New Iona Deans Announced

The Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan, suffragan bishop of the west region of the Diocese of Texas, is pleased to announce the calls of the Rev. Francene Young as dean of administration and the Rev. Andrew Benko, Ph.D., as dean of formation to the Iona School for Ministry starting June 1, 2021. Each brings a unique set of experiences, talents, and gifts that will be a blessing to the Diocese, the students, and the vision for the school.

The Rev. Francene Young

The Rev. Francene Young, a graduate of the Iona School for Ministry, recently completed 10 years of service as pastoral leader, transitional deacon and finally, rector of St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston. While serving at St. Luke the Evangelist, she also worked as the diocesan transition minister and chaired the Commission on Ministry. She, along with three colleagues, the Rev. Victoria Mason and the Rev. Wendy Huber created the Discovery Retreat.

Prior to her ordination in 2012, Francene worked in human resources for over 35 years; first in health care and then in the energy sector.  At the time of her retirement, she was the vice president of Talent and Diversity for Shell U.S.  She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and an undergraduate in Social Services from Cleveland State University. She is married to Kenneth Jones and they live in Houston.   

The Rev. Andrew Benko, Ph.D. 

Andrew Benko, a New Orleans native, headed to the frozen North to pursue his M.Div (’05) and M.T.S. (’06) at Seabury-Western Theological seminary in Chicago. He has served in a variety of ministry contexts since then, including parish ministry, a cathedral, interim and campus ministries. Realizing that teaching and learning have always been the driving engine of his ministry, he returned to school to pursue a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Brite Divinity School (’19). He returned to active parish ministry with a renewed passion for theological teaching, which he also brings to his adjunct teaching at Southwestern University. 

Please help us in welcoming and congratulating them as they begin this work.

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