The Listening Hearts Ministries Board of Trustees is responsible for establishing the policies of the organization and overseeing the activities of the program office. The board meets semi-annually to evaluate the overall operations of the organization and seek consensus on issues that may have an impact on the future direction of the ministry. Four members of the board make up the executive committee. This group meets regularly with members of the program office to review the ongoing operations of the organization.
Patricia Brown, Treasurer
Patricia Brown joined the Board of Trustees as treasurer in 2006. In that capacity, she serves on both the executive committee and the administrative committee. Prior to serving as a trustee, her connection with Listening Hearts Ministries was through her husband, Joseph P. Gill, who was a founding member of the board, its first treasurer, and a co-author of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community.
Patty graduated from the University of Richmond, Phi Beta Kappa, and from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is president of Johns Hopkins Health Care LLC, a managed care organization owned by the Johns Hopkins Health System and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She also serves as senior counsel for the Johns Hopkins Health System. Preceding her association with Hopkins, she served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Maryland.
A Roman Catholic, Patty is a member of St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore. She and Joe live in Severna Park and have an in-town getaway in downtown Baltimore across from Camden Yards, making it easy for Patty to indulge her passion for both baseball and football.
Barbara Cates, Secretary
Barbara Cates joined the board as secretary in 2010. She was part of the original team of researchers behind Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, and trained as a discerner in 1997. Barbara spent seven months at the Taizé Community in France after graduating from Princeton University in 1980. She joined Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore upon her return and has been an active member ever since. In 1989 she joined the U.S. Foreign Service as an economics officer, and has been posted to Moscow, USSR; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; and Yekaterinburg, Russia. Barbara recently completed a three-year assignment at the State Department as Deputy Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom. Currently she is assigned to the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, coordinating environmental policy with the Middle East and South and Central Asia.
Barbara has twice served on her church vestry, leads the singing at Memorial’s weekly Taizé prayer service, and maintains an ecumenical connection with Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, where she is a deacon and sings in the choir. She completed Education for Ministry (EfM) in the 1990s and has recently repeated the second and third years of the program, driven by a desire to go more deeply into the New Testament.
Mike Croghan joined the board in 2012 and is helping Listening Hearts Ministries increase its accessible, online materials, as well as reaching out to the “emerging” church and the “spiritual but not religious” community. Mike first encountered Listening Hearts in 2003 through board member Frances Sullinger. He was trained as a Listening Hearts discerner in 2011-2012.
Mike was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church as a child, but grew up mostly outside the Church. He was always drawn to religion and faith, and minored in Religion while earning his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. His spiritual journey included three years as a practicing Tibetan Buddhist before returning to the Church in 2003. Mike has been a member of the Church of the Holy Comforter (Episcopal) in Vienna, VA, since 2003. He’s also been a member of the Church of the Common Table, a small, trans-denominational “emerging” church also based in Vienna, since 2006. Mike has served both congregations in a variety of capacities, and has volunteered for several local and national non-profits. He’s a member of the board of the Committee for Helping Others, a Vienna-based charity organization.
Mike lives with his wife, Tina Driskell, in Herndon, VA, and works as a software developer for Gannett Co., the parent company of USA TODAY and over 100 local newspapers. When he’s not doing churchy things or hacking on computer code, Mike enjoys jogging, biking, reading comic books, watching sci-fi TV and movies, and spending time with friends.
Alice Dorrance, Vice President
Alice Dorrance became a trustee in 2002. As vice president, she serves on the executive committee, with primary responsibility for both the newsletter Explorations and the semi-annual fund appeal. Her association with Listening Hearts began when she attended a “Grounded in God” vestry retreat for Immanuel Church of Glencoe, Maryland, where she was senior warden. The impact of that program on her personally and on the work of the vestry led her to register for the intensive Training Week for Trainers. Since that time, she has organized and continues to facilitate a Listening Hearts group that meets regularly at the Church of the Advent in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she currently lives.
A graduate of Harcum College in Pennsylvania with a degree in Early Childhood Education, Alice taught at The Friends School in Haverford until moving on to devote her time to raising a family. Alice’s husband, Chris, recently retired as headmaster of the Spartanburg Day School. They have two grown children and one new grandchild. Along with her church-related activities, Alice’s interests include Bible study, gardening, the natural world, hiking in protected lands, tennis, and yoga. Her generous financial support of the organization has allowed Listening Hearts to enhance its professional staff.
Suzanne Farnham, Founder
Suzanne Farnham is the founding trustee of Listening Hearts Ministries, and served as the executive director for many years. As a member of the Board of Trustees, she serves on both the executive and administrative committees. Suzanne developed the “Listening Hearts,” “Grounded in God,” and “Opening the Ear of Your Heart” training programs and continues to design training formats, retreats and workshops based on these programs. She is a popular and sought-after inspirational leader, and continues to play an active role in leading programs across the country.
Suzanne is co-author of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community and Grounded in God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Group Deliberations, as well as The Manual for Discussion Leaders. She co-edited the Listening Hearts SONGBOOK and is the author of Listening Hearts Retreat Designs and Meditation Exercises. Most recently, she is co-author with the Rev. Timothy Grayson of Keeping in Tune with God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Clergy.
Suzanne was born in Georgia but grew up in New York State. She is a graduate of Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Suzanne’s husband of forty-seven years, the Rev. Lyman (Barney) Farnham, died in 2007. It was while Barney was the rector of Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore that Suzanne began a parish-based initiative that led to the creation of the book, Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, which ultimately led to the formation of Listening Hearts Ministries. She has four grown children and ten grandchildren.
Joseph P. Gill, President
Joe is co-author of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community and a founding member of the Board of Trustees. A native of Buffalo, New York, Joe received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. Joe has served in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General and as Secretary of Natural Resources. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment.
Joe is an active member of Epiphany Episcopal Church in Odenton, Maryland. He is married to Board member Patricia M.C. Brown and the father of two grown children. He enjoys travel, cooking, exercise, reading and good conversation.
Timothy H. Grayson
Tim was first introduced to Listening Hearts through reading Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, and became involved in the organization after meeting Suzanne Farnham at St. James’ Episcopal in West Baltimore, where he served as assistant to the rector. He became a trustee in 2008, completed the Training for the Trainers week in 2009, and now serves on the executive committee, with responsibility for marketing, and the administrative committee. He is the co-author, with Suzanne Farnham, of Keeping in Tune With God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Clergy.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Tim has a Masters degree in English Language and English Literature from Victoria University in Wellington. He worked as a journalist in New Zealand before beginning his career in medical publishing in London in 1975, and seven years later transferred to his company’s head office in Baltimore. In 2003, Tim answered the call to ordained ministry and returned to New Zealand to study at the College of St. John the Evangelist in Auckland. He returned to Baltimore in 2005 to marry Kathy, whom he had met just one month prior to his departure for New Zealand. He completed his M.Div at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA in 2007 and now serves as rector of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Northeast Baltimore.
Tim is convener of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Episcopal Clergy Association (MECA) and is a member of the Order of Urban Missioners.
Tim’s work with Listening Hearts Ministries introduced him to the intimate experience of collaborating with others using spiritual consensus.
Nathan came onto the Board of Trustees in 2012 after working with Listening Hearts in a variety of parish-based discernment groups. He is now serving as Acting Dean at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon since 2009 and holds degrees from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and the General Theological Seminary in New York City. Nathan served parishes in New York and New Jersey before moving back home to Oregon.
Nathan’s background is in theatre and music; he enjoys hiking, gardening and the natural beauty (as well as the coffee and beer!) of the Pacific Northwest. Nathan recently married James, a hospital chaplain, and they’ve recently purchased their first home.
Patty McLean became a Trustee in April 2016. Her connection to Listening Hearts Ministries is through her husband, Teto McLean, longtime President of Listening Hearts Ministries and a co-author of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community.
Patty is an active member of the Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore, where she has served as chair of the Adult Education Committee, a member of the Vestry, and Church Registrar. Patty also completed Education for Ministry. Patty and Teto met in Education for Ministry and married in 2008 during a Sunday 10 a.m. service.
Patty graduated from Goucher College where she majored in Religion, and from the University of Maryland School of Law. She has served for many years as Associate General Counsel of Johns Hopkins University. Patty has two grown children from a prior marriage.
Patty’s true bliss is cooking, and she had the great pleasure of preparing Saturday dinner for the Listening Hearts Ministries Trustee weekends for the past several years.
Taylor (Teto) McLean
Taylor McLean, President of Listening Hearts Ministries for many years, currently serves on the Executive Committee, with responsibility for major donor cultivation. He was actively engaged from the beginning, doing the research on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He is co-author of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, The Listening Hearts Manual for Discussion Leaders, and Grounded in God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Group Deliberations.
Taylor attended Johns Hopkins University, received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Virginia, and holds a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney prior to becoming a partner of the law firm Royston, Mueller, McLean and Reid in Towson, Maryland.
Formerly a widower with three children, seven grandchildren and a great granddaughter, Taylor married Patricia Lyman McLean in April 2008. He has been an active member of The Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore for most of his adult life. An enthusiastic bird watcher and a committed environmentalist, he enjoys camping and playing tennis.
Frances Sullinger became a trustee in 2002. She is a member of the administrative committee and the executive committee, where her area is client development. Frances was trained in discernment in 1990 as part of a field test group at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia, where she is still a member. She now serves her church community as coordinator for its Listening Hearts discernment team and as co-mentor for the adult confirmation classes. She collaborated with Suzanne Farnham in developing the Title III Training Program for Episcopal Commissions on Ministry. As a Senior Associate for Listening Hearts Ministries, she trains trainers and diocesan facilitators and leads retreats for congregations and small groups.
Frances earned BS and MS degrees in theatre, speech and English at Texas A & M, and completed a year of doctoral work in structural linguistics at Denver University. She taught at Concord College in West Virginia, East Texas State University, the University of Denver and in the overseas division of the University of Maryland. Later, she joined the U.S. Department of State as a commissioned Foreign Service Officer. Following her retirement, she continued facilitating professional development seminars for the Foreign Service.
Frances lives in Centreville, Virginia, and maintains a home on the Greek island of Hydra. She is a widow with a daughter and two grandchildren who live nearby.
We have several people who have been important leaders in Listening Hearts History, and we have chosen to name these individuals as Trustees Emeritus:
Bruce McPherson and Lee Owen