Board and Leadership

Dean Very Rev. Laurie Benavides

The Very Reverend Deacon Laurie Benavides is Dean of the Southwest Deanery and Deacon in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Deacon Laurie lives out her central ministry as a deacon by leading the church out into the community to serve all people, particularly the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, the homeless and the lonely, and by interpreting to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. Prior to ordination in 2006 in the Diocese of Northwest Texas, she retired from a 31-year career in public education that included teaching in five different school districts in Texas. In addition to many years of teaching elementary students, she managed a Pregnancy and Parenting program at Weslaco High School, was a balanced literacy facilitator and Reading Recovery Teacher in Georgetown ISD, and a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader in charge of training Reading Recovery Teachers in Midland and Ector County ISDs. Currently, her ministry out in the world is carried out through her work with High Mountain Youth Project of Lincoln County, New Mexico, a non-profit she started in order to provide a comprehensive safety net for students experiencing homelessness. Laurie is married to Dr. Roy C. Benavides and they have three grown daughters and two grandchildren.

Vice Dean Mr. Derrick Washington

Derrick Washington is Vice Dean of the Southwest Deanery and an active member of St Francis on the Hill Church in El Paso, TX. Derrick serves in several different capacities at St Francis on the Hill to include Eucharistic Minister, Bishop’s Committee Member, and Chair for the 2019 stewardship campaign. Derrick retired from the United States Army in 1999, where he served his nation for 22 years, and for the last 15 years, he has been employed at Fort Bliss, TX as a DoD employee. Derrick is passionate about his service to the church, focusing on building a youth and young adult program, to include establishing both a nursery and Sunday school program for the church, along with growing the congregation by sharing the word and love of God with all he meets. Derrick aspires to continue to serve the Diocese in whatever capacity the Diocese needs, growing his spiritual strength upon the foundation of John 11:40 “and Jesus said, did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God”. Derrick has been married to Karen Washington for 20 years and they are the proud parents of three children, Catherine, Michael and Patrick, all three of which remain in the home attending high school or middle school.

Treasurer – Mr. Sal Saldivar –

Secretary Rev Catherine Lemons

Catherine Lemons was born and raised in South Texas. She became aware of God’s call to her while living in Japan and attending St. Alban’s in Tokyo but further discerned that call at St. Stephen’s Church in Edina, Minnesota. Catherine graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. She served as a Deacon at St. Mark’s in Silver Spring, Maryland. Upon ordination to the priesthood, she served as the Assistant Rector of Trinity Church in Anoka, Minnesota, and then as Rector of Christ Church in Austin, Minnesota. Catherine has been married to Richard for 45 years, has 3 children and 5 grandchildren scattered across the Southwest, and 2 Mini Dachshunds living underfoot.

Deanery Board Member – Mr. Bill Cox –

Deanery Board Member – Rev. Wally LaLonde

Rev. Wally LaLonde: I was ordained to the priesthood in July 2015. I grew up Roman Catholic and felt a call to the priesthood way back in my twenties, but life had other plans for me. I enjoy serving God in the Diocese of the Rio Grande and especially here in the SW Deanery. I love to help the youth of the Deanery get to Camp Stoney every year. The Episcopal Church is a wonderful expression of the Jesus Movement and I am happy to to be a part of it. It is a real blessing to serve at St. Andrews in Las Cruces.

I enjoy bicycling, playing guitar and ukulele, and drinking a beer with friends. My passion is to walk with others on their spiritual journey. Preaching, teaching, and pastoral care serve that passion and help me grow in my own journey.

Loretta Lopez – Self Portrait

Loretta Lopez is our Webmaster. She is a parishioner at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in El Paso, and a self-employed Artist, Illustrator and Graphic Designer. You may contact her by visiting her website at