of Black Ministries, a contributor to Sermons that Work, board member for the Gathering of Leaders, and board and trustee member for the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, TX. Jemonde is also part of a five-person research team that received a $400,000 Henry Luce grant to produce a documentary film on gentrification, race, and theological practices. He enjoys studying the spirituality and history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Father Taylor has led pilgrimages to Ethiopia for Timkat (Epiphany) in January.
Jemonde is married to Kierson Leigh Taylor. They are the proud parents of two children.
Susan Steel, originally from England, has lived in the USA for 32 years and now resides in Holly Springs, NC, with her husband, Martin. They have two children, Jack aged 30, and Alice, aged 28. Susan has worked and volunteered in the Episcopal Church for the past 20 years as a Treasurer, Bookkeeper, and Stewardship Coordinator. Susan and Martin are currently active members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fuquay Varina, NC.
Cianna Fisher Jackson
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Cianna Fisher Jackson was born in Bermuda and immigrated to North Carolina. She attended Saint Augustine’s University where she obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. Shortly after her graduation, Cianna was employed by her alma mater as a Digital Design and Content Specialist, where she was tasked with redesigning and launching a new official university website. While at Saint Augustine’s University, Cianna has had many opportunities to serve in various capacities. She has been in charge of university-wide communications, helped redesign and reinstate a university mascot, worked on the team that brought about the first SAU mobile application and more.
Cianna is happily married to her husband, Zechariah Jackson, whom she met during her time at Saint Augustine’s University.
ORGANIST & VOCALIST
An organist, musician, vocalist, performer, composer, and educator. The Chapel Hill native grew up at historic St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, Carrboro. This church had a close relationship with Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church, Chapel Hill during his formative years. He began playing the piano at age four and was active in music ministry at St. Paul. Christian attended the Durham School of the Arts studying saxophone, piano, voice, and African percussion. He received the honor of “Best Musician” in his graduating class. He entered and graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He has been the Director of Music at historic Mount Zion in olde Georgetown Washington, DC, First Congregational Church, Plympton, MA, St. Joseph’s CME Church, Chapel Hill, NC, and other congregations. In addition to his music leadership in congregations, Christian teaches adults and children piano and vocal lessons around the Triangle, including those is assisted living facilities.
Donielle Ginnae Koon
Donielle has been playing bass for 11 years and has a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University in Music with a concentration in Jazz Studies. She has played in venues from New Orleans to Chicago to New York and has had the pleasure of playing with musicians such as Jeff “Tain” Watts, Charles McPherson, Vincent Gardner, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Frank Lacy, Robert Trowers, Clifton Anderson, and many more. Ginnae teaches at the John Coltrane Jazz Workshop as the faculty bass instructor/combo instructor each summer and currently plays in various venues around the Triangle and Triad.
DRUMMER & VIBRAPHONIST
Originally from Washington DC, Brandon Mitchell is an active drummer and vibraphonist in the North Carolina music scene. He has a B.A. in music performance from Elon University and M.M. in jazz studies from North Carolina Central University.
As the owner of Small House Entertainment, he has collaborated with different artists and toured internationally fin Italy including performances at Teatro Piccolo in Milan, the Jazzit festival, and sets in front of Florence’s Duomo on Notte Bianca.